Management impacts and natural events can produce ecosystem state changes that are difficult to reverse. In such cases, a detailed understanding of drivers, thresholds, and feedback mechanisms are needed to design restoration interventions. The Caldenal ecoregion in central Argentina has undergone widespread state change, and restoration is urgently needed, but as yet there has been no knowledge synthesis to support restoration actions. In this paper, we provide evidence-based guidelines for ecological restoration of the Caldenal forest derived from a general to local conceptual understanding of ecosystem dynamics. We develop a Caldenal forest state transition model based on a generalized fire-mediated savanna-woodland transition model. The generalized model depicts global similarities in fire-grass feedback loops as a primary factor controlling savanna to woodland transition (thicketization) in semiarid savannas around the world. An open forest is considered to be the reference state of the Caldenal that developed under a historical regime of frequent low-intensity fire. The introduction of large livestock herds in the region disrupted the positive fire-grass feedback loop and increased dispersal and recruitment of Prosopis caldenia, creating conditions for thicketization of the forest. Controlled, low-intensity fire can be used to build the resilience of an open forest state. Restoring open forest states from woodland states requires a large-scale selective thinning and pruning operation. Long-term restoration requires breaking the positive livestock-thicketization-high-intensity fire feedback and reestablishing the positive grass-low intensity fire feedback to ensure the persistence of a restored open forest state.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.