Social and governance aspects of FLR
Successful Forest and Landscape Restoration, FLR, relies on adaptation to local conditions, including ecosystems, local governance structures (e.g., land tenure regulations), and social structures (e.g. power relations, paths of communication).
This requires engagement, acceptance, and support from all those affected by FLR, such as people living in the area. Different stakeholders may have different priorities for expected outcomes of restoration activities, for example some may favour improved biodiversity, whilst others will prioritise increased income.
Governance methods which enable constructive multistakeholder participation will increase the possibility for sustainable and scalable FLR.
Involve a broad range of actors and sectors
An initial stakeholder analysis is key to identify the relevant actors in restoration activities; who has the rights and tenure of the land and the ES? Who has the duty to respect, protect, promote and develop the governance-system?
To fully understand local conditions and power relations, it is helpful to involve a broad range of actors and sectors from forest restoration activities, e.g. representatives from local communities and public interest groups, local non-governmental organizations, private companies and government representatives.
In some societies, women lack access to influence, finance, and property rights. Encouraging and incentivising women’s participation can enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of FLR and local entrepreneurship.
Likewise, youth should be included as they may be the most motivated stakeholders for investment in a more sustainable and better livelihood. They may also have a longer perspective on the changes and outcomes needed.
Inspiration of successful governance for FLR in Sweden
Links between ecosystems, governance and economic development is central in the LoCoFoRest programme and will be discussed thoroughly.
The Swedish restoration story will be used as an example. During the last 150 years, the Swedish forest landscape has been overhauled from being degraded to productive. Despite the long timeframe, many of the drivers for this change are interesting to explore, to understand how sustainable change can be achieved.
Many aspects resonate with the LoCoFoRest fundamental principles, with forest law, national forest inventory, empowerment and organization of smallholders, adaptive management, extension services and capacity building, being some of the features which have contributed.
Notably, new challenges evolve with time. A strong emphasis on production during much of the 20th century resulted in monoculture and loss of old growth forests and biodiversity. Forest policies and management practices need to be evaluated, adapted, and developed continuously to meet new knowledge and challenges.
Figure above. Smallholder foresters, local forest authorities and civil society meet in the UNESCO landscape biosphere reserve “The East Vättern Scarp” in Sweden, to evaluate the result of a selectively logged forest area. Photo: Ola Jennersten/N IBL.