Improving the success of wetland creation and restoration with know-how, time, and self-design

William J. Mitsch, Renée F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

288 Scopus citations


The creation and restoration of new wetlands for mitigation of lost wetland habitat is a newly developing science/technology that is still seeking to define and achieve success of these wetlands. Fundamental requirements for achieving success of wetland creation and restoration projects are: understanding wetland function; giving the system time; and allowing for the self-designing capacity of nature. Mitigation projects involving freshwater marshes should require enough time, closer to 15-20 yr than 5 yr, to judge the success or lack thereof. Restoration and creation of forested wetlands, coastal wetlands, or peatlands may require even more time. Ecosystem-level research and ecosystem modelling development may provide guidance on when created and restored wetlands can be expected to comply with criteria that measure their success. Full-scale experimentation is now beginning to increase our understanding of wetland function at the larger spatial scales and longer time scales than those of most ecological experiments. Predictive ecological modelling may enable ecologists to estimate how long it will take the mitigation wetland to achieve steady state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Achieving successful wetland mitigation
  • Creating wetlands
  • Ecological engineering
  • Ecological modelling
  • Freshwater marshes
  • Functional analysis of wetlands
  • Mitigation of wetland loss
  • Olentangy river wetland research park, ohio
  • Wetland succession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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