Abstracts – Day 2

Reforestation projects showcase session 1

Mangrove restoration: Recreate natural conditions to facilitate natural regeneration 

Wodehouse, D. C. J. 

Mangrove Action Project, Philippines 

Mangroves consist of salt-tolerant woody plants, shrubs, palms, herbs and ferns which are principally found in inter-tidal areas of the tropics and sub-tropic coastlines. They favour sheltered, low wave energy, muddy coastal areas such as river deltas. To varying degrees, mangroves are able to tolerate saline and anoxic soils, tidal inundation and chemically challenging soil conditions, due to a series of morphological and biochemical adaptations. Due to the huge range of ecosystem goods and services they provide, and their high net primary productivity, mangroves form very valuable ecosystems. Particularly since the Asian tsunami of 2004, much mangrove restoration has been attempted with typically poor results, survivorship often reported at 10–20%. Planting projects progress straight to developing seedling nurseries and planting, without first mitigating the reasons for previous mangrove losses or understanding why mangroves are not naturally regenerating. Despite much published science concerning mangrove ecology, biology and restoration, planting failure is normally due to inappropriate site choice and poor site-species matching. NGO Mangrove Action Project promotes and teaches ‘community-based ecological mangrove restoration’ – working with communities from the outset to mitigate mangrove stressors and building local mangrove understanding and capacity to facilitate biodiverse restoration, by restoring natural conditions, particularly the local hydrology. Simultaneously, this holistic approach encourages developing non-destructive livelihood activities and producing solutions to livelihood needs and other community issues.  


Restoring tropical rainforest remnants in a human-dominated landscape: Insights from the Western Ghats, India 

Osuri, A. M., Mudappa, D., Kasinathan, S., Bhat, K. & Shankar Raman, T. S. 

Nature Conservation Foundation, India 

Remnant forests in human-dominated landscapes (HDLs) are important for conserving tropical biodiversity and enhancing terrestrial carbon sequestration. This is particularly the case for rainforests of the Western Ghats and Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspots, which have become severely deforested and fragmented due to cultivation of tea, coffee and other crops over the past two centuries. Since 2001, we have partnered with researchers, private landowners and state forest departments to attempt ecological restoration of rainforests in the Anamalai Hills (Western Ghats of southern India). Restoration efforts include encouraging landowners to recognise and extend protection to remnant rainforests on their properties as biodiversity plots (~1,100 ha spread over 45 remnants), and attempting to actively restore heavily degraded areas (~100 ha) by controlling invasive plants and planting a diverse mix (~80–100 species) of native rainforest saplings, raised in a nursery from locally-sourced seeds. Our research evaluating the restoration success indicates partial recovery of vegetation, carbon storage and bird communities 10–15 years after active restoration, with the benefits of active restoration for several indicators being relatively higher (compared to natural regeneration) in more isolated sites. Our work highlights that active restoration can expand opportunities for biodiversity and carbon sequestration in tropical HDLs, with success constrained by access to sustained funding, resilience of partnerships with stakeholders, and the effectiveness of site protection from setbacks such as fires. Ultimately, upscaling restoration will require the principles and practice of ecological restoration to become more widely adopted in reforestation policy and targets, and this remains a significant challenge. 


Integrating threatened fruit tree conservation into a wider ecosystem and livelihood approach to fruit and nut forest conservation 

Gulamadshoev, U. & Sabzalieva, R. 

Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Tajikistan  

Childukhtaron (14,600 ha) and Dashtijum (50,100 ha; 13,400 ha forest) nature reserves are identified in Tajikistan’s National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP) as two of the country’s three most valuable walnut-maple forest sites, with a rich variety of wild fruit and nut trees including pear Pyrus tadshikistanica (CR, endemic), Pyrus korshinskyi (CR), almond Amygdalus bucharica (VU) and apple Malus sieversii (VU). These forests are also essential to the livelihoods of 700 resident households. Mean income in both areas is below $1.25/person/day (SDG extreme poverty level) with limited income-generating opportunities available. Collection and sale of non-timber forest products such as dried fruit, is a significant and vital livelihood strategy for both women and men. Consequently, the main threats to the forest resources are considered as firewood collection, hay-making, livestock grazing, over-harvesting of some resources, and climate change. The steeply-sloping area suffers from landslides, extreme weather events including heavy spring rains and summer drought, and pests. The habitat is extremely degraded, with declining diversity and little natural regeneration. With the support of the Darwin Initiative (DI) and the Global Trees Campaign (GTC), Fauna & Flora International (FFI) in Tajikistan, in collaboration with the forest service units of both of the reserves, are implementing activities for reforestation through planting local native tree species, biodiversity conservation by conserving the endangered and threatened tree species, and improving livelihoods by adding value to the forest products through increased quality of dried fruits and connecting the local community with markets using a Participatory Market System Development (PMSD) approach. 


The Fandriana-Marolambo landscape in Madagascar  

Vallauri, D.  

World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), France

In 2005, the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) initiated a Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) programme in the Fandriana-Marolambo landscape situated in Madagascar’s iconic moist forest (Center-East). The landscape, harbouring fragmented forest interspersed with savannah, exotic plantations and fields, stretches over 203,080 ha and is home to 150,000 people. It is rich in biodiversity but under pressure from deforestation. The objective of the programme was to restore ecological integrity and improve human well-being. The programme has built on, and been integrated into, national and local policies (such as the third environmental plan) and used existing governance structures (notably, community-based organisations, or COBAs). It has recognised the need to address communities’ needs in parallel to seeking to restore ecological interests. Building on a solid knowledge base, interventions were varied over the programme’s total duration of 13 years. A total of EUR 1,625,881 was invested in the landscape over 13 years. Fifty locally run nurseries, growing 100 native species, contributed to FLR in the landscape. While 95,063 ha were protected in 2013 (Marolambo National Park), 51,743 ha were managed by community-based organisations and an area of 6,786 ha was placed under active or passive restoration. Main lessons learnt from this implementation (out of 13) will be sum up during the presentation. 


Restoring the critically endangered Mulanje cedar: The role of forest restoration in improving community livelihoods 

Mitole, I.  

Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, Malawi 

Malawi’s national tree, Mulanje cedar, is now extinct in the wild due to overexploitation. Mulanje cedar has been a keystone species on Mulanje Mountain and its degradation has resulted in the loss of forests and habitats for other forest plants and animals. The destruction of Mulanje cedar has also decreased resilience against heavy rains, which are now causing flash floods around the surrounding communities leading to the loss of people’s farms, houses and, in the worst cases, people’s lives. Over the years, Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) in collaboration with Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), Forest Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM) and the Forest Department in Malawi, have been implementing a large-scale restoration programme for the Mulanje cedar on Mulanje Mountain. The programme has aimed to save the species from extinction. Ten community nurseries were established to propagate Mulanje cedar for restoration on Mulanje Mountain. To date, over 500,000 cedar seedlings have been planted. This initiative has enabled the livelihoods of rural communities around the mountain to visibly improve through restoration-based employment of more than 500 people, with more focus on women. The programme has also expanded to identify additional livelihood opportunities through the establishment of community Mulanje cedar hedges with the purpose of producing Mulanje cedar essential oil to maximise community and conservation benefits. This presentation aims to encourage practitioners to adopt community involvement and engagement in restoration to meet multiple objectives. 


Tooro Botanical Gardens, Uganda: Helping to meet our Bonn Challenge pledge in a way that benefits people and biodiversity 

Mutegeki, A. S. M. & Ruyonga, G. 

