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Recovery processes are complex; understanding them can help make reclamation a success. Many of the things that have been done in the name of traditional reclamation have actually served to slow or even stop the recovery of the disturbed site. In other cases, failure to conduct simple treatments early in the process can lead to the collapse of the reclaimed ecosystem over the long term. Understanding the ecology of recovery can help prevent treatments that work against natural recovery processes. Similarly, understanding the processes involved in ecosystem recovery can allow treatments that enhance these processes. Simple abiotic (physical) treatments can be used to expedite the recovery of drastically disturbed sites. Planting designs that make use of native pioneering species can be used to re-establish successional trajectories that will lead to productive ecosystems that are in accord with the local ecosystems. This paper explores the ecology of recovery processes and the treatments that can be applied to drastically disturbed sites to assist in these processes.
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