Tropical forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services and thereby benefits to local populations, especially in tropical countries with high dependencies on the natural resources, forests often support local livelihoods. For example, they stabilize the climate through the storage of greenhouse gases and are an essential source of biomass and energy, food and employment. Additionally, they serve as natural habitat to large proportion flora and fauna.
Timber logging and the expansion of the agricultural frontier, which strongly relate to local income and development, also lead to forest degradation and deforestation, which reduces for regulating services, supporting and cultural services and the conservation of biodiversity.Forests in tropical landscapes are crucial for the conservation of biodiversity, climate change mitigation and delivery of ecosystem services for local livelihoods. However, the ability of forests to fulfil these functions is severely threatened by ongoing deforestation and forest degradation.
There are various forest types in tropical landscapes (e.g., old-growth forests, regenerating secondary forests or plantations with native or exotic species), which can be managed for different objectives (e.g., production of timber, fuelwood or NWFPs and/or carbon sequestration) or be under protection. These different silvicultural options have the potential to improve functions that forests provide and reduce risks they face. However, not all options contribute equally to all functions; instead, there are synergies and trade-offs between different objectives.
Our research aims to identify how provision of ecosystem services and by extensions the benefits to humans changes when forest undergo a transition from old-growth forest to different types of restoration or regeneration. This will be conducted in three steps:
Further objectives of our research are to
This will be achieved using a model-based methodological approach that is parametrized using data from literature as well as project data from 36 LaForeT-R² landscapes along the forest transition curve in Ecuador, Zambia and the Philippines.
We aim to improve our understanding how the benefits to humans from forests change through deforestation, degradation and recovery. For this, our research is expected to provide robust quantitative information on the impact of different silvicultural options on the delivery of ecosystem services and conservation of biodiversity.
Based on these results, we plan to derive proposals for policy-relevant guidelines on how to balance multiple management objectives on the landscape level. This can contribute to an improvement of sustainable forest management and forest restoration practices in tropical landscapes.