Ecological restoration 30 years later: Which priorities should we focus on?

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Mauro Horacio Fernández Cuppari

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Since 1987 ecological restoration (ER) has evolved from a technical discipline to a trans-epistemic one in terms of its socio-cognitive organization. It became a transversal space for knowledge production and degradation solution. Multiple approaches and research/management subjects coexist under a common umbrella that harbors scientists, practitioners, and, especially, stakeholders directly linked to decision making. Colleagues from government agencies, NGOs, private companies, or international banks are also regular members of the restoration community. Although science and technology are still the core of the discipline, current major challenges are (1) to integrate political, cultural, and economic interests; (2) meet local, regional, and global targets of ER, and (3) prevent new degradation processes. Such challenges require strong social agreements to solve key issues (e.g. land planning and tenure). In order to investigate which questions should be addressed from now on, we did a critical review of the literature, national plans, and international policies. In particular, we tested whether the major conclusions and recommendations from SIACRE-2015 (4th conference of the Latin American and the Caribbean Society) could be applied worldwide. We established 63 statements pooled into nine thematic subjects: epistemological, degradation causes, principles, land use planning, governance, social-cultural, scientific, technological, and standards. We also found that efforts and approaches are related to cultural values and welfare conditions. In conclusion, restorationists should devote efforts to other priorities: “how well was this hectare restored” or the nice “before-and-after picture” of a rehabilitated site, are no longer enough.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

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Society for Ecological Restoration