The Role of History in Restoration Ecology

Authored by: Eric S. Higgs , Stephen T. Jackson

Routledge Handbook of Ecological and Environmental Restoration

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138922129
eBook ISBN: 9781315685977
Adobe ISBN:


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Restoration ecology is fundamentally a historical pursuit. The very essence of the word restoration implies a return to past conditions. To restore, according to one of the several meanings recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary, is ‘the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition’. A variant and now obscure spelling, ‘restauration’, suggests a complicated lineage that describes the recovery of health or proper condition (Higgs 2003). There is also instauration, used by Francis Bacon in the early seventeenth century to create something new from old by adding enlightenment and truth. Thus, what we now think of as restoration generally, and ecological restoration specifically, has a significant cultural and linguistic lineage.

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