Transforming forest landscapes to meet current and future needs

Many forests have been severely degraded by unsustainable practices in the past, and today they continue to be under severe pressure worldwide due to forest loss and degradation, conversion to other land uses and climate change.

Treatment of regenerating natural tropical forests aiming at enhancing productivity, biodiversity and resilience. Photo: Michael Kleine, IUFRO

“Forest landscapes are often the basis of local economies and social identity,” said Professor Andreas Bolte, Head of Institute at the Thünen Institute of Forest Ecosystems in Eberswalde, Germany. Dr. Bolte is coordinator of the IUFRO Task Force entitled Transforming Forest Landscapes for Future Climates and Human Well-being.

The major goal of the Task Force is to develop practical pathways for forest landscapes transformation that lead to landscapes that better fulfill future needs of local stakeholders and society at large throughout the world. As important as the multi-disciplinary areas of expertise of the Task Force researchers, is the aspect of translating global Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) concepts into local contexts. That is because all forests – and the societies that dwell in or near them and depend on them – are not the same.

Dr. Mercy Afua Adutwumwaa Derkyi, a deputy coordinator of the Task Force, agrees. “It’s a major step to bridge the different cultures and ethnicities – and the different forests with their different stressors and management issues,” she said. Dr. Derkyi is Dean of the School of Natural Resources and a senior lecturer at the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, in the Bono Region of Ghana.

“The preferred outcome of the Task Force will be if FLR professionals and landscape managers in various regions are informed about, and welcome, the Task Force knowledge and training products for application in their local contexts,” Dr. Bolte said.

And Dr. Derkyi added: “For me, success is translating our scientific outputs into outcomes that will have impacts on the ground. Given the depth and variety of our TF team, I believe we will achieve this.”

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The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a non-profit, non-governmental international network of forest scientists, which promotes global cooperation in forest-related research and enhances the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees. IUFRO unites more than 15,000 scientists in almost 700 Member Organizations in over 110 countries, and is a member of ICSU.