Ecosystem restoration is the “process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed” (SER Primer 2004). Which combination of ecosystem restoration interventions is most effective in a certain area depends on the landscape’s characteristics.
This manual aims to support capacity building and advocacy activities focusing on ecosystems restoration in the Upper Fafan Catchment. It describes where and when to implement protection and management, soil and water conservation, off-stream water storage and in-stream water storage interventions.
Implementation guidelines are provided along eight cases, with specific references to locations in the Upper Fafan Catchment:
- Case 1: Conservation practices on weak soils
- Case 2: Restoring severely eroded lands
- Case 3: Good agricultural practices on slopes
- Case 4: Sustainable rangeland and forest management
- Case 5: Recovering wetlands’ ecosystem services
- Case 6: Surface water reservoirs for integrated development
- Case 7: Control and management of invasive species
- Case 8: Nature conservation
For each of the cases the location and problem description, recommended interventions, expected results and beneficiaries, activities towards implementation and upscaling potential are specified. In general, the following aspects are key to successful implementation of ecosystem restoration measures:
- Interventions should provide direct and immediate benefits to individuals, households and communities to motivate implementation without (or with minimal) external support
- Interventions should support the recovery of ecosystem services toward re-establishing landscape functionality, by limiting soil erosion, nutrient depletion and loss of biodiversity
- Interventions should help local users to make most out of the ecosystems goods and services in a sustainable manner
- Protection and management interventions should be prioritized to the detriment of hard infrastructure, this particularly important on communal lands
- When moving towards implementation, expert advice and supervision should always be hired to select, site, design, develop and/or construct interventions (be it infrastructure, policies or any other).