Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FIA Project 6065002 and 6067002

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Effectiveness evaluation guidelines for ecosystem restoration: final report

Author(s): Machmer, Marlene M.; Steeger, Christoph
Imprint: Nelson, B.C. : Pandion Ecological Research Ltd., 2002
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Effectiveness monitoring
Series: Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration Program Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program


This document provides a conceptual framework and guidelines for effectiveness monitoring (EM) of restoration projects funded under Forest Renewal British Columbia’s Terrestrial Ecosystem Restoration Program (TERP). It reviews the rationale for conducting effectiveness evaluations and describes the sequence of steps involved in designing, implementing and summarizing the results of EM. Effectiveness monitoring addresses the question of how successful a project ultimately is at restoring the ecosystem or component parts. It involves assessing restoration progress in relation to initial objectives, and refining treatment prescriptions, where required, to increase their effectiveness. EM is a critical component of an adaptive management approach to ecosystem restoration. Fundamental questions addressed by EM include the following: 1. Is the restoration work achieving the desired objectives for the targeted ecosystem and/or its component parts? 2. Can restoration methods and techniques be improved to optimize recovery of the ecosystem and/or its component parts? 3. What modifications are possible to improve the cost-effectiveness of the work?
The appropriate level of EM will depend on the nature of the restoration project. Routine evaluation involves rapid data collection at low cost, using mainly qualitative methods to compare one or a few response variables before and after treatment. It is appropriate for restoration projects with straightforward objectives and established methods applied to a small or homogeneous area over a limited time period. Intensive evaluation requires more in-depth quantitative monitoring over a longer time frame at a higher cost. The latter would only be conducted for selected projects (or at a subset of sites that are part of a large project or program) where a quantitative assessment of restoration success is critical in order to obtain feedback for future restoration efforts. This might be the case where (i) a restoration treatment is applied over large areas with potentially far-reaching management implications; (ii) restoration involves using new, innovative or poorly documented techniques; or (iii) several activities, steps or treatments are involved and a quantitative measure of comparative or interactive effects is desired. Effectiveness evaluations should be designed and initiated prior to the commencement of any restoration work, in order to ensure valid pre- and post-treatment comparisons. Designing and implementing an effectiveness evaluation for a particular project involves the following steps: determine EM objectives; select an appropriate monitoring design and level of evaluation; identify project constraints (e.g., budgetary, logistic, personnel); refine EM objectives, identify key response variables to monitor; design monitoring protocols; implement EM; implement restoration prescription(s); analyze, summarize and interpret monitoring data; and report and communicate findings. Each of these steps is discussed with reference to specific examples of terrestrial ecosystem restoration.

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Updated July 25, 2006 

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