Tooro Botanical Gardens, Uganda  

Tooro Botanical Gardens (TBG) is situated in Fort Portal, in Western Uganda. Under the Bonn Challenge, Uganda has pledged to bring 2.5 million hectares of degraded land under restoration. The Uganda Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunity Assessment aims to plant 200 million trees in priority areas to improve human well-being and ecological productivity. However, the majority of planting material available in the country is non-native. TBG operates the largest indigenous tree nursery in Uganda and actively works with partners to shift the focus away from non-native species, and restore degraded areas using native species. For example, TBG has brought three degraded forest reserves under restoration in the Fort Portal region. TBG also has the most diverse tree collection in Uganda, with more than 120 native tree species growing on site. To scale up TBG’s work and to help ensure that Uganda’s Bonn Challenge pledge is met in a way that benefits people and biodiversity, TBG, Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and IUCN led a project to establish four additional indigenous tree nurseries, close to areas identified as priorities for restoration in the Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunity Assessment. After two years of establishment, the nurseries are supplying 100 native species to restoration projects, supported by a network of 60 local seed collectors. An additional 40 people are employed in the nurseries. TBG and the nurseries help people select the right species to plant in the right place and give guidance on planting and aftercare to improve chances of successful restoration.  


Restoration initiatives to improve communities, livelihoods and biodiversity: A case study of the Djabula area 

Alves, T., Jalane, O., Langa, C. & Sousa, C. 

Mozambique Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM), Mozambique 

Djabula is a rural village southwest of Licuati Forest Reserve. Local families depend on natural resources but use unsustainable production methods. Licuati sand ticket forest has a unique biodiversity, including six near-endemic plant species and four species endemic to Maputaland (one vulnerable and one endangered). It is an Important Plant Area (IPA) and a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA). A preliminary assessment was carried out in Djabula as part of the GEF-7 ‘Sustainable Project Management Impact Programme on Drylands Sustainable Landscapes in Mozambique’, managed by the National Sustainable Development Fund (FNDS). It aimed to identify the extent and nature of the landscape degradation, survey threatened plant species, and design initiatives to restore biodiversity and improve local production systems. Key factors causing degradation were: unsustainable charcoal practices (mostly by non-locals) targeting Newtonia hildebrandtii, a forest emergent; unsustainable agriculture in forest gaps, with land often abandoned after three years; use of fire for harvesting the sap of the palm Hyphaena coriacea (used to produce a local beverage), which impacts the grass used to make organic paper. Measures to restore habitats and improve sustainable land use included: licensing charcoal production; reusing waste for fuel pellets or biochar; agroforestry (including syntropic agriculture) to integrate local biodiversity; natural regeneration or/and enrichment planting with woody species; commercialisation of non-wood products; and training local communities in tree seed collection and production of seedlings. It is hoped that these measures will restore Djabula’s ecosystem and support sustainable livelihoods. 

Session 5: Forest regeneration – natural and planted

To plant or not to plant: Predicting where forests can restore themselves 

Chazdon, R.1,2 & Crouzeilles, R.2 

1Tropical Forests and People Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia; 2International Institute for Sustainability Australia (IIS-AU), Australia 

Forest restoration is a global priority, but we lack a practical framework for matching restoration opportunities with the most appropriate and effective restoration interventions. Restoration interventions must be case-specific and tailored to specific processes that drive the degradation and recovery of focal ecosystems. These processes include a wide range of socio-economic and biophysical factors. In many cases, effective forest restoration can occur with little or no human assistance; in other cases, moderate or intensive interventions are needed to assist forest recovery. A decision tool framework should be based on spatially explicit assessments of multiple benefits and feasibility factors. A recent study illustrates this approach in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest region. We used high-resolution land-cover data over the past 20 years to model the factors that best explained presence/absence of naturally regenerating forest. These factors were then used to map the potential for natural regeneration over the next 20 years. Mapping the potential for natural regeneration (feasibility) and predicting the social and ecological outcomes of natural recovery (expected benefits) are essential components of decision support tools to maximize the effectiveness and benefits of forest restoration at regional, national, and global scales. 


Natural regeneration: Changing a mindset 

Tree, I. 

