Tropical forest landscapes worldwide have undergone unprecedented change in the last several decades. Many that were once covered almost entirely by dense forests now feature vast areas of degraded forests and agricultural lands, and primary forests have dwindled in area and become fragmented. Until quite recently, deforestation was linked most strongly to the intensification of shifting cultivation and pasture development; today, economically powerful actors are further changing tropical forest landscapes for agro-industrial uses, mining and infrastructure. Ecosystem services long provided by tropical forest landscapes are under threat, with major implications for sustainability—locally, nationally, regionally and even globally.
The present guidelines constitute an international reference document for the development and improvement of national and subnational guidelines on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in the tropics. They provide guidance at the policy and operational levels for restoring degraded forests and formerly forested landscapes in tropical forest biomes. The focus is on restoring functional forest ecosystems and multipurpose tree-based agricultural production systems in landscapes. The objectives are to increase the positive contributions of trees and forests to the ecological health, productivity and resilience of landscapes, and to produce forest products (e.g. wood products, energy and food).