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The repair and restoration of ecological communities has been undertaken as a conscious endeavor at least since the 1890s, and has grown to become a recognized sub-discipline within academic ecology, as well as a sprawling professional and amateur practice. Although environmental reclamation and rehabilitation attempts have been attempted throughout human history, resembling acts of “restoration ecology” avant la lettre, as a disciplinary practice it thus only became possible with the reification of “the ecosystem” as an object of study in the ecology of Ernst Haeckel and Frederick Clements. Using the mechanistic metaphors of the day, the first ecologists in the late 1800s reasoned that if human actions degraded an ecosystem, then repair was possible and even necessary; the task took on epic dimensions in the ...

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