Closing the gap on forest restoration
The global community has put forest restoration high on the agenda. The Bonn Challenge (2011), New York Declaration on Forests (2014) and United Nations strategic plan for forests (2017 - 2030) are raising the stakes by envisaging an increase of forest area by 3% and safeguarding the world's forest carbon stocks by 2030. These ambitions for forest restoration are needed to mitigate adverse effects of climate change and global biodiversity loss. Closing the gap between pledges of policy makers and effective forest restoration by practitioners requires support from science, in order to establish forests that are adapted to future environmental conditions. CAMBIO hopes to support the closing of this knowledge gap.
Science guides towards diverse plantations
In recent years, a large number of experimental tree plantations were established across the globe to form the global Tree Diversity Network (TreeDivNet). The experiments were all designed to test effect of the number of tree species (i.e. diversity) on the functioning of forests in the early stages of development. The network represents the largest research facility worldwide to study forest ecosystem functioning in plantations.
Until now, most large-scale tree planting are almost exclusively using only a handful of particular tree species planted in monocultures. However, the TreeDivNet experimental plantations have provided evidence that higher tree diversity can promote important ecosystem functions such as tree growth and resistance to disturbances. In order to provide this improved function, the species and management system needs to be carefully selected.
In the current context of climate change, biodiverse plantations preferably focus on species and species associations with high growth and carbon sequestration potential – i.e. climate change mitigation. Simultaneously, they need to be most resistant and resilient against the future impacts of climate change – i.e. adaptation. This is essentially a question of trade-offs and synergies for mitigation and adaptation when choosing between various tree species during afforestation, which has direct practical relevance for forest management.
Make the science practical and the practice based on the best science. This way, CAMBIO aims to accelerate a transition from monocultures to biodiverse plantations in the context of climate change.
The outreach strategy in CAMBIO is based on three pillars:
Reaching out. Promoting the information collected, via the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to major research groups affiliated with TreeDivNet, as well as to a broader audience via peer-to-peer networks and social media
Drawing in. Forming enduring alliances with practitioners and satellite research groups, via field encounters and exchange visits
Scaling out. Practical research outputs such as policy briefs and decision support tools for practitioners can ensure a scalable and long-lasting transfer of knowledge to key stakeholders