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Sustainability 2015, 7(12), 15871-15881; doi:10.3390/su71215788

Identifying Challenges to Building an Evidence Base for Restoration Practice

1
Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, P.O. Box 320, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
2
Department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag x1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
3
Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag x1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 22 September 2015 / Revised: 18 November 2015 / Accepted: 19 November 2015 / Published: 30 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

Global acknowledgement of ecological restoration, as an important tool to complement conservation efforts, requires an effort to increase the effectiveness of restoration interventions. Evidence-based practice is purported to promote effectiveness. A central tenet of this approach is decision making that is based on evidence, not intuition. Evidence can be generated experimentally and in practice but needs to be linked to baseline information collection, clear goals and monitoring of impact. In this paper, we report on a survey conducted to assess practitioners’ perceptions of the evidence generated in restoration practice in South Africa, as well as challenges encountered in building this evidence base. Contrary to a recent assessment of this evidence base which found weaknesses, respondents viewed it as adequate and cited few obstacles to its development. Obstacles cited were mostly associated with planning and resource availability. We suggest that the disparity between practitioners’ perceptions and observed weaknesses in the evidence base could be a challenge in advancing evidence-based restoration. We explore opportunities to overcome this disparity as well as the obstacles listed by practitioners. These opportunities involve a shift from practitioners as users of scientific knowledge and evidence, to practitioners involved in the co-production of evidence needed to increase the effectiveness of restoration interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: baseline information; evidence-based practice; impact monitoring; practitioner perceptions; resource limitations baseline information; evidence-based practice; impact monitoring; practitioner perceptions; resource limitations
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

Ntshotsho, P.; Esler, K.J.; Reyers, B. Identifying Challenges to Building an Evidence Base for Restoration Practice. Sustainability 2015, 7, 15871-15881.

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