I recently wrote an article for Treehugger about the Lessons I’ve Learned Through Ecosystem Restoration. In this article, I try to put to rest some of the common misconceptions about ecosystem restoration, and highlight some of the common mistakes that are made.
I talk about the vital importance of designing for a specific site, and of not oversimplifying what can be very complex systems. Soundbites and oversimplifications can often cause misunderstandings in this arena.
I also talk about how sometimes doing nothing can be enough to allow natural systems to recover, while in other cases, degradation can mean that our active agency is required before nature can ‘take over’.
Another topic I touch upon is the importance of taking a science-based approach, collecting relevant data and monitoring efforts in order to establish the best path moving forwards, as well as the success of endeavours.
Another key concern is making sure that those with a stake in the project – those who actually live on and near the land, are fully enfranchised and fully involved. Social justice issues are, of course, inextricably linked with protecting the natural world.
I also mention that developing restoration schemes which look holistically at human and natural systems is crucial. Unfortunately, in our modern world, we cannot separate the three pillars of sustainable development but must look at environment, society and economics all at once.
Many excellent examples of ecosystem restoration, rewilding and conservation work exist around the world. But unfortunately, poorly planned and poorly executed plans can do more harm than good.
If you would like help to develop plans to restore degraded land, or rebuild biodiversity on your own property, please do get in touch to discuss your project. I can help you in developing holistic plans, on any scale, to help repair the damage humanity has done, and build towards a better future.