Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

How participation in ecological restoration can foster a connection to nature

Furness, Ella ORCID: 2021. How participation in ecological restoration can foster a connection to nature. Restoration Ecology 29 (7) , e13430. 10.1111/rec.13430

[thumbnail of rec.13430.pdf] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (120kB)
License URL:
License Start date: 27 May 2021


There have been strong claims made for ecological restoration’s potential as a practice which is conductive to rethinking relationships with nature. The involvement of lay people in ‘hands-on restoration’ is thought to hold potential for enabling re-examinations of human connection to nature. Restoration scholars suggest causal mechanisms present in restoration practice which may explain why it is so conductive to enabling connection to nature. This research used participatory observation and in-depth interviewing to examine these largely untested ideas and gives insight into the casual mechanisms they present. Focussing on one case of ecological restoration in the Highlands of Scotland, the study found that exertion and achievement gained through restoration work created positive affect which people associated with their experience of nature, that laboring in nature created belonging and ownership, and that physical immersion enabled intimacy with nature. It found that learning about the legacies of human agency on landscape reduced reification and that the wider narrative of restoration gave people both a sense of being part of the unfolding history of the landscape and part of a redemptive future. It also found that focussed attention created vivid memories and elevated the significance of the experience of being in nature and ritual created remarkable, memorable events. This study adds to previous work, finding that the emotional labor of leaders, the use of educational techniques, and the kinds of tasks in which participants engage are important in creating particular ideas of the relationship between humans and nature.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1061-2971
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Scottish Forestry Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 5 May 2021
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 00:18

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics