A Stoplight Tool to Enhance Communication of Forest Landscape Restoration

How restoration can contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation

Forest Service scientist John Stanturf presents the spotlight tool at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris. Photo by Gerda Wolfrum.
Forest Service scientist John Stanturf presents the spotlight tool at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris. Photo by Gerda Wolfrum.

Today finds U.S. Forest Service scientist John Stanturf in Portland, Oregon, sharing the “spotlight tool” — a framework he and international collaborators developed to assess forest restoration projects in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation — with communicators from all over the world participating in a joint workshop of the UNECE-FAO and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO.)

Stanturf, research ecologist with the Forest Service Southern Research Station Center for Forest Disturbance Science, first presented the tool last December at the Global Landscapes Forum held during the United Nations Climate Change Conference. 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, and convened in Paris to launch a new international climate and development agenda.

At the forum, Stanturf shared best practices in forest landscape restoration as lead author the 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.

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