Published March 30, 2023 | Version v2
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Eco-social metrics of marsh restoration

  • 1. University of California, Davis


Understanding why habitat restoration is viewed as successful or not is key to evaluating past projects, planning future projects, and building support. Additionally, connecting public perceptions to the restoration process and habitats can improve project outcomes and generate greater public support. Yet, restoration science lacks fundamental information about the extent to which restoration actions align with measured ecological outcomes and social perceptions. Focusing on tidal marshes, we gathered qualitative and quantitative data on public perceptions of these habitats and restoration through focus groups in three estuaries in Oregon, USA. We also gathered environmental data from nine restoration projects spanning these estuaries to understand ecological responses to restoration focusing on responses of hydrology and vegetation. We mined project reports for mentions of priority project goals from an ecological perspective to compare with community priorities. Lastly, we interviewed restoration managers to provide context for the environmental data. Across our sample, hydrology scores increased with the number of restoration actions, although no clear relationship emerged between restoration action and vegetation scores. We developed a linking matrix to compare social and ecological data and found that, although restorationists and the public have similar social values, assessments of projects do not often include the highest-ranked priorities of community members and rarely track human factors as part of restoration assessment. Based on these findings, we suggest methods to include these social values in future projects and for improved communication between restorationists and the general public.


R, R Studio, Excel

Funding provided by: National Estuarine Research Reserve System
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10.25338/B8PM0W (DOI)