Revegetation refers to the process of replanting and rebuilding a damaged land’s soil, for restoring its former ecosystem. According to the Native Plant Centre in New Zealand, a company specializing in growing New Zealand native plants, revegetation is “to recreate a natural bush environment, where no bush existed before.”
Landowners use revegetation projects for many reasons:
● Resource conservation - refers to the management of natural resources to provide maximum benefit while maintaining the capacity of one’s land for future use.
● Erosion and weed control - the practice of preventing water erosion in agriculture, coastal areas and riverbanks, and the control of weed proliferation within the developed wetlands.
● Preservation of bush remnants - refers to the ecological restoration of remnant vegetation areas with the intention of minimizing weeds and erosion concerns.
● Preventing fertilizer run offs - the process of eliminating fertilizer saturation for the preservation of water while increasing the land’s nutrients.
● Encouraging native birds to settle in the area – an indicator of increasing biodiversity, the birds also help in fertilization and pest control.
Not All Revegetation Projects Have the Same Results
While there are many benefits from this undertaking, not all revegetation projects can turn out as ideal, or at least, executed as planned. Other revegetation projects have not lived up to its intended purpose, and that is, the rehabilitation of one’s land through the planting of native plant species. This was seen in a study conducted by Abigail R. Forbes, and John L. Craig, “Assessing the role of revegetation in achieving restoration goals on Tiritiri Matangi Island” (see attached link).
The Tiritiri Matangi Island is a part of New Zealand’s extensive project of community-based restoration, focusing on habitat restoration, pest management and threatened species conservation as well as native revegetation. The study’s goal was to determine whether the project at Tiritiri met “the restoration goals by providing habitat for indigenous diversity, particularly birds.”
They argued that although revegetation projects have captured the interest of the international conservation movement, these “initiatives (revegetation) are often conducted in an ad-hoc manner, without clear objectives or monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the chosen approach.” That despite the efforts made, the project did not meet its desired goals due to lack of planning.
Revegetation Requires Planning and Follow-Through
To undertake a revegetation project without planning is unthinkable. Planting randomly and undermining the inherent structure of the land before a revegetation is not only unwise, it is also a waste of resources. Preserving the remaining native bushes can also be problematic without proper planning.
If you are going to start with your project, you need to consider a number of factors like the local climate, the soil conditions and altitude. In some cases, autumn is the best time for revegetation because it allows your plants to establish more roots; more roots provide a better chance of survival for the plants. In other areas with different environmental condition, different revegetation practices might be needed.
As in the case of spacing when it comes to planting, certain specifications should be followed to maximize the growth and potential of native plants. These specifications usually include:
● 1 metre for groundcovers
● 1-2 metres for small trees, ex. cabbage tree
● 3-10 metres for large trees, ex. pohutukawa
● 1 metre for shrubs, ex. manuka, flax
Another specification to consider is the use of native and eco-sourced plants. Using plants endemic to your property that have been sourced locally helps ensure survival of the plants and adds to the ecological distinctiveness of your property.
With the help of a revegetation expert, all these specifications are taken into consideration when planning. An expert also takes into consideration possible setbacks like extreme weather, lowering of landscape heterogeneity, loss of biodiversity, and human intervention to minimize their impact.
You can conduct your own revegetation at your own expense and at your own risk, but with a professional, you save time, money, resources, and you’re assured of a certain degree of success.
We at Rural Design have been doing revegetation services for so many years. We specialize in ecological restoration using eco-sourced plants, wetland and riprarian restoration. Our years of combined expertise, practical knowledge, and holistic approach to restoration has made us to go to firm by local government, farms, and major landowners for their restoration projects.
We don’t just implement restoration and revegetation, we plan, support and maintain. We take steps to ensure that the projects we undertake are successful to help landowners like you reap the benefits of your revegetation projects.