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Ecological Restoration Guidelines for Contributors

(Click to download a PDF of this page.)



We welcome submissions to Ecological Restoration from any part of the world. Submissions should relate to the restoration of plants, animals, ecological communities, or landscapes. We understand ecological restoration to be a multidisciplinary and diverse effort and welcome manuscripts considering ecological, social, and cultural aspects of restoration, as well as political, economic, legal, philosophical, and regulatory issues, urban restoration, and other subjects related to the ongoing development of the endeavor of ecological restoration. Relevant topics also include techniques and tools for planning, site preparation, species introduction, undesired species control, and monitoring. Manuscripts dealing with plant or animal community composition or general ecology must relate the work explicitly to ecological restoration practice and theory. Similarly, material dealing with reclamation or rehabilitation in a broader sense, or with restoration for economic purposes—economic forestry, range management, waste disposal—must be connected to ecological restoration. Material may be submitted for the following categories (listed as they are encountered in the journal):


• Perspectives

• Restoration Notes (shorter items, < 1500 words describing project updates, events, innovative technologies, preliminary or unusual findings, thought-provoking concepts, imaginative solutions, commentary, policy reports, etc.)

• Research articles or reviews on ecological restoration theory, experiments, socio-ecological linkages, education, restoration history, practice

• Case studies (full length articles describing a particular restoration project or location and lesson learned)

• Book, journal, website, or movie reviews


Authors of notes, full-length articles or reviews should submit their material online at http://er.msubmit.net. Manuscripts must be submitted with a cover letter. Questions about the online submission site, or general inquiries may be emailed.


Review and Editing Process

Perspectives, Research Articles, and Reviews are peer-reviewed (typically a minimum of two anonymous reviewers). The process requires approximately four to six months. Please suggest in your cover letter 3–5 reviewers appropriate for your paper.


Submission of Restoration Notes are reviewed and edited in-house unless additional expertise is required to evaluate the submission.


Authors can expect to work closely with the editors to prepare manuscripts for a broad audience. The editors reserve the right to edit for style and clarity.



Ecological Restoration reaches readers with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. Practitioners of ecological restoration are both a core audience and source of contributions to ER. Contributors should use a straightforward style free of unnecessary technical terms and jargon. We prefer the active voice (for example,“We measured three trees” instead of “Three trees were measured”). While we publish the standard research publication format (literature review, methods, results, discussion), we encourage alternative formats. These include case studies with well developed discussions of lessons for the general ecological restoration community, or articles on a specific study, beginning with a brief overview and relevance to a broader group of readers and including a discussion of the practical applications for ecological restorationists and their work.


Manuscript Specifications and Format

Cover letter: Please submit a cover letter with your manuscript, briefly stating why your manuscript is appropriate for Ecological Restoration. The cover letter must also state that the material has not been previously published. Manuscripts must not be submitted elsewhere while under consideration with ER. In your cover letter, suggest 3–5 potential reviewers for your manuscript.


Manuscript Format

We appreciate full-length manuscripts kept below 5,000 words, although we will accept longer pieces when appropriate. Restoration Notes are generally a maximum of 1,500 words and may include up to two accompanying graphics. Book reviews are typically 800–1,000 words.


• Manuscripts must be in English, Times New Roman, 12 point font.

• Manuscripts must be double spaced with one-inch margins.

• Manuscripts must include continuous line numbers throughout the document.

• Please use only one space between sentences. Do not use spaces or extra line breaks between paragraphs, or between paragraphs and headers, but add an extra line break before headers.

• Do not indent the 1st paragraph of a section, including the opening section. All other paragraphs should have a 0.5” tab.


Title Page: Submissions should include a brief but descriptive title (no more than 100 characters not including spaces), followed by the author name(s) (spelled out, not abbreviated). Affiliation and contact information should be provided at the end of the article after the references.


Capitalize major words. Example: Engaging Birds in Vegetation Restoration after Elhwa Dam Removal.


Abstracts: Authors of full-length articles should include a 250-word abstract plus no more than five alphabetized keywords (not repeated from the title). No abstract is needed for Restoration Notes.


