Community-based forest monitoring has been gaining traction as a means to achieving the elusive win-win scenario of sustainable forest management and meaningful involvement of local communities. The question is – How can we make it happen? What does a successful community-based monitoring system look like?

FES Masters student Meredith Martin led a workshop on this topic, based on her personal experience with community-based monitoring of Agave harvest in tropical dry forests in Guerrero, Mexico. Most of you will know Agave as the plant used to make the Mexican traditional liquor, mescal, and its more widely consumed cousin, tequila. The Acateyahualco community has been monitoring wild agave in their communal area for four years, as a result of a collaboration with a local NGO and researchers from the New York…

Zoraida Calle from CIPAV. Photo by Austin Lord.

Zoraida Calle from CIPAV. Photo by Austin Lord.

Our first panel talk this morning came from an organization I heard many, many good things about, CIPAV (Center for Research in Sustainable Systems in Agricultural Production – Fundación Centro para la Investigación en Sistemas Sostenibles de Producción Agropecuaria). This group has developed strategies that integrate shrubs for cattle fodder, fruit trees, and timber into strategies they call intensive silvopastoral systems. These systems show dramatic increases in production for the farmer without using chemical inputs. If you think I’m trying to sell you on their work, you’re right. Indulge me for a moment while I tell you about what is so exciting about their strategies to improve the…

Keynote Speaker, Robin Chazdon, University of Connecticut. Photo by Austin Lord.

“When we look at forests, we see them as systems in progress, they are under construction”.
This is what Dr. Robin Chazdon concluded near the end of her presentation, while showing the audience a photo of a lush, green forest, with a yellow “Under Construction” sign in the middle. Entertaining, engaging, and educational, Dr. Chazdon spoke of the checklist for successful natural regeneration, using examples from all over the world, largely from Central and Latin America where much of her research focuses. Some of these tools included beneficial topsoil, weed suppressing plants, fire protection, and animal diversity. “You need the whole tropic system, to get a forest back”, she said. Everyone nodded. We know the importance of bugs; even if we don’t want them in our kitchens, we need them in…

Jan McAlpine, UNFF Director

I would like to thank the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for hosting this important dialogue on Landscape-Scale Restoration.

The UNFF is a world body comprised all 193 UN countries with a facilitative and catalyzing role in engaging and strengthening cross-sectoral linkages with various partners within the UN system, and outside.  Since its creation in 2000, the UNFF has promoted a 360-degree perspective of all things forests, recognizing the need to widen the debate on forests well beyond the deforestation and afforestation, to a broader sense of its economic, environmental and social values.

Two conference participants viewing the ISTF photo contest

The 18th Annual International Society of Tropical Foresters Conference has begun! Last night we enjoyed our opening Jan McAlpine, and our skype presentation by David Lamb, then joined together for poster presentations and a reception in beautiful, LEED certified Kroon Hall. During this time, many people enjoyed the student photographs on view in the hallway outside of Burke Auditorium. I encourage participants of the contest to cast their vote for their favorite!…

Audience Questions for Dr. David Lamb

Maliau Basin, northeast Borneo 2012

This past summer, researchers with the Sabah Forestry Department allowed me to attend a conference on restoration in the gorgeous Maliau Basin Conservation Area in Sabah, Malaysia (northeast Borneo).  There I had the great opportunity to hear a presentation by Dr. David Lamb, who recently retired after having taught ecology in the School of Biology at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.  Dr. Lamb is especially interested in the ways in which degraded tropical forests and landscapes can be rehabilitated. His fieldwork has been undertaken in northern Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region. This work has explored ways of overcoming bio-physical impediments to rehabilitation as well as understanding the socio-economic factors…

Conference Day 1-Photos by Austin Lord

How I learned to stop thinking about REDD+ and love forest restoration

The kickoff keynote of the ISTF conference on Thursday will be given by forest restoration expert Dr. David Lamb. Since he won’t be able to join in person, I wanted to offer up the story of how he originally got me interested me in forest restoration.

Once upon a time in 2009, I was focusing on REDD, REDD and more REDD at work, when I met Dr. Lamb at a workshop about forest restoration and REDD. He gave a  presentation on the social implications and trade-offs of restoring forests for carbon storage, and it was one of those rare instances where workshops actually do re-direct your course in life and send you flying off in some crazy…

2012 ISTF Conference

Each January the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies holds a conference on tropical forests. Dedicated young men and women of the Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters(ISTF) work tirelessly through the academic year to organize this important tropical conference. Starting Thursday, January 26, this year’s conference theme is “Strategies for Landscape-Scale Restoration in the Tropics”.

This 3-day conference will bring together tropical forestry experts from all over the world to share ideas on ways to address this question of practical strategies for tropical forest restoration at landscape levels.

Following 2011 International day of forest worldwide, there have been discussions on restoration of degraded forest lands.  This conference will address the restoration strategies…