Importance of Restoration for Target Species

Target species are the objective of restoration efforts for two reasons: either because the particular species has declined for a specific reason and therefore needs special attention, or because the target is used as an indicator of a wider biodiversity grouping that has also declined.

In the second case, recovery of the target implies also recovery of other species. This is more often claimed than substantiated: target species are often relatively large, charismatic species and therefore also relatively adaptable. For instance, the recovery of a woodpecker species implies that the volume of its prey species have also recovered (probably due to deadwood retention) but not necessarily the diversity of its prey: it may be feeding on large numbers of a small group of saproxylic beetles.

So while target species are politically and practically useful in helping to stimulate restoration activity, they need to be treated with caution if they are also to be used as a surrogate for a whole cross section of biodiversity. This may imply, for instance, broader monitoring to check the wider implications of target recovery (refer to the Section "Monitoring and Evaluation").

Ideally, all restoration activities shall be based on in-depth knowledge of the structure and function of the forest ecosystem and target species in question.

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