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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Assessing the evolution and implementation of forest landscape restoration : a review Kaufmanis, Juliana


The Bonn Challenge is an initiative to restore 350 million hectares of land globally by 2030 guided by a restoration approach called Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR). FLR was jointly defined by the WWF and IUCN as a “planned process that aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or degraded forest landscapes”. Given the complexity of the social-ecological systems and the multi-year time frame of FLR projects, designing and managing restoration interventions is a challenge. Furthermore, FLR’s definition includes some terms with no agreed-upon definitions. As such, what FLR means in practical terms, and how FLR projects are being implemented in the field, remains unclear. Lessonlearning is thus critical so managers of FLR projects can adapt in response to feedback, and to suit changing needs, priorities, and conditions as they inevitably evolve through time. This is known as adaptive management and is a central tenet of FLR. However, adaptive management relies on an understanding of what FLR means and what it looks like on the ground. Thus, two decades after the introduction of FLR, in this thesis I seek to review the meaning, challenges, and progress of the FLR approach to help guide future projects. I conduct a systematic review of the literature to, first, undertake a comprehensive global assessment of how FLR is evolving in concept, and second, assess the state of its documented implementation in the field. Using qualitative content analysis, I show that although social themes dominated the FLR discourse in the beginning, ecological themes have become dominant in the last 5 years, showing convergence around a common concern over the quality of restored areas. Furthermore, I find limited detailed reporting on FLR implementation in the field and offer recommendations for improving monitoring and reporting. This research contributes to other efforts aimed at improving shared understanding of the evolving meaning of FLR and knowledge of it implementation in the field. This research may help to inform adaptive management to guide current and future projects through the UN Decade on Restoration (2021-2030) the last decade to achieve the Bonn Challenge target.

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