Applying restoration forestry
Undertaking afforestation
Regenerating woodlands
Along with recognizing the importance of reforestation schemes to increase the forest cover, measures should be taken in relation to the afforestation or reforestation of areas to avoid endangering important and/or valuable ecosystems (e.g. wetlands, steppes, heathlands, etc) or the use of inappropriate tree species. It is important to take into account in a balanced way, the need for ensuring the conservation and appropriate enhancement of biodiversity in forests and the need for the maintenance of forest health and ecological balance.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Agenda 21 recommends:

(a) Developing industrial and non-industrial planted forests in order to support and promote national ecologically sound afforestation and reforestation/regeneration programmes in suitable sites, including upgrading of existing planted forests of both industrial and non-industrial and commercial purpose to increase their contribution to human needs and to offset pressure on primary/old growth forests. Measures should be taken to promote and provide intermediate yields and to improve the rate of return on investment in planted forests, through interplanting and underplanting valuable crops.

(b) Carrying out accelerated afforestation and reforestation programmes, using drought-resistant, fast-growing species, in particular native ones, including legumes and other species, combined with community-based agroforestry schemes. In this regard, creation of large-scale reforestation and afforestation schemes, particularly through the establishment of green belts, should be considered, bearing in mind the multiple benefits of such measures.

Kenya developed plantation forestry as an alternative to exploitation of natural forests more than thirty years ago. In the 1950s, about 90% of the country's industrial wood requirements were met by selectively logging natural forest areas. By the early 1970s, fast growing pine and cypress plantations made it possible to meet 80% of industrial requirements through sustained yields from plantations occupying 180,000 hectares, or less than 10% of the natural forested area. This slowed logging from natural forests.

In the late 1980s, the increasing demands for fuelwood resulted in two successful trails to cooperate with the local population to secure a source of fuelwood. They are the 5000 hectare Guesselbodi forest in Niger, and and the 100,000 hectare Nazinon-project in Burkina Faso.

In Chile, industrial roundwood production from plantations doubled between 1960 and 1977 and again between 1977 and 1984, because of government encouragement for private investment in plantation forestry through direct subsidies and increased security of tenure on forested land.

There can also be a steady and often unrecognized independent effort by individuals and communities to plant trees. For one part of Kenya estimates suggest that in a region of one million people, tens of millions of tree seedlings were being raised in this way each year.

The International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) mitigates tropical deforestation, land depletion and rural poverty through improved agroforestry systems, focusing on strategic and applied research in partnership with national institutions so as to develop appropriate agroforestry technologies for more sustainable and productive land use; strengthen national capacities to conduct agroforestry research by encouraging inter-institutional collaboration and documentation and communication activities.

The Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) in India leased government wasteland of 50 acres or more on which plantations for food, fodder and fuelwood have been introduced, whilst providing employment to youths. These plantations have encouraged farmers to offer their wasteland for afforestation.

At the end of the 19th century, the collapse of small farming in the lower Hudson Valley (New York, USA) allowed millions of acres to return to nature. When New York State surveyed itself in 1875, the six counties that make up the lower Hudson Valley -- Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, and Ulster -- contained 573,003 acres of timberland, covering about 21 percent of their total area. In 1980, trees covered almost 1.8 million acres, more than three times as much. As a whole, American forests are bigger and healthier than they were at the turn of the century. Some states like Massachusetts have as many trees as they had in the early days of settlement. One reason is that farms reverted to woods. Another is that machinery replaced animals; each draft animal required two or three cleared acres for pasture. Nor is this reforestation restricted to North America: Europe's forest resources increased by 25 or 30 percent from 1970 to 1990, a time in which its population grew from 462 million to 502 million. Presumably the forest figure would have been yet higher without the continent's damaging acid rain.

USAID's Russian Far East (RFE) Programme funded the first comprehensive reforestation programme in the area. It increased the production of seedlings in the RFE 50-fold. New technologies have increased these seedlings' rate of growth and their probability of survival. USAID collaborated with local Forestry Service officials to design a low-cost, replicable nursery and seed storage system and to develop legal incentives for reforesting cleared and burned over areas. Consequently, the Khabarovsk Krai's Forestry Service set aside revenues from their log and timber sales, enabling an eventual replant rate of 10 million seedlings yearly. The nursery and out-planting programme has attracted tours by officials from other Russian regional Forest Service branches to study the programme's implementation.

The Asia-Pacific region leads in the establishment of forest plantations. Nine of the top 15 developing countries for forest plantation establishment are in the region -Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines and Viet Nam (FAO 1997a). In China, for example, government afforestation campaigns increased forest cover from 12 per cent in the 1980s to almost 14 per cent (34.25 million ha) by 1996 (SEPA 1996a). In addition, a forest network has been established covering 16 million ha of farmland and, under China's Agenda 21, a further 29 million ha will be reforested by 2010, increasing forest cover to 17 per cent of total land area. In Australia, the Plantation 2020 Vision aims to treble the area of Australia's plantation estate from 1 to 3 million ha by 2020 (Plantation 2020 Vision Implementation Committee 1997).

1. Natural reforestation is likely to continue as biotechnology makes areas used for logging more productive. Advances in tree farming, if implemented widely, would permit the world to meet its entire demand for industrial wood using just 200 million acres of plantations -- an area equal to only five percent of current forest land. As less land is required for commercial tree production, more natural forests may be protected -- as they should be, for aesthetic, ethical, and spiritual reasons.

2. Forests and forest products also help to combat the greenhouse effect caused by the presence of certain gases, such as as carbon dioxide (CO2), in the upper atmosphere. The fact is that a cubic metre of wood, in the shape of a living tree or manufactured product, can stock a tonne of CO2.

3. In Britain, after a great storm of 1987, the places where nature was left alone had the most prolific regrowth, increase in insects, birds and flowering plants. Natural disturbance added variety to a woodland. A lesson of the storm was that disturbance caused by management - selective felling or coppicing - could be just as beneficial. Other ways of stimulating the forest ecology could be the reintroduction of wild boar or large grazing animals such as wild cattle.

Counter Claim:
Today, Japan is one of the world's most heavily forested countries, the result of massive reforestation efforts and very strict enforcement of conservation laws. At the sime time, however, rain forests in Southeast Asia are felled to meet the huge demand of the Japanese market for wood.
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 15: Life on Land