Engineering restoration for the future

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19 Citations (Scopus)


We posit that a better meshing of traditional engineering disciplines and ecological restoration science is central to achieving environmental repair at the scale and pace required to combat globally ever-growing, human caused, land degradation and biodiversity loss. Ecological restoration is an increasingly vibrant endeavour supported by diverse fields of research. But there is a rapidly emerging role for traditional engineering disciplines to design and deploy solutions to the challenges regularly encountered in returning biodiverse plant communities across degraded landscapes of varying characteristics. In order for large-scale restoration to be feasible, increased efficiencies throughout all stages of the restoration process are required. We argue for increased investment into the development of engineered tools and techniques guided by ecology, able to enhance our ability to cheaply, quickly, and effectively restore ecosystems. By conceptualising the overlap between ecosystem service value, traditional economic outcomes and successional land use we seek to explore how investment in new restoration technologies can lead to a net benefit for society and businesses alike. Using terrestrial mining as an example, we highlight engineering issues faced in large-scale restoration and outline how these may be overcome to maximise both economic and ecological outcomes with a particular focus on restorative earthworks and technologies for the direct return of plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106103
JournalEcological Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


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