Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Environmental restoration projects face many challenges. Public awareness, funding constraints, unpredictable weather, unknown biological/chemical factors and the uncertainty about how the targeted ecosystem will develop work against the planned and ideal restoration.
One way the projects’ efficiency can be improved is by using software tools for data and quality management systems, in order to share information, make field practice follow rules, keep track of maintenance tasks, measure results and, therefore, increase the rate of success by the amount of resources invested.
Since the conception of every project, all resources involved need to be focused and coherent to the final restoration goals. Rework and mistakes are highly undesirable and should be avoided.
Restoration works all over the world face these challenges. Add on top of that the usual difficulty on resource allocation, labor issues and insufficient knowledge of restoration professionals about good management practices, restoration works can turn into a quagmire of wrong decisions, poor management and waste of money. The sponsors won’t be happy with losses. Restoration is a big business today, and whoever works in this area needs to be cost efficient to win bids and be competitive. So, this is the main reason a management system is necessary to implement good administrative practices on restoration. Besides business management is not a skill frequently required for environmental professionals, when it comes for a real life projects those skills are essential. Like it or not, everything needs numbers, a figure, which represents how much resources (i.e. money) will be taken from some organization to be used on a restoration project. So, a management tool and set of procedures/good practices established on a computer database will definitely make restoration more productive.
Money and environment frequently are considered to be opposite to each other. The fact is that without wise money usage the environment can’t be restored or preserved. Sponsors are willing to pay for restoration costs, provided they are necessary and justified. If they make profits or reduce losses, it’s even better.
Good and correct information are crucial for a good job. A database can make it available for restoration workers when needed, and it’s very true when many projects and sites have to be managed simultaneously. One of the core objectives of this project is to make restoration tasks easy to follow every participant in the project. Online field access will bring information on what to do on each site, preventing many errors during maintenance or monitoring. Furthermore, tasks will be updated by the field teams, reducing paperwork and filling-out errors, while making possible a fast feedback of field work.
This is the reason why some guidelines and routines should be established, with help of software tools, to make restoration more efficient with less resources. This means also more successful restoration with the same resources. It restoration works are efficient and successful, stakeholders will be more likely to support their costs, either direct or indirect ones. A good record keeping and monitoring routine can provide statistics and data to demonstrate the good results, or early detect the fails. Good data and metrics help the continuity of restoration projects and make statistical research much easier. This data can be used later for research, saving a lot of time on data tabulation.
Therefore, some duties could be safely delegated to people under training or without advanced specialization and experience.
Nascimento, Joao, "Environmental Restoration Database" (2018). Graduate Theses & Non-Theses. 153.