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Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Section III

Section III Forest Restoration in Modern Broad-Scale Conservation

6 Restoration as a Strategy to Contribute to Ecoregion Visions John Morrison, Jeff Sayer, and Colby Loucks Key Points to Retain Ecoregion conservation is a large-scale, longterm, and flexible concept whose purpose is to meet the four goals of biodiversity conservation: representation, maintenance of evolutionary processes, maintenance of viable populations, and resilience. In degraded landscapes and ecoregions restoration goals and strategies will be critical to the success of an ecoregion vision. But as restoration can be energy intensive, its role must be defined in the context of quantifiable goals related to the four larger goals of biodiversity conservation. 1. Background and Explanation of the Issue Most people are aware of the global reduction in forest cover as a result of ever-increasing human domination of the planet. The impacts are felt on biodiversity and on people as shown in the previous chapters of this book. A natural reaction to this forest loss is to engage in forest restoration activities. Across the planet, conservationists are working to increase overall forest coverage using a variety of strategies. In some cases this includes attempting to intensify agriculture so that it requires less land, focussing on value over volume in wood products, and concentrating production in (native) plantation forests. Another strategy is to de-intensify agricultural uses and promote a mosaic of natural and anthropogenic elements, allowing native species and communities to fill in around our use of the landscape, and provide necessary ecosystem services to operate more freely. In any case, the competition for land among a range of interests and stakeholders necessitates that all forest conservation activities, including forest restoration, be strategic and for a specific purpose(s), be it conservation or otherwise. This strategic focus should ideally be identified through a participatory process that leads to a long-term “vision” for the desired future state of the area. Increasing the quality and quantity of forest cover is an important general goal for conservation, both for ecosystem services (watershed protection, climate regulation, etc.) and for the needs of those species that depend on forests. However, due to the intense competition for land between the forces of development and conservation, efficiency in how and where forest restoration occurs is critical. In other words, while increased tree cover will nearly always be beneficial from a conservation perspective, if possible, restoration efforts should be focussed in such a way that multiple conservation and social goals are reached (also see sections “Restoring Ecological Functions” and “Restoring Socioeconomic Values”). Meeting both 41

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