Environment Institute
Restoring degraded lands

After extensive analysis of degraded lands around the earth, Adelaide University researchers are on the path to restore vast ecosystems.

Governments and NGOs are currently committing to the restoration of degraded ecosystems on scales that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago. However, even with broad policy support and the substantial funding, questions remain about whether the methods used to undertake these pledges are dynamic enough or have sufficient oversight to achieve their ambitious targets.

Adelaide Researchers have provided strategies to improve practices by systematically embedding experiments within restoration projects. They propose building networks of such sites and projects to assist in brokering the knowledge that will be gained from these experiments and call on industry stakeholders to develop acceptable industry standards for embedding experiments into restoration programs.

Six key knowledge gaps have been identified to currently hinder restoration success on a larger scale, which include:

Defining desirable restoration outcomes

Integrating communities into restoration

Providing finance for and support of restoration actions 

Implementing sustainable and progressive management of plant genetic resources 

Adopting emerging technologies 

Improving restoration policies and governance structures 

Networking restoration experiments, as opposed to simply embedding trials for project specific interventions, would be an optimal outcome for restoration.
Researchers propose to use the lessons from allied disciplines to generate and network embedded experiments globally. To unify a networked approach to research infrastructure they call on the restoration community to develop acceptable industry standards of experimental design.

The cost of setting up embedded experiments and networking support in restoration does not have to be prohibitively expensive. With the example of NutNet – a network set up to investigate nutrient cycling on a global scale – as a good example of a cooperative research network.

It has been identified that embedding experiments in restoration projects can bridge the key knowledge gaps of scaling up restoration. Using empirical evidence from these experiments to iteratively improve subsequent projects and creating networks to broker the knowledge more widely would therefore help tackle the unprecedented scale of restoration predicted in the 21st century.

Get involved!

  1. Link to community projects
  2. Have us design your plantings
  3. Do science with us

Original article by Nick Gellie, Martin Breed and Andrew Lowe at Lowe Lab adapted for the Environment Institute Blog.

UofA, CAS, World Agroforestry Centre, Frontier in Ecology and the Environment.

Paper: Nicholas JC Gellie, Martin F Breed, Peter E Mortimer, Rhett D Harrison, Jianchu Xu, and Andrew J Lowe (2018).
Networked and embedded scientific experiments will improve restoration outcomes, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fee.1810

Join the conversation on Twitter: @ProfALowe and @_MBreed    #restoredegradia

For further information please contact Andrew Lowe: andrew.lowe@adelaide.edu.au

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The Transitions Film Festival is a visionary film festival dedicated to showcasing the big ideas, trailblazing heroes and game-changing innovations that are leading the way to a better world. The EVOLUTION OF ORGANIC will screen at Mercury Cinema on Thursday 24th May at 7:00 p.m. Trailer here. Evolution of Organic brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those […]

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C4 Plants and Vegetation

University of Adelaide researchers have uncovered the history of when and why the native vegetation that today dominates much of Australia first expanded across the continent. The new understanding will help researchers better predict the likely impact of climate change and rising CO2 levels on these critically important plants. Called ‘C4 plants’ after their alternative […]

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Baby fish will find it harder to reach secure shelters in future acidified oceans – putting fish populations at risk, new research from the University of Adelaide has concluded. Published today in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, the researchers described how barramundi larvae in high CO2 conditions, predicted for the turn of the century, turn […]

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Dr Nina Welti from CSIRO will be giving a Sprigg Geobiology Series seminar on “Ecological connectivity of the River Murray: How are riverine trophic pathways influenced by river management?” Where: , Mawson Lecture Theatre, Mawson Building, University of Adelaide. When: Friday 20th April, 3-4 pm Dr Welti is investigating what the influence of raising infrastructure assets on […]

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Dr Vicki Thomson‘s latest paper in Biology Letters has been featured in the Advertiser, Indaily, ABC News and Phys.org  and Science Newsline Biology The paper also featured Dr Kieran Mitchell, Associate Professor Jeremy Austin and Prof Alan Cooper was released yesterday with an accompanying media release. Read her full article in the Advertiser below:  

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The following piece has been reposted from Dr Vicki Thompson’s blog VickiThomson.com     “Have you ever wondered how animals evolve when they are on a permanent diet? Over long time frames? Well, looking at what happens on islands is a perfect way to find this out. In our recent study (‘Genetic diversity and drivers of […]

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Emus that lived isolated on Australia’s offshore islands until the 19th century, including Kangaroo Island, King Island and Tasmania, were smaller versions of their larger mainland relatives – and their overall body size correlated to the size of the islands they inhabited. Published today in the journal Biology Letters, this was the surprise finding of […]

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The Naracoorte Herald covered a new laser scanner nicknamed “Godzilla” being used at the Naracoorte caves. The scanner is able to date sand grains contained within cave sediment. The scanner picks up low level radiation accumulation in the grains accumulated from the surrounding environment which is contained until exposed to light. This means the scanner […]

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Jenna Crowe-Riddell is a finalist for the University of Adelaide STEM Award, in the Channel 9 Young Achievers Award. These awards highlight and award young people for significant contributions in their categories. There is a people’s choice component of these awards: so please vote for her through this Facebook poll  https://www.facebook.com/SAYoungAchiever/app/126231547426086/?app_data=%7B%7D Jenna is currently completing […]

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