Knepp Estate, UK 

Current funding and policy incentives for reforestation are dominated by tree planting. In our highly managed landscapes, where natural regeneration has been actively prevented for centuries, we have forgotten how readily trees will establish without our help. Arable fields left fallow after their last harvest at Knepp Estate in West Sussex – the largest rewilding project in lowland UK – have erupted with oak, sallow, crab apple, alder, birch, wild service and ash, along with thorny scrub species which protect them from herbivory. In just fifteen years, oaks stand 20 ft tall. This is now habitat for possibly the highest density of songbirds in Britain, including some of our rarest such as nightingales, turtle doves and yellowhammers, and all five UK species of owls. The Knepp model demonstrates a way of establishing rich, biodiverse, carbon-sequestering treescapes with no direct costs, time or effort, and no hidden carbon costs. Above all, ‘wild’ trees ensure the genetic diversity crucial for trees’ long-term survival in the face of climate change, extreme weather impacts, pollution, local changes and increased frequency of disease. Embracing natural regeneration, however, involves changing a mindset. It demands expanding the current prescriptive definitions of ‘woodland’, revisiting, perhaps, the paradigm of medieval ‘forests’; incorporating free-roaming herbivores as drivers of habitat complexity; rehabilitating thorny scrub (long denigrated by land managers and conservationists) as both nursery for saplings and essential habitat; challenging entrenched ideas of how ‘tidy’ the countryside should look; and, crucially, changing the plantation bias in funding models. 


Restoration planting enhances recovery of cloud forest diversity 

Toledo Aceves, T., López-Barrera, F. & Bonilla-Moheno, M. 

Instituto de Ecologia A.C. (INECOL), Mexico 

Tropical montane cloud forests (TMCF) are a global restoration priority because they are hotspots for biodiversity and play an important role in the water cycle. Unfortunately, these ecosystems are severely threatened due to land use change, degradation caused by overharvesting and climate change. Recovery of TMCF via natural regeneration following agricultural abandonment has been documented across the globe. However, in degraded landscapes with scarce remnant fragments of mature forest — which act as seed sources for recolonisation — natural or unassisted regeneration often produces communities that lack important species typical of mature forests. Restoration interventions are required in a variety of altered habitats in TMCF landscapes, where many species could be lost unless targeted efforts are made. In Mexico, for example, 60% of TMCF tree species are threatened, highlighting the need for restoration actions. Our studies have recorded successful early establishment of endangered and mature forest species using a mixed species plantation approach in pastures, secondary forests and forests subjected to traditional selective logging. Long-term monitoring of local planting efforts in abandoned pasturelands shows that mixed plantations enhance the recovery of TMCF structure and diversity to a greater extent than unassisted regeneration. In particular, mixed plantations contain more mature forest and animal-dispersed tree species, as well as timber species, than unplanted forests. Restoration using mature forest species, and those of value to local communities, is key to the recovery of TMCF structure and function, as well as ecosystem services, and contributes towards more economically valuable forests in TMCF landscapes. 


Promoting farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) for increased forest cover and improved livelihoods in arid and semi-arid lands 

Ondere, L.1, Wachiye, E.1, Kisang, O.1 & Rinaudo, T.2
1IMARA Program, World Vision, Kenya; 2Climate Action Resilience Team, World Vison, Australia 

Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) occupy a significant fraction of the world’s land area and are home to many people, including a disproportionate number of the world’s poorest, who also live in the most degraded landscapes. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014) warns that without adoption of innovative practices such as Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), food insecurity is set to escalate drastically across the globe. Unfortunately despite rapidly growing knowledge regarding the extent and feasibility of natural regeneration and the environmental and economic benefits of naturally regenerating forests in the tropics, tree planting remains the major focus of restoration for most programs. Natural regeneration is often ignored as a viable land-use option. This presentation seeks to illustrate how effectively FMNR has been used as a holistic approach to promote increased forest cover and restore livelihoods in Kenya’s ASAL counties of Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Laikipia, and how it prevents the poor from over-using and over-exploiting their natural resource, which is often done for survival. It also demonstrates how, under the right conditions, community driven solutions to restoration are sustainable, while presenting great opportunities for scaling up and how adoption of non-wood forest product enterprises generates considerable income to households and communities, alleviating poverty among the vulnerable.


