The Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration estimates that there are some 2 billion hectares of degraded lands available for restoration globally, 400 million in the Asia-Pacific region. APFNet recognizes that current forest restoration practices often come with higher costs in the Asia and Pacific, while at times not delivering the results originally intended. Discussions at the sessions “Promoting Sharing Best Practices of Forest Rehabilitation in Asia and Pacific” hosted by APFNet during the Conference on Forest Rehabilitation in the Asia and Pacific in late March have identified viable cost-effective restoration approaches which could be applied at a larger scale.
The invited participants gave a number of important insights during the session. The Forest Landscape restoration (FLR) approach, which integrates different land-uses (agriculture, forestry, pasture and water supply) across a large area of land, entails cross-sector communication and cooperation. Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) and agroforestry represent important pieces in the puzzle as one keeps costs low while improving ecosystem functions and the other provides immediate livelihood options. Many case studies, like the FLR-based project in the Philippines and the National Reforest Programme in Vietnam, which successfully utilized ANR, show that these ideas do not have to remain niche approaches.
Some projects, while not under the FLR umbrella, similarily focus on landscape thinking. The APFNet-funded ‘Landscape approach to Sustainable management of forests in Prek Thnot Watersheds’, Cambodia, adopts an Integrated Watershed Management Plan to address forest and land degradation and land tenure issues.
A scientific basis for interventions is key at all times, as the APFNet-funded project “Rehabilitation and Management of degraded forests in Beijing’s Miyun Reservoir watershed” has showed, where the close-to-nature forest management is introduced to achieve high-quality forest stands.
Agroforestry that intuitively embraces many FLR principles receives special attention. In Yunnan, agroforestry system does not only focus on simple intercropping, but is planned ahead for several years through a successional planting approach.
In Myanmar home gardens are important for small scale farming families for food and cash income, but come with limited profits. Cooperation among households under agroforestry projects would increase opportunities across the landscape. Thus, the government currently promotes multi-household agroforestry approach to ensure ecological integrity while increasing local livelihoods.
Ecological integrity plays an even greater role in Chinese Taipei, where mass landslides due to typhoons have caused erosion that are exacerbated by upland farmers following unsustainable practices. APFNet-funded “Demonstration of Sustainable Upland Agroforestry Systems in Chinese Taipei”, proves that agroforestry is a possible and feasible solution to cope with the dilemma.
With so many ideas shared by different economies, at the end of the day, participants walked away with ideas and approaches on forest rehabilitation that can be applied at home.