International standards for the practice of ecological restoration, 2nd edition

Gann GD, McDonald T, Walder B, Aronson J, Nelson CR, Jonson J, Hallett JG, Eisenberg C, Guariguata MR, Liu J, Hua F, Echeverría C, Gonzales E, Shaw N, Decleer K, Dixon KW

Publication Date:

The second edition of the International Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration was released on September 27, 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa at SER’s 8th World Conference on Ecological Restoration. This groundbreaking publication provides updated and expanded guidance on the practice of ecological restoration, clarifies the breadth of ecological restoration and allied environmental repair activities, and includes ideas and input from a diverse international group of restoration scientists and practitioners.

Relevance for the Short Term Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration:
The Standards provide information on the planning, implementation, monitoring and maintenance of ecological restoration projects in all types of ecosystems worldwide, providing key guidance for Groups of activities C and D. This resource stresses the importance of early, genuine and active engagement with stakeholders and emphasizes the use of appropriate native species in line with activity C1. Guidance can also be applied to allied restorative activities, including a wide array of nature-based solutions, in line with C2. Section 3 outlines a series of steps used to develop clear objectives and tasks for each step of a plan, in line with activities, C3 and C4. An appendix provides information on the selection of seeds and other propagules in the context of fragmentation and climate change, helpful for activity C2. The Standards also contain guidance for the monitoring of restoration projects. This guidance includes a tiered system from 1 to 5 stars to evaluate progress of a restoration project (D1) along a trajectory toward a reference model by assessing six key ecological attributes: species composition, structural diversity, ecosystem function, external exchanges, absence of threats, and physical conditions. An ‘ecological recovery wheel’, available online and as an Android app provides a framework to communicate restoration progress (D3). The SER Standards also provide a sample 'Social Benefits Wheel' to help assess and communicate the delivery of ecosystem services by restoration projects, in line with activities D1 and D3.

STAPER categories:
  • C1: Identify appropriate measures for conducting ecosystem restoration
  • C2: Consider how restoration can support sustainability of agriculture/production
  • C3: Develop ecosystem restoration plans with clear/measurable objectives and goals  
  • C4: Develop explicit implementation tasks, schedules, and budgets
  • D1: Assess the efficacy and effects of implementing the ecosystem restoration plan
  • D3: Share lessons learned from planning, financing, implementing and monitoring ecosystem restoration plans

Resource Type:
Technical Document

Society for Ecological Restoration