A new thesis by a Cranfield Univeristy student is due to be released in the upcoming months. Cranfield University MSc Envionmental Water Management student Marine Poncet is releasing her thesis on 'Assessment of natural capital benefits of the Manor Road Park restoration'.
Assessment of natural capital benefits of the Manor Road Park restoration
River restoration projects are undertaken to restore degraded ecosystems, comply with Water policy and provide Ecosystem Services (benefits that humans gain from the environment). One type of Ecosystem Services is named as Cultural Ecosystem Services and regards benefits such as tourism, recreation, cognitive development as well as aesthetic and creative experiences. A social approach using survey and interview was taken to identify river Cultural Ecosystem Services and evaluate how they have changed between pre- and post- river restoration at Manor Road Park (Luton, UK). This study recognised an increase in visit frequency in post-situation. The Manor Road Park provides mostly creative, regenerative and intuitive Cultural Ecosystem Services activities (table 1 and figure 1). Moreover, those categories were found to increase the most after the river restoration and the rise is to be linked with the river restoration and the play area refurbishment (figure 2). Greater benefits are expected to happen in the future due to ecosystem recovery and the time taken by people to build a caring relation with the new environment. The goal of the river restoration at Manor Road Park, apart from the ecological improvement, was to provide "an enjoyable area for local community". The results showed that the riverscape was visually, socially, creatively and sportively appreciated by the public. The present findings have the potential to help to design and promote river restoration scheme by means of a better understanding of public vision. A deeper investigation of Cultural Ecosystem Services and especially the cognitive one is essential to future success in river restoration projects.
Acknowledgment: I would like to thank Affinity Water which has funded the study and will be using the data.