Authors: Gianluca Rocco Cerullo & Kristian Steensen Nielsen
Global agendas under the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration are highlighting the critical importance of large-scale ecosystem restoration for the benefits of people, climate, and biodiversity. Current focus in restoration science has prioritised a mechanistic understanding of the ecological drivers of restoration successes and failures. However, large-scale implementation of lasting and successful restoration outcomes fundamentally hinges on understanding and changing key social and behavioural dynamics across the spectrum of restoration actors and stakeholders. This dimension of restoration has overwhelmingly been side-lined in restoration research and practice, limiting the realisation of ambitious restoration commitments. Behavioural science can inform and help shape successful outcomes across at least three stages of restoration, by (i) helping understand and combat degradation prior to project implementation (ii) by determining which, where and why restoration actions are deployed and (iii) by ensuring the lasting legacy of restoration projects across decadal timescales.