Self-Design vs. Designer Theories and Wetland Restoration and Creation
Wetland restoration and succession are essentially attempts to accelerate and direct succession. However, competing theories about the nature of succession exist. One theory developed by F. E. Clements postulated that all the vegetation in an area would eventually reach a final, stable stage that he called the climax. This deterministic succession theory, now called the self-design theory, has been adopted in numerous restoration/creation projects. It implies that environmental conditions are the main determinant of the vegetation that develops. An alternative theory of succession, associated with H. A. Gleason, emphasizes that the characteristics of each plant species (e.g., seed dispersal potential) and contingent environmental factors (e.g., disturbances) have a major influence on the composition of the vegetation that develops and that there is no fixed end point. This individualistic theory of succession in the restoration field is known as the designer theory. Most plant ecologists today are advocates of the designer theory.
KeywordsClimax F. E. Clements H. A. Gleason Succession Wetland vegetation
- Pickett STA, Meiners SJ, Cadenasso MJ. Domain and propositions of succession theory. In: Scheiner SM, Wilig MR, editors. The theory of ecology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2011. p. 185–216.Google Scholar
- van der Valk AG. Succession theory and restoration of wetland vegetation. In: McComb AJ, Davis JA, editors. Wetlands for the future. Adelaide: Gleneagles Publishing; 1998. p. 657–67.Google Scholar