In essence, to rehabilitate is to restore the pre-existing environment. This book is a guide to why environmental rehabilitation is necessary, the standard to which it should be done, and how to do it.
Using the South African Constitution as the ultimate frame of reference, the guide explains, for any given case, derivation of a rehabilitation objective, its boundary conditions, the interventions to be applied, and simple powerful metrics that can be used to measure achievement.
The key elements of much rehabilitation – landscaping, runoff control and revegetation – are explained in terms of what the finished rehabilitation product should look like and how to get there. The approach to rehabilitation taken in this book, and the rehabilitation standards and methods explained, are not based on cost-benefit analysis and other financial trading off tools. These tools rely on discounting and pricing of non-market goods, all of which are infinitely debatable. Rather, this book rests on experiential learning as to what is sustainable. Sustainability, while a clichéd word, is here given operational definition.
Though this book focuses on rehabilitation in the humid and semi-arid regions of South Africa, the principles it uses are applicable across environmental management making it an invaluable handbook for business and political leaders, government officials, project managers, rehabilitation practitioners, farmers and civic institutions.
With a Foreword by Morné du Plessis, CEO of WWF South Africa.
What others say
“The Environmental Rehabilitation Guide for South Africa, written by Dr Mentis, is a very useful reference for practitioners and environmental regulators in the construction, infrastructure, project, agriculture, and mining fields as a guide to best practice in environmental rehabilitation, to help restore the environment after high-impact activities. Much of the guidance goes beyond mere legal compliance and offers solutions as to what rehabilitation should achieve, and how to achieve it. This is a must-have reference book for any regulator or practitioner involved in rehabilitation activities in South Africa.”
Valli Moosa, former Minister of Environmental Affairs
“Tried and tested to achieve 100% environmental rehabilitation sign-off across a diverse 550 km pipeline construction servitude, the tools and techniques presented in this book, accompanied by practical yet precise guidelines, help to set and achieve measurable environmental rehabilitation objectives, at various scales. This book is a must-have for all consultants, contractors and students alike wanting to move beyond the ‘one size fits all’ approach that is so frequently used in environmental rehabilitation, and present clients with workable specifications to reduce environmental risk and get the job done, on time and within budget.”
Ian Ansell, former Transnet environmental lead
“This book is everything that practitioners such as farmers and those assisting land reform projects have wanted while deliberating how to attend to the severe degradation that our farms and natural resources are suffering. In the past we have had to rely on ‘foreign’ publications which do not always have practical relevance in South Africa. We also know that no two rehabilitation projects are the same so a simple recipe doesn’t always work, but we also know that a sound scientific basis must inform our decisions. This long-awaited book by Mike Mentis will assist us in the critical tasks of saving our natural environment for our children.”
Roland Henderson, farmer and land reform practitioner
“This new book by Mike Mentis is a most timely addition to the relatively sparse literature that is available on ways to achieve effective rehabilitation of land that has been disturbed by construction activities of various kinds. Too often in the past we have seen large areas of allegedly ‘rehabilitated’ land that have lost their original land capability and cannot now be successfully returned to effective and productive use. I am sure that this book will provide planners, project managers, rehabilitation practitioners, government authorities and academics with a clear overview on how to design rehabilitation and ensure that outcomes are sustainable.”
Peter J. Ashton PhD, water quality and water resources specialist