Perspectives on challenges and opportunities at the restoration-policy interface in the U.S.A.

Ella M. Samuel, Rachel M. Mitchell, Daniel E. Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As we advance into the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, understanding the relationship between science, management, and policy is increasingly important given the paucity of research evaluating the ability of existing policy to address contemporary environmental challenges. Despite their inherent interdependence, restoration ecology as a scientific discipline, ecological restoration as a practice, and the policies driving restoration efforts do not always represent a unified force. Accenting the policies and practices within the United States, we present our perspective on challenges associated with this disunion, including those linked to social dimensions of restoration and limitations associated with existing policy. We provide a review of existing federal policy in the United States and synthesize suggestions that have emerged in the literature to fortify connections between restoration science and policy. We also describe social challenges to meeting restoration goals, including barriers surrounding power dynamics, trust, and communication, as well as divergent incentives, perspectives, and values. We propose potential solutions that exist in transdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge sharing, and evidence-based, balanced decision-making that equally considers varying perspectives. With the understanding that current conservation practices are not enough to mitigate environmental degradation, we focus on streamlining problem-solving strategies to support restoration and face the widespread ecological issues of today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13823
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2023


  • community engagement
  • ecological restoration
  • environmental policy
  • incentive structures
  • knowledge sharing
  • transdisciplinary collaboration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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