Restoration Toolkit

The community-based restoration toolkit provides an important resource for those looking for detailed information about all facets of volunteer-driven ecological restoration projects. The information herein is both accessible to the general public and technical in order to meet the needs of many community-based restoration projects.

The section on Best Practices highlights links to proven methods and techniques – from assessment and design to implementation and monitoring. The Project Factsheets provide a vehicle for communities to share their successes and lessons learned – ideas and inspiration for others wishing to restore nature in their communities. The Expert Directory was designed to afford access to those individuals with valuable experience in community-based, volunteer-driven restoration projects.

This page offers links to materials on the basics of ecological restoration terminology as well as community and stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process.

SER Documents Community & Stakeholder Involvement


The Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) has published important documents that lay the foundation for the science and practice of ecological restoration.

The SER Primer is perhaps the most frequently cited resource on ecological restoration: a concise statement of restoration principles which includes a clear definition of what restoration is; how it is planned, conducted, and evaluated; and how it can be integrated with related disciplines. The SER Primer is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Chinese.

The SER Guidelines for Developing and Managing Ecological Restoration Projects describes the procedures for conducting ecological restoration in accord with the norms of the discipline that were established in the SER Primer. Each procedure is stated in terms of a guideline that leads restoration practitioners and project managers stepwise through the process of ecological restoration. Adherence to these 51 guidelines will reduce errors of omission and commission that compromise project quality and effectiveness. The guidelines are applicable to the restoration of any ecosystem (terrestrial or aquatic) that is attempted anywhere in the world and under any auspices, including public works projects, environmental stewardship programs, mitigation projects, private land initiatives, etc. Users of the SER Guidelines are advised to become familiar with the SER Primer in advance and refer to it for definitions of terms and discussions of concepts.

SER, in conjunction with Wiley-Blackwell, publishes the peer-reviewed journal Restoration Ecology which fosters the exchange of ideas among the many disciplines involved in the process of ecological restoration. Addressing global concerns and communicating them to the international scientific community, the journal is at the forefront of a vital new direction in science and ecology. Original papers describe experimental, observational, and theoretical studies on terrestrial, marine, and freshwater systems, and are considered without taxonomic bias.

In addition, SER and Island Press publish books on the Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration available from Island Press (discounts are extended to SER members). Ecological restoration is fast becoming a critical component of nature conservation, ecosystem management, and sustainable local economic development. This book series is a response to the need for reliable information and provocative discussion on restoration.


Collaboration Handbook

The Collaboration Handbook provides common sense and practical advice about putting a collaborative effort together and making it work.

Community Involvement

Sustainable Management Approaches and Revitalization Tools – electronic (SMARTe) is a free, web-based decision support system for developing and evaluating future reuse scenarios for potentially contaminated land. Among the resources SMARTe offers is this Community Involvement section that explores ways of engaging the community in revitalization projects.;jsessionid=10i39ibjmbq4k?page=1

Community Stewardship: A Guide to Establishing Your Own Group

This document is intended to be a practical guide to assist individuals, groups and communities get organized to do stewardship work.

Getting In Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns

This guide offers on how watershed groups, local governments, and others can maximize the effectiveness of public outreach campaigns to reduce nonpoint source pollution and protect the lakes, rivers, streams, and coasts that we treasure.

Getting In Step: Engaging and Involving Stakeholders in Your Watershed

The purpose of this guide is to provide the tools needed to effectively engage stakeholders to restore and maintain healthy environmental conditions through community support and cooperative action.

Hands For Nature: A Volunteer Management Handbook

This booklet provides practical tips and ideas for working effectively with volunteers to create and sustain greening projects and includes many insights and helpful statistics from the Community Greening Volunteerism 2002 Survey as well as generous input and discussions with experienced volunteer coordinators and greening participants.

Hands for Nature: A Volunteer Management Workshop and Presenter’s Guide

The Guide takes you through the process of planning and delivering a capacity-building workshop that addresses all elements of volunteer management—from recruitment to retention and recognition. This material can be adapted to meet the needs of different people and groups in your community.

Insights Into Participatory Video: A Handbook for the Field

This handbook is a practical guide to setting up and running Participatory Video (PV) projects anywhere in the world. It is has been written for anyone who wishes to facilitate PV projects. PV is a tool for positive social change, it is a means of empowerment for the marginalized and it is a process that encourages individuals and communities to take control of their destinies.

Restoration by Design

This new website helps restoration practitioners determine what to restore, how to maximize opportunities for restoration, determine what strategies to use and evaluate how effective they have been. Restoration by Design provides information, tools and resources to facilitate the planning and stewardship phases for restoration projects.

US EPA Nonpoint Source Outreach Toolbox

The Toolbox is intended for use by state and local agencies and other organizations interested in educating the public on nonpoint source pollution or stormwater runoff. It contains a variety of resources to help develop an effective and targeted outreach campaign.

Volunteer Management Links, provided by Canada’s Evergreen organization, directs readers to some of the organizations that offer support and resources for volunteers and those involved in volunteer management.

Working With Your Local Government: A Manual for Environmental Groups and Volunteers

This guide is the result of an in-depth investigation of environmental volunteer and partnership programs in three Canadian municipalities where collaborative greening efforts have become a way of doing business. The overarching goal of the research—and thus the guide—was to enhance the ability of voluntary groups and local governments to work together on urban green space planning and habitat restoration and stewardship projects.

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