The role of naturalness in ecological restoration: A case study from the Cook County Forest Preserves

Nicole M. Evans, William P Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While ecological restoration may help bridge the nature-culture gap, restoration still holds relevant meanings for naturalness, as demonstrated in this case study of staff and volunteers in the Cook County Forest Preserves (CCFP) in Illinois, United States. Translating naturalness as an agency policy into restoration goals for sites, CCFP integrated historical evidence, ecological science, and human values. Naturalness was constructed as historical fidelity, a scientific designation to be objectively discovered, while the scales at which people interpreted historical fidelity, namely, species, communities, processes, and practices, were sites of value deliberation. The multiple renderings of naturalness can be a strength that provides flexibility to restore what is locally valued, constructing restoration projects that acknowledge, rather than attempt to overcome, the constructed nature of naturalness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-252
Number of pages21
JournalNature and Culture
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Culture
  • Human dimensions
  • Natural resource management
  • Normative conservation sciences
  • Preservation
  • Social construction
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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