Challenging Assumptions in Urban Restoration Ecology


This paper presents a critical examination of core assumptions of Restoration Ecology (RE) and Urban Restoration Ecology (URE) with a focus on reinstatement of native/indigenous vegetation in urban areas. RE’s widely utilized and imposed land use approach reconstructs questionable historic interpretations of natural landscapes. RE misappropriates various terms and ideologies central to its paradigm, thereby excluding non-native biodiversity. Despite decades of theory, research, and practice, RE suffers a noteworthy risk of failure. RE applies rural conservation practices to urban environments, which often presents difficulties in terms of scale and suitability for fauna. RE is optimistic or misrepresentative regarding economics, maintenance, and risk in urban environments. This paper briefly discusses an alternative focus, which includes a broader concept of restoration. More substantially, this paper explores multi-functional landscape techniques that: respond to novel states in urban environments; that address present and future needs and scenarios; deliver tailored ecosystem services; and provide resources and productivity specifically relevant to urban contexts.