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Forests 2015, 6(11), 4328-4348; doi:10.3390/f6114328

Prescribing Innovation within a Large-Scale Restoration Programme in Degraded Subtropical Thicket in South Africa

1
Department of Soil Science, Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa
2
Department of Botany, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, P.O. Box 77000, Port Elizabeth 6031 and Sigwela and Associates Environmental Consulting, P.O. Box 13099, East London 5247, South Africa
3
James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee, DD2 5DA, UK and James Cook University, Townsville 4811, Australia
4
School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
5
Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, 400076, India
6
Department of Environmental Affairs, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
7
Department of Economics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0002 and SAEON, The Woods, 41 De Havilland Crescent, Persequor Technopark, Pretoria 0020, South Africa
8
Sigwela and Associates Environmental Consulting, P.O. Box 13099, East London 5247, South Africa
9
Department of Environmental Affairs, Environment House, Pretoria 0002, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mark S. Ashton and Eric J. Jokela
Received: 22 September 2015 / Revised: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 13 November 2015 / Published: 24 November 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1923 KB, uploaded 24 November 2015]   |  

Abstract

Commonly cited requirements for bridging the “science‑practice divide” between practitioners and scientists include: political support, communication and experimentation. The Subtropical Thicket Restoration Programme was established in 2004 to catalyse investment in large-scale restoration of degraded subtropical thicket in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Political support has been strong, with the South African government investing more than US$8 million into the programme. Communication occurred regularly among a wide range of stakeholders, and a restoration experiment—comprising 12 treatments and ~300 plots—was established over an area of ~75,000 km2. Despite this support, communication and experimentation, many pitfalls were encountered. For example, one restoration protocol became entrenched in the programme’s public as well as private sector operations without continual scrutiny of its efficacy. This was largely because results from the large-scale restoration experiment only emerged a decade after its conceptualization. As the programme enters its second decade there is recognition that a full range of “intelligent tinkering”—from small, rapid experiments to large, long-term experiments—needs to be planned and prescribed. The new working hypothesis is that prescribed innovation will reduce costs of restoration, increase survivorship of plants, increase income streams from restored landscapes, and promote new financing mechanisms for restoration. View Full-Text
Keywords: innovation; intelligent tinkering; large-scale restoration; Portulacaria afra; private sector; public-private partnerships innovation; intelligent tinkering; large-scale restoration; Portulacaria afra; private sector; public-private partnerships
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mills, A.J.; Vyver, M.; Gordon, I.J.; Patwardhan, A.; Marais, C.; Blignaut, J.; Sigwela, A.; Kgope, B. Prescribing Innovation within a Large-Scale Restoration Programme in Degraded Subtropical Thicket in South Africa. Forests 2015, 6, 4328-4348.

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