US: 1.5 billion hectares (5.8 million square miles) of land are suitable for forest restoration, according a map based-on a new analysis by the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) – a partnership between the World Resources Institute, South Dakota State University and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The global map shows where forests have great potential for recovery, including great swathes of deforested landscapes (about two-thirds of the opportunity) across Africa, Brazil and Indonesia as well as degraded forests and woodlands. The analysis breaks opportunities into two classes: wide-scale and mosiac (or patchy) forest generation.
The analysis finds that most of the opportunities do not occur in frontier areas where deforestation is presently occurring, but in regions where forest degradation and deforestation have already occurred. It noted that restoration opportunities vary depending on local conditions.
“These areas should not all be restored in the same fashion,” stated the World Resources Institute (WRI) on its web site. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each forest landscape is unique and needs its own restoration design which responds in a balanced way to societal preferences and needs.”
Some countries are already seeing forest regeneration. Costa Rica and Vietnam are among the nations that have seen recovery of forest cover outside industrial plantations.
GPFLR map is based on relatively coarse (1×1 km) remote sensing data and considers current land cover, land use, population density and other factors. It does not incorporate tenure arrangements and land-use dynamics, which could complicate forest recovery and restoration.