Forest Landscape Restoration: Progress in the Last Decade and Remaining Challenges
Abstract

Forest landscape restoration (FLR) aims to restore forests in a landscape to meet both human needs and ecological priorities. Although the term was first defined in 2000, it has recently become popular and is being promoted as a solution to many of the environmental and social problems associated with land degradation. We take a step back and reflect on developments in FLR in the last twelve years, using as a framework 13 key issues raised in 2005. A decade ago, when the term “forest landscape restoration” had only recently been defined, we identified and documented several pre-requisites, tools, and approaches necessary for its development, as well as outstanding issues. Today FLR is the subject of significant government commitments, and has entered into the language of large multilateral environmental agreements, notably the three so-called Rio Conventions. While FLR can provide an important means of achieving multiple objectives in forested landscapes, outstanding challenges to its effective and widespread application remain. Our analysis of progress to date suggests that particular challenges for the effective implementation of FLR concern implementation of truly large-scale restoration initiatives that have both ecological and socio-economic objectives, tackling governance challenges, focusing on both quality and quantity of restored landscapes, promoting the links between FLR and climate change, and ensuring adequate and long-term monitoring. Given the significant advances in both development and uptake of FLR, we hope this reappraisal of 2005 challenges will help restoration practitioners and decision-makers to prioritize future interventions.


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