3.09.00 - Sustainable forest operations for forest landscape restoration

About Unit

Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) as a natural solution to climate change represents an opportunity to reverse degradation that contributes to land-use carbon emissions and erodes a wide range of ecosystem services, including biodiversity.  Forest structure and composition have also been affected by human activities in ways that cause increased risk from wildfire and other natural disasters.  Countries around the globe have made important commitments to restore approximately 170 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.  The magnitude of national commitments, as well as the variety of interventions needed to restore lands, require the implementation of sustainable forest operations that may differ from those used in production forestry. This Unit fosters research in new and innovative methods for establishing, tending, thinning, and harvesting trees in a restoration context, which will be critical in achieving global FLR targets. Modifications to current practices are needed to facilitate the cost-effective and long-term sustainable implementation of FLR interventions. The Unit also seeks to understand what knowledge needs arise from the specific challenges of the FLR context.  This Unit will pay particular attention to the link between climate change mitigation strategies in the land-use sector and efficient, effective, and innovative forest operations.  Forests will increasingly become part of the solution to achieve global GHG reduction commitments and improve landscape resilience. The FLR movement is currently transitioning from political engagement to implementation on the ground, and sustainable forest operations constitute an essential component of successful implementation.  Sustainable forest operations for Forest Landscape Restoration collaborates with division  1.06.00 – Restoration of degraded sites,  and the Silviculture Division and 8.01.02 – Landscape Ecology in Division 8.


State of Knowledge

Research areas in which new Unit is active:

  • Identifying cost-effective operations needed for successful restoration interventions using multi-species reforestation
  • Observing forest operations and recommending changes needed when establishing and supporting agroforestry and silvopasture systems
  • Exploring synergies and conflicts between forest and agricultural operations when implementing FLR in agricultural landscapes
  • Identifying the most cost-effective and sustainable operations when restoring forest structure in temperate forest
  • Providing operational recommendations for silvicultural prescriptions where residual stand conditions have high structural heterogeneity, such as frequent fire natural forests and selective harvesting in secondary forest
  • Multi-objective optimization that includes non-market benefits, especially carbon sequestration

Much of the available literature, research, and work in these areas are based on ecological aspects of restoration. Still, there are significant gaps in the implementation of prescriptions and treatment at the scale the global commitments are demanding.  In specific, operational and engineering knowledge gaps are pronounced in all of these areas and will limit FLR if they are not addressed.