Integrating resilience into floodplain restoration
- Cite this article as:
- Hulse, D. & Gregory, S. Urban Ecosystems (2004) 7: 295. doi:10.1023/B:UECO.0000044041.94705.52
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This paper explores the role of geographic prioritization as a means of identifying lands that are especially well suited to restoration in the historical floodplain of western Oregon's Willamette River. The river and its floodplain have been extensively modified since 1850. As a result, the quantity and quality of river habitat have declined. The approach illustrated here explicitly links the potential for ecological benefits from restoration with the social and economic likelihood of restoration success. Using a consistent analytical framework, longitudinal patterns in selected biophysical and socioeconomic characteristics are quantified along the entire river length, from Eugene to Portland. Areas with high potential for ecological recovery and low socioeconomic constraints have the greatest potential for future restoration. Areas that combine low potential for ecological response with high demographic and economic costs are likely to be poor choices for restoration. Areas with high ecological potential and intermediate levels of socioeconomic constraints present intermediate opportunities for restoration. The paper identifies high priority locations for restoration, assuming the purposes of restoration are to increase river channel complexity, increase floodplain forest area, and increase natural water storage during floods. It concludes by discussing the role of visualizations in citizen involvement.