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5 years ago

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

with other conservation

with other conservation organisations, this interest is principally biodiversity, and we have to make commitments for what we are prepared to contribute in cash or other contributions to support the achievement of our biodiversity goals. 2.3. Understand Development Trajectories What would happen if we did not intervene? What is the underlying development trajectory? What are the principal drivers of change? It is vital to get the correct answers to these questions. Modelling can help. Normally only a small number of drivers of change are significant at any one time. We have to know which ones they are and how they can be influenced. 132 We must also understand the underlying processes of ecological succession. 133 The factors that influence restoration at a single location are not necessarily confined to that place. A variety of extrasectoral influences such as economic and trade policies and levels of public understanding of issues will have a continuing and variable influence on restoration processes. 2.4. Use Monitoring and Evaluation as a Management Tool Monitoring and evaluation have to be linked to the desired outcomes of interventions. Negotiating these outcomes is the first and most important activity in any programme. Indicators of the desired outcomes have to be agreed to or negotiated at the beginning, and they then become the tools for adaptive management. 134 The book by Sayer and Campbell has a chapter on this issue that gives further references to the monitoring and evaluation literature. 134a 132 See the Web site of the Resilience Alliance and publication by Berkes et al, 2003. 133 Walker and del Moral, 2003. 134 CIFOR’s work on Adaptive Collaborative Management provides guidance. 134a Sayer and Campbell, 2004. 14. Goals and Targets of Forest Landscape Restoration 103 2.5. Find and Protect Reference Landscapes Whether or not the objective of forest landscape restoration is to restore the “original” vegetation cover, it will always be useful to have reference areas that are as near as possible to the natural conditions of the area (see “Identifying and Using Reference Landscapes for Restoration”). These are useful as benchmarks, for understanding ecological processes, for education, and as sources of plants and animals to be used in assisted restoration. Much has been written about attempts to restore a pristine, climax, “natural” land cover. There are lots of problems with this approach, not least of which is the difficulty of knowing what the preintervention situation was. It is also important to avoid falling into the trap of assuming that natural systems reach a climax condition and are then constant—this is rarely the case. Even in the remotest and least disturbed parts of the Congo Basin or the Amazon the species’ composition of the forests today is not the same as it was 100, 500, or 5000 years ago. Natural landscapes are highly dynamic, and decisions to restore to “natural” conditions will always be arbitrary and open to multiple interpretations. Reference landscapes, or plots, with minimal intervention remain valuable in helping us to understand landscape processes and can be useful components of any largescale restoration programme. They can be valuable as examples to look at during negotiation processes. Normally restoring “natural conditions” is just one of a range of possible objectives, and in most situations what one restores will be defined by more precise production and environmental objectives. 2.6. Be Realistic About Designer Landscapes Once a comprehensive stakeholder participation process is engaged, it will gradually become possible to begin to talk about desirable outcomes. Eventually a vision of a “designer landscape” may begin to emerge. Different approaches and tools are useful to

104 J. Sayer explore what the landscape should look like in order to respond to the needs and wishes of different interest groups. 3. Outline of Tools Stakeholders may decide that a certain landscape configuration and condition is ideal for their objectives. But usually different stakeholders have different ideals. To fine-tune a landscape vision, some specific approaches can be used depending on the restoration goal: Biodiversity: Modelling tools developed by the United Nations Environment Programme- World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are useful. 135 Some assumptions about corridors and connectivity have to be treated with caution. 136 One should not always assume that protected areas should be as big as possible. There are often significant opportunity costs that protected areas create for local people. Protected areas should be of an optimal size, not necessarily as big as possible. 136 The importance of seral stages in vegetation development is often underestimated. Many wildlife species require early successional vegetation for their survival. Poverty mapping and assessment: The World Agroforestry Centre has a lot to offer on this topic (see “Agroforestry as a Tool for Forest Landscape Restoration”). Land care: The Landcare programme in Australia and now expanding elsewhere is an interesting model for participatory multistakeholder restoration programmes. Water: Lots of common assumptions about the value of land cover for water quality and quantity are not borne out by empirical evidence. Forest cover may consume more water than it conserves; it all depends on the type of trees, the frequency and intensity of rainfall, and the nature of the underlying substrate. Expert advice should be sought on the hydrological implications of restoration pro- grammes (also see “Restoring Water Quality and Quantity”). Amenity: The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States have restoration programmes with a heavy emphasis on amenity. This is the realm of landscape architecture. 138 Avalanche control: This is an important issue in temperate and boreal countries and there is an abundant literature. Timber:Timber is the real objective of much socalled restoration. Caution is needed because narrow timber production objectives are rarely consistent with the broader objectives of local people and the environment. Tree crops: Tree crops include oil palm, coffee, cacao, rubber etc. More can be found on this topic in the chapter on agroforestry, cited above, but also in publications on extractive reserves and jungle rubber. 4. Future Needs 135 UNEP-WCMC, 2003. 136 Simberloff et al, 1992. 137 Zuidema et al, 1997. 138 Liu and Taylor, 2002. 4.1. Improved Economic Analysis Restoring landscapes is expensive, but can and should yield economic benefits. The valuation of environmental goods and services is still an imprecise science. The valuation of the subsistence products used by poor subsistence farmers is also a challenge. But all large-scale restoration initiatives have to be rooted in economic realism. The cost-benefit ratios are essential in determining what is possible and desirable. There are countless examples of forest restoration programmes that have cost a lot of money and yielded few real benefits. It is especially important to remember that investments in restoration carry opportunity costs—the same money could be invested in employment creation, establishing protected areas, etc. Even though complete economic valuation will only rarely be possible or necessary, it is always important to thoroughly examine options from an economic perspective.

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