Role of Citizen Science in Ecological Restoration

Vijaylakshmi Suman

The human dimension of ecological restoration, in the form of public awareness, participation, and the incorporation of their values in the project has become an important component of most successful restoration projects. According to Allen (2003), restoration is not only about the science of ecology, rather, it also includes societal decisions on issues like philosophy, valuation of nature, economics of restoration and others.

Image source: Restoration Ecology, (Top panel image can be credited: Clackamas River Basin Council. Bottom panel image can be credited: Environmental Professional Program, Portland State University.)

 A recent article by Edwards. et al. (2017) describes and also evaluates the role of citizen science programmes in ecological restoration. In environmental citizen science, volunteers collect and analyse ecological data as part of a scientific inquiry. This gives the volunteers an opportunity to contribute to both, the scientific, and the societal goals of ecological restoration. Citizen science programmes also provide volunteers or students the scope to directly interact with scientists. Although this specific article focuses on citizen monitoring of stream restoration (Rock Creek restoration), a similar scheme can be applied to vegetation-based restoration, wetland restoration and various other forms of ecological restoration. In the field of restoration ecology, where restorationists are devising ways to co-opt society and stakeholders actively, citizen science programmes can be used as one of the tools to achieve this aim. This particular article discusses in detail the role of citizen science in restoration ecology, including the advantages and disadvantages of the same.

 

 

References

  • Allen EB (2003) New directions and growth of restoration ecology. Restoration Ecology 11:1–2.
  • Edwards, P. M., Shaloum, G. and Bedell, D. (2017), A unique role for citizen science in ecological restoration: a case study in streams. Restor Ecol. doi:10.1111/rec.12622

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