International principles and standards for the practice of ecological restoration: an overview

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James Hallett

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Ecological restoration is recognized as a global imperative for reversing environmental degradation. When implemented effectively, restoration can deliver ecosystem services, benefit people and their local communities, enhance biodiversity, and support mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Declaration of 2021-2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration challenges all of us to ensure the promise of restoration. Although many restoration projects achieve their goals, a significant number of projects are not successful in delivering desired outcomes. Many factors contribute to the effectiveness of restoration including design, implementation, and monitoring of projects, as well as an understanding of ecosystem dynamics. To provide a framework for achieving desired outcomes of restoration projects, SER published its International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration in 2016, and a revised edition in 2019 followed extensive international consultation. The  revised Standards articulate eight core principles for ecological restoration, incorporate concepts related to traditional ecological knowledge, describe the process of creating reference models, and introduce a social benefits wheel to accompany the existing ecological recovery wheel – enabling practitioners and decision makers to assess the ecological and social benefits of restoration. The Standards also identify the relationship between ecological restoration and other restorative activities through the “restorative continuum.” The SER Standards offer a framework to help individual restoration projects as well as global restoration initiatives achieve their intended goals while addressing the many challenges for effective implementation.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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