See our updates and highlights for the past year covering:
RNC Latin America
RNC Ireland (reporting on RNC worldwide activities)
Watch for updates from other regions.
Enjoy the read!
International Environmental Weed Foundation
Based in Sydney, Australia -
Article by Bev Debrincat and Louise Brodie
Our activities during 2012 were primarily focused on getting ‘The Habitat’ community native plant nursery and community food garden built and operational, and also finalising two grants which helped fund this project. We were also lucky enough to win a third grant for equipment which we will enjoy spending in 2013.
This facility was almost 5 years in the making and sometimes we didn’t think we were going to get it off the ground. But with the help of the local community, Habitat Network members and friends, on November 3rd 2012 the Mayor of City of Ryde Councillor Ivan Petch and State Member of Parliament, the Honourable Victor Dominello officially opened The Habitat.
The City of Ryde (our local government body) has this year has become a welcome partner in this project. On a day-to-day basis The Habitat is run by two of our volunteers who both have nursery experience.
Since getting the build of The Habitat underway in late August we have had a core group of 13 regular volunteers and 70 other unique volunteers taking part in our activities. In total we have close to 1000 volunteer hours recorded for the last 4 months of 2012. Additionally a large number of visitors come along to find out about the facility, to buy native plants for backyard habitat projects, to learn more about how they and/or their groups can be involved or to attend a workshop or planting activity. Visitors also come to our un-fenced food garden to help with the weeding, to harvest ripe produce and to socialise. Two local child care groups are regular visitors. At our official, opening 12 local community groups put on displays, which helped make our opening an exciting event.
Our aim with The Habitat, the Habitat Network and International Environmental Weed Foundation is to engage with wide cross-sections of the community in order to aid in the conservation and restoration of local provenance native plant habitat corridors and connections. In our city environment it is important to raise the awareness of the importance of habitat connections through both private and public land. We are seeing larger developments on smaller land footprints, less open space and loss of connectivity for our native flora and fauna and for the community. It is important that we increase awareness of ecological sustainable development and provide ideas which can be easily implemented by our governments, developers and communities.
During 2012 we continued to focus on specific native habitat corridors and connections which included the Hunter’s Hill small bird habitat corridor and the Ryde and Hunter’s Hill River to River habitat corridor project and now, with The Habitat, we will focus on Shrimpton’s Creek restoration. We also continued to work with Transition Epping and with the Terry’s Creek projects and assist local bushcare projects in extending their activities. For all plantings of native plant connections we are encouraging planted areas to be revisited and in-fill planted over subsequent years. This is to ensure that more appropriate structure and biodiversity for habitat is attained and that all species are not of exactly the same age.
Landcare, Catchment Management Authority and Media
Through our Habitat Network Facebook page and through the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority (now part of the Hawkesbury Nepean CMA) we have established links to many Landcare Groups around NSW and anticipate being more involved with them in the coming year.
Apart from our websites we also update our Habitat Network You Tube channel regularly and are engaging people right across the world. We now have over 100 videos uploaded with well over 17,000 viewings. Many of these videos have been taken either in our on-going conservation project at Delicate Nobby NSW or within the corridors mentioned above. The Terry’s Creek group provided footage of a rare visitor to the suburbs of Sydney of
a lyrebird .
Catchment Day and other events
As usual we ran many stalls and displays throughout the year including providing a guest specialist on the bushcare stand at the Royal Easter Show. A highlight was being involved in the Lane Cove Catchment Day which was attended by 80 students for 10 different schools. This was a multi-media event where we presented ideas to the students and had them make a short video for taking back to their schools to share with the other students.
For more detail about our activities please visit:
Having had issues raised with us by Lane Cove Council and community about how to promote the safe inclusion of native habitat within bushfire prone back gardens and also how to deal with the increasing numbers of brush-turkeys now being seen in gardens we produced two new resources. We especially love the brush-turkey brochure – it reflects the character of the brush-turkey. To see these and other useful resources please visit
Photo: Some of the guests at the official opening of The Habitat Nov 3rd 2012.
Photo: The Habitat - community food garden (foreground), native plant nursery behind the wire fence - opening Day Nov 3rd 2012.
Photo: Student creating a bird mural on the shed at The Habitat
Photo: Planting to create native habitat connections under Tarban Creek Bridge in order to facilitate movement of pollinators and small native birds such as superb blue wrens.
RNC Latin America
Article by Nikolay Aguirre
Director of the Biodiversity Research Program. National University of Loja.
See English version below.
