IUFRO-SPDC Pre-Congress Training Workshop Beijing 2016

“Science-Policy Interactions: Making Science Work for Forest Landscape Restoration”

Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China; October 21 to 23, 2016

IUFRO’s Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC), in collaboration with the Asia Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) and the Chinese Academy of Forestry organised a 3-day training workshop at the Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China from October 21 to 23, 2016 on science-policy interactions for forest landscape restoration in conjunction with the IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania.


Reflections on the Training Workshop

Twenty eight participants from 11 countries took part in the event which was led by Dr Michael Kleine, Dr John Stanturf and Dr Promode Kant from IUFRO. Among other items the training workshop focus was on

  • What is the Science-Policy Interface?
  • Forest Landscape Restoration and its Role in current Global Policy Processes
  • Forest Landscape Restoration in the South Asian Context
  • Developing Information Packages to promote FLR at various Levels of Decision-making

Have a look at the detailed  workshop report!

How was the training workshop experienced by the participants? - 27 APFNet Scholarship Student provided feedback.


Rationale

The concept of combating environmental degradation at the landscape scale has gained significant recognition in on-going global and regional policy debates. This is exemplified by policy initiatives promoting forest landscape restoration of large tracts of land extending over millions of hectares. Such initiatives at the global level include the Bonn Challenge and New York Declaration established in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Regionally new processes such as the 20x20 policy goal defined for landscape restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean and the African Forest and Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR 100) for bringing 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes into restoration by 2030 have evolved. In this context, the global policy debate on forest and landscape restoration is largely dominated by commitments of governments to work towards restoration with emphasis on extent of area to be restored. Although this political momentum is important, there is still a lack of clarity of what is needed - in a local context - to implement forest and landscape restoration for achieving a desired impact. It also seems that more substantive input is required for informed decision-making, particularly with regard to the necessary changes to on-going land management practices affecting local stakeholders, institutions, governance approaches, technology choices, and investments. These aspects and their complexity appear to be insufficiently appreciated at the various decision-making levels.


Objectives of the Workshop

Science-policy interactions for providing available scientific knowledge generated by the research community can contribute to increase awareness of and understanding for appropriate policy and governance approaches, and technical and managerial solutions needed for effective forest landscape restoration. This workshop, therefore, discussed ways and means of transforming scientific knowledge into useful information for policy and management decisions on the ground. More specifically, the workshop aimed at the following specific objectives:

  • Provide concepts and methods to researchers and practitioners on how research results can be transformed into usable information for problem-solving and policy-making;

  • Discuss forest and landscape restoration as an approach for reversing land degradation and achieving defined social, environmental and economic objectives; and

  • Present case studies from around the world that demonstrate how past and on-going forest landscape restoration activities can contribute to enhancing benefits to society including e.g. in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation, water governance and poverty alleviation.

Overall, the workshop was intended to serve as an opportunity for participants to share experiences on disseminating forest landscape restoration related scientific knowledge and learn more about effective methods and tools to deliver substantive information for policy making and management on the ground.


Workshop Programme

The workshop content was based on the work of international experts convened by IUFRO over the years in its Task Forces and Working Parties addressing science-policy interfacing and forest landscape restoration. Participants learned about key aspects of science-policy interactions, and best practices for work at the science-policy interface in the context of FLR-related international, and regional policy processes such as the International Forest Regime, global conventions, national forest programmes, national poverty reduction strategies and community-driven processes at local levels.

Thematically, the workshop concentrated on Forest Landscape Restoration and its contribution to achieving social, environmental and economic benefits to society, particularly in pursuance of the Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, emphasis was placed on the role of Forest Landscape Restoration in climate change mitigation and adaptation, as a means to prevent further loss of important ecosystem functions related the provision of clean water, wood and non-wood forest products, prevention of soil erosion, and enhancement of biodiversity. A wide range of case studies was presented by resource persons from various regions in Asia and overseas addressing science-policy issues related to forest landscape restoration including landscape governance, participatory landscape planning and mechanisms for successful FLR implementation on the ground.

The workshop activities included presentations by resource persons; interactive sessions; group work employing hands-on exercises with tool-kits and handbooks; and a knowledge café. At the end of the workshop, participants should have a better understanding of the processes needed to facilitate and subsequently implement forest landscape restoration in a specific local context.


FLR Experts/Trainers

  • Dr. John Stanturf, US-Forest Service, Athens, USA; IUFRO FLR Lead Scientist

  • Dr. Promode Kant, Institute of Green Economy, New Delhi, India; FLR Specialist

  • Dr. Michael Kleine, IUFRO, Vienna, Austria; Workshop Coordination

Participants

Early and mid-careers forestry professionals from countries in Asia and Oceania: by invitation only.