Rehabilitation index for evaluating restoration of terrestrial ecosystems using the reptile assemblage as the bio-indicator
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We developed an index to quantify rehabilitation success for terrestrial environments using data on reptile assemblages from five rehabilitated mine site waste dumps and adjacent undisturbed areas. It is based on the multi-metric principles of the index of biotic integrity (IBI). This rehabilitation and degradation index (RDI) is a quantitative measure of the extent to which the reptile assemblage in a rehabilitated site resembles that in an analogue site. It utilises a combination of diversity, assemblage composition and ecological parameters. Each of these parameters is further sub-divided and an overall weighted score out of 100 can be calculated for a disturbed area. This index can also be used to quantify the impact of grazing, feral predators or noise and dust on functional terrestrial ecosystems. Data from the Western Australian goldfields are used to explain the calculations necessary to achieve an RDI score.