Revegetation Site Assessment: What do you want to achieve?

This informative revegetation blog series walks you through each step of a revegetation project, from start to finish. In part 1, we uncover how to determine what you want to achieve through your revegetation project.

If you answered ‘yes’ to our introductory blog post a couple of weeks ago, this blog series is for you. You’re keen to plant more trees, and you may even be eager to get out there and start planting right away. We celebrate your enthusiasm! However, there’s the important groundwork that needs to be completed before you can begin. As Julie Andrews wisely sang, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start”.

What is revegetation?

Simply put, revegetation introduces desirable plant species and manages pest flora and fauna to ensure these plants’ successful survival and growth. However, a revegetation project may have many additional purposes, including:

  • Increasing the biodiversity of the existing vegetation
  • Protecting rare or endangered species
  • Creating ‘corridors’ linking existing areas of vegetation
  • Buffering existing waterways or wetlands
  • Increase existing patches of vegetation
    Replacing or improving ‘lost’ vegetation associations
  • Reducing erosion risk
  • Controlling salinity
  • and more…

Revegetation might not even involve physically planting already germinated trees. It may be best to establish plants using direct seeding, or perhaps you have a site where natural regeneration will be the cheapest and most practical way of revegetating. Direct seeding is the practice of introducing seeds directly into the soil, either via machine or by hand, and regeneration is the germination of self-sown seedlings from nearby existing vegetation.

Photo courtesy: Bio-R

Determining your revegetation goals

Each site will present a range of different soil types, browsing pressures, usage history and weed presence, and each of these factors will influence what process you will take to achieve your end goal. In summary, this all points to the first step, determining what you want to accomplish with your site.

Refill your coffee cup, go for a walk over the site you plan to revegetate and start thinking about what you want to achieve. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine your goals:

  1. What is the history of my site?
  2. Can I manage the existing vegetation to encourage natural regeneration?
  3. If there is existing vegetation, what might be limiting the regeneration or spread of these areas at present?
  4. Are there any rare or endangered species that are worth protecting?
  5. Are there areas of vegetation close to me that I can visit to see what works in my area?
  6. Is my site very degraded that I will need to introduce new plants as seedlings or direct seeding?
  7. What is the scale of my project? Can I tackle it all at once, or should I stage the revegetation?
  8. What is my budget? A more extensive project will incur higher costs. It’s far better to start with a small, manageable area and do it well, rather than taking on a large, unmanageable area and doing it poorly.
  9. Is there anyone near me who might be interested in doing similar work to link our projects together?

Once you have created a picture of what the site characteristics are and what you are dealing with, you are in a better position to set some goals around what you want to achieve. And don’t despair if it feels like it’s all a bit too much and you need some help. Many environmental Landcare groups would be happy to give you some direction and support!

The link below will help you find a Landcare group near you.

Find a Landcare group

Next steps

In our next blog installment, we’ll look at building on existing foundations, with a focus on natural regeneration.

If you have any questions relating to the site assessment of your revegetation project, feel free to reach out to our team. Please email us: