The social–ecological ladder of restoration ambition

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Expanding in both scope and scale, ecosystem restoration needs to embrace complex social–ecological dynamics. To help scientists and practitioners navigate ever new demands on restoration, we propose the “social–ecological ladder of restoration ambition” as a conceptual model to approach dynamically shifting social and ecological restoration goals. The model focuses on three dynamic aspects of restoration, namely degrading processes, restoration goals and remedial actions. As these three change through time, new reinforcing and balancing feedback mechanisms characterize the restoration process. We illustrate our model through case studies in which restoration has become increasingly ambitious through time, namely forest landscape restoration in Rwanda and grassland restoration in Germany. The ladder of restoration ambition offers a new way of applying social–ecological systems thinking to ecosystem restoration. Additionally, it raises awareness of social–ecological trade-offs, power imbalances and conflicting goals in restoration projects, thereby laying an important foundation for finding more practicable and fairer solutions.

Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusElektronische Veröffentlichung vor Drucklegung - 23.04.2024

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