Restoration Recap: We now require all perspectives and full-length articles (research articles, case studies, review articles) to include a section after the abstract and before the introduction entitled “Restoration Recap”. This section should be written for restoration practioners and the general public. The Restoration Recap should consist of 3-5 bullet points including the background information and the main implications for restoration, including recommendations for practice. Total length should not exceed 150 words.


Supplementary Materials: Online appendices are available for extensive quantitative data, supplementary figures, or detailed statistical analyses in full-length articles.


Manuscript Specifications

• Titles, headers, and subheaders are capitalized and in bold type. Subheaders are also italicized. No headers for Restoration Notes.

• Avoid footnotes in articles, Restoration Notes, and tables.

• Use metric measurements.

• Spell out each acronym the first time it is used in the text and captions: e.g. warm-season grasses (WSG).

• Scientific names for all species should be presented in italics and parentheses after the first usage of each common name in the text: Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum). Do not include the scientific authority, only the Latin binomial. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System is our default nomenclatural authority.

• Statistical terms and other measures should conform to the Council of Biology Editors Style Manual. Report the test, test statistic and p-values. P-values should be reported as lowercase, italicized p. For example: “Between-year contrasts in plant density in burn plots were greatest between the 2000 baseline and 2001 (Wilcoxon signed-rank test; Z = 3.5, p = 0.0004) and from 2001 to 2002 (Wilcoxon signed-rank test; Z = –3.25, p = 0.001).” When reporting F statistics, please include between-groups and within-group degrees of freedom (F10,12 = 10.75, p = 0.001).

• Please consult a recent issue of the journal for additional information.


The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.) is also helpful for additional style and format information and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (11th ed.) for spelling and hyphenation preferences.



Citations within the text should be listed chronologically (Thompson 1995, Bauer and Smith 2007). In the case of a personal communication or reference to unpublished data, cite the person’s initials and surname, institutional affiliation, followed by pers. comm., unpub. data, etc, strictly in the text. Examples: (S. Galatowitsch, University of Minnesota, unpub. data or S. Glass, UW-Madison Arboretum, pers. comm.)


Hardware and software should also be cited strictly in the text. The citations consist of the name of the item, version/model number, name and location of producer's headquarters, all in parentheses: (SAS v. 9, SAS Institute, Cary, NC) (BEI endomycorrhizal inoculant, BioOrganics, Palm Springs, CA)


End references should be listed in alphabetical order. Please see examples below and refer to recent past issues of Ecological Restoration for reference formats. Authors of Restoration Notes and book reviews should keep references to a few key citations.


Consecutive entries by the same author(s) are arranged in chronological order (earliest publication first). Works by the same author(s) in the same year are arranged alphabetically by title and differentiated by letter (1998a, 1998b).


Sample References

Illinois State Climatologist Office (ISCO). 2006. ISWS climate data: Monthly data for station 113320 (Galesburg). www.sws.uiuc.edu/data/climatedb/choose.asp?stn=113320

Jordan, W.R., III. 2000. Restoration, community, and wilderness. Pages 21–36 in P.H. Gobster and R.B. Hull (eds), Restoring Nature: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities. Washington DC: Island Press.

Jordan, W.R., III. 2003. The Sunflower Forest: Ecological Restoration and the New Communion with Nature. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

Kilvington, M., J. Rosier, R. Wilkinson and C. Freeman. 1998. Urban restoration: Social opportunities and constraints. Paper presented to the Symposium on Restoring the Health and Wealth of Ecosystems, Christchurch, New Zealand, September 28–30.

Richburg, J.A., A.C. Dibble and W.A. Patterson III. 2002. Woody invasive species and their role in altering fire regimes of the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Pages 104–111 in K.E.M. Galley and T.P. Wilson (eds), Proceedings of the Invasive Species Workshop. Miscellaneous Publication No. 11. Tallahassee FL: Tall Timbers Research Station.

Smart, R.M. and G.O. Dick. 1999. Propagation and establishment of aquatic plants: A handbook for ecosystem restoration projects. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Technical Report A-99-4.

Wood, S.H. 1975. Holocene stratigraphy and chronology of mountain meadows, Sierra Nevada, California. PhD dissertation, California Institute of Technology.

