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Measuring success - Principles and methods

How will you know if your revegetation project is a success? What and when will you measure?

To measure success, you need a clear idea of what 'success' looks like. Right at the beginning of your project, you need to decide on what you want your project to achieve. You may have very clear goals about increasing the numbers of particular wildlife species, or reducing salinity by a certain amount. These sort of goals (often called 'outcomes') are usually long term and may not be able to be measured for several decades. You also need to be able to set some short and medium term goals.

 

 

Using a height pole to monitor a revegetation site.

 

Short term goals might be to measure the success of getting your revegetation established. You could measure the percentage of plants surviving one year after planting, the growth rates of your plants, diversity and extent of weeds present or the number and diversity of plants germinating from direct seeding. Medium term measures of success might include area revegetated,  species diversity, amount of leaf litter present or usage of the site by wildlife for foraging and breeding.

 

In the longer term you could compare how similar your revegetated site is to existing stands of remnant vegetation (e.g. (Wilkins et al., 2003)), the presence or absence of particular species (e.g. Densmore and French, 2005), the increase in cross pollination of plants (e.g (Byrne et al., 2007)). These often require highly specialised skills and equipment to monitor. In this case it may be wise to form an association or partnership with a research organiation such as a University or State Government agency.

 

The publication participatory evaluation for landcare and catchment groups contains some good ideas for setting goals and measuring success.

 

Freudenberger, D. & Harvey, J. (2003) Assessing the benefits of vegetation enhancement for biodiversity: A draft framework Biodiversity Benefits Task Group and Department of Environment and Heritage, Canberra. This publication shows how to set out clear objectives that can be measured to indicate the success of a project.  

 

Specific information to help you monitor natural regeneration can be found here on the Greening Australia website.

 

Tracking your community revegetation project will also give you broad principles and methods for monitoring a revegetation project.

 

Next  Measuring success - what to monitor

 

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