Key biocultural values to guide restoration action and planning in New Zealand
Lyver, Philip O'B; Akins, Ashli; Phipps, Hilary; Kahui, Viktoria; Towns, David R; Moller, Henrik
A pluralist and cross-cultural approach that accommodates differing values while encouraging the collaboration and social cohesion necessary for the complex task of ecological restoration is needed. We used qualitative and quantitative analyses to investigate value assigned to biocultural restoration of coastal forests in northern New Zealand by 26 interviewees from three groups (environmental managers, Māori community members, and community project leaders). Māori community members primarily emphasized the importance of Cultural Stewardship and Use in the restoration process, while placing less emphasis on Ecological Integrity. Otherwise, all participants shared common trends, culminating in three interrelated value sets: (1) Personal Engagement, (2) Connection, and (3) the generation and transfer of Knowledge & Wisdom. These values demonstrate that restoration's benefits to people and community are as significant as its reparations of ecological components. Despite differences, all stakeholders were united in a broadly common goal to restore socio-ecological systems. Their knowledge and shared passion for conservation signal enormous promise for accelerated and effective restoration of coastal forests, if it is conducted using a pluralistic approach. Because some values expressed were intangible and complex, with cross-cultural dimensions, current valuation tools used by ecological economists to guide management investment fail to adequately account for, in particular, Māori values of ecological restoration.
Publisher: The Society for Ecological Restoration
Keywords: biocultural aspirations, coastal forests, community restoration, M¯aori, values
Research Type: Journal Article