Forest Landscape Restoration in a Mediterranean Context


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Forest Landscape Restoration in a Mediterranean Context

  1. 1. Forest Landscape Restorationin a Mediterranean Context Aristotelis C. PapageorgiouDepartment of Forestry, Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece Castellabate 2003
  2. 2. Presentation plan• The Mediterranean forests• Forest management and biodiversity conservation• Relevance of FLR in the Med• Special cases of Mediterranean interest: – Restoration after fire – Mitigation of desertificationMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 2
  3. 3. What is so special about the Med?• Biological, cultural, social, historical diversity• Biological diversity: – rich mosaic of changing ecosystems and land use patterns (from alpine to tropical) – Large amount of species (especially plants) – high endemism – Populations of species with a broader distribution are the most variable in terms of genetic diversityMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 3
  4. 4. Reasons of high biodiversity• The relief of the Mediterranean basinMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 4
  5. 5. Reasons of high biodiversity • The Mediterranean climateMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 5
  6. 6. Reasons of high biodiversity• The glaciations era – refugiaMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 6
  7. 7. Human and biodiversity • Most ancient human cultures • Centre of the “known world” • Organized trade and land use • First “globalized” economiesMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 7
  8. 8. May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 8
  9. 9. Direct use of plant speciesMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 9
  10. 10. Direct use of plant speciesMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 10
  11. 11. Human shaping natureAgriculture, grazing,fuelwood collection, etc.shape the landscape…May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 11
  12. 12. Mediterranean co-evolution• Degradation – desertification– loss of ecosystemproductivity• Mainly small scale activities –high land use diversity –fragmentation• Natural forest ecosystems –mixed forests – protective roleagainst erosion, drought –social importance for RD• Recreation – quality of life• Culture – spiritualityMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 12
  13. 13. Mediterranean forestsMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 13
  14. 14. Mediterranean vs. N. European- extensive instead of intensiveproduction – many products –combined uses / mosaic- mountainous forests- close to nature forestry- social & protective role haspriority- low economic significance &political priority – weak forestsector – important NTFP sector- human / forest co-evolutionMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 14
  15. 15. “Mosaic” - forest landscapeMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 15
  16. 16. “Mosaic” - forest landscapeMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 16
  17. 17. Northern vs. Southern Mediterranean• SOUTH: ecosystems pushed beyond the point of self-recovery - pressure from grazing, fuelwood collection and other uses - resources are gradually exhausted - desertificationMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 17
  18. 18. Northern vs. Southern Mediterranean• NORTH: shift of the rural population towards the cities - reduced quantity and quality of forest management - wildfires, non-sustainable uses and conversion of forests to other land uses - desertificationMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 18
  19. 19. Deforestation – urban expansionMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 19
  20. 20. Is biodiversity at stake?• Disturbance of human – nature balance• Alteration of the Med biodiversity profile• Biodiversity is rather dynamic than static• The dynamic systems are broken (genetic, ecological, nutrients, water, energy, etc.)• Ecosystem are not able to provide goods and services in the long term – desertification.• The restoration of the ability of Mediterranean ecosystems to continue their dynamic function should become the target of any conservation effort in the regionMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 20
  21. 21. Forest managementMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 21
  22. 22. Forest management in the Med• Management strategies & techniques imported from the central and northern counties of Europe - production of timber is priority in most cases• Apply on the more temperate forests of the Mediterranean region - ignore the non-productive terrestrial ecosystems (I.e. maquis)• Fail to capture the complexity of Mediterranean forests• The spatial reference of SFM is the stand and not the broader landscape - more appropriate for the description of the human - nature dynamicsMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 22
  23. 23. SFM is good – can it help here?• Most endangered by mismanagement, abandonment and desertification• Most diverse in all levels• Most crucial for soil protection and the water cycle – closest to human settlementsMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 23
  24. 24. Forest protection in the Med• Protection concepts and strategies imported from northern counties with empty spaces and productive forests - human influence on BD is ignored• Based mainly on the “set – aside” principle• Focus on absolute protection or special management of specific biological entities or spatial units – miss the broader picture• Restricted to reserves and networks• Selection of protected items – majority remains unprotectedMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 24
  25. 25. Forest protection and raptors• Raptors need gaps and openings in the forest, maintained by small scale grazing & logging• Absolute protection for 20 years increased the density of the forest stand• Raptors moved to the non-protected part of the forestMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 25
  26. 26. “Other wooded land”• Most Mediterranean countries have a large percentage of terrestrial ecosystems characterized as “other wooded land” – not protected – not managed• The classical protection / SFM approach has a spatial gap of about 50%• The classical protection / SFM approach cannot cope with the dynamic nature of Mediterranean forestsMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 26
