From land to sea: Governance-management lessons from terrestrial restoration research useful for developing and expanding social-ecological marine restoration

Last modified: 
December 14, 2019 - 10:56am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2016
Date published: 12/2016
Authors: Robert France
Journal title: Ocean & Coastal Management
Volume: 133
Pages: 64 - 71
ISSN: 09645691

Coastal regions are complex social-ecological systems (SESs) critically important for their diverse and invaluable services for human well-being. The marked losses of these systems on a global scale has led to proposals for the protection of healthy habitats which, however, have proven to be less than completely successful, thereby necessitating the restoration of impacted habitats. Although the effective delivery of restored ecosystem services or natural capital is determined by governance and management, these important topics have only rarely been examined (and never comparatively so) in the marine literature. Because marine ecological restoration is still very much in its infancy, it is necessary to turn to terrestrial examples for guidance. The present paper reviews the wider, terrestrially-based literature that has developed on the conceptual and practical relationships of governance to ecological restoration, towards an end of importing five lessons from this experience that might prove useful for the sustainable management of marine SESs, particularly in relation to the praxis of marine social-ecological restoration. These lessons are: avoid science/engineering only; instill adaptive management; hybrid governance models work best; establish an experienced advisory committee; and put stakeholders front and centre. Recommended actions needed to adopt these lessons include: assessing the cultural modification of the restoration location; including a social scientist on the restoration team; identifying multiple stakeholders; integrating technical knowledge of experts and local wisdom of residents; and implementing flexibility in governance to facilitate project resilience.

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