An approach to defining and achieving restoration targets for a threatened plant community

C P Elliott, L E Commander, L Merino-Martín, P J Golos, J Stevens, B P Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Connecting scientific research and government policy is essential for sustaining biodiversity conservation and the economy. Our approach to connect theoretical ecology, applied ecology and policy was devised using principles of restoration ecology and the requisite methodology to restore biodiverse ecosystems. Using a Threatened Ecological Community with >120 plant species, we posit our approach as a guide for interpreting and achieving regulatory compliance (i.e. Government conditions) enacted to manage or offset environmental impacts of development. We inform the scientific approach necessary to delivering outcomes appropriate to policy intent, and biodiverse restoration through theoretical and applied research into the ecological restoration of the highly endemic flora of banded ironstone formations of the mid-west of Western Australia. The premise of our approach (1) defined scale-appropriate restoration targets that met regulatory compliance (e.g. Government of Western Australia Ministerial Conditions); (2) determined the optimal method to return individual plant species to the restoration landscape; (3) developed a conceptual model for our system, based on existing restoration frameworks, to optimise and facilitate the pathway to the restoration of a vegetation community (e.g. Threatened Ecological Community) using diverse research approaches; and (4) developed an assessment protocol to compare restoration achievements against the expected regulatory outcomes, using our experimental restoration trials as a test example. Our approach systematically addressed the complex challenges in setting and achieving restoration targets for an entire vegetation community, a first for a semi-arid environment. We interpret our approach as an industry application relevant to policy- or regulator-mediated mine restoration programs that seek to return biodiverse species assemblages at landscape scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2613
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number6
Early online date2 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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