Barbara Bożętka

Articles

Forest ecosystem restoration – assumptions and aims of global activities in the context of the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021‑2030)

Barbara Bożętka

Przegląd Geograficzny (2022) tom 94, zeszyt 4, pp. 471-501 | Full text
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2022.4.4

Further information

Abstract

This paper focuses on the restoration of forest ecosystems highlighting the importance of valuable ecological features. The focus is furthermore on a global perspective, with analyses taking in the main aspects of forest degradation and restoration from both theoretical and practical standpoints. Particular emphasis is placed on environmental policy as pursued currently, first and foremost in regard to the main instrument of ecosystem restoration that is constituted by the United Nations’ Decade thereof, running from 2021‑2030 (in accordance with UN Resolution A/Res/73/284). The article points to the linkage between policies seeking to counteract forest degradation on the one hand, and on the other to achieve the conservation of biodiversity, the protection of land, and both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Stress is further placed on an appropriate hierarchy of strategies seeking to improve the state of the world’s forests. While conservation, restoration and reforestation are the three main directions to Sustainable Forest Management, it is the first of the three that must always be emphasised first and foremost.

The study work at the heart of this article highlights a need for worldwide acceleration of the processes restoring forest ecosystems. Following the logic of interrelations between degradation and restoration, the problem of ecosystem degradation is first turned to, with an analysis of global deforestation also incorporated. Trends as regards the loss of forest and of tree cover in general over in the last 30 years are presented, with the basis for this examination being data from the FAO’s Forest Resource Assessment and Global Forest Watch. Furthermore, forest degradation and deforestation have been proceeding to an advanced degree in recent decades. In this way major losses have afflicted tropical forests and the so-called Intact Forest Landscapes. Importantly, many international commitments have now been taken on, with ambitious targets set in regard to the need for both deterioration of forest and the loss of tree cover to be stemmed. However, as the New York Declaration on Forests and other instruments make clear, most of the targets set for 2020 were not actually achieved.

In its consideration of the theoretical foundations of forest-ecosystem restoration, this paper reflects upon resilience, the recovery of native ecosystems, and the process of natural regeneration. The main contemporary paradigms to the theory and practice of forest-ecosystem restoration are here demonstrated, with the basis of the enquiry being formulae for the restoration of ecosystems elaborated by the Society of Ecological Restoration. Quite a large part of the study has been devoted to the Forest Landscape Restoration approach, with a presentation of the main FLR options as elaborated by the FLR Global Partnership. Two dominant types of FLR (‘wide-scale’ and ‘mosaic restoration’) are here integrated, while examples of challenging actions in the field of forest-ecosystem restoration have been provided, including AFR100, The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel, the 20 x 20 Initiative, and the Trillion Trees Campaign. Taking into account the importance of the latest EU activity in the field of nature protection, remarks are made in regard to the 2022 Nature Restoration Law.

The discussion brings to light certain aspects of criticism vis-à-vis the pursuit of forest restoration, which are to be found in the subject literature. This signals a problem of the conservation of forests being overshadowed by careless application of activities driven by climate-change policies. As numerous scientists demonstrate (see e.g. the Kew Declaration on reforestation…, 2021), this practice frequently leads to the mass-planting of fast-growing trees of exotic species, sometimes even invasive. In this way a threat may actually be posed to the ecological richness and valuable landscape features the given area possesses.

Indeed, the present study underlines repeatedly the significance of natural and native ecosystems. However it also puts emphasis on the multi-purpose nature of the effort, the need for a holistic approach to be taken, and the importance of context as projects seeking the restoration of forest ecosystems are planned and implemented.

Keywords: ecosystem degradation, forest protection, environmental policy, the Earth

Barbara Bożętka [origeo@interia.pl], Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu, Wydział Filozofii i Nauk Społecznych

Citation

APA: Bożętka, B. (2022). Przywracanie ekosystemów leśnych – cele i założenia działań globalnych w kontekście Dekady Przywracania Ekosystemów (2021‑2030) ONZ. Przegląd Geograficzny, 94(4), 471-501. https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2022.4.4
MLA: Bożętka, Barbara. "Przywracanie ekosystemów leśnych – cele i założenia działań globalnych w kontekście Dekady Przywracania Ekosystemów (2021‑2030) ONZ". Przegląd Geograficzny, vol. 94, no. 4, 2022, pp. 471-501. https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2022.4.4
Chicago: Bożętka, Barbara. "Przywracanie ekosystemów leśnych – cele i założenia działań globalnych w kontekście Dekady Przywracania Ekosystemów (2021‑2030) ONZ". Przegląd Geograficzny 94, no. 4 (2022): 471-501. https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2022.4.4
Harvard: Bożętka, B. 2022. "Przywracanie ekosystemów leśnych – cele i założenia działań globalnych w kontekście Dekady Przywracania Ekosystemów (2021‑2030) ONZ". Przegląd Geograficzny, vol. 94, no. 4, pp. 471-501. https://doi.org/10.7163/PrzG.2022.4.4