Forest restoration: Study reveals high potential for successful forest restoration in six African countries
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Robin Chazdon told SciDev that there are so many important regions in need of restoration globally that researches are pinpointing those ones where restoring forests is most beneficial and viable so that countries can begin to focus on restoration hotspots.
The four-year (2015 to 2018) research effort took an interdisciplinary approach, taking into account not only general benefits -tree cover and carbon stocks-but also economic factors such as opportunity costs of land affected by agricultural production.
The researchers identified seven hotspots in lowland tropical rainforests and created a value gradient from 0 to 1 to represent opportunity restoration scores.
“The top six countries with the highest opportunity restoration scores were found in Africa”, the study says, naming Burundi, Madagascar, Rwanda, South Sudan, Togo and Uganda.
“The study reveals the high potential for forest restoration of these countries” Robin Chazdon adds.
The study also cites Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia and Madagascar as the five countries with the largest hotspots.
- The researchers identified high priority areas for tropical forest restoration
- The hotspot areas are found in Africa.
- States and decision-makers should pay attention to areas with long term benefits.
According to one study, Africa, Central America, South America and South East Asia have the highest potential for restoring forests and benefiting from them.
The study adds that out of 57 commitments to restore 170 million hectares of forests by 2030, 80% are concentrated in tropical developing countries.
However, experts say identifying key landscapes where forest restoration could yield the highest potential benefits is challenging.
“There is an urgent need to bring forests back to areas where they help to prevent extinction of species, improve water security, mitigate climate change through carbon storage and provide habitats for climate change adaptation”, said Robin Chazdon, Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of the University of Connecticut in the United States and co-author of the study published last week (3 July) in the Science Advances journal.
“There is an urgent need to bring forests back to areas where they help to prevent extinction of species, improve water security and mitigate climate change “Robin Chazdon, University of Connecticut.
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