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Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

esearch has been used

esearch has been used in developing ways of restoring old-growth characteristics within managed forests in the Pacific Northwest through “new forestry,” including retention of standing dead wood and coarse woody debris in streams. 142 2.2. Centre for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS), Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC The CTFS has developed an international network of standardised forest dynamics plots. Within each plot, every tree over 1cm in diameter is marked, measured, plotted on a map, and identified according to species. The typical forest dynamics plot is 50 hectares, containing up to 360,000 individual trees. An initial tree census and periodic follow-up censuses yield long-term information on species’ growth, mortality, regeneration, distribution, and productivity, which currently provides an almost unique information source for developing restoration strategies within managed tropical forests. Utilising the data from the standardised, intensive forest dynamics plots throughout the tropics, CTFS researchers are exploring tropical forest species’ diversity and dynamics at a global scale. Plots currently exist in Panama, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Colombia, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India (see below), the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan. 2.3. India The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Bandipur National Park are part of the wildliferich protected areas within the Nilgiri Biosphere in the Western Ghat Mountains of southern India.These reserves are sites of longterm ecological research by the Centre for Ecological Sciences. A 50-hectare permanent plot in Mudumalai, where the dynamics of a tropical dry forest is investigated in relation to fire and herbivory by large mammals, is part of the international network of large-scale plots coordinated by the CTFS (see above). 142 Luoma, 1999. 15. Identifying and Using Reference Landscapes for Restoration 111 2.4. Europe Under the auspices of the European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research (COST) programme of the European Commission, a network has been established to help coordinate research taking place in strict forest reserves in 19 European countries. The process established protocols for data collection both in a core area and over the whole reserve, primarily to develop repeatable methods of describing the stand structure and ground vegetation. A Web-based forest reserves databank is helping to coordinate information. Natural forests are perhaps more critically threatened in Europe than in any other region, and the information will be used to help identify and manage protected areas and increase component of naturalness in managed forests. 143 2.5. Mediterranean Europe In some cases, changes have progressed so far that fully natural or near to natural reference forests have been lost.The origin of many of the fruit trees commonly found in Mediterranean forests is often only very generally known for example. Here the most useful references are often old cultural forests that contain many elements of biodiversity, and restoration programmes often aim to re-create these. 144 Changes in access to reference forests can dramatically increase our level of understanding of forest dynamics and therefore management options. For example, when Finnish forest ecologists gained access to more natural forests in the Russian Federation at the end of the 1980s, they revised their understanding about disturbance patterns, recognising that snow damage was a proportionately larger agent of change than had been suspected. However, reference forests seldom provide all necessary information, particularly when changes have been so profound that no natural forest remains. Living reference forests are therefore a useful tool but by no means the only method 143 Broekmeyer et al, 1993. 144 Moussouris and Regato, 1999.

112 N. Dudley for determining targets. Some of the other tools that may be used as surrogates for living reference forests are outlined below. 3. Outline of Tools In most cases, reference landscapes are developed using a suite of different tools, the main ones of which follow: • Reference forests: As described above, these are probably the most valuable single source of information. • Comparison with other ecologically similar forests: Even if no nearby forests exist to act as a reference, use of cumulative data around the world can help to build our understanding about a forest’s ecology. For example, knowledge about breeding patterns and population in many birds of prey allows ornithologists to make reasonably good predictions about stable reproduction rates for species based on body weight. Understanding about forest fire ecology can, with caution, be transferred from one ecosystem to another, at least to develop working hypotheses. Other Table 15.1. Definitions of original forests. Definition Explanation elements, such as old growth characteristics, have been found to translate rather poorly from one forest ecosystem to another. • Comparison with “original” forest types: Although it is often impossible to find a wholly unaltered forest ecosystem, numerous well-thought-out attempts have been made to describe ancient or natural forests: some examples are given in Table 15.1. • Historical records: Written records can tell us a great deal and sometimes stretch back for hundreds or even thousands of years. The oldest known written records of forest management are 2000 years old and refer to forests maintained to supply timber for Shinto temples in Japan. Records from written histories, religious scriptures, sagas, and trade accounts can all provide valuable, albeit usually fragmentary, information about forests. Many supposedly “natural” forests in the U.K. can be traced back to recorded planting (often with the names of the people who planted them). More recent travellers’ accounts are frequently used to provide information on past vegetation patterns, such as the records kept by Italian travellers in Eritrea a century ago that Ancient woodland Woodland that has been in existence for many centuries: precise time varies but in the U.K., 400 years is commonly used 1 Frontier forest “Relatively undisturbed and big enough to maintain all their biodiversity, including viable populations of the wide-ranging species associated with each forest type”; criteria include primarily forested; natural structure, composition, and heterogeneity; dominated by indigenous tree species 2 Native forests Meaning is variable: often forests consisting of species originally found in the area— may be young or old, established or naturally occurring, although in Australia often used as if it were primary woodland 3 Old-growth in the Pacific “A forest stand usually at least 180–220 years old with moderate to high canopy Northwest, United States cover; a multi-layered multi-species canopy dominated by large over-storey trees” 4 Primary woodland “Land that has been wooded continuously since the original-natural woodlands were fragmented. The character of the woodland varies according to how it has been treated.” 5 Wildwood “Wholly natural woodland unaffected by Neolithic or later civilisation” 6 1 Bunce, 1989. 2 Bryant et al, 1997. 3 Clark, 1992. 4 Johnson et al, 1991. 5 Peterken, 2002. 6 Rackham, 1976.

Forest Landscape Restoration - IUCN