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On uneven ground : the multiple and contested natures(s) of environmental restoration

Smith, Laura 2009. On uneven ground : the multiple and contested natures(s) of environmental restoration. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

Environmental restoration is emerging as a major driver in the repair and reversal of some of the world’s most severely degraded landscape systems, with growing interest in the status and composition o f restoration efforts. Although much has already been written about the theory and practice o f environmental restoration, both positive and negative, hitherto the literature has tended to overlook the complexity bound up in defining restoration discourses, and perhaps more importantly, the physical, material consequences instilled through such human choice. The mutability o f discourses of environmental restoration means that it can be moulded and (re-)shaped by different actors and contexts, with different values and meanings attached to ‘nature’. There exist multiple and contested natures o f environmental restoration - nature(s) both in the sense o f the properties o f restoration, and also that which is restored to a site. In this doctoral thesis, I demonstrate how discourses o f environmental restoration are defined and interpreted, which discourses (if any) appear to dominate, and how these are mobilised to produce ‘restored nature’. Attention is also awarded to the environmental implications incurred when such discourses are played out on the ground. The research is grounded empirically through reference to the case studies o f the Eden Project (Cornwall, UK), the National Forest Company (Derbyshire, UK), and the Walden Woods Project (Lincoln, MA) and their adoption o f restoration practices. Analysing the processes and practices o f environmental restoration within a framework of social nature and cultural landscapes serves to destabilise the dualism distancing nature from society - a preserve of environmental ethics and philosophy - for such synergy not only highlights how ideas of (restored) nature are socially constructed, but also addresses the material production o f nature, reinforcing the interactions between natural and societal actors.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
ISBN: 9781303191565
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:08
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/55902

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