Occasional Papers


Occasional Paper No. 37 - The Resilient Future Forest Laboratory Guidebook

A publication prepared by contributors to the "Resilient Future Forests Laboratory Initiative" led by the IUFRO Special Programme for Development of Capacities (IUFRO-SPDC).

Humanity faces triple threats from the loss and degradation of natural systems, declining biodiversity, and a warming climate. The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Rio Conventions on climate change, biodiversity and land degradation highlighted the need for new approaches to managing forested landscapes. IUFRO has developed the Resilient Future Forests Laboratory (RFFL) as a global network of demonstration, research, and monitoring plots that cover large gradients of climatic and socio-economic condition. The RFFL Network contributes to meeting the demand for a more active role of forest science in designing future resilient landscapes by integrating trees for a wide range of goals and purposes.

The RFFL approach is conceptually simple: Compare current (Do-Nothing and Business-As-Usual) with Innovative Methods in large, operationally established field plots that have an underlying experimental design. RFFL plots offer a significant opportunity for synergy with Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) efforts, through piloting innovative treatments for monitoring and upscaling. This Guidebook is intended for anyone involved in proposing and establishing an RFFL Location. Scientists, practitioners, consultants/advisors, and landowners will benefit from this Guide, particularly in their interaction with staff of agencies, donor organizations, civil society, and nongovernmental organizations.

The Guidebook begins with background information and useful concepts related to RFFL (Chapter 1 and 2), followed by aspects of getting started (Chapter 3) and conceptualizing an RFFL field plot including selection of appropriate locations (Chapter 4 and 5). The guidebook then extensively explains best practices of RFFL field implementation including experimental design, various sampling techniques for vegetation assessments, biodiversity surveys, and stand dynamics (Chapter 6 and 7). Comprehensive guidance is also provided on measuring and analysis of data ranging from bio-physical to socio-economic information and associated planning requirements (Chapter 8 and 9). Finally, the guide outlines good standards on RFFL data management and reporting (Chapter 10), and provides useful templates for field measurements, budgeting, and references to other related manuals and guidelines.

John A. Stanturf

Published in June 2024 as
IUFRO Occasional Paper 37
ISBN 978-3-903345-30-0

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