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Step 3: Review needs and objectives

The original intent of a rehabilitation plan may change over time, especially after undertaking Step 2. Step 3 in the Rehabilitation Process applies the information that has been gathered about the system and the site, and reviews the need for rehabilitation, and/or the appropriateness of the original objectives.

Rehabilitation process diagram locator

Why are needs and objectives reviewed?

Rehabilitation near Karawatha Forest Photo by Andrew Meiklejohn

There are several reasons why objectives and management interventions may be reconsidered including:

  • where the ecosystem services, condition or value outcomes are unachievable with current constraints (i.e. financial, resources, existing land use, future climate change)
  • where the anticipated cause of the degradation is different than originally thought
  • where stakeholder consultation reveals other ecosystem services, processes or components that were valued or needed and were not initially considered
  • where the site cannot support the services and values sought
  • where there have been changes in drivers or priorities since the project started (e.g., by a natural event or change in policy)
  • where the process or research of pressures revealed competing land uses or activities
  • incompatible permit requirements or other legislative requirements
  • where the risk of failure of the rehabilitation is unacceptable due to inadequate research or understanding of the system
  • lack of support from land holders and other stakeholders
  • ongoing maintenance is not feasible.

Use the 'things to think about' list below to establish the feasability of the proposed rehabilitation work and modify objectives and outcomes according to the following scenarios:

  1. The objectives are correct, and the project can continue to Step 4.
  2. The project is unlikely to succeed in its current form but there is sufficient information to revise the needs and objectives.  
  3. There is not enough information to make a clear decision, and more information needs to be collected. 
  4. The project is unlikely to succeed and should not go ahead.

What to do if objectives or needs have changed

Reassessment of the rehabilitation project needs and objectives will ensure the rehabilitation activities taking place are appropriate for the system, and accepted by stakeholders.

Reassessment of the objectives does not prevent rehabilitation activities taking place. The objectives could be modified slightly to align with the values and beneficiaries identified, or the site opportunities or constraints. Referring back to Step 2 will help to achieve sufficient understanding to find objectives that are viable.

Things to think about:

  • Are the objectives still the same as in the original proposal?
  • Are the ecosystems services or value outcomes achievable?
  • Can the legal obligations be met?
  • Are the underlying or future pressures too hard to manage?
  • Have an appropriate number of beneficiaries and stakeholders been consulted?
  • Are the risks of rehabilitation too great or unknown?
  • Is there adequate research and understanding of the system to proceed?
  • Are the time frames and resources available and realistic?

More information

Whole-of-System, Values-Based Framework

See a table listing Information sources for aquatic ecosystem rehabilitation planning

See the next step, Step 4: Identify a mix of management interventions

Last updated: 13 June 2022

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2022) Step 3: Review needs and objectives, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation