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Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

17 Policy Interventions

17 Policy Interventions for Forest Landscape Restoration Nigel Dudley Key Points to Retain Changing policy toward restoration or land use is often the most effective way of stimulating large-scale restoration. Such policy changes can be addressed, in different ways, at a local scale (e.g., changing grazing patterns), a national scale (e.g., modifying forestry laws), or a global scale (e.g., ensuring that international conventions favour high-quality restoration). Key tools in policy interventions include good analysis, especially economic analysis, case studies, and advocacy. 1. Background and Explanation of the Issue Localised and site-based interventions to restore habitat can be very useful, and much of what we have learned about ecological restoration comes from small-scale initiatives, primarily carried out by nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and local communities but also to an increasing extent by forwardlooking companies and government departments. We also describe further in this book (see “Practical Interventions that Will Support Restoration in Broad-Scale Conservation Based on WWF Experiences”) how strategic use of such initiatives can have wider benefits, for example by linking patches of existing habitat, by providing fuelwood to places that are otherwise without energy sources, or by preventing erosion. However, small-scale initiatives are inevitably limited in what they can achieve on their own and are usually expensive, stretching the resources of the organisations or communities that carry them out. Accordingly, it is often more effective to spend effort in changing policies at local, provincial, national, regional or even global level to encourage restoration at a broader scale. Many NGOs undertake restoration initiatives to use them as a lever to change policies, by, for example, showing that different approaches can be more effective or cost less money. But although working examples can be powerful tools in stimulating change, they usually need to be accompanied by effective advocacy and a thorough understanding of the policy climate. Policy change can operate at many different levels. At the most local level, it can include changing policies within a single community 158 or landscape to stimulate forest restoration. Examples include: • Agreed changes in grazing regimes to allow natural regeneration, perhaps agreeing to protect different zones at different times • Voluntary controls on collection of nontimber forest products to ensure that these are not degraded 158 Sithole, 2000. 121

122 N. Dudley • Collective investment in tree planting, for instance to establish fuelwood plantations Whilst such interventions are already a regular feature of many large conservation or conservation and development projects, they are again quite limited in scope. A far more significant change can be affected if national policies are changed in favour of more sympathetic restoration, for example: • Modification of national forestry laws to allow old-growth forest to remain, facilitate retention of deadwood, or remove perverse incentives that discourage restoration • Changing national forest restoration or afforestation programmes to increase the range of goods and services that they provide (for example, reducing the proportion of intensive plantations and increasing assisted natural regeneration) There are also increasingly opportunities to change policies that transcend national borders, 159 thus potentially having an impact on a global or a regional scale. Along with intergovernmental bodies, such transnational policy can also involve companies that operate in many countries or bilateral and multilateral donors, including the following: • Introduction of pro-restoration clauses within international treaties or incentives, such as using carbon offsets for forest restoration under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or specific policy recommendations of global forest initiatives such as the U.N. Forum on Forests • Integration of restoration into funding opportunities or legislative requirements from regional agreements such as those of the European Community • Development of company policies for restoration after mineral extraction, infrastructure developments, etc. • Modification of projects funded by bilateral or multilateral donor agencies 159 Tarasofsky, 1999. 2. Examples 2.1. Altai Sayan, Russia Russia’s first woodland area to be certified under the Forest Stewardship Council is still managed collectively and includes large areas of woodland on sandy soils dominated by birch—used for specialist products sold by the Body Shop chain. The certification process included agreement by farming cooperatives on changes in sheep grazing to leave some areas untouched for long enough to foster regeneration of birch woods. 159a 2.2. Latvia Latvian forestry inherited legislation crafted by the Soviet Union, which included the use of large clearcuts and a requirement to manage forests including removal of deadwood. As a result, dead standing and lying timber is in short supply in many woodlands, leading to a decline in many saproxylic (deadwood living) species. 160 This is particularly serious at a European scale because Latvia’s forests contain some of the richest biodiversity in the continent. WWF in Latvia has worked with the government to change the forestry regulations to allow retention of deadwood in managed forests, thus opening the opportunity of increasing this threatened microhabitat. 2.3. Vietnam The government’s five million hectare reforestation programme aims to restore forest cover but in practice hampers local flexibility. Although large plantations have been established, it seems likely that in several provinces much money has been wasted in places where forest cover remains high. In theory funding can be used to support natural regeneration, for example in the buffer zones of protected areas, as is already happening around Song Thanh Nature Reserve. The WWF Indochina Programme is working with the government to 159a Information drawn from site visit as part of certification team, 1998. 160 Rotbergs, 1994.

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