5 years ago

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

52 N. Dudley et al

52 N. Dudley et al resources including many of the poorest people. A far larger number are indirectly dependent, for example, on environmental services from forests such as soil and watershed protection. Forests also provide a wealth of recreational, spiritual, and aesthetic services. 1.2. Why Landscapes? Many restoration efforts have ended in failure (see “Forest Landscape Restoration in Context”). Some of the reasons for this relate to their limited scope, their lack of engagement with local people and other stakeholders’ interests and needs, their short-term nature, and their failure to address underlying causes of forest loss and degradation. In the last decade or so it has become increasingly clear to conservationists that developmental and socioeconomic concerns cannot be overlooked if conservation is to be successful. Conservation activities, therefore, inevitably take place alongside other aspects of sustainable development, and a landscape approach can help to embrace both aspects of conservation and development. Because the restoration of forests in landscapes aims to repair and recover forest products and services that are valuable to people, it has a key role to play in development programmes. Balancing competing ecological and social needs is always difficult, but is most likely to succeed if we work on a large enough area to encompass two or more interactive ecosystems, as well as different landscape units with different land uses by local people. This facilitates negotiation and trade-offs among different demands. Thus, rather than relying on a series of individual projects attempting to restore individual forest values, at the landscape scale it becomes possible to attempt the integration of these projects.Where successful, the net result should be much more than the sum of individual site-based restoration actions. Achieving a balance between the various goods and services required from restored forest ecosystems requires conceptualisation,planning,and implementation on a broader scale. It also assumes some negotiations and trade-offs among the various stakeholders involved to identify those restoration actions that have enough of a groundswell of support to be likely to succeed. A landscape or ecoregion approach also allows forest restoration to be fully integrated with protection and sustainable management of forest. From the perspectives of biodiversity, longterm viability and ultimately social and economic values, approaches to restoration need to focus on forest functions and ecological processes. A key concern in many restoration projects is increasing the size of core areas of forest habitat. However, where space is limited by competing land uses, many functions of a large forest can be simulated by increasing connectivity between patches of forest by biological corridors and ecological stepping stones (patches of habitat that can provide “way stations” for migrating or mobile species). Increasing the values of existing forests, for example by changing management or decreasing interference, can also play a vital role in restoration. The landscape scale also allows us to consider the links between different habitat types. The interface between habitats may be abrupt (particularly in managed landscapes) or gradual, and they will have a varying ability to allow dispersal and interchange of species (see “Restoring Tropical Montane Forests”). Increasing the permeability of habitat boundaries to genetic interchange may be as important as specific habitat creation such as biological corridors. 1.3. Protect, Manage, Restore in a Landscape The result of integrating efforts to restore multiple functions at a landscape scale often resembles a mosaic, where protected areas, other protective forests, and various forms of use and management are combined, depending on existing and evolving needs, legislative constraints, and land ownership patterns. Restoration becomes a management option that can be used within any part of the landscape to contribute to the overall long-term aims for the landscape. Agreeing on the mosaic and balancing different social, economic, and environmental needs on a landscape scale requires careful planning and negotiation. A landscape approach recognises that overall landscape values and services are more impor-

tant than individual sites, and that in a world of competing interests, conservation aims need to be integrated with those of, for example, poverty alleviation, human health, and other legitimate forms of social and economic development and welfare. Conservation cannot, or should not, take place divorced from issues relating to human well-being, and people working for conservation are usually also concerned about social justice and sustainable development. The appropriate approach, therefore, is to identify where and how these different but overlapping interests can best be integrated into a multifunctional landscape. Such integration will necessarily include negotiation and trade-offs. 1.4. The Process of Restoring Forest Functions in a Landscape Deciding what forms of restoration to apply requires a suite of different activities, including careful analysis of what is needed, assessment of what is possible, and agreement amongst relevant stakeholders about the aims of restoration and the appropriate actions to undertake. It is axiomatic of forest landscape restoration that in most cases we are not looking at a single project or a single forest use, but rather at a range of different restoration efforts that will, as far as is feasible, be coordinated and complementary. The extent to which this is attainable in practice depends on the willingness of different groups of stakeholders to cooperate, the negotiation skills of those involved, and hard-to-define issues such as ownership patterns and other demands on the landscape. In areas where much of the land is in private ownership, many “common goods” including conservation can only be addressed through voluntary agreements, land purchase, or overarching policy decisions, and all of these options are slow and laborious to achieve in most situations. 2. Examples Some examples show how different countries or regions have approached issues of restoration and how different priorities have shaped 7. Why Do We Need to Consider Restoration in a Landscape Context? 53 and in some cases distorted options for restoring a balanced forest mosaic. 2.1. Switzerland: Restoration for Environmental Services but with Additional Economic and Biodiversity Values Following severe erosion and flooding problems in the past resulting from historical deforestation, during the 19th and 20th centuries Switzerland devised a system of continuous cover forestry to protect slopes and provide resources and fuel. The government has one of the few forest policies that explicitly rank social and protective functions above commercial functions.The country has 1,204,047 hectares of forest and woodland, covering 29 percent of the country. 78 Trees within managed forests are generally native and around 60 percent are conifers, with almost half the growing stock being Norway spruce. Although forest management is less intensive than in many European countries on a stand level, it affects virtually the entire forest area, and there are very few oldgrowth forests. Around 0.5 percent of forests are in natural forest reserves. Landscape-scale planning has played a critical role in identifying where best to restore forests, with an emphasis being placed on avalanche control, stabilisation of slopes, provision of local firewood, and biodiversity conservation. 79 2.2. Guinea: Traditional Management Including Forest Restoration Careful research with villages on the forestsavannah interface in Guinea, in West Africa, found that rather than contributing to deforestation as was once thought, local communities were actually planting and tending forest patches. Once villages were abandoned (a periodic response to declining soil fertility so that communities moved every few decades), such forests tended to decline and disappear as a 78 Holenstein, 1995. 79 McShane and McShane-Caluzi, 1997.

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