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Social success of in-stream habitat improvement: from fisheries enhancement to the delivery of multiple ecosystem services

Maare Marttila, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Management and Production of Renewable Resources; University of Oulu, Department of Ecology
Kirsi Kyllönen, University of Oulu, Thule Institute
Timo P Karjalainen, University of Oulu, Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research Group


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Stream restoration often aims to enhance fisheries by improving stream conditions for target fish species. However, river restoration has a potential impact on a variety of ecosystem services. Among stakeholders, the emerging expectations about restoration attain different priorities. How well these expectations are met influences social perceptions of success or failure. Although public support for restoration is known to have a significant impact on the sustainability and overall success of restoration, social aspects are rarely considered in this context. To address these issues, we conducted a questionnaire study among the residents and fishermen of three recently restored rivers in Finland. Results indicate that both user groups highly supported the restoration goals, but they were not always satisfied with the restoration outcomes. The changes in landscape value and amenity and fish provisioning had the highest influence on the user groups’ attitudes. Restoration-induced changes in ecosystem services showed clear variation between the different locations, but the differences in the perceptions of the two user groups were less evident. Comparing perceptions between the user groups and locations and applying the ecosystem services approach are a novel contribution to the debate on restoration success. Our study highlights the importance of perspective, social-ecological context, and adequate communication for success.

Key words

benefits; cultural value; evaluation; perception surveys; public satisfaction; restoration; river

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087