Sponsored by the Westervelt Ecological Services and the Society for Ecological Restoration
Presented by Dr. Elise Gornish, Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological Restoration at the University of Arizona
Ecological restoration efforts are likely to be more successful when project components are informed by relevant stakeholders. However, key stakeholders are often not included in restoration design and deployment. This is largely driven by a lack of practitioner knowledge of and experience with stakeholder relations. In fact, inclusion of stakeholders across the entire restoration process can be accomplished by practitioners with no formal social science training. Dr. Gornish will describe several easy (and usually inexpensive) ways to formally cultivate relationships among restoration practitioners, researchers, and stakeholders to improve restoration outcomes. These include: how to identify and work with stakeholders; how to recognize the unique needs and contributions of stakeholder groups, and how to provide information back to stakeholders through outreach. Although how this practice occurs is dependent on restoration context, integrating these approaches more regularly into ecological restoration projects will likely result in more successful, relevant, and community-supported management outcomes.