Biodiversity theory applied to the real world of ecological restoration.
One of the perceived benefits of biodiversity is resistance to invasion by exotic species. This has relevance for vegetation restoration: according to theory, sowing more species of the desired type would help to exclude the invasion of undesired ones. Oakley & Knox (Applied Vegetation Science, this issue) tested this in a real restoration situation: the revegetation of bare compacted clay after construction or commercial activity. Higher sown diversity did indeed reduce the invasion of non-sown species and, of particular practical relevance, reduced the invasion of exotic species. Biodiversity theory proposes many benefits of higher species richness. Several have now been demonstrated experimentally, but few have been applied to real world problems. Oakley & Knox, in this issue, tested whether sowing more species in a vegetation restoration project would reduce the invasion of exotic species.