Just Released: When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration

Ever wonder when a forest is actually considered a forest? A new article by global experts and IUCN partners helps define just that.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i

A fundamental necessity before expanding on any knowledge is setting baselines and definitions of terms and concepts. In the case of a forest, every person has likely already created a mental image of what one looks like; and we also have agreed upon and established the defining characteristics of forests in the academic, forestry, and conservation communities.

However, many definitions for landscapes as complex and varied as a forest are in need of further refining and categorisation based on contemporary considerations. Forest gain and forest lost are highly variable, for example. Whereas forest loss may be abrupt, gain may be slow or may include nonnative species, which can potentially alter ecosystem functioning. Broad stroke historical definitions may not account for these important nuances in forest origins and trajectories. In the era of international conventions and other efforts to enhance forest landscape restoration (FLR), new targeted definitions and concepts of forests are necessary to help resource managers and academics navigate the complex mosaics that are modern forest landscapes.

To address this, Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment released When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration. The new journal article explores in detail what exactly defines a forest landscape given modern and refined characteristics. This article is a product of collaboration by PARTNERS (People and Reforestation in the Tropics, a Network for Research, Education, and Synthesis) and is published as open access with funding support through IUCN from UKAid via the KNOWFOR programme.

So find out for yourself when a forest is actually considered a forest in the era of FLR.

Work area: 
Forest Landscape Restoration
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