The Politics of Restoration Success: How is it Being Measured?

Light and Higgs (1993). The Politics of Ecological Restoration: Sciences Vol 1, p.25

The science and practice of ecological restoration is an inherently political process. From the choice of site and processes restored to the procurement of financial backing and compliance with regulatory concerns, the practice of restoration is increasingly dictated by the needs of the private sector. The two articles we read for this week seek to clarify the scientific criteria through which restoration is gauged successful or not. But as ecological restoration is increasingly commodified and as restoration goals become subject to the whims of finance and venture capital, we must reopen the questions of how “restoration success” articulates within socio-political contexts. The article by Light and Higgs, while dated, brings to the front different metrics through which we may measure restoration success. They argue that ecological restoration goals must include democratic and egalitarian principles, and highlight their argument with cases of good technical restoration but overall failed ecological restoration. As restoration scientists, do we have to consider and measure more than ecological characteristics or processes? Do we have to include social and political criteria for measuring success? Do we have to take into account how politics and economics shape restoration goals and practices?

Image Credit: Adam Romero (2007). The picture of the Hippopotomas was taken at the restored Seekoei-vlei Nature Reserve in Free State, South Africa. This is a contemporary version of ecological restoration characterized by technical success and political failure.

No comments:

Post a Comment