This paper was presented during the ILASA conference that took place at the CSIR on 29 and 30 September 2016.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A RESTORATION RATING SYSTEM FOR THE CONSISTENT EVALUATION OF RESTORATION PROJECTS
Johan Wentzel PhD. Wildflower Wholesale Nursery (Pty) Ltd.
Ivan van der Walt. Diverse Ecological Solutions (Pty) Ltd.
In many developments, it is claimed that a landscaped site has been restored to a natural state or that only indigenous plants have been used during implementation. There is always tacitly implied that some kind of ecosystem was created. However, there is no industry standard against which it can be assessed.
A rating system for use in landscape restoration projects is therefore proposed based on vegetation composition and structure. The evaluation system will also include process as one of the parameters to assess. To determine composition, it is proposed that the Vegetation Units described by Mucina and Rutherford is used (Mucina and Rutherford, 2006). Structure could ultimately be linked to ecology and that finally, the rating system be process driven and based on the principles followed in the classification of water resources as described in the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998).
Such a rating system could provide a benchmark against which landscape restoration can be measured but will also provide a framework for the design of rehabilitation projects. The intention is that the landscape restoration system develops into an industry standard for all developments where it is applicable. For instance, this rating system can be implemented by developers, landscape architects as well as local authorities or any site where landscape restoration is required.
Keywords: Restoration, vegetation unit, bioregion, restoration rating system, structure, composition, process, classification.