5 years ago

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

Forest Restoration in Landscapes

74 D.

74 D. Robinson mine such investments in the future. Given that forest restoration is a necessarily long-term conservation intervention, it is important to include such a temporal component in threat analysis. For restoration programmes around the world a number of common direct threats have been identified, including habitat fragmentation, unsustainable use, and overharvesting of forest resources, pollution, and invasive species—all contributing to the breakdown of ecological processes that are critical to the healthy functioning of natural forest systems. Underlying drivers of such threats are often related to policies that favour rapid and unsustainable conversion of forests for short-term economic gains. Markets for forest products, including global markets for products like timber and palm oil or local markets for fuelwood, can drive forest degradation and loss, particularly when market dynamics externalise true costs. Persistent conflict and civil unrest may force local dependence on forest resources to expand rapidly, given both a lack of alternatives to meet livelihood needs or an influx of migrants and displaced persons fleeing from conflict zones into forest areas. Moreover, in many cases, forest resources are the only resources readily available to generate the cash necessary to continue such conflicts. In such situations, the prospects for successful restoration are limited if underlying governance and conflict issues are not addressed. Other common indirect threats to forest restoration include a lack of knowledge and skills regarding the science and research behind appropriate habitat restoration and a lack of technical capacity to implement activities on the ground. A lack of political will and broad stakeholder support for restoration activities plagues many restoration programmes worldwide. Such a lack of support is often tied to a perception of high transaction costs or limited benefits associated with undertaking restoration. Given the time frame required for restoration projects, both a lack of sustained financial resources and unsure resource and land tenure rights combined can create a strong disincentive for undertaking restoration activities. 2. Examples 2.1. Madagascar In southern Madagascar the U.S. Agency for International Development is partnering with the Communes of Ampasy-Nahampoana and Mandromodromotra, the Department of Water and Forests (La Circonscription des Eaux et Forêts–CIREF) and QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) to undertake forest restoration activities in the Mandena Conservation Zone. The region’s forests are highly fragmented as a result of extraction of forest resources to meet the rising fuelwood needs of a growing population and increasing slash-and-burn agriculture, among other threats. This is one of the poorest regions of Madagascar, and the reliance of local populations on the forests to meet livelihood needs is driving forest loss and degradation. A thorough understanding of the threats and opportunities of this region identified by QMM in collaboration with the communes, community leaders, and regional government representatives produced a diverse set of innovative activities intended to mitigate direct threats of forest fragmentation and indirect threats associated with poverty. For example, in exchange for rights to mine ilmenite across the region— intended to stimulate economic growth and generate income within the region—QMM has agreed to invest in forest restoration in blocks adjacent to existing protected areas of primary forest harbouring significant biodiversity. The restoration will not only expand the area of contiguous forest, but also improve the health of the forest, protect critical water cycling processes, and is also tied to investment and development of ecotourism in the region. To mitigate deforestation of remaining intact areas driven by increasing local demand for fuelwood and charcoal, plantations of fast-growing species on already degraded or deforested land are also being supported. Even with a solid understanding of threats, the ability to address forest restoration, biodiversity, and local development needs in southern Madagascar is certainly not without challenges.A lack of knowledge and capacity in local forest ecology made the identification of

elevant native pioneer species a significant challenge, requiring over 8 years of research and a multimillion dollar investment to develop appropriate protocols for forest restoration. Perhaps the greatest challenges faced by partners now are how to scale up interventions beyond initial target restoration sites and to engage new collaborators in order to effectively address the true magnitude of threats driving forest degradation and loss across the entire region. 2.2. Atlantic Forest in Argentina In the Andresito region of Misiones,Argentina, Fundación Vida Silvestre Argentina (FVSA) and WWF are helping to restore key areas of forest adjacent to the Green Corridor, the largest remaining area of contiguous Atlantic forest in the world. The area has been significantly deforested by rapidly growing human populations to support small-scale agriculture and meet human fuelwood needs. To develop a detailed restoration strategy for the region, FVSA undertook a thorough analysis of threats and opportunities, combining onthe-ground surveys, economic analyses, and GIS tools. FVSA began by developing detailed land use maps for each parcel of land in the region based on the current tenure. Detailed land use maps were then overlaid with biological and socioeconomic data to identify key opportunities for creating forest restoration corridors that could meet overarching forest restoration goals. Research on biodiversityfriendly production practices for local forest and shade products was also undertaken with several universities in Argentina to assess potential economic gains from alternative conservation friendly enterprises. Pilot restoration plots using different species and production techniques were established to assess both ecological and economic costs and benefits (also see case study “Finding Economically Sustainable Means of Preserving and Restoring the Atlantic Forest in Argentina”).With poverty on the rise in the region, alternative income generation opportunities are a critical incentive for landowners to begin undertaking forest restoration. 10. Assessing and Addressing Threats in Restoration Programmes 75 Armed with these analyses and research results, FVSA continues to engage in a participatory process with individual private landowners, local cooperatives, government representatives, and others to develop appropriate long-term land use management options that include a mix of reforestation, timber harvesting, nontimber forest product production, and other uses. By including a spatially explicit component of such land use management plans, stakeholders are continuously able to see not only how restoration practices benefit them, but also how they are contributing to a broader sustainable vision for the entire region. Currently, the major challenge for this project also involves scaling up. FVSA is focussed on helping stakeholders expand the adoption of new production alternatives, sustainable resource use management practices, and developing carbon credit schemes to mitigate high restoration costs in order to achieve restoration goals over the long term. 2.3. Using a Three-Dimensional Model to Identify Threats in Vietnam In the area surrounding the Song Thanh Nature Reserve in the Quang Nam Province of Vietnam, WWF and partners undertook a participatory landscape planning process with community members from nine villages. 102 A “papier-mâché” 1:10,000 model of the 30,000hectare landscape surrounding the reserve was used to facilitate planning and decision making amongst villagers and forestry sector employees. Using paints, pins, and yarn to depict land use, natural resource elements, threats, and relationships, animated discussions and debates helped inform an integrated management plan focussed on a suite of protection, management, and restoration activities. In particular, through the modelling process, threats from illegal gold mining activities were identified and hotly debated, and have been raised with relevant authorities. Elderly people, women, and children were all able to contribute to the model- 102 Hardcastle et al, 2004.

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