La representación de la RCN para Latinoamérica ha participado interactivamente y en forma muy activa en procesos nacionales e internacionales difundiendo temas relacionados con la Restauración del Capital Natural, y además ha continuado en la búsqueda de estrategias para integrar programas de restauración en el marco del mecanismo REDD+. En este contexto se ha participado cursos, talleres y foros, entre los principales se mencionan:
- Participación en el Taller Regional de Manejo de Cuencas Altoandinas desarrollado en la ciudad de Quito-Ecuador del 23 al 27 de enero del 2012. Este evento reunión al personal técnico de fondos de agua de Colombia, Ecuador, Perú y Bolivia y tuvo la finalidad de fortalecer sus capacidades técnicas en temas relacionados con la gestión de espacios altoandinos. En este taller participó el profesor Nikolay Aguirre como conferencista abarcando la temática relacionada con la Restauración de ecosistemas degradados tropicales en cuencas altoandinas; y también participó en las salidas de campo a dos zonas andinas para discutir y analizar posibilidades de restauración.
- Participación en el II Curso Internacional de Ecohidrología Tropical “Conservación y Restauración de Ecosistemas Tropicales”, desarrollado en la ciudad de Medellín-Colombia del 22 al 30 de julio del 2012. Este curso tuvo como objetivo principal la facilitación del encuentro e intercambio de científicos, jóvenes investigadores y técnicos de varios países, lo cual se traduce en beneficios para las personas y entidades participantes, en el intercambio de conocimientos sobre el tema, información disponible, los métodos más recientes para la investigación de la ecohidrología y el apoyo mutuo en los proyectos. En este evento Nikolay Aguirre fue invitado como experto internacional para abordar la temática relacionada con la Conservación y Restauración de ecosistemas Tropicales.
Participantes del II Curso Internacional de Ecohidrología Tropical -Conservación y Restauración de Ecosistemas Tropicales, en una visita al Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados- Colombia.
Participants of the II International Course on Tropical Ecohydrology - Conservation and Restoration of tropical ecosystems, on a visit to the Nevados National Park- Colombia.
Un resumen de la entrevista realizada a Nikolay Aguirre por la agencia de noticias de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín, se puede ver en los siguientes Links:
En el Ecuador es uno de los pocos países que tiene institucionalizado el tema de la restauración, pues en su Constitución Política establece que la restauración será independiente de la obligación que tienen el Estado y las personas naturales o jurídicas de indemnizar a los individuos y colectivos que dependan de los sistemas naturales afectados. En casos de impacto ambiental permanentes el Estado establecerá los mecanismos más eficaces para alcanzar la restauración, y adoptará las medidas adecuadas para eliminar o mitigar las consecuencias ambientales nocivas. En este contexto en julio del 2012 se expide el Acuerdo Ministerial donde se incorpora las actividades de restauración en el proyecto de conservación de bosques y además se crea un incentivo para quienes realicen actividades de incrementen la provisión de servicios ecosistemicos mediante actividades de restauración ecológica aplicadas en áreas que se encuentren en procesos de degradación bajo un enfoque de manejo integral del paisaje y que favorezcan la mejora de la calidad de vida de sus habitantes. Al respecto la representación de la RCN para Latinoamérica ha estado colaborando en múltiples acciones y eventos organizados por el Ministerio de Ambiente del Ecuador para asesor y capacitar al personal técnico en temas técnicos de la restauración.
Nikolay Aguirre y personal técnico de los fondos de Agua de Ecuador, Colombia, Perú y Bolivia, en una visita técnica al bosque de Polylelis en Pifo-Ecuador.
Nikolay Aguirre and technical staff of the Fund Water from Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, in a technical visit to a Polylepis forest in Pifo-Ecuador.
English version follows:
The RNC Alliance for Latin America was an active participant in national and international processes and negotiations in 2012, and was able to actively disseminate concepts concerning Restoring Natural Capital. Also we continued in our search for strategies to integrate restoration programs in the context of the REDD + programme. In this context we were able to participate in courses, workshops and forums, of which the main events were:
- Regional Workshop of Watershed Management of the High Andes, in Quito,Ecuador, 23 - 27 January, 2012. This brought together participants from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, and was intended to strengthen technical capabilities in areas related to the management of high Andean areas. In this workshop, Prof. Nikolay Aguirre participated as a speaker about the restoration of degraded ecosystems in the tropical Andean watershed. Also he participated in field trips to two Andean regions to discuss and analyze the potential for restoration.
