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Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

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esearch institutions,local government agencies, and NGOs (10 partners) to create a tropical dry forests programme. Underway since 2001, this programme has already carried out much of the preliminary reconnaissance and mapping in different tropical dry forest fragments, as well as ecological, silvicultural, and horticultural studies of great importance to restoration efforts slated to begin in the field in 2005.Two of the authors (Aronson and Vallauri), who have been involved in this restoration programme, consider that partners should work to prepare now as soon as possible a protect–manage– restore approach and restoration at broad scale in a large priority landscape,like the ecologically outstanding landscape of Gouaro Deva (see “Restoring Dry Tropical Forests”). 2.2. Vietnam: Integrating Restoration into a Landscape Approach Across Seven Provinces (Step 2) The Central Truong Son initiative, covering seven provinces in central Vietnam inland from Dalat, is developing an integrated approach to forest protection, management, and restoration. Comparatively large areas of natural forest remain standing, although often in poor or highly degraded condition. There are major plantation developments of varying success, and the government is committed to maintaining protected areas. The new Ho Chi Minh Highway is bringing rapid social and environmental changes, some of which directly threaten remaining natural forests. The Central Truong Son initiative has identified priority landscapes and used a gap analysis, coupled with a detailed study of forest quality, to pinpoint the most effective areas for restoring natural forest in terms of increasing forest connectivity and protecting biodiversity; these are currently around the buffer zone of Song Thanh nature reserve and in a so-called green corridor area linking several patches of natural forest. Elsewhere, more generally the project is seeking to increase the proportion of forest restoration funds used for natural regeneration (see case study “Monitoring Forest Landscape Restoration—Vietnam”). 9. An Attempt to Develop a Framework for Restoration Planning 69 2.3. France: The Consequences of a Lack of Ecological Monitoring (Step 5) In the early 1860s, an ambitious “Restoration of Mountain Lands” initiative was set up by the French forest administration in the southern Alps, primarily for the purpose of erosion control. A wide range of plant material was used, including native shrubs and grasses, but no particular preference was given to native trees for replanting. Over 60,000 hectares were thus planted between 1860 and 1914, using mainly Pinus nigra Arn. subsp. nigra Host. These efforts have proved effective at stopping the average erosion rate (of 0.7mm per year) on black marls. Nevertheless, although rehabilitated in the sense that erosion has been halted and badlands forested, these ecosystems were not fully restored. No fine-tuning assistance and ecological evaluation was carried out until recently. 100 The forest soils were now better protected, as shown by the study of soil biological activity, especially earthworm communities. However, the rehabilitated ecosystems were facing two new ecological problems: lack of natural regeneration, and development of an infestation of the pine trees by mistletoe (Viscum album). Once management priorities have been revised, the goal for the future is to restore the diversity, structure, and functioning of a native forest ecosystem. The absence of long-term monitoring and evaluation for about 100 years did not allow a rapid adaptation of the restoration trajectory. After a necessary short pioneer stage with Austrian pine, the restoration strategy should have been pursued 30 years later by a phase of autogenic restoration of native biota [oak (Quercus), maple (Acer), mountain ash (Sorbus), and others]. 3. Outline of Tools There are still few specific planning tools designed specifically for restoration. However, many existing conservation planning tools could be adapted for or could include a restora- 100 Vallauri et al, 2002.

70 D. Vallauri et al tion component. For example, Conservation International has developed guidelines for corridors that include reference to restoration to fill gaps in existing forest cover, although with little detail. The reader will find more details on the potential tools step by step in the following sections. They include among others: Step 1. Initiating a restoration programme and partnerships • Lobbying • Participatory approaches • Capacity building Step 2. Defining restoration needs, linking restoration to large-scale conservation vision • Ecoregional planning process (WWF) • 5-S process and systematic conservation planning (The Nature Conservancy) • Landscape planning Step 3. Defining restoration strategy and tactics, including land-use scenarios • Conceptual modelling • Geographic information systems • Ecological modelling • “Restoration vision and strategy” meetings Step 4. Implementing restoration • Tools on plantation, natural regeneration, species’ selection, etc., are covered in other sections of this book. Step 5. Piloting systems toward fully restored ecosystems • Restoration projects’ databases:A lot could be learned from past restoration successes and failures. The analysis of databases of long-term restoration projects is very useful, like the world restoration database launched by UNEP-WCMC (http:// www.unepwcmc.org/forest/restoration/ database.htm) or the database of evaluated restoration programmes in the Mediterranean (http://www.ceam.es/reaction/) • Criteria and indicators for monitoring (see section “Monitoring and Evaluation”) 4. Future Needs Restoration planning in landscapes or large scales is still in its infancy. Much further work is needed to refine and improve the planning process and define appropriate tools. Thus, specific work on restoration planning is highly needed in the coming years, both in theory and in practice. Learning from past restoration programmes and their successes and failures could prove an efficient starting point. In time, lessons might usefully be captured in a step-by-step guidebook or manual specifically on this subject and perhaps with associated software programmes if appropriate. References Aronson, J., Floret, C., Le Floc’h, E., Ovalle, C., and Pontanier, R. 1993. Restoration and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems in arid and semi-arid lands. I. A view from the south. Restoration Ecology 1:8–17. Clewell, A., and Rieger, J.P. 1997. What practitioners need from restoration ecologists. Restoration Ecology 5(4):350–354. Pickett, S.T.A., and Parker, V.T. 1994. Avoiding old pitfalls: opportunities in a new discipline. Restoration Ecology 2(2):75–79. Vallauri, D., Aronson, J., and Barbéro, M. 2002. An analysis of forest restoration 120 years after reforestation of badlands in the south-western Alps. Restoration Ecology 10(1):16–26. Wyant, J.G., Meganck, R.A., and Ham, S.H. 1995a. A planning and decision-making framework for ecological restoration. Environmental Management 6:789–796. Wyant, J.G., Meganck, R.A., and Ham, S.H. 1995b. The need for an environmental restoration decision framework. Ecological Engineering 5:417– 420.

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