Systems repair involves improving processes or components of an ecosystem to a desired state that will deliver agreed ecosystem services and values, primarily through natural means. As aquatic ecosystems have connections with processes in the surrounding environment (including on the land and underground), disturbance can be close to or far from the disturbance source. Any systems repair interventions need to consider these connections. Systems repair management interventions are relatively low risk compared to engineered solutions. They are appropriate in instances where the aquatic ecosystem may be able to repair itself or do so with minimal engineering. In many cases systems repair requires reinstating or improving vegetation cover, removing some of the pressures on the system or changing minor hydrological flows.
Systems repair is often used in partly modified aquatic ecosystems where a complete change in the ecosystem type has not occurred. However, it can also be used in heavily modified systems if the risk is low enough or be undertaken in combination with engineered solutions.
The length of time taken for vegetation establishment compared to the timeframe needed to achieve the objectives of the rehabilitation will often dictate the degree of intervention or assistance required. Examples of systems repair projects include active revegetation, barrier removal, and in-stream habitat works such as large wood placement.
Before considering whether a systems repair approach is suitable, it is important to have a good overall understanding of the landscape. Consider if a project will be successful if the pressures which has caused the problem remains. For example, revegetation projects can fail if there is no fencing to exclude grazing animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, pigs) or if the pre-disturbance vegetation is no longer suitable for the altered hydrological conditions at the site.
Some system repair intervention options can viewed through the Intervention options page using the filter.
Last updated: 30 June 2022
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2022) Systems repair, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2024. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/management/rehabilitation/rehab-process/step-4/systems-repair.html