5 years ago

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Part A Toward a Wider

Part A Toward a Wider Perspective in Forest Restoration Section I Introducing Forest Landscape Restoration

1 Forest Landscape Restoration in Context Nigel Dudley, Stephanie Mansourian, and Daniel Vallauri Key Points to Retain Forest landscape restoration is grounded in ecoregion conservation and is defined as a planned process that aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or degraded landscapes. Such an approach helps achieve a balance between human needs and those of biodiversity by restoring a range of forest functions within a landscape and accepting the trade-offs that result. 1. Background and Explanation of the Issue People have been actively using forests since long before the beginning of history. The oldest known written story, the Epic of Gilgamesh recorded on 12 cuneiform tablets in Assyria in the seventh century b.c., includes reference to the problems of forest loss. The need for good tree husbandry was stressed in Virgil’s pastoral poem The Georgics in 30 b.c., written to promote rural values within the Roman Empire. The oldest records of forest management in the world have been kept without a break for 2000 years in Japan, relating to forests managed to produce timber for Shinto temples. The need for large-scale restoration has also been recognised for centuries; for example, the English pamphleteer John Evelyn wrote a tract calling for major tree planting during the time of Queen Elizabeth I in the 1600s. In more recent times, forest departments around the world have developed major efforts at reforestation in Europe, eastern North America, Australia, New Zealand, and increasingly in parts of the tropics. 1 In the last 20 years, hundreds of aid and conservation projects have promoted and carried out tree planting schemes and the development of tree nurseries, aimed at both supplying goods such as fuelwood and at restoring ecological functions and protecting biodiversity. Following the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SERI) and its chapters around the world, the scientific knowledge on ecological restoration has been conceptualised and applied to many different types of ecosystem, including forest landscapes. Good books have already been published. 2 Why then do we need another book about restoration? The arguments for forest restoration are becoming more compelling. Forest loss and degradation is a worldwide problem, with net annual estimates of forest loss being 9.4 million hectares throughout the 1990s 3 and those for degradation uncalculated but universally agreed to be even higher. The most severe losses are currently concentrated mainly, although not exclusively, in the tropics, with 1 For an overview see Perlin, 1991. 2 Perrow and Davy; 2002, SERI, 2002; Whisenant, 1999. 3 FAO, 2001. 3

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