Workshop 2: How do psycho-social transformations manifest in landscapes? Reflections on insights and challenges of supporting social and ecological outcomes in landscape rehabilitation/restoration

Organiser: Ancois de Villiers
Date: Wednesday, 8 September

This special session is proposed to be a follow-up on discussions regarding connecting people and the environment, particularly the practical implications and (often) challenges of doing this within conservation initiatives, during the 2020 Fynbos Forum. Several contributors during the forum highlighted the importance of considering the interconnectedness of the environment and human wellbeing beyond just meeting material needs. Indeed, many theoretical frameworks exist to support psycho-social dimensions in the context of conservation and landscape restoration. However, these frameworks mostly are not contextualised to the South African context. Furthermore, implementation remains vague.

The purpose of this session is to continue this discussion by sharing experiences and insights, particularly on integrating knowledge and practices from both ecology and the social sciences to support social, economic, and ecological outcomes for landscape-based initiatives. It is an opportunity to discuss common challenges and questions in our community of practice as well as to inform the development of implementable and relevant guidelines or principles that can address the current vagueness of practice. Namely, the reflection will focus on the “usefulness” of these insights, including what gaps and questions remain to inform the practice of conservation and rehabilitation in the fynbos biome.

As a facilitated discussion, the session will include sharing some of the emerging insights from a PhD on this subject and critically reflect on these through discussion and polls.

Key themes will include:

  • The proposed importance of psycho-social dimensions: Are these important dimensions to be actively included in the practice of fynbos conservation? How important is this? Why is it important?
  • The conceptualisation and implementation of social capital, inspiration, and learning in the context of landscape restoration/rehabilitation
  • Obstacles that are preventing the implementation of the concepts in practice, and how to mitigate these obstacles.

This session forms part of a transdisciplinary PhD study on the conceptualisation and implementation of social capital, inspiration (inter alia identity and motivation), and learning in transformative processes for landscape-based restoration/rehabilitation. Online consent forms will be shared before (and during) the session with potential participants so that they are aware that their (anonymous) inputs would be part of this session.