What is Good Ecological Restoration ?

Lucrețiu Dancea, Veaceslav Mazăre, Lucian Niță, Ioan Gaica, Liliana Merce


The rapid rise of ecological restoration is forcing consideration of what good restoration entails. Defining an end
point for restoration is as much an ethical matter as a technical one, but scientifically trained restoration experts have largely ignored the former issue. I argue that good restoration requires an expanded view that includes historical, social, cultural, political, aesthetic, and moral aspects. This expanded definition is necessary at a practical level to guide practitioners in the pursuit of excellence and at a conceptual level to prevent restoration from being swamped by technological activities and projects that veer away from ecological fidelity. Ecological fidelity is based on three principles: structural/compositional replication, functional success, and durability. These principles produce effective restoration, which is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of good restoration. An examination of characteristic problems that emanate from technological practices-reverse adaptation, an attention to product at the expense of process, and the separation of actions from consequences-leads directly to an expanded, inclusive framework for restoration. The results of an inclusive restoration process set up conditions necessary for restoration to achieve both ecological fidelity and harmonious human relationships within ecosystems.


eco-ethics, sustainability, ecological restoration, co-evolution, species extinction

Full Text: