The Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) is a U.S.-based conservation organization, founded in 1988. The Society for Ecological Restoration’s 10th World Conference on Ecological Restoration (SER10) was held on September 26-30, 2023, in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. SER10 focused on the connection between culture and nature, the role of restoration in strengthening and rebuilding this connection, and will enhance the value of traditional and local ecological knowledge and practices. After a three-day agenda with lively exchanges on different topics, now it has come to a successful conclusion.
Zhang Jiayu, Chairman of the Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors of NOAH Holdings and Vice Chairman of the Alxa SEE Southwest Project Center, said that it is timely and significant for China to lead the national strategy of sustainable development such as dual-carbon and biodiversity in the face of the laws of the economic development cycle and the general environment of economic transformation. She also believed that China can take advantage of the successful cases of international economic development, and pay attention to carbon reduction and ecological restoration in the process of China’s high-quality economic development.
After years of hard work by countries, international organizations, and related regulatory special attention and promotion, the problem of climate change exists. The implementation of the relevant repair has achieved clear, concrete cases presented, naturally, so that the participants have great confidence in the cause of heated exchanges.
In the discussion of ecological restoration as a business case, it has been obvious that many business organizations around the globe have transformed from thinking of Nice to have or Must to avoid to implementing it from a long-term strategic point of view and forming one of the core business operations.
MARS Corporation, an international diversified business group with operations in agriculture, land use, food retailing, and raw materials, chose to protect marine coral reefs as a biodiversity initiative. “More Coral Today, More Fish Tomorrow.” This choice has enabled Ms. Zhang Jiayu, Director of NOAH Holdings to take conservation actions that not only drive preferences, good branding, and more business growth across the platform’s value chain but also support fish ecosystems and business interests.
The case of forest restoration in Colombia demonstrates the importance of having sound assessment indicators in ecological restoration planning, which should not be underestimated. In the initial phase of the project, a certain number of trees were planted as the assessment indicator, but after a few years of practice, it was found that it had led to a negative impact on biodiversity. Therefore, the evaluation index was changed to the overall area of land for ecological restoration to promote biodiversity conservation more reasonably.
It is also worthwhile to refer to cases in which ecological restoration and biodiversity have been emphasized in energy construction and the use of new energy sources. For example, Landsvirkjun, an Icelandic power generation company, has brought land degradation, soil erosion, and changes in the water table due to the use of different local energy sources. Now the company has successfully restored 600 acres of land and has received high recognition from the local people through scientific data management and monitoring, and publicizing all progress on the corporate website.
The use of solar energy equipment in some areas of Australia triggered a controversy in which residents resisted the use of solar energy equipment near their homes. However, after Ecovoltics’ professional enterprise’s advancement, communication with the community, and the combination of ecosystem design and effective planning, the project has won the recognition of the community and further support for national policy. The ecosystem design and effective planning include shortening the distance between solar panels, planning how to lay solar panels, planting local grasses in the spacing, and even combining with agriculture to form park landscapes, etc.
Just last week, it was announced that the Norwegian Svea project, a successful ecological restoration program, has reclaimed the greenery of the area through a three-stage planning and implementation of the nearly 100-year-old mine in 2017, and will enter the next stage of ecological restoration actions on a larger scale.
This time, entrepreneurs from China participated in the meeting, such as Zhang Jiayu, Director of NOAH Holdings, and Gu Yingyun, Department Manager of Eco-Data Department of Beijing Jinglang Ecological Science and Technology Co. Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, all chose their areas of concern to study among the hundreds of cases, and organized discussions after this conference.
After studying the cases, the key elements of success were summarized as follows:
(1) Believe in and respect science. Although the international community and enterprises still question the negative impacts of climate change on the earth’s ecosystem and human life, the importance of ecological restoration has been proved through more than 20 years of scientific evidence and practical cases.
(2) Respect and utilize local communities and local traditional knowledge. Modern science can certainly provide basic solutions, but local traditional knowledge often provides creative ideas to solve special problems.
(3) Emphasize communication with policies, and local communities and links with various stakeholders in program implementation. The importance of communication and combining resources in ecological restoration is mentioned in almost every international case.
(4) Adopt a scientific standardized framework for disciplined and continuous planning, implementation, and evaluation.
(5) Emphasize data collection, preservation, and analysis, and maintain resilience.
At the closing ceremony of the conference on September 30th, the Darwin Declaration was signed. The organizer advocated that international organizations and groups continue to work together to restore the Earth’s homeland in the face of the challenges of climate change, and announced that the 11th Global Ecological Restoration Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. in 2025.
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