Sustainable land management technologies: forest restoration
Sustainable Land Management contribution to successful land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation: A report of the UNCCD Science-Policy Interface (SPI)
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