- International Course on Tropical Ecohydrology - Conservation and Restoration of Tropical Ecosystems, in Medellín, Colombia, 22 - 30 July, 2012. Scientists, young researchers and technicians from various countries attended providing benefits for the individuals and entities participating through the exchange of knowledge, methods and the latest research in ecohydrology and mutual support on projects. In this event Nikolay Aguirre was invited as an international expert to address the issues relating to the conservation and restoration of tropical ecosystems.
A summary of the interview with Nikolay Aguirre by the news agency of the National University of Colombia can be seen in the following links:
Ecuador is one of the few countries that has institutionalized the issue of restoration. Because the Political Constitution of Ecuador has established that in cases of permanent environmental impact the state will establish the most effective mechanisms to achieve restoration, and take appropriate measures to eliminate or mitigate actions that are harmful to the environment. In this context, in July 2012 Ministerial Agreement incorporates restoration activities into the forest conservation project. This agreement also creates an incentive to increase the number engaged in the provision of ecosystem services and ecological restoration activities in areas that are degraded and with a focus on integrated management of the landscape. Latin America has been working on multiple actions and events organized by the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador to counsel and train technical staff on technical issues relating to restoring natural capital (RNC).
RNC Ireland (reporting on RNC worldwide activities)
Notes on 2012 activities
This was the year in which my forthcoming (for so long!) book on ecological restoration projects worldwide, and their significance for strategies in conservation and sustainability, finally went into editing. Restoring the Future is due for publication from University of Chicago Press next autumn (spring for those of us in the southern hemisphere).
I gave several lectures related to the book during the year. The first was at Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, in March, organised by Hank Edmondson. The next was at a three-day symposium on Political Visions, organised by Edurne Portela at the Humanities Center in Lehigh University. Both these events especially were encouraging in that I had taught in these universities on my previous books, dealing with the very different topics of terrorism, state terrorism, and Basque and Irish culture, but found that the topic of restoration had broad enough appeal to persuade the same professors to invite me back to talk about the topics in the new book.
RNC ideas provided the link between restoration and social and political policy at both lectures, and my final restoration lecture on this tour, at Bowling Green State University, organised by Charlie Kanwischer, was entirely dedicated to “Restoration of Natural Capital: a strategy to make restoration happen on a grand scale, in a world full of hunger, conflict and crisis?”. Response at all three lectures was very positive, with many people in the audience engaging with restoration ideas for the first time, and often finding that they offered an productive synergy with very different fields of knowledge and policy.
On the same trip I had the enormous pleasure of taking a three-day field trip in the Florida panhandle with restoration veteran and SER founder Andy Clewell. A privilege, and a pleasure. It was also a great pleasure to meet Peter Wyse Jackson, the new President of Missouri Botanic Gardens, both in St Louis and at his summer home in Kerry, and discuss restoration issues on the botanical gardens agenda.
Over the summer, three leading restoration figures visited Ireland: Gretchen Daily of the Natural Capital Project gave a very stimulating seminar at Trinity College’s Centre for Biodiversity Research. Bruce Pavlik, head of restoration at Kew Gardens, came to visit and we did field trips with Irish restorationists like Seamus Byrne, Catherine Farrell and Declan Little. Shortly afterwards, Liam Heneghan, co-chair of the science committee of Chicago Wilderness, did a similar trip, which will followed up by a study abroad tour by his students at de Paul University next year.
I have worked with both Catherine Farrell (at the Irish Peat Board) and Declan Little (at Woodlands of Ireland) on the application of RNC ideas to their work. I am delighted to record that Little has commissioned a report on the NC and EGS values of Irish native woodlands, due to be published early in 2013.
The SER Europe conference in Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic in September was the scene of an innovative debate around the policy implications of the concept of ‘novel’ ecosystems, organised by leading RNC thinking James Aronson. He invited me to moderate the two sessions, which produced a great deal of insightful and passionate (but civil!) discussion on this contentious topic. This mini-symposium, “Novel Ecosystems: Slippery Slope or New Normal?” indicated the hunger for real engagement of ideas at restoration and conservation conferences, too often, in my view, packed with papers but poor in providing platforms for debate.
I had the always stimulating task of editing several RNC-related papers with James Aronson and others over the year. My thanks, as ever, to Aronson for his invaluable generosity as mentor, and sparring partner, as my restoration book has developed. In June I got the very welcome news that U of CP had formally accepted it for publication, and in December that it had entered into the editing process. I hope it will make some contribution to the popular dissemination and discussion of restoration and RNC ideas when it is published next year.