SAC # 97

Preserving Plurality: Valuing Community-Based Ecological Restoration 



TIME | 14 October 2010, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | Hilary Phipps


Community-based ecological restoration initiatives are enjoying a surge in popularity in New Zealand. Lessons learned through restoring New Zealand’s offshore islands have been increasingly applied to the mainland, notably through the establishment of ‘biodiversity sanctuaries’ – Dunedin’s Orokonui Ecosanctuary is an example. But what value do such projects have? How can the value of restoration best be articulated? What are the implications of environmental valuation for restoration success? This seminar will discuss the findings of PhD research that has addressed these questions.

Framing conservation as an investment (and not a cost) is prevalent within current thinking in New Zealand. Relying on standard economic approaches to value community-based restoration projects limits how value is framed and consequently which values are recognised, by obscuring particular voices and hard-to-quantify values. In contrast, this research has used semi-structured interviews with different stakeholders associated with three case study projects to explore what value people perceive community-based restoration to have. The process of thematic analysis led to five main themes of value being attributed to the dataset. Adopting such an open approach to environmental valuation has enabled a rich understanding to develop of the multiple, complex ways that people value community-based ecological restoration initiatives.

About the Speaker

Hilary Phipps is in the final stages of completing her PhD degree through the School of Environment at The University of Auckland. Prior to undertaking her doctoral research, Hilary worked for the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment where she was particularly involved in projects focused on connecting science with environmental policy and exploring the role of economic instruments in environmental management. Based here in Dunedin, Hilary currently works as a subcontractor for Landcare Research exploring (i) values associated with restoring coastal forest ecosystems in a bicultural context, and (ii) how diverse values associated with place are reflected in different land settlement structures.



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