Restoration of the World's Degraded Forest Landscapes


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This study was presented during the conference “Production and Carbon Dynamics in Sustainable Agricultural and Forest Systems in Africa” held in September, 2010.

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Restoration of the World's Degraded Forest Landscapes

  1. 1. A World of Opportunity - Global Potential for Forest Landscape Restoration Lars Laestadius, World Resources Institute & Peter Potapov, South Dakota State University ABSTRACT: Forests have paid a high price for the growing human need for food, feed, fuel and timber. More than three quarters of the world’s forests have been cleared, fragmented or degraded while almost half have disappeared completely. Just one fifth remains undisturbed in tracts that are large enough to maintain all their natural functions. The consequences are immense. Degradation harms local livelihoods. Loss of ecosystem services causes local poverty and downstream disasters. Biodiversity may be irreversibly lost. Yet restoration is possible. Poor people can turn degraded lands into healthy, productive and biologically rich assets within a few years if given long-term secure rights and good technical advice. Restoration can stimulate economic growth in poor rural areas, increase carbon stocks and ecosystem resilience and reduce the risk of natural disasters. Restoration should focus on restoring or enhancing the functionality of a landscape (that is, its supply of ecosystem services)—not on maximizing new forest cover. Site level decisions should be made with the greater context of the landscape in mind so that trade-offs among conflicting interests are possible. Local stakeholder involvement in decision- making and implementation is essential. Promotion of spontaneous (“natural”) regrowth should be a viable option along with tree planting. A preliminary geospatial assessment by the authors suggests that more than a billion hectares of deforested and degraded land are available for broad-scale or mosaic type restoration. The opportunities for restoration are more evenly distributed among developing countries than the opportunities to avoid deforestation which makes restoration an interesting addition to REDD plus. *** DISCUSSION: Covered questions regarding the huge potential for greater integration between agriculture and forestry, and the need to include more economic assessments within biophysical models. Funding has been allocated to do this at a country level for both Ghana and Mexico in the coming months.
  2. 2. A World of Opportunity - Global Potential for Forest Landscape Restoration Lars Laestadius World Resources Institute Peter Potapov South Dakota State University 29 September 2010
  3. 3. Restoration of the World’s Degraded Forest Landscapes
  4. 4. Potential forest Source: WRI/SDSU
  5. 5. Virgin forest – 23% Working forest – 51% Lost forest – 26% Source: WRI/SDSU
  6. 6. What is restoration? Sustainable improvement of the supply of ecosystem services in a landscape through active measures Re-greening Rehabilitation Improvement ! Gain
  7. 7. Forest Landscape Restoration: not a top-down, one-size fits all solution • Brings people together to identify, negotiate, and implement practices . . . • . . . that restore an agreed optimal balance of the ecological, social, and economic benefits of forests and trees . . . • . . . within a broader pattern of land uses
  8. 8. Forest Landscape Restoration Functionality, not forest Landscapes and sites Local needs and high-level priorities Aided regrowth and planting Adaptive management
  9. 9. • Alliance for Religions & Conservation • China • CARE • CBD Secretariat • CIFOR • El Salvador • FAO • Finland • Global Mechanism/UNCCD • ICRAF • IUCN • Italy • ITTO • IUFRO • Kenya • Ghana (FORIG) • Japan • Lebanon • Netherlands • PROFOR/World Bank • South Africa • Switzerland (SECO) • United Kingdom • United States • UNEP-WCMC • UNFF Secretariat • WBCSD • WWF Collaborators include: • Brazil Forest Service • WRI • Wageningen International • Tropenbos Indonesia • Helpage Rwanda • Stora Enso A global partnership for forest landscape restoration
  10. 10. Area of Investigation
  11. 11. Potential Forest Extent forests (darker green), woodlands (lighter green)
  12. 12. Current Forest Extent green – forests, light green – woodlands/sparse tree cover, yellow – deforested
  13. 13. How much is left? 43% 41%Forest Woodlands
  14. 14. Potential Forest Landscapes: Status Dark green - intact forest landscapes; Green - natural/managed forests; Very light green - natural/managed woodlands Lighter green – degraded forests; Orange - degraded and partially deforested forests/woodlands; Red - deforested forests/woodlands
  15. 15. Type of land Classification Source 1. Intact forest Intact forest landscapes (3) 2. Managed natural forests Forest (satellite) Tree cover (landcover map) (2) (4) 3. Degraded forest Forest (satellite) Cultivated lands or agroforestry mosaic (landcover map) (2) (4) 4. Degraded and partially deforested potential forest Woodlands (satellite) Potential for supporting forest (climate, soils) (2) (1) 5. Deforested potential forest Non-forest (satellite) Potential for supporting forest (climate, soils) (2) (1) 6. Natural/managed woodlands Woodlands (satellite) Potential for supporting woodlands (climate, soils) Un-managed land (landcover map) (2) (1) (4) 7. Degraded and partially deforested potential woodlands Woodlands (satellite) Potential for supporting woodlands (climate, soils) Non-forest or cultivated land (landcover map) (2) (1) (4) 8. Deforested potential woodlands Non-forest (satellite) Potential for supporting woodlands (climate, soils) (2) (1) (1) Potential forest cover map (2) Current forest cover map (3) Global intact forest landscapes map (4) Global landcover map
  16. 16. Lands with potential for broad-scale restoration Degraded or deforested areas, sparsely populated, not used to produce crops. Capable of supporting closed forest. China Madagascar
  17. 17. Lands with potential for mosaic restoration Degraded or deforested areas , may have extensive land-use and high population density. Capable of supporting closed forest or sparse woodlands. China Russia
  18. 18. Human pressure (land-use intensity and population density)
  19. 19. Opportunities for Restoration Dark green – broad scale restoration (degraded or lost forest, low population, no croplands) Light green – mosaic restoration (pastures, agroforestry mosaics, mosaics of crops and other vegetation, abandoned lands, etc) Bright yellow – irrigated croplands protective restoration Light yellow – rainfed croplands, plantations protective restoration
  20. 20. Opportunities for Forest Landscape Restoration 0 100 200 300 400 500 Oceania North & Central America Europe & Russia South America Asia Africa Million hectares Wide-scale restoration Mosaic-type restoration
  21. 21. Wide-Scale Restoration Opportunities (Million hectares) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Brazil China Myanmar Indonesia Russian Federation Colombia Lao People's Democratic Republic Australia Thailand India CЇte d'Ivoire Turkey Cambodia Viet Nam Ethiopia United States of America Venezuela Canada Ecuador Ghana Democratic Republic of the Congo United Republic of Tanzania Madagascar Mozambique New Zealand
  22. 22. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Brazil China Australia United States of America Russian Federation Madagascar Angola Indonesia DR Congo Nigeria India Mexico Argentina Sudan Mozambique United Republic of Tanzania Turkey Zambia Bolivia Canada CЇte d'Ivoire Colombia Guinea Chad Ethiopia Mosaic-Type Restoration Opportunities (Million hectares)
  23. 23. Restoration Has Many Parents ... Mitigation Adaptation Water Fuel, fiber, food Disasters Biodiversity Livelihoods ... Is it therefore an orphan?
  24. 24. The Americas Asia Africa and Europe Opportunities Are Widely Spread
  25. 25. 1950 1900 Today ”Restoration’s just another word for nothing´left to lose” Restoration is possible!