Forest restoration in a global contextThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Forest restoration on land cleared for agriculture is occurring around the world. Often land was abandoned because of infertility, frequent flooding, or other site limitations. In some countries, market forces or changing trade policies drive conversion of cleared land to plantations of exotic or native tree species. The objective of this paper is to introduce the special session on restoration of bottomland hardwoods by placing efforts in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley into a global context. The challenges of forest restoration are surprisingly similar: overcoming site degradation, prescribing appropriate species, and applying cost-effective establishment methods. While plantation forestry remains the most effective approach to large-scale restoration, the trend is toward plantations that are more complex. This trend is characterized by more intimate association with other land uses, more diverse goals for species composition and vegetation structure in restoration planting, and more direct involvement by landowners in both the conception and implementation of restoration schemes. Benefits of restoration planting include reduced soil erosion; improved water quality; increased wildlife habitat; and increased supply of wood for fuel, lumber, and fiber. Increasingly, objectives of restoration planting include carbon sequestration.