Ecological rehabilitation is no easy task. A strong, well thought-out action plan is the key to developing the land for long term recovery and restoration of bushland. By considering each step of the process and anticipating the challenges ahead of you, bush restoration becomes a more achievable task. The three R's of bushland restoration are a good starting point for understanding what intervention is needed: bush retention, bush regeneration, or bush revegetation. All three focus on restoring ecosystems to support bush growth, but they begin from three different points of decay.
Bush retention is the way forward if vegetation remains on the land in a degraded state. Retaining and supporting that vegetation is the focus of a retention exercise. Key components of the process include documenting the existing bush on the land and identifying what type it is. From there, the process of restoring the ecosystem to support the bush becomes a priority. This generally involves getting rid of weeds, which can impede growth, and reintroducing the native geophytes, mosses, and fungi which can support growth. The method of encouraging growth will vary depending on the type of bush, but weeding and re-weeding are always essential elements.
Bush regeneration is more difficult than retention, as the land itself has become unsuitable for bush due to erosion or issues with the soil. Rather than simply restoring the vegetation from a degraded state, the process involves regenerating the bush from patchy growth and restoring the land as well as the plants. The level of involvement required is higher and bush regeneration often requires expert help. In land which requiresbush regeneration, soil problems such as erosion are often prominent, so the process can be difficult without tools such as diggers, or professional teams.
Bush revegetation is a tricky process, as it involves replanting the bush from scratch. Of the three, it is often the least effective method of restoring bush. It requires the most involvement and the most expense, as there is nothing on the land to begin with and the process involves planting new bush. Rather than restoration of bushland, revegetation is more like replanting of bushland.
Choosing the retain, regenerate, or revegetate your bushland is just the first step in a process that will yield positive results for your bushland conservation efforts. Once you select and implement the most appropriate method for your bushland, the next steps in the process of ecological triage begin.