Food forest restoration on Galiano Island, Canada: Assessing food forests embedded in ecological restoration
How can we assess food forests? My interdisciplinary research aims to develop a framework of criteria and indicators (C&I) for assessing the effectiveness of food forests in assisting ecological restoration. To develop this framework I use a food forest case study which offers a local, innovative model of food forestry for conservation organizations yet requires an assessment framework: the Galiano Conservancy Association which will be restoring a degraded land to a food forest in an endangered forest landscape on Galiano Island, Canada.
My research involved interviews with permaculture and restoration practitioners and an extensive literature review on C&I standards used in agroforestry, agriculture, restoration and forest sustainable management. Based on four principles — ecological integrity, sustainability, historicity and social benefits, my research will identify key C&I among experts in food forests and restoration and ‘road-test’ the practicality of the C&I in the local context of Galiano Island at a focus group workshop.
My research is the one of the first attempts to systemically develop a C&I framework for food forestry. Providing empirical knowledge to scholarly and on-the-ground work in forest restoration and sustainable management, the resulted framework will directly contribute to the GCA’s food forest project.
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