COMMUNITY BASED RESTORATION

PRESERVING ECOSYSTEM SERVICES & BUILDING SOCIAL CAPITAL

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Abstract

In urban areas, greenspacesi with thriving natural ecosystems are essential to the health of humans and other living organisms. These systems provide ecosystem services, such as stormwater mitigation, carbon sequestration, and wildlife habitat, as well as space for recreation and community gatherings. Community-based ecological restoration is a strategy to preserve these essential ecosystem services while giving community volunteers an opportunity to improve their neighborhood greenspace and build social capital.
This project studies the motivations and ideologies that drive community-based restoration in the Seattle area. I conducted a comprehensive literature review of community- based restoration benefits and motivations and interviewed ten restoration leaders in Seattle. The interviews explore the diversity of approaches and outcomes of community-based restoration, drawing connections between different restoration projects.

Four themes emerged from the interviews in addition to key motivations: competing uses of the restored space, ideal trail design, the role of community in restoration and ongoing maintenance, and relationships with Seattle Parks and Recreation and other collaborators. Understanding these differences is essential to informing long term management plans for urban greenspaces, a limited resource in the face of a growing population.