5 years ago

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Outputs of this step

Outputs of this step are: • recognition and common understanding of the degradation, root causes, and solutions; • stakeholders’ involvement and participation; • partnership development for an efficient restoration programme (written key ideas of the programme and memorandum of understanding); and • secured budget for the restoration programme for at least a first pluri-annual period (e.g., five years). 1.2.2. Step 2: Defining Restoration Needs, Linking Restoration to Large-Scale Conservation Vision Here is a step that is not necessarily easy to “sell” to local stakeholders. The geographical scope can be much wider than many people are used to working with or even conceptualising (or want to work with, as it has some implications for development, too). Ideally, as mentioned above, a vision and strategy for restoration should be developed within an integrated “protect–manage–restore” approach, especially because the investment needed to restore has to be reinforced through synergy with management and protection activities. Assessment is needed to determine how restoration targets might be achieved, including determining current or potential benefits from forests in the landscape (biodiversity, environmental services, and resources for subsistence or sale) and the potential for restoration through use of reference forests and other techniques. An important part of the process is deciding the realistic boundary of the area or areas that we wish to restore. Definition of key areas for protection, analysis of degradation, and the predictive anticipation of threats can all help to define priority landscapes where investment in restoration is most justified. Outputs of this step are: • definition of conservation targets at various pertinent scales (ecoregion, landscape); • analysis of the broad consequences on the landscape of past degradation, active pressure, and potential threats; 9. An Attempt to Develop a Framework for Restoration Planning 67 • definition of the role of restoration along with identification of protection and management needs; and • identification of the priority areas that require restoration and explanation of the reasons why: Which landscapes, landscape units, or landscape functions do we need to restore? Which species do we need to eradicate, control or reintroduce? 1.2.3. Step 3: Defining Restoration Strategy and Tactics, Including Land-Use Scenarios Considering ecological characteristics, but also socioeconomical context or goals assigned to the restoration project, several trajectories and restoration options could be developed for the same project. Choosing among these options requires careful study and data gathering. This will necessarily mean reconciling different points of view and opinions.Agreement can be a phased and continuing process; that is, it may be possible to agree to some specific and useful restoration interventions without reaching agreement about the whole future of the landscape. The way in which such agreements are reached will naturally depend on the political and social realities of particular countries or regions; the general principle that decisions should be as participatory as possible applies throughout. Outputs of this step are: • assessment of current/potential benefits from the landscape for people, and for biodiversity; • assessment of the current, past, and reference landscape states; • definition of what we can expect to restore; • development of possible land-use scenarios in space (including maps); • development of possible restoration trajectories to achieve short-term and long-term goals (including models, time frames, and maps); • reconciliation of land-use options: how can we achieve specific goals while meeting or reconciling conflicting demands, tastes, and needs?;

68 D. Vallauri et al • set of goals, strategies, and tactics for each zone and problem in the landscape; • set of priorities in space and time; • identification of restoration trajectories, technical options, steps, and phases, (especially remembering the monitoring and “finetuning” phases necessary to fully achieve long term restoration goals); and • A written restoration plan, strategy, and set of tactics, with identified time frames, maps, allocated funds, and quantified targets. 1.2.4. Step 4: Implementing Restoration This step is the most visible part of the work, and usually the most costly. Some projects start here, for example, by directly investing all the available funds to plant trees on an emblematic or strategic site. However, this ignores the previous planning steps recommended above and can easily end up wasting time and resources in restoration activities that either do not work or are in suboptimal locations. It is of course judicious to start smallscale actions, such as one or more pilot sites, for the sake of “learning by doing,” to demonstrate the feasibility of key restoration goals and to test silvicultural techniques (for example planting, but also natural regeneration). But we would strongly recommend that larger scale activities also be undertaken in the context of careful planning and assessment as outlined in steps above. Outputs of this step are: • development of pilot sites; • implementation of large-scale actions; • lessons learned from first results, both successes and failures; and • design and implementation of changes/ adaptation in the restoration programme. 1.2.5. Step 5: Piloting Systems Toward Fully Restored Ecosystems In practice, a few years or decades after starting implementation, even if restoration has hitherto been successful, unexpected results of previous work or changing circumstances (evolution of the socioeconomic context, for example) could alter the most preferable restoration trajectory. This could even lead in some cases to redefining overall project goals. Such modifications should not be considered as a failure of the overall programme, but rather as a normal step in the restoration of a complex set of ecosystems within a larger landscape matrix. Thus, the restoration work is not “finished after planting.” To sustain restoration success in the long run, and to anticipate potential problems, a simple monitoring and evaluation framework (see section “Monitoring and Evaluation”) needs to be set up from the outset of the programme in order to facilitate adaptive management and corrective actions. Outputs of this step are: • regular evaluation (social, economical, ecological); • restoration trajectory reappraisal; and • design and implementation of corrective actions. 2. Examples As yet, there are few full-scale forest landscape restoration programmes, although their numbers are rapidly increasing. The following examples show both the need for planning and broad-scale restoration planning in practice. These examples show not only how a planning framework can be implemented, but also how problems can arise by forgetting one step. 2.1. New Caledonia: From Awareness to Restoration of Tropical Dry Forests (Step 1) It took 15 years from the first alarm signals by scientists to the first significant pilot plantings or protection of sites within a forest landscape restoration initiative in New Caledonia. Attention to the tropical dry forests of New Caledonia began to grow in the early 1990s. In 1998, WWF, the global conservation organisation, launched an effort to organise a consortium of

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