Technical Report

Lessons Learnt from 17 Years of Restoration in New Caledonia’s Dry Tropical Forest. Paris: WWF France, WWF report, Field series, Experiences in Forest Landscape Restoration, 44 pages.

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Dry tropical forests are among the most endangered ecosystems on our planet. New Caledonia has the privilege of having such a unique ecosystem, but also the global responsibility to protect and restore it. While it once covered approximately half of New Caledonia’s main island of Grande-Terre, today the dry forest only covers about 17,500 ha or 2% of its initial extent. A total of 366 plant species have been identified in New Caledonia’s dry forest, of which 60.3% are endemic. Alarmed by the state of loss and fragmentation of the dry forest, nine public and private partners mobilised in 2001 to establish the dry forest programme with the aim to conserve and restore this precious ecosystem. Ten years later this partnership was consolidated as the ‘Conservatoire d’Espaces Naturels de Nouvelle-Calédonie’ (CEN) which is a legal entity. Priority actions have included protecting fragments of dry forest from further threats notably, from invasive exotic species, by fencing to enable natural regeneration and active planting. Much knowledge was developed over the course of the programme on the ecoregion’s unique flora. As a result of this knowledge generated, many more tree nurseries can today reproduce indigenous dry forest species and offer them to the wider public. The area of dry forest fenced and thus protected from grazing animals rose from 55.9 ha (0.3%) in 2000 to 692 ha (4%) in 2017. The number of sites fenced to enable natural regeneration went from 3 to 12 between 2001 and 2017. In addition, legally established protected areas cover 127.3 ha (including a buffer zone). Overall, 178,384 saplings were put in the ground through plantation campaigns over the 17 years of the programme. A list of 68 floral species from the dry forest were submitted to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and 48 saw their status revised. No species became extinct, and the Pittosporum tanianum was brought back from the brink of extinction. A long-term governance structure has been established (the CEN) to take the dry forest conservation programme forward and the Province Sud changed its environmental code in 2009 to provide regulatory protection of the dry forest. Awareness raising has been a central component of the programme, and several communications and awareness raising activities have secured the mobilisation of ordinary New Caledonians. Reigniting pride in their unique natural heritage has helped to ensure stronger public support and engagement in the programme. WWF played a catalytic role in this programme to facilitate the development of a coordinated and collaborative effort by providing both financial seed support and technical assistance. The initial programme succeeded in mobilising greater engagement the Northern and Sourthern provinces as well as the local New Caledonian government and French government. Lessons from this 17 year-long initiative are of relevance beyond New Caledonia as the tropical dry forest is a highly threatened ecosystem facing similar threats in such distant places as Hawaii, the Greater Mekong, South Africa or Central America. Key lessons learnt over the course of this project are: 1 Causes of degradation and values of forest types need to first be defined: Conservation and restoration cannot take place without an understanding of the values of specific forests and the underlying causes of their degradation and loss. 2. Ground implementation in scientific knowledge: Solid knowledge of the ecological elements of the landscape and ecoregion provides the starting point for implementing forest landscape restoration interventions. 3. A hierarchical strategy for intervention is needed: Restoration is much more than only planting trees. It is a matter of scales (time and space) and strategy. 4. Advancing practical implementation: While understanding the ecology of species and the socio-economic dynamics within the landscape are key foundations, it is important to couple this understanding with pilot interventions for stakeholders to better appreciate the practical application of the science. 5. Commit to the long term: Restoration requires long term efforts. In New Caledonia, early public sector engagement in the programme helped to secure the necessary long term commitment. 6. Consider scale and the mosaic of land use across a landscape: Linkages in the landscape promote resilience and sustainability. Because of the highly fragmented nature of New Caledonia’s dry forest, it was particularly important to consider connections across larger scales and the viability of different forest patches. 7. Partner for sustainability: Bringing diverse stakeholders together around an FLR programme supports multiplication and continuity. A partnership approach was initiated early on in New Caledonia and proved an essential foundation for all future work on restoration. 8. Citizen involvement leads to stronger ownership: the role of individual citizens is important in large scale restoration initiatives as they can support actions at different levels. This is particularly true where land ownership is largely private, as is the case in New Caledonia. 9. High restoration costs call for alternative approaches: The high per hectare costs involved in restoration generally, and in the case of New Caledonia’s dry forest specifically, hamper wide-scale implementation. Other technical alternatives may be tested (e.g. passive restoration) for long term and larger benefits. 10. Landscape-level thinking requires a shift in mindset: Small, individual sites tend to fit with private ownership, and in the case of New Caledonia, with the highly fragmented nature of remaining forests. Restoration actions therefore, tend to be implemented around these sites, even if there may be a wider landscape-scale planning or desire to integrate restoration in land use planning tools. 11. Design an exit strategy: Due to the long-term nature of FLR, the leading organisation carries an important responsibility and should be willing to commit for at least 10-15 years. Furthermore, it should ensure it makes appropriate plans for its exit strategy. The role of the public sector in New Caledonia has been paramount in securing an efficient transition.

