Why Forest Landscape Restoration? Because it works!

Forest Landscape Restoration resonates for those working in international policy arenas as well as those on the ground. This was a common message expressed by the Forestry Commission of Great Britain, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), WWF and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) at a seminar on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) held yesterday at the IUCN Headquarters in Gland. The organizations are all members of The Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration which acts as a vehicle to share and learn about FLR experiences, build on synergies between different organizations and move from dialogue to action.

While post-war forestry in Britain focused on production, more recent history has focused on restoration. Tim Rollinson, the Director General of the Forestry Commission of Great Britain told participants in yesterday’s seminar that FLR appeals to Great Britain because it is sustainable forestry in practice and it works on the ground. The Forestry Commission is using FLR as a means to achieve its new agenda for forests. Namely, forests should be competitive and innovative but also support health and well-being, as well as be adaptable to changing environments due to climate change for example.

In Africa, the post-conflict unit of UNEP has worked with the IUCN Forest Conservation Programme to introduce the FLR approach as a way to address the environmental considerations of human displacement, notably camp closure, rehabilitation and resettlement. In Liberia one in three people in the population have been displaced and currently there are thirty to forty camps in a process of closure. Going home, or resettlement, requires addressing different needs across a landscape. The mosaic approach of FLR provides space for alternative livelihoods and negotiation amongst the divergent interests of stakeholders.

Though the seminar stressed there is no cookie-cutter approach to defining FLR there is still a need to better express what it means on the ground. The Global Partnership on FLR will address this in the next few years through their network of learning sites. WWF, one of the founding members of the partnership will contribute greatly to this learning through their extensive portfolio of field sites where they are testing FLR in practice. WWF aims to restore forest goods and services in twenty landscapes by the year 2020.

The founding members of the Global Partnership on FLR, the Forestry Commission of Great Britain, WWF and IUCN formalized their commitment to jointly collaborating on the effective operation of the Partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding signed today at the IUCN headquarters in Gland.

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