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Keywords:

  • industrial landscapes;
  • peatlands;
  • rehabilitation;
  • social capital;
  • socio-economics

In establishing effective restoration goals, one of the four key issues of increased attention that Hobbs calls for is in the area of incorporating socio-economic investigations and theories into restoration practice in a synergistic manner. Although often commented upon by restoration practitioners, this is an area of research that is poorly developed, and because it relies on an uneasy combination of empirical and interpretative research methodologies a multidisciplinary alignment may be problematic in practice. This opinion piece is drawn from experiences in examining the after-use of industrially mined peatland landscapes, and synthesizes ideas that have emerged from socio-economic research over several years in order to offer an opinion on how Hobbs' call may be addressed. Because socio-economic concerns are at the root of all restoration projects, sociological methods may be useful as tools in stakeholder engagement in research and planning for landscape rehabilitation as a mechanism for reducing the potential for conflict and for facilitating participative or collaborative restoration.