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Restoring forest landscapes is a necessity as we face the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, both of which are exacerbated by ongoing forest loss and degradation. Several public and private actors are engaging in initiatives on forest landscape restoration (FLR). Together with partners, WWF has been carrying out FLR pilot projects since the co‐definition by experts convened by WWF and IUCN in 2000 of the term FLR. A series of retrospective reviews and analyses undertaken on its portfolio of field projects have recently helped WWF to better draw lessons, understand what worked in practice and what did not work. Taking stock of this experience, the purpose of this article is to review the metrics of success from seven WWF projects from Latin America, Asia/Pacific, Africa, and Europe that were set up as large‐scale, multi‐objective, forest restoration projects. We highlight and illustrate quantifiable indicators independently defined by these projects and identify current monitoring weaknesses. We then propose a typology of ecological, social, and economic key performance indicators (KPIs) inspired and illustrated by metrics from real projects. We highlight the urgent need to develop a common framework for monitoring FLR, well designed but simple enough to be used by FLR practitioners. It is crucial to help practitioners to improve and carry out effective monitoring, enabling projects to better fine‐tune and adapt restoration interventions, better report back to donors, and inspire story‐telling far beyond numbers of trees or hectares planted.
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Lesson learning from field implementation generates new knowledge that is particularly important in the context of recently developed approaches, processes and complex systems with limited history and much uncertainty. One such approach is forest landscape restoration (FLR). Although grounded in a number of disciplines (e.g. conservation biology, landscape ecology, restoration ecology), FLR has remained very fluid and molded to suit different stakeholders, from local to global. Today, many countries or organizations pledge to implement FLR. Global commitments, especially following the Bonn Challenge on FLR (established in 2011), aim to up-scale FLR to achieve social, biodiversity and carbon benefits. However, the FLR approach is relatively new (less than 20 years), complex due to its multifaceted nature, and longterm field experience and results are still limited. That makes lesson learning from past, ongoing and related approaches particularly urgent. We propose here a first attempt at a framework for lesson learning in FLR that can serve to ground both practice and policy in field experiences to date.
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Governance challenges – including ownership, decision-making, accountability, and sharing of costs and benefits – can impede forest landscape restoration in protected area landscapes. Understanding and addressing these challenges can improve the outcomes of forest landscape restoration. We tested the utility of applying an existing framework that focuses on three actions to understand governance – mapping stakeholders, contextualising and rescaling. The framework was applied to large-scale restoration initiatives in New Caledonia’s dry forest, Canada’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park and a Community Resource Management Area in Ghana’s Western Region to identify governance challenges and solutions in forest landscape restoration implementation in different contexts. Application of the framework revealed four types of governance challenges: overlapping jurisdictions, interinstitutional relationships, tenure and property rights conflict, and stakeholder power dynamics, and five types of governance solutions: supportive national-level policies, clarifying tenure, convening structures, benefit sharing and compensation, and cultural incentives. Overall, we found that the framework helped interviewees to conceptualise governance challenges and identify ways to address them.
