Kildisheva, O. A., Erickson, T. E., Merritt, D. J. and Dixon, K. W. (2016), Setting the scene for dryland recovery: an overview and key findings from a workshop targeting seed-based restoration. Restor Ecol, 24: S36–S42. doi:10.1111/rec.12392

With nearly a quarter of global dryland systems considered to be degraded, the level and scale of degradation often exceed the thresholds for autogenic recovery, requiring human intervention to ensure that ecosystem biodiversity, structure, and function can be improved. A “Think Tank” workshop focusing on advancing the ecological approaches to large-scale restoration in degraded environments was held at Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Western Australia. Acknowledging that adaptive and broadly multidisciplinary strategies are paramount to achieving restoration in a repeatable and cost-effective manner, the workshop served as a forum to bring together plant scientists, ecologists, engineers, and environmental managers involved in dryland restoration from around the globe. This introductory paper to this special issue summarizes important contemporary challenges facing dryland restoration worldwide, offers a synthesis of the fundamental workshop themes, and provides a contextual overview for the series of invited papers in this issue, comprising reviews and case studies in seed and restoration technologies.