Spatially patterned planting methods to restore tropical forest 

Holl, K. D.1, Brancalion, P. H. S.2, Rosales, J. A.3, Reid, J. L.4 & Zahawi, R. A.1,5 

1University of California, Santa Cruz, USA; 2University of São Paulo, Brazil; 3Las Cruces Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica; 4Virginia Tech, USA; 5University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA 

Spatially patterned planting methods, such as planting strips or clusters of trees, comprise a potentially ecologically sound and cost-effective method to scale up forest restoration. We will summarise key lessons learned from our 15-year study, replicated at 15 sites in southern Costa Rica, that compares planting tree clusters (applied nucleation) to natural regeneration and mixed-species tree plantations as strategies to restore tropical forest. Our results indicate that applied nucleation and plantation restoration strategies are similarly effective in enhancing the recovery of most floral and faunal groups, vegetation structure and ecosystem functions, as compared to natural regeneration. We have found that an applied nucleation strategy is cheaper than mixed-species tree plantations, but there may be social obstacles to implementing this technique in agricultural landscapes, such as perceptions that the land is not being used productively. We will also briefly discuss some newer experiments in the Brazilian Atlantic forest comparing both planting strips and clusters of trees, as well as interplanting native species with non-native eucalypts to help offset initial restoration costs. Together, the results of these studies suggest that applied nucleation can be a cost-effective strategy for facilitating tropical forest regeneration that holds promise for helping to meet large-scale international forest restoration commitments. 

Reforestation projects showcase session 2

Reversing land degradation and poverty through forest landscape restoration in Northern Ethiopia 

Chalmers, J. 

WeForest ASBL, Belgium  

The Desa’a Forest is one of the oldest remaining dry afromontane forests in Ethiopia. Directly threatened by desertification, 74% has already disappeared and the remaining 26% is severely degraded. Over 26,000 people live here below the poverty line; growing crops and farm livestock, they rely completely on the forest for water, energy and to feed their cattle. Agricultural land is scarce with low soil fertility; landlessness particularly affects the youth and the most vulnerable households in the community. Rain erodes topsoil and results in poor crop yields, which means forest resources are further depleted as communities try to make a living – a vicious circle of increasing poverty and forest resources depletion. One longer-term potential impact of forest loss is on local cloud formation and rainfall patterns, which could lead to more frequent droughts and food insecurity. WeForest is working with the local Tigray government and communities to restore thousands of hectares each year towards a 38,000 ha goal. The small area of intact forest is protected and is now a precious living seed bank for the restoration of surrounding areas; local nurseries grow and supply seedlings. An integrated forest-friendly livelihoods programme – including beekeeping, poultry and small ruminants, as well as efficient cookstoves and solar lamps – protects the forest and supports the resilience of local communities. Over 6000 ha are under restoration today and thousands of families are participating. 


Reforestation in the English uplands: Experiences from RSPB Haweswater in the Lake District National Park 

Schofield, L. 

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), UK 

The uplands are often considered as offering the best opportunity for large-scale reforestation in the UK due to the limited number of competing land uses. However, there are also considerable challenges, particularly in some upland National Parks, where the cultural heritage of hill farming is highly valued. At Haweswater, the RSPB are working in partnership with landowner and water company United Utilities to trial approaches that restore habitats and ecological function alongside sustainable farming. Increasing woodland and scrub on-site is a central ambition, and a wide range of approaches are employed. Here, we provide an overview of our work and the challenges to increasing woodland cover in the uplands. 


Enhancing oak ecosystems in the Chicago region 

Scott, L. A.  

