A criteria and indicators monitoring framework for food forestry embedded in the principles of ecological restoration

Abstract

Food forestry is a burgeoning practice in North America, representing a strong multifunctional approach that combines agriculture, forestry, and ecological restoration. The Galiano Conservancy Association (GCA), a community conservation, restoration, and educational organization on Galiano Island, British Columbia in Canada, recently has created two food forests on their protected forested lands: one with primarily non-native species and the other comprising native species. These projects, aimed at food production, education, and promotion of local food security and sustainability, are also intended to contribute to the overall ecological integrity of the landscape. Monitoring is essential for assessing how effectively a project is meeting its goal and thus informing its adaptive management. Yet, presently, there are no comprehensive monitoring frameworks for food forestry available. To fill this need, this study developed a generic Criteria and Indicators (C&I) monitoring framework for food forestry, embedded in ecological restoration principles, by employing qualitative content analysis of 61 literature resources and semi-structured interviews with 16 experts in the fields of food forestry and ecological restoration. The generic C&I framework comprises 14 criteria, 39 indicators, and 109 measures and is intended to guide a comprehensive and systematic assessment for food forest projects. The GCA adapted the generic C&I framework to develop a customized monitoring framework. The Galiano C&I monitoring framework has comprehensive suite of monitoring parameters, which are collectively address multiple values and goals.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to interview the participants, the Galiano Conservancy Association, and Dr. Nancy Turner for their guidance, insight, and support.

Funding

This study received financial support from the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, the Sara Spencer Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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Correspondence to Hyeone Park.

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The interview process followed the Ethics Protocol (15-233) approved by the University of Victoria (consistent with Canada’s Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans).

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Park, H., Higgs, E. A criteria and indicators monitoring framework for food forestry embedded in the principles of ecological restoration. Environ Monit Assess 190, 113 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-018-6494-9

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Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Forest restoration
  • Systematic and comprehensive assessment
  • Forest garden
  • Conservation
  • Sustainable forest management