A new manual on forest landscape restoration jointly launched today by ITTO and IUCN will help field practitioners in the tropics to undertake forest restoration activities that both improve the ecological functioning of landscapes and benefit communities living in those landscapes.
Forest landscape restoration is a new term that provides a unifying theme for several well-established planning and field techniques. It is designed to bring people together to identify, negotiate and implement practices to restore a balance of environmental, social and economic benefits from forests and trees within a broader pattern of land-use.
"Importantly, it incorporates what we've termed a 'double filter'," said IUCN's Stewart Maginnis, who helped launch the manual.
"This means that the joint objectives of enhanced ecological integrity and human well-being should not be traded off against each other at a landscape level."
Forest landscape restoration differs from conventional restoration approaches in several other ways as well, he said.
"It takes a landscape-level view, which means that site-level restoration decisions need to accommodate landscape-level objectives. It is a collaborative process involving a wide range of stakeholder groups collectively deciding on the most technically appropriate and socioeconomically acceptable options for restoration. And it can be applied to degraded forest but also to degraded lands and even agricultural lands, and it doesn't necessarily aim to restore forests to their original condition."
According to ITTO's Emmanuel Ze Meka, the production of the manual is just one of a series of steps being undertaken by ITTO, IUCN and other partners to encourage and add value to forest restoration initiatives.
"The manual sets out the elements of forest landscape restoration in a very clear and practical way, explaining many of the elements of forest restoration contained in the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests. A series of national-level workshops will be convened in coming months to explain both these documents to field practitioners and policy makers and to encourage their uptake."
In addition, ITTO and other partners plan to provide additional resources to countries to implement forest landscape restoration, including through the financing of field projects.
Mr Alhassan Attah, Chairman of the International Tropical Timber Council, welcomed the launch of the manual.
"This tool will certainly help practitioners to understand the elements of successful forest landscape restoration," he said.
"And greater understanding is a first step to its successful introduction to those communities in degraded forest landscapes that are suffering both from a lack of economic opportunities and declining ecosystem services such as clean water and soil stability."
The manual, which was written by a team of forest restoration experts, is available on the ITTO website at www.itto.or.jp/technical_report/.
For more information on the Council session go to www.itto.or.jp.