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Here the new version of the Checklist of the vascular indigenous Flora of New Caledonia : FLORICAL
Technical Report
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In the last twelve years the restoration of forest landscapes has gradually gained in importance within WWF, its partners and numerous other organisations, conventions and political processes. While small-scale forest restoration efforts have existed in WWF probably for decades, it is only since 2000 that the organisation began working on “forest landscape restoration” (FLR), defined as: “A planned process that aims to regain ecological integrity and enhance human wellbeing in deforested or degraded landscapes”.1 The important and novel dimensions in this approach being: a) to link restoration to the landscape scale, b) the aim to tackle and reverse deforestation or forest degradation and c) the intention to balance both ecological and human needs (wellbeing) within a forested landscape. In 2000, WWF introduced forest landscape restoration within its global forest programme (the “Forest for Life Target Driven Programme”), by setting the following target: By 2005, at least 20 forest landscape restoration initiatives underway in the world’s threatened, deforested or degraded forest regions to enhance ecological integrity and human wellbeing.” In response to demand from the field programmes and further to five years of experience implementing forest landscape restoration programmes, WWF coordinated in 2004-5 the production of a handbook or guidance manual on forest landscape restoration. This world-wide review of expertise, processes and outstanding issues was published by Springer in 2005. The book has generated significant interest and has been translated into Chinese. After 2005, with the end of the “target-driven programmes”, while there was no longer a central programme for the restoration of forests within WWF, forest restoration work continued throughout the WWF Network. Furthermore, a node of expertise on forest restoration remained in WWF France which manages or contribute to some forest restoration field projects (notably in Madagascar and New Caledonia) and has staff with relevant international expertise (Dr. Daniel Vallauri, Hubert Géraux and Jean-Baptiste Roelens). However, the lack of a coordinated global programme on forest landscape restoration has meant that it is more difficult to identify initiatives working on forest landscape restoration, to promote the approach as a viable contribution to conservation, and to collect and exchange lessons, tools and knowledge emerging from implementation. In this context, WWF France commissioned this review with the specific intent to: 1. Extract lessons learnt to date, particularly in the last 5-6 year period, from WWF’s work on the restoration of forest landscapes. 2. Inform future restoration work, both within the WWF Network and beyond. A desk review, interviews and questionnaires all contributed to the production of this report. The ten sites selected and highlighted in this report were chosen based on prior knowledge of the programme. Furthermore, six of these ten ecoregions are biodiversity hotspots as per the commonly agreed definition (rating levels of endemism and extent of threat3). These sites by no means cover all of WWF’s efforts on the restoration of forests in landscapes. Results A wealth of information emerged from this shortlist of projects. Some lessons were very specific to the different project/programme locations, while others were common to several initiatives or regions. The overarching lessons are presented according to an organising framework1 for planning and implementing the restoration of forests in landscapes. More detail on each lesson can be found in Section 3 of the report. Lessons on initiating a restoration programme – Lesson 1: Understanding the local context – both socio-economic and ecological – is critical for local acceptance and sustainability – Lesson 2: Engaging stakeholders and partners, and negotiating trade offs, although time consuming, are key to securing long term success – Lesson 3: A strategic approach to the design and development of forest landscape restoration initiatives is preferable, but frequently opportunities dictate project development, with ensuing repercussions (on duration, stakeholder engagement, planning..) – Lesson 4: Long term engagement is essential in the restoration of forest landscapes – Lesson 5: WWF has a specific added value in facilitating partnerships to launch the large scale, long term initiatives necessary for the restoration of forest landscapes Lessons on defining restoration needs and linking restoration to a large scale conservation vision – Lesson 6: Addressing socio-economic needs is imperative to long term success in the restoration of forest landscapes – Lesson 7: The purposes of restoration in WWF work are diverse : a typology can be defined to better increase the understanding of this tool within the organization and beyond – Lesson 8: Scaling up from sites to landscapes presents significant operational challenges – Lesson 9: While maps and hectare-based targets are valuable in planning, they can be very sensitive and require careful interpretation – Lesson 10: Locally-adapted techniques are critical to acceptability and sustainability of the effort – Lesson 11: The landscape approach to conservation has inherited the challenges of forest landscape restoration Lessons on defining restoration strategy and tactics – Lesson 12: Endpoints for restoration must be clearly defined – Lesson 13: When restoring forest landscapes, constant flux rather than stability characterises the situation and therefore, there is a need for flexibility Lessons on implementing restoration – Lesson 14: Small scale restoration has a role to play within the larger landscape (demonstrative pilot action) but such interventions need to be carefully designed with the wider landscape in mind – Lesson 15: Further knowledge of indigenous species is needed in most cases – Lesson 16: Land tenure is a critical element in ensuring the sustainability of the restoration of forest landscapes – Lesson 17: There are numerous conservation side benefits to forest landscape restoration in addition to restoring forest functionality – Lesson 18: Success breeds success Lessons on piloting systems towards fully restored ecosystems – Lesson 19: A long timeframe, at least ten years, is necessary to implement a forest landscape restoration programme and to see visible results – Lesson 20: Attaching a value to a restored landscape is important to ensure land use decisions and trade offs can be adequately informed – Lesson 21: Embedding forest landscape restoration in existing frameworks will help secure its financial and political sustainability – Lesson 22: Collecting and recording