Active restoration of secondary and degraded forests in the context of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
The United Nations General Assembly named 2021-2030 the decade on ecosystems restoration in 2019, declaring an urgent need for preventing, halting, and reversing environmental degradation and intensifying restoration of degraded ecosystems. Tropical forests are one of the world’s most valuable ecosystems for their services such as carbon sequestration and natural resources like timber. Deforestation, while not the only cause, is a major driver of climate change. In recent years, efforts for restoration and reforestation of degraded forests have dramatically increased. Non-sustainable logging in tropical forests is one of the top drivers of deforestation, and with an increased demand, further deforestation is a risk. More sustainable wood harvesting methods are required to halt degradation of tropical forests while conservation of old growth forests should be more strictly enforced.
Conclusions and Takeaways
Secondary forests, while vulnerable, show valuable potential for timber. Silvicultural practices like enrichment planting, disturbance regime management, and elimination of non-target species should be implemented. Logged forests also have high potential value for climate mitigation, and more sustainable silvicultural practices are needed to achieve that potential.
Active restoration of secondary and degraded forests in the context of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Forest Ecology and Management. 2022;503:119770. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119770..