Rating Restoration: New 5-Star Rating System to Serve as a Global Model
Friday, August 26, 2016
Posted by: Marguerite Nutter
World’s First National Standards for Ecological Restoration Published in Restoration Ecology
Washington, DC. (July 18, 2016) – The world’s first national standards for ecological restoration were published in the journal Restoration Ecology last week. The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Australasia Chapter led a three-year collaborative process in partnership with more than 300 individuals, groups, government agencies and industries to produce these Australian standards.
“This is a critically important development in the field of ecological restoration,” says Professor Alan Unwin, Chair of the Board of Directors of SER. “There are currently no international standards for restoration practice despite the fact that billions of dollars are now being invested in restoration programs globally. These Australian Standards represent the first step toward broader international guidance for practitioners and policymakers to ensure that restoration projects are well planned, effectively implemented, and diligently monitored, and that the money we invest in restoration ultimately produces the results we want.”
Developing the Australian Standards took more than three years of workshops and consultations. The project arose in response to numerous failed efforts to restore damaged landscapes in Australia.
“With 48% of Australia degraded or de-natured by humans, the toll on human welfare and natural and biodiversity values are immense,” explained Professor Kingsley Dixon, Chair of SER Australasia, member of the Board of Directors of SER and one of the authors of the Standards. “Never before in human history has the need for planetary environmental protection and restoration been so urgent.”
The National Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration in Australia provide a model for other countries, based on five key aspects:
- Developing restoration practices based on appropriate local indigenous reference ecosystems.
- Working with communities at all levels of the restoration project.
- Setting clear targets, goals and objectives.
- Using sound science and practical knowledge to underpin each project.
- Creating the world-first five-star rating system to help practitioners and regulators keep track of a project’s progress over time
Over the next six months, SER leaders from around the world will work with SER Australasia to adapt the new standards for use globally. With members in more than 70 countries, SER International is well-positioned to facilitate this process, at a time when the need for clear standards is becoming increasingly apparent.
“Restoration of ecosystem services will be an important focus for nations as they strive to achieve the targets set forth in the recently adopted UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” says Piet Wit, Chair of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management. “Significant investments to restore ecological functions will be essential in some cases before countries can make progress toward those goals. The Restoration Standards developed under the aegis of SER provide a framework for all countries to invest in restoration with reasonable expectation that projects will ultimately be successful in providing the ecosystem services needed to improve the health of local ecosystems and the well-being of human communities that depend on them.“
Professor Dixon underscores the impetus for this initiative: “Restoration sits at the heart of this call to arms to re-wild our lands. If we don’t act now, future generations will not enjoy the plants, animals, clean water, and natural landscapes that are the essence of our cultural identity and livable environments.”
Both the web-based version and pdf document of the Standards are available at: http://seraustralasia.com/standards/contents.html
Reference: STANDARDS FOR ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION IN AUSTRALIA Volume 24, Issue Supplement S1, pages S4–S32, June 2016. Tein McDonald, Justin Jonson and Kingsley W. Dixon
About Restoration Ecology
Restoration Ecology is the Society for Ecological Restoration’s bi-monthly scientific and technical peer-reviewed journal. Edited by a distinguished international panel, the journal addresses global issues in ecological restoration and communicates them to researchers and practitioners throughout the world
About the Society for Ecological Restoration
The Society for Ecological Restoration is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting ecological restoration as a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and re-establishing an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture.
About Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia
The Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia is a neutral, independent, non-profit organization that connects restoration industries and provides restoration support across 17 countries in Australasia.
Bethanie Walder, Executive Director, SER
Kingsley Dixon, Board Chair, SER Australasia
+61 428 285 565; firstname.lastname@example.org