Tropical Reforestation Network: Building a Socioecological Understanding of Tropical Reforestation

Sustainable use of tropical forests depends upon the ability of forests to regrow after clearing. This project -- Tropical Reforestation Research Coordination Network -- will address major gaps in our understanding of the social and ecological drivers of reforestation, and the consequences of alternative methods of reforestation for reforestation or for commercial forestry. Interdisciplinary teams will be formed at an initial workshop to focus on four thematic areas: 1) social and ecological causes of forest changes in the tropics; 2) recovery of ecosystems in disturbed tropical forest landscapes; 3) interactions between climate variability and reforestation; and 4) socioeconomic and ecological costs and benefits of reforestation. Teams will review previously published, scholarly research; plan new research proposals to address knowledge gaps; produce policy briefs for governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations; and produce teaching modules for university students and reforestation professionals. A third workshop featuring early career scientists will focus on the social and ecological challenges of managing regenerating forests.

This project will help guide efforts to actively restore forests on degraded and unproductive lands. Partnerships with the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, and the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative will allow participants to transmit their findings to policy makers, students, foresters, and the general public via webinars, policy briefs, field training, and on-line courses. The network's activities will promote international collaboration and provide training for graduate students through a distributed graduate student seminar on the social and ecological impacts of climate variability on tropical reforestation.

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