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Lessons learnt from WWF’s worldwide field initiatives aiming at restoring forest landscapes

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Mansourian, S. & Vallauri, D., 2012, Lessons learnt from WWF’s worldwide field initiatives aiming at restoring forest landscapes, WWF France, Marseille


WWF France


WWF France


  • This document provides a series of case studies about forest landscape restoration projects from across the WWF network. The authors provide overall lessons as well as country-specific lessons.
  • Countries profiled are: Malaysia (Borneo), Madagascar, Greater Mekong, Portugal, New Caledonia, Bulgarian Danube islands, Tanzania, China, Paraguay (Atlantic Forest), and Caucasus.
  • Overarching recommendations about reforestation that emerged from this report: build on lessons learned; relevant institutions should make a concerted effort to mobilise long term efforts and resources towards forest landscape restoration; and, conservationists should determine whether forest landscape restoration or the landscape approach is the best approach in a given ecoregion.
  • They summarize lessons learned across programs for the different stages of restoration programs.
  • Lessons on initiating a restoration programme: Understanding the local context – both socio-economic and ecological – is critical for local acceptance and sustainability; engaging stakeholders and partners, and negotiating trade offs, although time consuming, are key to securing long term success; a strategic approach to the design and development of forest landscape restoration initiatives is preferable, but frequently opportunities dictateproject development, with ensuing repercussions (on duration, stakeholder engagement, planning..); long term engagement is essential in the restoration of forest landscapes; and WWF has a specific added value in facilitating partnerships to launch thelarge scale, long term initiatives necessary for the restoration of forest landscapes.
  • Lessons on defining restoration needs and linking restoration to a large scale conservation vision: addressing socio-economic needs is imperative to long term success in the restoration of forest landscapes; the purposes of restoration in WWF work are diverse: a typology can be defined to better increase the understanding of this tool within the organization and beyond; scaling up from sites to landscapes presents significant operational challenges; while maps and hectare-based targets are valuable in planning, they can be very sensitive and require careful interpretation; locally-adapted techniques are critical to acceptability and sustainability of the effort; and the landscape approach to conservation has inherited the challenges of forest landscape restoration.
  • Lessons on defining restoration strategy and tactics: endpoints for restoration must be clearly defined; and when restoring forest landscapes, constant flux rather than stability characterises the situation and, therefore, there is a need for flexibility.
  • Lessons on implementing restoration: small scale restoration has a role to play within the larger landscape (demonstrative pilot action) but such interventions need to be carefully designed with the wider landscape in mind; further knowledge of indigenous species is needed in most cases; land tenure is a critical element in ensuring the sustainability of the restoration of forest landscapes
    There are numerous conservation side benefits to forest landscape restoration in addition to restoring forest functionality; and, success breeds success.
  • Lessons on piloting systems towards fully restored ecosystems: A long timeframe, at least ten years, is necessary to implement a forest landscape restoration programme and to see visible results;
    attaching a value to a restored landscape is important to ensure land use decisions and trade offs can be adequately informed; embedding forest landscape restoration in existing frameworks will help
    secure its financial and political sustainability; collecting and recording experiences and lessons is important to build up a solid expertise and knowledge base; and, designing and implementing an effective monitoring framework for the restoration of forest landscapes remains a challenge.
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