...exploring how people shape the world's forests

SESYNC Workshop: Social Dimensions of Reforestation Pathways in the Tropics

Project Period: April 2016 – May 2018

Tropical forest landscapes are undergoing unprecedented change, with uncertain consequences for human populations. Apart from immediate effects on biodiversity and planetary carbon balance, deforestation and land degradation in the tropics directly affect livelihoods, food security, and human health. But there’s good news: decades of ecological research indicate that many of the negative ecological consequences of deforestation can be reversed over time. Far less is known, however, about the effects of reforestation, ecological restoration, and forest landscape restoration on individuals, households, villages, municipalities, and nations, and the feedbacks between forest recovery and human society. This understanding is fundamental to sustaining forest ecosystems and productive tropical landscapes in a rapidly changing world.

This workshop, the first collaborative effort between international forest research networks and institutions (PARTNERS, IFRI/FLARE, and CIFOR/CGIAR) and several organizations and funding agencies, brings together researchers, policy specialists and practitioners who strive to understand the ecological and social drivers and impacts of reforestation across diverse geographies and scales. Together, we seek to answer: “What are the social effects of reforestation programs at different spatial and temporal scales, and how are the associated ecological and economic benefits and costs distributed among social groups?” By developing research syntheses and a case study database, we aim to identify and address future research and implementation needs and priorities. Ultimately, the aim of our work is to produce long-term, context relevant solutions for reforesting landscapes that are mutually beneficially for people and forests.

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