Updates follow for the past year for RNC Pacific written by Bev Debrincat and Louise Brodie in Sydney, Australia and from Andre Clewell in the USA.
Watch for updates from other regions.
Enjoy the read!
International Environmental Weed Foundation
Based in Sydney, Australia
Article by Bev Debrincat and Louise Brodie
Weed education, Habitat Network and “The Habitat”
Weed education, Habitat Network and “The Habitat” are our 3 main project areas. This year was a year of consolidation where we continued to educate regarding weed control and ecological restoration, and continued to work with local government to support and enhance the habitat corridors around Ryde and Hunter’s Hill (both in Sydney, NSW, Australia). A great deal of our time was taken in establishing a vibrant community native plant nursery and community food garden – known as “The Habitat”.
Restoration: Horizontal and Dynamic
Article by Andre Clewell
RNC and ecological restoration are not easily grasped concepts. They are “horizontal” in their approach, because they require integration of ideas and data from diverse fields. The products of restoration are dynamic, because they are living systems which undergo continual change and can’t be pinned down easily. In that regard, engineers and architects have it easy, because they design bridges, buildings, and other fixed end-products.
“Restoration” is a catchy designation for our discipline, but it is deceptive. To restore gives the impression of recovering something static to a former condition. What we really do is recover an impaired system’s capacity to resume its dynamic ecological trajectory into an unknown future—unknown because environmental conditions keep changing and biotic communities keep adapting to the new conditions.
I’ve made it a central focus of my activity to explain what restoration means in its horizontal and dynamic sense. That’s apparent throughout the second edition of the book that James Aronson and I wrote and that appeared in 2013: Ecological Restoration: Principles, Values, and Structure of an Emerging Profession (Island Press).
In addition, I present workshops to any audience that offers me the opportunity to speak. Last year I presented workshops for U.S. federal agencies, mainly at National Estuarine Research Reserve facilities in Massachusetts, Florida, and Mississippi, and also in Florida for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel. In addition I gave two workshops in Chile and a third mini-workshop to members of the Chilean task force on ecological restoration at the Environmental Ministry in Santiago.
The situation in Chile is interesting. Large timber companies have converted vast areas of native forest into row-planted forest plantations. For their wood products to be sold on the international market, these companies must secure environmental certification. Certification requires protecting or restoring a percentage of native forest, with consideration given to maintaining wildlife corridors, protecting rare species, and preserving genetic stocks. Certification additionally requires sensitivity for the economic and cultural wellbeing of those people residing in the vicinity of plantations. Sounds like RNC, doesn’t it?
Timber companies and personnel representing other sectors in Chile have attended my workshops for two years, now. Passages from our book are appearing in official documents, and it’s obvious that giving workshops has been well worth the effort.
In workshops, I teach both ecological restoration (as the recovery of impaired natural ecosystems) and RNC (as the recovery of degraded landscapes and their human socioeconomic-cultural systems). It would pretty hard not to teach both, because they are usually inseparable.
What I’ve learned is that we have to take advantage of every opportunity to explain the benefits of restoration and how to go about doing it. Our discipline is too new, too misunderstood, and too horizontal, and too dynamic for most people to understand it. It’s going to take a lot more effort for us to explain the promise of restoration and how to make it happen.