Under ongoing threats, and increased recognition of the importance of forests, a variety of approaches towards forest conservation have been enacted around the world. Beyond laws and governance systems regulating forest management and use, a number of other mechanisms have shaped conservation options for the world’s forests. Historically, protected areas were implemented to preserve areas for purposes of landscape protection, game, and scenery. Protected area objectives have since expanded to encompass cultural significance, tourism potential, educational opportunities, ecological value, and high biodiversity. Government jurisdiction over such areas has occasionally run into conflict with indigenous populations, by prohibiting traditional rights and access to lands. However, researchers and conservation efforts are increasingly recognizing these social issues and the need to address local customs and livelihoods.
In more modern forest conservation efforts, a key component to ensuring success is forest monitoring. This is increasingly enabled by improving technology, such as remote sensing data and mapping projects, such as the Global Forest Watch, which allow easier access to data on forest conditions and trends throughout the globe. Reforestation and forest restoration can range from fast-growing exotic plantations, to restoration of complex native mixed-species forests, to abandoned land recovering naturally without extensive human intervention. Active reforestation efforts are undertaken for a variety of reasons, with varying amounts of success, but have constituted a significant portion of restored forest cover, making up an estimated 7% of total global forest cover today.
Lastly, increasing attention is being paid to landscape approaches to conservation and forest restoration. World Wide Fund for Nature and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature define the term as “a planned process that aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or degraded landscapes.” This method looks to methods such as agroforestry, tree buffers, or forest corridors to increase tree cover to better meet environmental, biodiversity, social, and economic goals across landscapes.
Conservation of the world’s forests is being approached in a variety of ways, with varying degrees of efficacy, and impacts on ecosystems and communities. Explore and learn more about these conservation topics by clicking below:
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