Increasingly, forest landscape restoration is being recognized for its enormous benefits to those living in and outside the forest. How to build the momentum and get the right interventions in the right places most in need is explored in a new article by IUCN's forest team and partners.
More than ten international organizations, multilateral conventions, and networks around the world have active forest and landscape-scale restoration initiatives or programmes in place. The Bonn Challenge alone has generated commitments to have more than 86 million hectares of degraded or deforested land under restoration by 2020 and beyond.
The variety of players reflects the many different types of benefits that come from restoring forests: economic benefits including jobs and sustainable forestry; farming and food security; rural income and livelihoods; and biodiversity and ecosystem services such as clean water.
But no conservation approach is ‘cookie cutter.’ Instead, six main policy goals help inform and guide the creation of each knowledge agenda – in which the accumulation of science and information is applied based on understanding the different local contexts that stand to benefit from such knowledge.
In a new open-access article, IUCN's forest landscape restoration team helped global experts rank these policy goals, which include: prioritising lands most in need of restoration; mobilizing financial resources; and building community understanding. Looking at these goals across national and sub-national constituencies, the authors explore the challenges in achieving them, how to fill the knowledge gaps, and pose questions like ‘whose degraded land is it?’
Amid discussing the many challenges, raising questions, and advancing avenues of change is the sober reminder that policy agendas for change must be informed by the research and experience of those on the frontlines of forest landscape restoration; likewise, research projects benefit from the participation of policy makers.
And from policy to research, one overarching principle remains unchanged: any agenda for creating and applying knowledge must be shaped by all who have a stake in that agenda’s power to deliver real benefits.
This article has been granted open access through the KNOWFOR program, funded by UKaid from the UK government.