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Sustainable land management technologies: forest restoration



Forest restoration supports the recovery or restoration of a degraded forest, with the aim to re-establish the forest structure and its ecological functioning, biodiversity, and productivity levels. The technology is applied to land with forest areas, such as forest/woodland. There are three different approaches that can be used to restore a degraded forest: 1) restoration, 2) rehabilitation, and 3) reclamation. The three approaches differ in the extent to which they enable the original biodiversity to be regained, but they all seek to establish a productive and stable new land use:

  • Restoration, where the intent is to return an ecosystem as close as possible to its original state. The site then contains most of the original plant and animal species, and has a structure and productivity similar to what originally existed.
  • Rehabilitation, which is used to enhance environmental services, with a focus on the provision of goods and services, rather that ecosystem integrity. In this regard, the main objective is to regain the original productivity or structure, but not all of the original biodiversity.
  • Reclamation, which is used for situations where productivity or structure is regained, but biodiversity is not. Under reclamation, there are few, if any, benefits to landscape biodiversity, but there may be social or economic advantages or functional gains, such as improved watershed protection.


According to the report on sustainable land management (SLM) by the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI), forest restoration has the potential to reverse land degradation through restoration or rehabilitation of degraded land. It can be a climate change mitigation strategy, and could provide other co-benefits, including increasing forest productivity, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration. It provides aesthetic and socio-cultural benefits, such as the potential to improve the livelihoods and resilience of forest-dependent communities.

Examples of SLM best practices in forest restoration

Below are examples of best practices in forest restoration cited in the report on SLM by the SPI.

Assisted cork-oak regeneration

Assisted cork oak regeneration by acorn seeding and seedling plantation from a plant nursery, involving careful husbandry and protection from grazing. Good quality acorns and seedlings are required and seedlings should come from the same region where they are planted and be certified by the authorities. Small, woody plants are cleared and the soil is prepared by deep ploughing to loosen the topsoil and allow easier root growth.

See other examples of best practices in forest restoration from the SPI report on SLM


Read about other SLM technology groups


vegetation management

water management

grazing pressure management

animal waste management

sustainable forest management

reducing deforestation




minimum soil disturbance

soil erosion control

fire pest and diseases control


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