Building local community commitment to wetlands restoration: A case study of the cache river wetlands in Southern Illinois, USA

Mae A. Davenport, Christopher A. Bridges, Jean C. Mangun, Andrew D. Carver, Karl W.J. Williard, Elizabeth O. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Natural resource professionals are increasingly faced with the challenges of cultivating community-based support for wetland ecosystem restoration. While extensive research efforts have been directed toward understanding the biophysical dimensions of wetland conservation, the literature provides less guidance on how to successfully integrate community stakeholders into restoration planning. Therefore, this study explores the social construction of wetlands locally, and community members' perceptions of the wetland restoration project in the Cache River Watershed of southern Illinois, where public and private agencies have partnered together to implement a large-scale wetlands restoration project. Findings illustrate that the wetlands hold diverse and significant meanings to community members and that community members' criteria for project success may vary from those identified by project managers. The case study provides managers with strategies for building community commitment such as engaging local citizens in project planning, minimizing local burdens, maximizing local benefits, and reducing uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-722
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental management
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 4 2010

Keywords

  • Community-based conservation
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Qualitative research
  • Wetlands

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