Human dimensions of forest landscape restoration

Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is a human affair. As with all ecosystem restoration approaches, in FLR humans are part of the social-ecological system within which restoration activities take place: what people do in the landscape directly affects all components of a natural ecosystem such as soil, vegetation including forest, faunal diversity and vice versa. It is therefore, essential to understand and include the human dimensions of FLR at all stages of planning, implementation and monitoring. Although there have been some attempts to do so, most of the attention has centred on the ecological aspects of the forested landscape with limited attention to the human system. And as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is driving even greater investments in FLR and other ecosystem restoration approaches, there is an urgent need to improve the ways that human dimensions are considered in all ecosystem restoration efforts.

This publication, promoted by IUFRO, WWF, SER and UNIL aims to achieve just that: improve understanding of the human dimensions of FLR (and to a large extent, of wider ecosystem restoration) and provide guidance to practitioners so that they can better integrate these dimensions in their work in FLRand broader ecosystem restoration.

Eleven social and natural scientists combined forces to develop this guidance document which includes an analytical framework to better understand and integrate human dimensions in restoration and a number of relevant guidance materials developed under other processes but also directly relevant to FLR. For example, many organisations have developed useful materials to carry out participatory visioning exercises that can be useful to FLR practitioners. Overall, this guidance document targets restoration practitioners, but also researchers, educators and policymakers. We anticipate that it will help to enhance the outcome of the many nascent and ongoing restoration efforts being implemented around the world.