Not only single organisms are capable of regeneration. Ecosystems are regenerative as well, although not on a cellular level but rather - as a complex system composed of myriads of organisms and their habitat - on the level of interactions of whole populations and their environment.
Resilience to minor disturbances is one characteristic feature of healthy ecosystems. Following major (lethal) disturbances, such as a fire or pest outbreak in a forest, an immediate return to the previous dynamic equilibrium will not be possible. Instead, pioneering species will occupy, compete for space, and establish themselves in the newly opened habitat. The new growth of seedlings and community assembly process is known as regeneration in ecology. As ecological succession sets in, a forest will slowly regenerate towards its former state within the succession (climax or any intermediate stage), provided that all outer parameters (climate, soil fertility availability of nutrients, animal migration paths, air pollution or the absence thereof, etc.) remain unchanged.
While natural disturbances are usually fully compensated by the rules of ecological succession, human interference can significantly alter the regenerative homeostatic faculties of an ecosystem up to a degree that self-healing will not be possible. For regeneration to occur, active restoration must be attempted.
- Forest ecology
- Bush regeneration
- Regenerative design
- Regenerative agriculture
- Ecological stability
- Dietze, M. C.; Clark, J. S. (2008). "Changing the gap dynamics paradigm: Vegetative regenerative control on forest response to disturbance" (PDF). Ecological Monographs. 78 (3): 331–347. doi:10.1890/07-0271.1.
- Bailey, J. D.; Covington, W. W. (2002). "Evaluation ponderosa pine regeneration rates following ecological restoration treatments in northern Arizona, USA" (PDF). Forest Ecology and Management. 155: 271–278. doi:10.1016/S0378-1127(01)00564-3.
- David M. Smith (1996). "Chapter 7:Ecology of Regeneration". The Practice of Silviculture. Wiley. ISBN 978-0471800200. External link in