Seminar: Rebuilding Resilience – Ecological restoration of degraded sites

Rebuilding Resilience: Ecological restoration of degraded sitesUBC cliffs stabilization project

David Polster, MSc, RPBio

Principal, Polster Environmental Services Ltd.

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

3:15 – 4:15 pm*

MCML 154, 2357 Main Mall, UBC

*Please note time change. This seminar is immediately following a site visit to UBC cliffs.



Ecological restoration is defined internationally as the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed.  This suggests that the best we can do is to help what will happen naturally, but how can we help?  The first step is to define what might be preventing recovery (the filters).  Polster has identified 8 abiotic and 6 biotic filters that might be limiting the recovery of the ecosystem.  On industrially disturbed sites (mines, well sites, etc.) compaction and steep slopes are the most common abiotic filters, while competition (with seeded grasses and legumes) and herbivory (with hyper-abundant ungulates) are the most common biotic filters.  Restoration strategies that avoid creation of these filters and assist the recovery of the degraded ecosystem is the most cost-effective way of restoring large disturbances. This presentation explores the use of natural processes to let nature do the work of restoring drastically disturbed sites.


David Polster is a plant ecologist with almost 40 years of experience in vegetation studies, reclamation and invasive species management. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. He has developed a wide variety of reclamation techniques for mines, industrial developments and steep/unstable slopes, as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats. He is past president of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association. He is the treasurer for the Western Canada Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, and is the NW Regional Representative on the board of the international Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). He was recently awarded the prestigious John Rieger Award from SER. He served as the alternate mining representative on the board of the Invasive Species Council of BC for nine years.

This event is jointly hosted by the Land and Water Systems and Soil Seminar series.


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