Forrest Fleischmann has an interesting Twitter thread on this, worth examining for anyone interested.
How do we decide where we should focus ecological restoration? A recent paper in @nature by Strassburg et al. provided advice that mostly ignored people. We think this is wrong, and Nature has now (finally!) published our response. https://t.co/qVYuv5qUzz
— Forrest Fleischman (@ForrestFleisch1) July 13, 2022
Here’s a quote from a paper by Fleischmann and others that was an answer to another Nature paper (which in turn was responded to by the original authors). Ironically, I couldn’t access the others without a Nature subscription:
Moving forward, land-use priorities could be better identified if scientists and policy-makers work with organizations representing people who live on and manage lands. Top-down approaches to defining global restoration priorities create unrealistic targets and are less likely to succeed in the long-term. At the same time, they risk exacerbating injustice, food insecurity and displacement. Restoration, like any land-management intervention, must ultimately be implemented by people in their distinct social and ecological contexts. Global models that ignore these contexts tell us little about when and where ecological restoration can succeed.
I ran across a job that’s being advertised on LinkedIn for the Wildlife Conservation Society a New York not-for-profit, which seems to be related to zoos. Here’s their program overview:
The overarching goal of WCS’s Forest & Climate Change Program is to help realize the full potential of forests, to deliver climate change mitigation and adaptation, along with national, global and regional biodiversity conservation, through a linked set of programmatic priorities: (1) Protecting Intact forests; (2) Preventing the expansion of deforestation and forest degradation; (3) Reforesting in and around WCS priority landscapes; and (4) Building resilience to the impacts of climate change.
We work both globally and in support of WCS field programs to achieve results at scale, using a varied, adaptive set of tools for impact:
• Using science, including spatial planning and monitoring, to identify priorities for action and measure our impact from a global scale down to specific landscapes, enabling more effective, adaptive implementation;
• Supporting policy reforms to accelerate implementation of each priority at national and regional levels, including through governmental, intergovernmental, and private sector initiatives;
• Catalyzing financial investment and innovation to enable effective and durable progress on each priority, and to help key geographies connect with favorable investment opportunities;
• Fostering economic alternatives at local and national levels to support green economic development for each priority in ways that both protect forests and promote human well-being;
• Building capacity within government and local community partners to effectively lead on implementation and delivery of each priority;
• Employing savvy strategic communications to support and amplify all of the above to inform key decisionmakers and the constituencies that influence them
Ah but what are “intact” forests? Here’s a Nature article
Around a third of global forests had already been cleared by 200038, and we show that at least 59% of what remains has low or medium integrity, with > 50% falling in these two broad categories in every biogeographical realm. These levels of human modification result partly from the large areas affected by relatively diffuse anthropogenic pressures whose presence is inferred near forest edges, and by lost connectivity. We also map a surprising level of more localized, observed pressures, such as infrastructure and recent forest loss, which are seen in nearly a third of forested pixels worldwide.
Conservation strategies in these more heavily human-modified forests should focus on securing any remaining fragments of forests in good condition, proactively protecting those forests most vulnerable to further modification8 and planning where restoration efforts might be most effective39,40,41. In addition, effective management of production forests is needed to sustain yields without further worsening their ecological integrity42. More research is required on how to prioritize, manage, and restore forests with low to medium integrity41,43, and the FLII presented here might prove useful for this, for example, by helping prioritize where the best returns on investment are, in combination with other sources of data (e.g., carbon)44.
The cited paper on production forests (42) says:
The state of the enabling environment for SFM and progress made at the operational level demonstrates commitment to sustainable forest management by governments, industry and communities. At the same time further investment in addressing these limitations is clearly needed to promote and support SFM – particularly in low income forest countries and in large parts of the tropical climatic domain. Overall, the evidence shows a trend favourable to SFM globally that will help ensure forests remain a valued part of our common future.
It almost sounds as if from the cite “sustaining yields without reducing integrity” integrity and yields can coexist? So confusing.
Looking at the map of “Forest Landscape Integrity” it sounds a bit as if some institutional entities think they know best how to manage (or not) landscapes and those living there (human beings). It seems to me to be fairly arrogant. Isn’t colonialism what wreaked havoc on many of those countries in the first place? If a country has fewer intact forests or makes up its own criteria, why is it the international community’s business? In the simplest world of helping communities, the first step is to ask them what they need. Why do these international efforts and NGO’s seem to skip this step?
In addition, count me very mistrusting of a) satellite maps and b) indices of things that aren’t measured well in the first place, and then mooshed together. Many thanks to Forrest and his colleagues for pushing back on this nascent neocolonialism.