• Metaphor;
  • ecological restoration;
  • addiction;
  • co-dependency;
  • enabling behavior;
  • process-based restoration;
  • stream restoration


Ecological restoration practices are changing rapidly, dramatically, and in complex ways, with higher and higher stakes both for the restoration industries themselves and for the future of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Even as ecosystem degradation has accelerated, restoration has grown into a transnational, multibillion dollar industry. These changes create an imperative for correspondingly rapid and dramatic changes in the metaphoric lenses through which we view restoration projects. In this Policy Perspectives paper, we explore a metaphor that views ecological restoration through the lens of co-dependency theories about enabling behaviors in the lives of addicts. The metaphor raises questions about the nature of the relation between restoration practices and an industrial growth economy “addicted” to cheap fuel and consumer goods. It suggests some policy changes that might prevent development of co-dependencies between restoration industries and ecologically destructive practices.