Article by ESR Laura C. Quintero Uribe published in Ecography
‘Participatory scenarios for restoring European landscapes show a plurality of nature values’ by Laura C. Quintero-Uribe, Laetitia M. Navarro, Henrique M. Pereira, Néstor Fernández was first published in Ecography on 28 March 2022.
Large-scale ecological restoration is crucial for effective biodiversity conservation and combating climate change. However, perspectives on the goals and values of restoration are highly diverse, as are the different approaches to restoration e.g. ranging from the restoration of cultural ecosystems to rewilding. We assess how the future of nature is envisioned in participatory scenarios, focusing on which elements of rewilding and nature contributions to people have been considered in scenario narratives across Europe. We used the Nature Futures Framework archetypes as a template to synthesize pluralistic perspectives of nature. We found that different values of nature are often represented as counteracting elements and fail to integrate the plural views of nature. Nature as Culture was the main archetype found in the scenarios, usually associated with positive impacts on the non-material benefits to people. Intrinsic values of nature (i.e., Nature for Nature) were associated with positive impacts on regulating benefits and negative impacts on material benefits, being the only archetype of future associated with positive impacts on all three components of rewilding. Nature for Society was associated with moderate positive impacts on material and regulatory nature contributions to people. Business as usual futures were associated with negative impacts on regulating and non-material benefits to people and on all three components of rewilding. Our results highlight two major gaps in the scenarios that should be addressed in participatory restoration planning and models. Firstly, there is a paucity of spatially explicit approaches, with most studies failing to transform the results of participatory scenario planning into model projections. Secondly, we found scenarios that explored co-benefits between multiple nature perspectives were overall missing from the literature. Novel scenario narratives and approaches that explore synergies among different nature values are needed to design future large-scale restoration where biodiversity recovery and human well-being are intrinsically linked and fostered.