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Urban and rural river restoration in France: a typology

Zingraff‐Hamed, Aude, Greulich, Sabine, Pauleit, Stephan, Wantzen, Karl M.
Restoration ecology 2017 v.25 no.6 pp. 994-1004
databases, ecological restoration, factor analysis, fish, flood control, funding, humans, motivation, riparian areas, rivers, France
River restoration (RR) is widely practiced in both rural and urban contexts by combining various goals and measures. The theoretical discourse on RR not yet adequately reflects this breadth of restoration practice. In this study, we investigated 110 French RR projects implemented between 1980 and 2015. We analyzed projects considering eight key design features, main project motivation, restoration goals, project dates, costs, size, funding, river annual discharge, and implemented evaluation procedures. The study (1) provides a detailed account of the French RR effort, (2) compares restoration efforts in urban and rural contexts, and (3) establishes a RR project typology. The results also show that urban RR comprises a wider range of goals and measures than its rural counterpart, includes restoration of riparian habitats, and integrates ecological and social goals. A hierarchical multiple factor analysis yielded five types of projects, Fish RR (14% of the urban and 53% of the rural projects), Blue RR (4%, 7%), Water Framework Directive RR (36%, 40%), Flood protection RR (14%, 0%), and Human RR (32%, 0%). We suggest that the restoration community needs databases that use a project typology as developed in this study. This approach would take into account the multiple facets of RR projects, enabling more transparency into their communication and allow more suitable project comparisons.