Restoring Nature: Perspectives from the Social Sciences and Humanities

Ecological restoration is an inherently challenging endeavour. Not only is its underlying science still developing, but the concept itself raises complex questions about nature, culture and the role of humans in the landscape. Using a recent controversy over ecological restoration efforts in Chicago as a touchstone for discussion, “Restoring Nature” explores the difficult questions that arise during the planning and implementation of restoration projects in urban and wildland settings. Contributors examine: moral and ethical questions regarding the practice of restoration; conflicts over how nature is defined and who should be included in decisions about restoration and management; and how managers can make restoration projects succeed given the various constraints and considerations that need to be taken into account. Using diverse examples from projects across the US, the book suggests ways in which restoration conflicts might be resolved, and provides examples of stewardship that show how volunteers and local residents can help make and maintain restored environments. Throughout, contributors set forth a wealth of ideas, case studies, methodological approaches and disciplinary perspectives that shed light on the social underpinnings of ecological restoration and natural resource management. “Restoring Nature” is an intriguing exploration of human-nature interactions, of differing values and understanding of nature, and of how that information can be effectively used to guide science and policy. It provides new conceptual insights and practical solutions for anyone working to manage or restore natural ecosystems.