New research by Tourism and Environment alumna, Katrina Krievins (’12), was published last month in Ecological Restoration. Read more below.
Ecological restoration is a means of addressing the ongoing and pervasive degradation of ecological systems. Although the aim of ecological restoration is ecosystem recovery, efforts based on an oversimplified understanding of how complex adaptive systems behave often fail to produce intended outcomes. We explore how advancements made in understanding properties of complex adaptive systems, specifically social-ecological systems, may be incorporated into ecological restoration. We present a conceptual framework informed by tracing the evolution of perspectives in ecological restoration and synthesizing developments in social-ecological resilience. We then employ the framework in the context of freshwater systems to assess Trout Unlimited Canada’s stream rehabilitation training program and evaluate associated restoration initiatives in terms of social-ecological resilience. Findings from this case study indicate that the approach to restoration taught in the training program, along with the initiatives informed by the program, reflect principles for building resilience and were found to be positive. These findings provide encouraging evidence in support of a new approach to restoration informed by social-ecological resilience and initial confirmation of the usefulness of the framework. Valuable insights on the extent to which social-ecological resilience is currently reflected in restoration practices more broadly will come from future research exploring the application of the conceptual framework in a variety of restoration contexts and at a larger scale.
Krievins, K., Plummer, R., and Baird, J. (2018). Building resilience in ecological restoration processes: A social-ecological perspective. Ecological Restoration, 36(3): 195-207. DOI: 10.3368/er.36.3.195