Fernández‐Manjarrés, J.F., S. Roturier, A. Bilhaut
Many ecosystems in the world are the result of a close interaction between local people and their environment, which are currently recognized as social‐ecological systems (SoES). Natural catastrophes or long‐standing social and political turmoil can degrade these SoES to a point where human societies are no longer autonomous and their supporting ecosystems are highly degraded. Here, the authors focus on the special case of the restoration of SoES termed social‐ecological restoration (SoER), which is characterized as a restoration process that cannot avoid simultaneously dealing with ecological and social issues. In practice, SoER is analogous in many ways to the general principles of ecological restoration, but it differs in three key aspects: (1) the first actions may be initially intended for human groups that need to recover minimum living standards; (2) the SoER process would often be part of a healing process for local people where cultural values of ecosystems play an essential role; and (3) there is a strong dependency on external economic inputs, as the people belonging to the SoES may be incapable of reorganizing themselves on their own and supporting ecosystems can no longer self‐recover.