Europe and Central Asia
28 Nov 2014

Eco-restore blog: the new place to read and exchange about ecological restoration

Wood Warbler by David Dillon
By Communications

Despite the work of conservation organisations new pieces of nature get destroyed every day and their value for wildlife is lost. The loss of biodiversity continues at a pace outstripping our efforts. To reverse this baneful trend we no longer can rely on nature protection alone. It is obvious that we need to restore sites and habitats where nature can come back and take over again. A new blog was recently launched to promote ecological restoration among conservation professionals and enthusiasts and to invite them to share knowledge and experience.

Traditionally, nature conservation was about protecting well-preserved natural landscapes and ensuring the conservation of species and habitats, and this is still very relevant. However, over the last decade recognition grew that this approach would not be sufficient to reverse and mitigate the biodiversity crisis. Furthermore things will get worse, as climate change will continue to devastate sites and ecosystems, while further space will be lost to industry and infrastructures’ growing appetite for new land.

Restoring lands after industrial development or agriculture is not new. In most countries legislation requires from economic operators to clean up and reclaim the land they had damaged. Unfortunately far too often these measures are unsuccessful, too costly or just not useful for biodiversity.  On the contrary, ecological restoration is the practice of bringing damaged lands back to nature and biodiversity by reinstating the reign of natural processes and succession, which is often more successful and cost-effective. This is why the conservation community is increasingly interested in ecological restoration.  In some natural habitats the damage is of such significance and importance, that the site would be unable to recover without assistance. By restoring these ecosystems and habitats, we give these sites a second chance and accelerate the development of their fauna and flora. Restoration activities can provide many benefits with their cost-effective and lasting solutions, ensuring positive environmental and social outcomes.

BirdLife Partners throughout the world are getting involved in ecological restoration projects, at specific sites or at larger scales, such as the grasslands of South America or the rainforests of Indonesia. In the last three years BirdLife Europe and HeidelbergCement have initiated many small-scale projects on the company’s quarries with particular focus on selected species and habitats. Quarries, aggregate pits and mining sites in Europe are excellent home for such projects as many rare and threatened species find there refuge because quarries “remind” them of their lost natural habitats such as natural riverbanks and grasslands.

The mission of the recently launched Eco-restore blog is to promote win-win and partnership approaches to nature conservation and economic development. The ecological restoration community now has a dedicated web-space to share their knowledge, experience and concerns and debate on the topic with like-minded colleagues. Some of the recent published articles include: 

- How do we measure biodiversity restoration?
- Turning silt lagoons into useful habitats for migrating waders
- Can we bring Red-backed Shrikes to breed in restored quarries?

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For further information, please contact, BirdLife-HeidelbergCement Partnership Coordinator and author of the blog.

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.