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Now complete, restoration of oak woodland in county preserve near Chicago lauded as rare success

Scientists have completed a “dramatic” decades-long restoration of an ancient oak woodland in Illinois — a rare success story that researchers say holds key lessons for ecological restoration at a time when forests are increasingly seen as a critical tool for fighting climate change, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Most ecological restoration projects fail over the long term, scientists say, from a lack of sustained financial resources, scientific expertise, labor, and time. “Once we destroy a natural area, it has proved disturbingly difficult and expensive to bring it back,” Greg Spyreas, a research scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “This study shows you how to do it.”

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