Alignment of biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits under Forest and Landscape Restoration

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Fangyuan Hua

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The success of Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), the world’s guiding framework for the restoration of forest ecosystems, demands multiple co-benefits. This task is particularly pressing for biodiversity conservation, which often is side-lined by ecosystem services in FLR’s agenda-setting and fails to benefit when tree plantations are deemed sufficient for FLR goals. The key to enabling multiple co-benefits under FLR lies in understanding their synergies and trade-offs with each other, but such knowledge has been severely limited by the narrow focus on the biodiversity-carbon co-benefit and their geographical overlap, leaving out the major ecosystem services of soil erosion control and water provisioning that are also major FLR motivations worldwide, and failing to inform what tree covers FLR should restore. Focusing on biodiversity, carbon storage, soil erosion control, and water provisioning, we conducted a global meta-analysis to address these knowledge gaps by asking: of the tree covers FLR can restore, which ones deliver more desirable performances when considering all four environmental outcomes, and does the same answer hold across the world’s forest biomes? We found that native forests had clear advantages over tree plantations as the target of restoration, and that these advantages aligned among all four environmental outcomes. Moreover, the additional benefits of restoring native forests, instead of monoculture plantations, are higher for regions closer to the tropics. For FLR, these findings make a strong environmental case for restoring native forests for the world’s biomes but particularly for regions closer to the tropics.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration