Managing and restoring natural tropical forests: discussion forum at GLF 2015

March 23, 2016

Originally published at Global Landscapes Forum 2015

CIRAD’s Plinio Sist is an advocate of “tropical managed forests“. The Director of CIRAD’s Research unit BSEF made the case for the concept of tropical managed forests for example at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum, with the discussion forum Managing and restoring natural tropical forests: Ensuring a sustainable flow of benefits for people in the context of global change. 

The obvious reasons to study tropical forests come from the sheer facts: they make up half of the earth’s forests, are home to half of the species on land, and they gather nearly a third of the terrestrial carbon stocks. At the same time, deforestation is concentrated in the tropics. The FAO estimated forest loss from 2010 to 2015 at close to nine million hectares (i.e. 90,000 km2) per year. That is nearly the size of Portugal or Hungary in forest cover lost every year.

Plinio Sist countered the view that deforestation equals logging and argued for Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) which disturbs the forest, but doesn’t destroy it. The main actors whose interests have to be balanced are forest companies, smallholder farmers and forest communities.

The discussion forum revolved around the challenges of

  • forest degradation, management and restoration (also in the context of landscape management)
  • tropical forests versus plantations
  • food production versus environmental services

Presentations focused on

  • FSC certification in the Brazilian Amazon,
  • concessions 2.0 in Central Africa, which suggests land-sharing through a hybrid of a company and a territorial institution
  • managing tropical forests in an era of change in South East Asia, in which FTA Director Robert Nasi and his co-presenter Michael Galante make the case for new approaches to managing logged-over forests and benefits
  • forest restoration as key component to tackle climate change, which argues that the underlying factors of deforestation have to do with governance

Also see the presentation here