Modelling results show that recovery potential depends on how much the system has been changed by the dam and the system
state at the start of the restoration, rather than the duration of the pressure. Even if the conditions shortly after restoration are comparable to pre-disturbance conditions, there can still be a time-lag in the system response where the future state of the restored system continues to deviate from the undisturbed situation. When this happens, the system can develop into an alternative dynamic equilibrium where recovery becomes increasingly difficult. These results stress the importance of considering natural variability in restored systems as well as in reference systems, requiring detailed spatio-temporal monitoring to assess restoration effects.