The Morton Arboretum, USA 

Pre-settlement survey notes (1830s) and 1939 and 2010 aerial photography enabled the mapping of remnant oak ecosystems across the Chicago region. This mapping revealed that only 17% of the oak ecosystems remain, and 70% of those systems are in private ownership and are unprotected. These oak ecosystems are in decline due to fragmentation, infestations of exotic invasive species, lack of prescribed fire, wildlife browsing, canopy closure, and lack of knowledge and collaboration across public and private ownership. These challenges have resulted in a reduction of age structure, biological diversity and overall health within the ecosystems. In 2015, The Morton Arboretum and Lake County Forest Preserve District published the Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan (OERP) (Fahey et al. 2015), and the plan is now being implemented. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative is coordinating this effort; it has gathered partners – public and private -- from each of seven counties and is building collaborations of shared knowledge, expertise and resources to improve management of these systems. 


Native tree seeds to enhance the natural capital of Mexican forests 

Ulian, T.1, Castillo-Lorenzo, E.1, Mattana, E.1, Way, M.1, Téllez, O.2, Flores Ortiz, C. M.2, Rodriguez, I.2, Lira, R.2, Espejel Ontiveros, X.3, Peresbarbosa Rojas, E.3 & Dávila P.

1Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK; 2Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico; 3Pronatura Veracruz A.C., México 

Mexico is a floristically mega-diverse country that is impacted heavily by deforestation. It is now critical that efforts to protect native trees are accelerated, thereby ensuring vital ecosystem services are available to local communities, now and in the future. In 2015, Kew, UNAM and Pronatura started a new programme to protect, conserve and enhance the natural capital of the Mexican forests, built around a detailed understanding of native tree seeds. The partnership has produced the most comprehensive database and catalogue of native trees of Mexico with information on species diversity, geographic distribution and human uses. The evidence-base on priority areas for tree conservation in Mexico has been substantially enhanced, and the seeds of 400 tree native species banked in-country and duplicated at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank under an access-and-benefit-sharing agreement. A participatory approach was used to identify species of importance to local communities, and targeted research conducted on suitability for seed banking and germination response to environmental conditions; the latter to inform the optimisation of species propagation. Because of its high tree diversity, our current work is centred in the State of Veracruz. We are working with a wide network of tree nurseries to support the production and distribution of certified tree plant material. So far, one million seeds have been sustainably harvested and 50,000 seedlings produced. The wider programme has supported the livelihoods of local communities, and the planting effort has contributed to regional reforestation activities and national commitments towards the Bonn Challenge on the recovery of degraded landscapes. 


Tropical biological corridor reforestation to facilitate climate change resilience and conserve endangered and endemic biodiversity 

Brumberg, H. D.1, Pillco Huarcaya, R.1,2 & Whitworth, A. W.1,3 

1Osa Conservation, Costa Rica; 2Conservacion Amazonica ACCA, Peru; 3University of Glasgow, UK 

While reforestation is a key natural climate solution, it is important that reforestation efforts plant forests that are resilient to change. A recent study published in Nature suggests that species richness facilitates the resilience and adaptability of tropical forests. Reforestation that facilitates species diversity, including endemic, endangered and rare tree species along an altitudinal gradient, will likely allow rainforests to be more adaptable to future uncertainties, such as pest and disease outbreaks and climate change. Osa Conservation strives to create a model for climate-adaptive corridors in southern Costa Rica by reforesting biological corridors connecting the Osa Peninsula biodiversity hotspot to La Amistad International Peace Park, one of the “Five Great Forests” of Mesoamerica. Osa Conservation has planted 320,000 trees of over 60 species with more than 300 community members in these biological corridors, focusing on priority areas identified with NASA DEVELOP. The team emphasises the conservation of endangered, endemic and rare tree species, and they created the first center for propagation of rare and endangered trees in the region. Through the Restoration & Rewilding Community Network, community members compliment native tree planting with bioremediation, agroforestry and rewilding. To fast-track the regeneration of rainforest function, structure, and biodiversity, Osa Conservation implemented a 20-hectare restoration experiment focusing on the native broad-leafed pioneer tree Ochroma pyramidale (balsa). Strategic implementation of tropical restoration initiatives that focus on biodiversity conservation, connectivity, ecosystem recovery acceleration and community engagement, maximises climate change resilience, return on conservation investment and scalability to achieve ambitious global restoration goals. 


