Assessing the evidence base for restoration in South Africa
If restoration is to become effective, able to compete for limited funds and truly adaptive, it must become evidence-based. Three of the conditions essential for the establishment and advancement of evidence-based restoration are (1) collection of baseline information; (2) setting clearly defined goals; and (3) relevant and adequate monitoring. Using a literature review, complemented with an online survey, we reviewed 10 restoration programs in South Africa to assess whether current restoration practice meets these conditions. The review showed good collection of baseline information and the setting of restoration goals that span ecological and socioeconomic considerations. However, to a large extent goals were poorly defined, there was more monitoring of inputs than outcomes, and monitoring of ecological indicators was inconsistent. These shortcomings can undermine restoration impacts, as well as the future sustainability of these expensive programs. We conclude with recommendations on how to mainstream the requirements of evidence-based restoration into current and proposed restoration programs. © 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.