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Adaptive Management of Urban Ecosystem Restoration: Learning From Restoration Managers in Rhode Island, USA
Hychka, K. AND C. Gottschalk Druschke. Adaptive Management of Urban Ecosystem Restoration: Learning From Restoration Managers in Rhode Island, USA. SOCIETY AND NATURAL RESOURCES. Taylor & Francis, Inc., Philadelphia, PA, 30(11):1358-1373, (2017).
Ecosystem restoration is increasingly lauded as an approach not only to improve ecological conditions, but also to provide a suite of co-benefits to human communities. Restoration in urban settings offers real opportunities to address environmental justice issues and deliver wide-reaching benefits to an increasingly urban populace. But urban restoration projects must navigate a wide suite of issues to succeed, including industrial pollutants, population density, infrastructure, and expense. And there is growing recognition that the success of urban aquatic restoration projects—even those focused primarily on ecological targets—depends on integrating ecological with social, behavioral, and economic factors. We present a compilation of the social, institutional, biophysical, and rhetorical barriers to and opportunities for restoration in urban settings from interviews with regional natural resource managers. We conclude with synthetic recommendations to managers, funders, and policy makers related to urban ecological restoration.
Urban aquatic restoration can be difficult to accomplish because of complications like industrial pollutants, population density, infrastructure, and expense; however, unique opportunities in urban settings, including the potential to provide benefits to many diverse people, can make urban restoration especially rewarding. The success of urban restoration projects—even those focused primarily on ecological targets—depends on community involvement and managers considering community needs. However, research on the social barriers to urban restoration and strategies managers use to overcome them is relatively rare. This work attempts to fill that gap by presenting barriers for aquatic restoration projects in urban settings and strategies to overcome them. Building from interviews with restoration managers involved in urban aquatic restoration projects in Rhode Island, we contribute through an adaptive management approach: identifying and synthesizing the lessons learned from managers’ work in urban settings. Ultimately, we suggest potential for double- and triple-loop learning by disentangling and critiquing the frames and policy/power structures that influence decision making in urban aquatic restoration.