Restoring life and biodiversity to the desert 

Whaley, O. Q.1,2,3, Ormeño, J. R.4,5,6, Quispe, Y. R.4,6, Choza, B. E. C.4,6, Capcha, J. B.4,6,7, Tenorio, M.4,6,8, Garcia, D. A.4,6,9, Escate, M. A.4,6, Torres, M. J.4,6, Perez, E.4,6, Arteaga, M. C.4,10, Leguia, J.10, Pecho, J. O.11, Moat, J.1 & Orellana, A.4,6,7,12

1Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK; 2Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK; 3Rainforest Concern, UK; 4Huarango Nature-CÓNICA, Peru; 5Centro de Ornitología y Biodiversidad-CORBIDI, Peru; 6Universidad Nacional San Luis Gonzaga, Peru; 7Asociación para la Botánica del Perú, Peru; 8Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Peru; 9Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain; 10Asociación para la Niñez y su Ambiente, Peru; 11Parque Nacional del Río Abiseo, SERNANP, Peru; 12MHN-Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru 

The Peruvian southern desert region is part of a primordial biome running along the Pacific seaboard for over 3,000 km through Chile to North Peru. Life is sustained by water from the Andes, fog and episodic flood events. For at least five millennia, fragile ecosystems have been degraded by human settlement and fuel requirements. Forest restoration required a reassembly approach derived from relictual habitat, bioarcheology and ethnographic information linking biodiversity and agriculture. Baseline studies georeferenced over 500 plants (302 new regional records), birds, reptiles and mammals, earning conservation support. Traditional agriculture supported ancient domesticates and keystone native species including endemics. We carried out seed collection and cultivation, developing propagation/planting protocols for all woody species by 2006, working with communities and schools. In the controllable setting of modern agriculture, around 10,000 trees and shrubs were planted of 18 key native species (79% survival). Over fifteen years of continued monitoring has underpinned adaptation and performance, creating a living seed bank, with resultant habitat sheltering 80 native plants, 127 insect, 58 bird, 3 reptile and 5 mammal species. Project habitat restoration now exceeds the reference ecosystems, where we monitored widespread Prosopis forest dieback. New habitat colonisation included wild guinea pigs, desert fox, nightjars, woodpeckers, slender-billed finch, coastal miner, desert tegu and elegant racer snake, with native desert bees providing ecosystem services to agriculture, helping to maintain support. This allowed us to establish a permanent restoration centre with a conservation-through-use approach to threatened species, partnering with local schools, huertas and large farms with critical export markets. 


Large-scale ecological restoration in partnership with farmers in Brazil  

Tavares, M.1 & Longden, D.

Black Jaguar Foundation, Netherlands & Brazil 

Large-scale reforestation projects currently offer one of the most promising climate mitigation solutions, when implemented effectively with a focus on long-term impact. At the Black Jaguar Foundation, we are creating the Araguaia River Biodiversity Corridor by restoring almost 1 million ha of degraded land in rural properties alongside this river. To help ensure quality restoration, we developed our cycle of restoration, which focuses on 12 steps, spread across four key areas; community, science, planting and three-year maintenance. We invest heavily in each area so that when we plant trees, we are able to: 1) restore native biodiversity, 2) create forests that last, and 3) create a positive economic and social impact for the communities. In Brazil, deforestation has been increasing, despite the country’s leading environmental legislation, which states that every rural property in Brazil must keep a percentage of its area preserved. We incentivise farmers to actively engage in the reforestation process by providing technical and financial restoration assistance, working with farmers to create tailored restoration models for their degraded areas, including the possibility of agroforestry and sustainable timber systems. Compliance with the law is therefore no longer a burden, but an opportunity. This, in addition to the restoration of crucial ecosystem services, and the thousands of local jobs generated for planting activities, means the forest restoration becomes an asset for the community. We emphasise the need for a detailed approach to reforestation, both with regards to the technical aspects of tree planting and the specificities of the different stakeholders involved.