Forest Landscape Restoration Key for Addressing Climate Change

U.S. Forest Service scientist launches new framework at Paris Talks forum

Forest Service scientist sharing best practice in forest landscape restoration at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris. Photo by Gerda Wolfrum.
Forest Service scientist sharing best practice in forest landscape restoration at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris. Photo by Gerda Wolfrum.

On November 30 through December 11, delegates from across the world converged on the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Le Bourget, a suburb of Paris, with the goal of coming up with the universal agreement on addressing climate change announced this weekend. Forest conservation and restoration will definitely play a part in the strategies developed from the agreement.

On December 5-6, the Global Landscapes Forum, the leading platform for bringing together individuals and organizations impacting land use, convened at the Palais des Congrés in Paris to launch a new international climate and development agenda. Attracting over 2500 stakeholders across sectors including forestry, agriculture, water, and energy, the forum was the largest meeting held on the sidelines of the climate talks.

On December 6, as part of the Global Landscapes Forum, U.S. Forest Service senior scientist John Stanturf shared best practices in forest landscape restoration as lead author of a new book, Forest Landscape Restoration as a Key Component of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, which was published by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations and launched at the forum.

The book resulted from the collaboration of an international group of forest scientists, the IUFRO Group 1.06.00 – Restoration of Degraded Sites, coordinated by Stanturf, who also serves as Deputy Coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force on Restoration and Climate Change Adaptation. After an exhaustive review of the scientific literature and analysis of restoration case studies, the group developed a framework and a detailed list of activities to demonstrate how forest landscape restoration can contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

“We needed to provide a scientific basis for using forest landscape restoration to achieve climate mitigation and adaptation outcomes,” said Stanturf. “We also needed a way for users to address the many options available for projects. We developed a ‘spotlight’ tool that uses an intuitive color scheme – red, yellow, and green — to provide a way to quickly rate where a given project stands in relation to different criteria.”

The spotlight tool can be used in a number of different ways, depending on the complexity of the forest landscape restoration project, to respond to different stakeholder objectives, ecological contexts, and the developmental stage of a project.

“Using the spotlight to rate projects will lead to better communication of technical issues among among specialists, stakeholders, and decision makers,” said Stanturf. “This will make it easier to combine restoration and climate change mitigation and adaptation aspects of various projects to help restore forest landscapes at large scales.”

Funding for the publication was provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, as part of its International Climate Initiative, through the World Resources Institute.

Access and download the book from the IUFRO website.

For more information, email John Stanturf at jstanturf@fs.fed.us.

Adapted from IUFRO Spotlight #35.

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