Women plant mahogany seeds in a nursery in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. ITTO encourages forest landscape restoration and the development of forest plantations that achieve positive economic, social and environmental outcomes. Photo: INIFAP
Healthy forests play important roles in the lives of billions of people. They disgorge clean water into streams and reservoirs, dish up thousands of edible plants and animals, dispense medicines, and stand ready to supply industrial and local needs for timber and woodfuel. By definition, degraded forest land and degraded primary forests cannot do these jobs. Water becomes soiled, valuable plants and animals vanish, and supplies of timber and woodfuel dwindle.
Forest landscape restoration aims to restore ecological integrity and improve the productivity and economic value of degraded forest landscapes, which may encompass a wide range of land uses in addition to forests. Forest landscape restoration has a proven track record in restoring key goods and services and improving the livelihoods of local people. It is also a tool for achieving diverse landscape goals by developing mosaics of complementary, productive land uses.
Forest landscape restoration is a vehicle for delivering on internationally agreed commitments on forests, biodiversity, climate change and desertification. Among other things, it contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 1 (“no poverty”), 6 (“clean water and sanitation”) and 15 (“life on land”).
In cooperation with the Centre for International Forestry Research, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Worldwide Fund for Nature, ITTO published the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests in 2002. These guidelines are now being revised under a joint initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests led by ITTO.
In 2005 in cooperation with IUCN, ITTO published a manual on forest landscape restoration, Restoring Forest Landscapes: An Introduction to the Art and Science of Forest Landscape Restoration, to explore and explain the concepts and strategies involved in forest landscape restoration.