  27. 27. Combination of activitiesMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 27
  28. 28. Restoration in the Mediterranean• Many Mediterranean countries have given priority to forest restoration - programmes have been performed• Restoration = reforestation = tree planting• Reforestations are less and worse than needed - aim at the creation of “high forest” stands – not always possible in Med• Lack of organisation in a broader scale - lack of continuity - absence of support from the public during restoration• Use of wrong material and techniques• Ad hoc basis, without prior planning• Stand level - the broader landscape context, including economic and social issues, is not consideredMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 28
  29. 29. Key features of FLRo FLR combines existing development, conservation and natural resource management principleso Seeks to advance both ecological integrity and human well- being, particularly in respect to improving rural livelihoodso Focuses on the goods, services and processes rather than trees.o Scales-up action to a landscape level (e.g. watershed).o Recognises and attempts to balance land-use tradeoffso Is a multisectoral approach extending the decision-making process to all key stakeholders.o Recognises the need to address the root causes of degradation and forest lossMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 29
  30. 30. Why FLR in the Mediterranean?Concerns the restoration of functionality of landscapes and respects their dynamic nature, as well as their complexity.Considers landscapes in a broader level, including biological and social values and parameters.Fills the gap between SFM and protection and acts in a complementary way for the protection and enhancement of ecosystem integrity, especially of degraded forests.Involves stakeholders and encourages participation - secures long-term existence of the benefits for the society.The most appropriate tool against desertification, due to its holistic approach and the integration of social, economic and ecological parameters in planning proceduresMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 30
  31. 31. How can FLR be applied?Restoration after fireRestoration as a measure to mitigate desertificationMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 31
  32. 32. Restoration after fireThe problem of forest fires in the Mediterranean:• Fire fighting in an ad hoc basis• Prevention is poor – focus on suppression• Restoration is actual only for some weeks in Autumn – poor quality and quantityAn FLR strategy for the restoration of burnt forests includes:• The design of proper restoration techniques, based on natural dynamics• Measures dealing with the underlying causes of forest fires / prevention actions• A coordination basis for all parties involved in forest fire prevention, suppression and restorationMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 32
  33. 33. So, what is different?Usual procedure after a large fire:• Professionals from forest administration decide which area should be planted and how many plants should be used.• The area is cleaned and the vegetation is replaced – professionals in the large scale – plants chosen for several reasons including shape, tolerance, etc.• Some voluntary actions include planting of several trees by individuals or groups – PR work – no continuity.May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 33
  34. 34. So, what is different?FLR approach after a large fire:• Describe the whole landscape that surrounds the burnt area – consider natural regeneration – consider fire ecological cycle• Decide on the priorities for the area burnt – amenity, production, protection… - involve parties• Set a target and work on it in a complementary to natural procedures – use proper material / proper ground / proper methodology.• Plan restoration activities considering long term trends, threats, such as new fires, grazing, conversion…• Address and work against the underlying causes of fire (in order to avoid new ones), involving parties.May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 34
  35. 35. DesertificationUnderlying cause: the lack of coordination between existing environmental and social policies in the Mediterranean regionForest policy vs. environmental policy, development policies & perverse funding, etc.Overlaps and gapsFLR can act as an integration mechanism for existing policies, strategies and measures and combine land use planning with the management of resources.May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 35
  36. 36. Forest Policy Network - GreeceMay 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 36
  37. 37. Possible constraints• FLR could be considered as one of the new concepts – ecosystem approach, close to nature forestry, etc.• Who will coordinate the FLR framework? Authorities in many cases cannot cooperate.• Participation has no legal & institutional basis in many Mediterranean countries.• Lack of inventories, data, land use regulations.• Contradictory legal framework for a horizontal activity, such as the FLR.• The success of FLR often depends on the “good practices” of other activities and sectors.• FLR is a solution for long term benefits for the society – Short term economic interests may oppose this approach.May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 37
  38. 38. Suggested first steps (?)Clarify what it is about: • Not a cookbook, cannot be applied everywhere • Is dynamic & should be flexible at each case • Is combining the efforts of existing actions and measuresAsk the responsible authorities for their view – let them adopt the concept – do not accuse wrong practices of the past.Work with low budget activities – no large communication events – seek for the added value – model projectsLet partners of successful cases promote the idea of FLRPromote and support research on the application of FLRTry to influence international and regional policy procedures, that may promote the idea of FLR, or its approach and main ideas – not its name necessarily.May 8, 2003 FLR in the Mediterranean 38