Xi, W., R.K. Peet, J.K. DeCoster and D.L. Urban. 2008a. Tree damage risk factors associated with large, infrequent wind disturbances of Carolina forests. Forestry DOI 10.1093/forestry/cpn020.

Xi, W., R.K. Peet and D.L. Urban. 2008b. Changes in forest structure, species diversity, and spatial pattern following hurricane disturbance in a Piedmont North Carolina forest, USA. Journal of Plant Ecology 1:43–57.


Tables, Photos, and Illustrations

We encourage authors to make tables and figures and their captions with great care. Each caption should be useful and detailed, consisting of 1–3 sentences explaining the content and photo credits when appropriate. Photographs can be used to illustrate points made in the manuscript or to augment the article with additional information about the people, plants, animals, or technologies that were involved. Figures will be reproduced in black and white in the print version of Ecological Restoration (usually requiring higher contrast) and can be reproduced in color in the online version. We use color photos on the front and back covers of the journal and welcome submissions of eye-catching, informative, high-quality photographs. For all graphic material submitted electronically, please use a consistent file name beginning with the first author’s name and then numbered sequentially as the graphics are referred to in the manuscript (e.g., AndersonPhoto1.tif; or AndersonTable2.doc). Label multiple tables and figures and refer to them in the body of the manuscript. MS Word tables are the preferred format for tables.


Table formats:

• For tables, include a single line at the top of the table, a single line underneath the column headers, and a single line at the end of the table. All lines are 0.5 pt width. When more than 1 header row is present because a single header category is over multiple subheader categories (represented by individual columns), the overarching merged and centered header cell should also have an horizontal line under it. Text of header row(s) should be in bold. Please see a recent issue of Ecological Restoration for table format.

• If the numbers reported have decimals (ie., 1.5), all numbers must have the same number of decimals.

• All captions must also be double spaced, are not capitalized or in bold type.

• Whenever a dash is used in a table to note an “empty” cell, do not use hyphens, use an em-dash (the longest dash).


Figure formats:

• Figures must be of quality suitable for reproduction with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi for photos (.tif or .pdf preferred; .jpg acceptable), 400 dpi for images containing text, and 600 dpi for images containing fine details (.pdf and .eps preferred, .ai, .ps, .psd acceptable).

• Submit each figure as a separate file. For multipart figures, submit all parts in one file.

• The font within figures should be Arial or Helvetica and only the plot area should be enclosed. Use uppercase letters for multi-part figures and lowercase letters to denote significant differences among data points. Please see an example figure here.

• Please refer to https://uwpress.wisc.edu/journals/preparing_illustrations.html for detailed information on the preparation of figures for publication.

• If there is a photo credit, the format should be “Photo Credit: Name”.



When you submit a revised manuscript to Ecological Restoration, you should proofread and edit your manuscript carefully as this will be the final version sent for publication. While you will have an opportunity to review the manuscript in the proof stage, you will be charged for any edits you request in the proofs that are not typesetting mistakes.


Want to Print in Color?

Authors may elect to pay to have their printed articles appear in 4-color. Depending on the size of the article and/or amount of images, authors may choose either an a 4-page, an 8-page, or a 16-page signature. The current fees for color are: $650 for a 4-page signature, $700 for an 8-page signature, and $950 for a 16-page signature. The fee for a 16-page signature is $950. Upon manuscript acceptance, please indicate your wish to print in color to the Associate Editor, and the required fee will be computed.


Page Charges

Payment of $50 per page is requested from authors with research grant or other institutional funds available to underwrite publication costs. Invoices will be sent after composition of pages. Authors with no grant or institutional funds are not required to pay publication costs, although this would be appreciated as this is a non-profit journal. Ability to pay page charges is not a condition for acceptance of a manuscript. Again, there are required additional charges for color pages.


Revised 12/2014

Ecological Restoration

Editorial Offices:

Dr. Steven Handel, Editor Ecological Restoration
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
1 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1582


For questions, please contact Myla F.J. Aronson, Ph.D., Associate Editor
Ph. 732-932-4275
Fax 732-932-4517


Submissions will no longer be accepted through email. Please submit at: