Stream restoration in Andean cities: learning from contrasting restoration approaches


The Andes region is one of the fastest urbanizing regions of the world. The current rate of environmental degradation of streams in this region create an urgent need for sanitation and restoration programs that restore the ecological quality of streams while providing green and recreational areas. The tectonics of the area and its vulnerability to climate change adds relevance to wise landscape management in urban areas. Recent restoration efforts have been conducted with differing degrees of community involvement. Based on their social and ecological restoration goals, we analyzed the achievements of two projects in Quito, Ecuador. Our analysis revealed systemic challenges as well as opportunities to construct projects that are self-sustainable and more resilient in the Andean context. We found that the collaborative project, designed and executed by the community, had better overall results than the project led by the government, demonstrating that community involvement played a major role on the success of the project. The implications of these findings and the evaluation methods applied could benefit future decisions and the success of stream restoration projects in the region.

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We thank Architect Susana Jácome and City Council Luisa Maldonado for their personal communications and comments that greatly improved the manuscript. We also thank Kelly Janes, International Watershed Partners, for her useful comments and help with editing the manuscript. BRT had the support of UDLA project AMB.BRT.17.01

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Correspondence to Blanca Ríos-Touma.

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da Cruz e Sousa, R., Ríos-Touma, B. Stream restoration in Andean cities: learning from contrasting restoration approaches. Urban Ecosyst 21, 281–290 (2018).

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  • Community involvement
  • Decision-making
  • Environmental restoration
  • Minga
  • Streams
  • Quito
  • Ecuador