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Evaluating the process of ecological restoration

Christer Nilsson, Umeĺ University
Asa L. Aradottir, Agricultural University of Iceland
Dagmar Hagen, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Guđmundur Halldórsson, Soil Conservation Service of Iceland
Kenneth Hřegh, Kujalleq Municipality
Ruth J. Mitchell, The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, UK
Karsten Raulund-Rasmussen, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Kristín Svavarsdóttir, Soil Conservation Service of Iceland
Anne Tolvanen, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Department of Ecology, University of Oulu Finland
Scott D. Wilson, Department of Biology, University of Regina


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We developed a conceptual framework for evaluating the process of ecological restoration and applied it to 10 examples of restoration projects in the northern hemisphere. We identified three major phases, planning, implementation, and monitoring, in the restoration process. We found that evaluation occurred both within and between the three phases, that it included both formal and informal components, and that it often had an impact on the performance of the projects. Most evaluations were short-term and only some parts of them were properly documented. Poor or short-term evaluation of the restoration process creates a risk that inefficient methods will continue to be used, which reduces the efficiency and effectiveness of restoration. To improve the restoration process and to transfer the knowledge to future projects, we argue for more formal, sustained evaluation procedures, involving all relevant stakeholders, and increased and improved documentation and dissemination of the results.

Key words

ecological restoration; evaluation; Northern Hemisphere; restoration implementation; restoration monitoring; restoration planning

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