Different restoration strategies and studies throughout the world have led to detailed, yet often confusing, terminology around restoration, with inconsistent, conflicting and often overlapping application and interpretation of terms. An understanding of the multiple terms, approaches and their application is important in order to identify site-specific restoration measures. The following key terms will be used in this section:
Restoration: The process of re-establishing, following degradation by human activities, a sustainable habitat or ecosystem with natural structure and functioning .1,2 Restoration can accelerate recovery although this could lead to an alternative state.
Rehabilitation: The act of partially or fully replacing structural or functional characteristics of an ecosystem that have been diminished or lost, or the substitution of alternative qualities or characteristics than those originally present, with the provision that they have more social, economic or ecological value than existed in the disturbed or degraded state.
Remediation: The act or process of remedying or repairing damage to an ecosystem.
Recovery: The term recovery implies that a system will return to a previous condition after being in a degraded or disrupted condition, one which is often interpreted as being in poor ecological health. Recovery may occur naturally but can be accelerated by human intervention, implying that recovery will occur in the system once the stressor is removed; it can be encouraged by or is the response to management actions. If recovery is truly successful, then the community established will be similar in species composition, population density and size and biomass structure to that previously present or present at a comparable site.
Recoverability: The ability of a habitat or community to remedy damage sustained as a result of an external factor.3 Recoverability depends on the stressor, the impacted species/community and the temporal and spatial intensities of the stressor.
Mitigation: The reduction or control of adverse environmental effects of a project, including restitution for any damage to the environment through replacement, restoration, or creation of habitat in one area to compensate for loss in another.
1 Bradshaw, A.D. 2002
2 Livingston, R.J. 2006