Volume 18, Issue 3, Fall 1996
Andrew Light, Eric S. Higgs
The Politics of Ecological Restoration
Discussion of ecological restoration in environmental ethics has tended to center on issues about the nature and character of the values that may or may not be produced by restored landscapes. In this paper we shift the philosophical discussion to another set of issues: the social and political context in which restorations are performed. We offer first an evaluation of the political issues in the practice of restoration in general and second an assessment of the political context into which restoration is moving. The former focuses on the inherent participatory capacity at the heart of restoration; the latter is concerned with the commodified (primarily in the United States) and nationalized (primarily in Canada) uses to which restoration is being put. By comparing these two areas of inquiry we provide a foundation for a critical assessment of the politics of restoration based on the politics in restoration.