The contemporary call for restoration and rehabilitation
comes at a critical point in our planet's history where human influence
is all pervasive. Australia's long and relatively uninterrupted evolutionary
past means the continent possesses ancient soils and exceptionally diverse
and unique biota - yet its terrestrial and marine ecosystems carry a more recent legacy
of extensive and continuing environmental degradation, particularly in
urban, industrial and production landscapes and aquatic environments.
Anthropogenic climate change is superimposing further pressure on ecosystems,
whose vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by other causal factors
including land clearing, overharvesting, fragmentation, inappropriate
management, disease and invasive species. Degradation is so severe in
most cases that it will not be overcome without active and ecologically
appropriate intervention including mitigation of these causal factors
and reinstatement of indigenous biodiversity.
The practice of ecological restoration and rehabilitation seeks to transform
humanity's role from one where we are the agents of degradation to one
where we act as conservators and healers of indigenous ecosystems. It
is in this context that the National Standards for the Practice of
Ecological Restoration in Australia (the 'Standards') has been prepared
by the Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia (SERA1)
in collaboration with its 12 not-for-profit Partner and advisor organisations;
all of whom, like SERA, are dedicated to effective conservation management
of Australia's indigenous ecological communities.
This document identifies the need and purpose of ecological restoration
and explains its relationship with other forms of environmental repair.
The Standards identifies the principles underpinning restoration philosophies
and methods, and outlines the steps required to plan, implement, monitor
and evaluate a restoration project to increase the likelihood of its success.
The Standards are relevant to - and can be interpreted for - a wide spectrum
of projects ranging from minimally resourced community projects to large-scale,
well-funded industry or government projects.
SERA and its Partners have produced these Standards for adoption by community,
industry, regulators/government and land managers (including private landholders
and managers of public lands at all levels of government) to raise the
standard of restoration and rehabilitation practice across all sectors.
The document provides a blueprint of principles and standards that will
aid voluntary as well as regulatory organisations in their efforts to
encourage, measure and audit ecologically appropriate environmental repair
in all land and water ecosystems of Australia.
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1 SERA is an independent,
non-profit ecological restoration organization that connects the restoration
community (industry, government, practitioners) across the Australasian
region, and is a regional chapter of the peak international body for restoration,
the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). http://www.seraustralasia.com.au
© copyright Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia