Ecological remediation: reclamation, rehabilitation and restoration

Ecological areas which have or would be impacted upon by developments or agricultural practices are often in need, or would be, of remediation. There are three major types of remediation: reclamation, rehabilitation and restoration.

Reclamation: First level – stabilization of a terrain (mined area), easthetic improvement and return of land to a useful purpose. The whole landscape will benefit.

Rehabilitation: Second level – the reparation of ecosystem processes, productivity and service and reintroduction of certain ecosystem functioning. Make landscape more “natural”, but increase in indigenous biodiversity limited.

Restoration: Third and most ambitious level – construction of prior ecosystem, i.e. former function, characteristic species and structure. Re-establishment of the pre-existing, historical biotic integrity in terms of species composition and assemblage structure. According to the Society for Ecological Restoration International ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed (SER International Primer on Ecological Restoration; www.ser.org).