Restoring forest landscapes: Forest landscape restoration aims to re-establish ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in degraded forest landscapes
Tropical forests are highly fragmented. 42% of forest – including secondary forest – exists in large tracts, with the majority of forest in fragmented patches near roads and settlements. Although the science and conservation communities largely approach forests for either conservation or production, this approach omits the vital role forests play in the livelihoods of millions of people who live in close proximity.
Research goals & methods
Conservation of biodiversity in the small amount of intact old-growth forest worldwide should not be the only, or primary, goal of conservation science. Human interactions with forests should be a major consideration in forest management and restoration projects. Conservation that seeks to exclude human use may be doomed to fail. Restoration can help reverse some of the more severe impacts of forest loss and degradation by providing more secure access for local people to a range of forest products; improved hydrological regulation and nutrient cycling; more diverse and better connected habitats; or more resilient agricultural systems.
Conclusions & takeaways
Although restoration should be a key element in any national forest strategy, this does not mean simply getting forest cover back by any means possible. A more comprehensive approach to restoration should emphasize the importance of both the quality (type) and quantity of tree cover and should require that ecological integrity is enhanced at the same time as tangible benefits accrue to local people. Reforestation with the main plantation species can only ever be part of the solution.
Maginnis, S. and Jackson, W. Restoring forest landscapes: Forest landscape restoration aims to re-establish ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in degraded forest landscapes. IUCN - The World Conservation Union.
- Forest Conservation Programme IUCN - The World Conservation Union
- Global Programme IUCN - The World Conservation Union