A perspective on the evolving science and practice of ecological restoration in Australia


  • Tein McDonald,

  • Jann Williams

  • From small beginnings, Australian restoration is strengthening in quantity and quality, providing some promising examples of repairing damaged ecosystems. Does this point to potential for restoration to make a real difference to the conservation challenge?

Tein McDonald is a Restoration Consultant, Tein McDonald & Associates, (P.O. Box 42, Woodburn 2472 Australia; Email: teinm@ozemail.com.au); Jann Williams is Adjunct Professor at the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research,(University of Tasmania, P.O. Box 3523, Burnie, Tasmania, 7320 Australia; Email: jann.williams@utas.edu.au) and Managing Director of NRM Insights Pty Ltd. Tein and Jann work together on a range of projects associated with their roles as editor and chair, respectively, of the journal Ecological Management & Restoration, including the development of this year’s EMR ‘virtual issue’ and judging the recent search for Australasia’s ‘Top 25 Ecological Restoration projects.


Summary  This brief review of the science and practice of ecological restoration and rehabilitation in Australia shows that, from small isolated efforts in the first half of the 20th century, substantial numbers of programmes are steadily emerging from natural area, agricultural landscape, mining and aquatic management sectors. With support from numerous research programmes in the last two decades, restoration and rehabilitation work is increasing in scale and ecological rigour; and researchers and practitioners are increasingly engaging with the international restoration discourse. Future improvements in prioritization, goal-setting, monitoring, evaluation and communication are, however, still needed to improve Australia’s capacity to meet its increasingly serious environmental challenges and do its bit to reduce and halt global degradation.