Ecological Restoration on the Oak Ridges Moraine: in the context of provincial policies in the GTA
Conducted an qualitative analysis of ecological restoration (ER) on the Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM). Evaluated the evolution of ER practices from the inception of the Oak Ridges Moraine Act (ORMA) in 2001 to the recent (2015-2017) co-ordinated review of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (ORMCP). Developed a conceptual framework based on ER in the academic literature and compared it to themes uncovered from document analyses, along with three interviews to validate and refine my findings. Main findings of this research were that: • Environmental values and balancing the protection versus development dichotomy are key parts of planning for ER and making it possible to achieve ER projects on the ground. • Developing networks of communication and education, over the course of multiple years, is required to keep local landowners informed and aware of the importance of ER on the ORM. • Provincial policy and ER projects implemented by the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation (ORMF) and its partners both seem to highly emphasize the natural components of the ORM environment. • Both provincial policy and ER private-public partnerships have complementary and necessary roles in stewardship on the ORM. • The ORMF has proven, through multiple ER projects, to be effective in advocating for the ORM environment and local residents’ best interests. • Evidence and themes extracted makes the claim that the ORMF, although a top-down government and industry funded foundation, can only work successfully if driven by local citizens from the ground up. • ER implementation requires funds and expertise from a wide range of partners. This research concludes with some recommendations for both ER practitioners and stakeholders involved in the development of environmental protection policies in southern Ontario to consider.