experiences and lessons is important to build up a solid expertise and knowledge base – Lesson 23: Designing and implementing an effective monitoring framework for the restoration of forest landscapes remains a challenge Recommendations Many recommendations can be made as a result of the lessons emerging from this report, however we chose to focus on six quite specific ones, three internal to WWF and three for the wider conservation community. Recommendations for the WWF Network: – Recommendation 1: The institution should integrate more explicitly the contribution that the restoration of forests in landscapes is making to WWF’s broader goals (as defined in the Global Programme Framework). The restoration of forest landscapes has a very clear role to play in contributing to WWF’s overarching goals. However, this link is not explicit within the WWF organising frameworks and therefore, valuable efforts on the restoration of forest landscapes are not appearing as contributions to the wider objectives of the organisation. Efforts are needed to better align these restoration actions to the overall goals and in turn to effectively collect these contributions to the overall programme. – Recommendation 2: WWF should promote positive experiences and field stories. There are many interesting and positive forest landscape restoration experiences in WWF, many lessons emerging from/for the WWF Network, and also good stories to communicate to the wider public, yet these are not sufficiently promoted and shared – both within the Network and beyond. WWF offices should be encouraged to communicate these stories. – Recommendation 3: The WWF Network should undertake a needs assessment to identify specific gaps and tools needed to further support forest landscape restoration efforts. While there is significant experience, there are clearly gaps and areas where efforts are being duplicated throughout the Network. The implementation of forest restoration in landscapes also generated the need for new areas of expertise and methodologies for the WWF Network (on social approaches, agriculture and forest techniques), some of which are not common in the WWF culture, and require support at least to create an effective link to relevant organisations (e.g.: Care, Oxfam, agriculture and research centres…). A comprehensive assessment of needs would help to identify gaps and also eliminate redundancies. This is all the more important as staff changes are likely to occur over the lengthy duration needed for the restoration of forest landscapes. Recommendations for the wider conservation community: – Recommendation 4: Build on lessons learnt. This report has identified a vast array of very useful lessons emerging from the last ten years of WWF’s work on the restoration of forest landscapes around the globe. These lessons are very pertinent and WWF should disseminate them widely and apply them as relevant in its various conservation programmes. As shown through this report, the restoration of forest landscapes remains an important element in large scale conservation. Learning from the past will help to strengthen future efforts, within WWF and beyond. – Recommendation 5: Relevant institutions should make a concerted effort to mobilise long term efforts and resources towards forest landscape restoration. Achieving real and lasting impact in restoring forest landscapes takes time (at least 10 years), human resources and a diversity of partners from different backgrounds. Partners should pool resources in priority areas for restoration in order to achieve the scale of change necessary. – Recommendation 6: Conservationists should determine whether forest landscape restoration or the landscape approach is the best approach in a given ecoregion. There remains some confusion between the two approaches, which clearly exhibit significant overlap. However, they are not one and the same. The restoration of forest landscapes assumes that within a landscape the single most important conservation action needed is the restoration of forest functionality. This will be particularly important where forest degradation and/or loss are significant and where pressures on forests are high. It will also be important where priority species are facing extinction because of habitat loss. In many cases, however, this is not or should not be the main conservation thrust, but instead the landscape approach where a mix of tools (which may include restoration interventions) is applied to maintain and sustainably manage into the future a functional, forested landscape, would make more sense. In order to secure successful forest landscape restoration initiatives, a vital step is to ensure that the approach is applied where it is really needed.
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Trigocherrierin A (1) and trigocherriolide E (2), two new daphnane diterpenoid orthoesters (DDOs), and six chlorinated analogues, trigocherrins A, B, F and trigocherriolides A-C, were isolated from the leaves of Trigonostemon cherrieri. Their structures were identified by mass spectrometry, extensive one- and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy and through comparison with data reported in the literature. These compounds are potent and selective inhibitors of chikungunya virus (CHIKV) replication. Among the DDOs isolated, compound 1 exhibited the strongest anti-CHIKV activity (EC50 = 0.6 ± 0.1 µM, SI = 71.7).
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Forest restoration at large scales, or landscapes, is an approach that is increasingly relevant to the practice of environmental conservation. However, implementation remains a challenge; poor monitoring and lesson learning lead to similar mistakes being repeated. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the global conservation organization, recently took stock of its 10 years of implementation of forest landscape restoration. A significant body of knowledge has emerged from the work of the WWF and its partners in the different countries, which can be of use to the wider conservation community, but for this to happen, lessons need to be systematically collected and disseminated in a coherent manner to the broader conservation and development communities and, importantly, to policy makers. We use this review of the WWF's experiences and compare and contrast it with other relevant and recent literature to highlight 11 important lessons for future large-scale forest restoration interventions. These lessons are presented using a stepwise approach to the restoration of forested landscapes. We identify the need for long-term commitment and funding, and a concerted and collaborative effort for successful forest landscape restoration. Our review highlights that monitoring impact within landscape-scale forest restoration remains inadequate. We conclude that forest restoration within landscapes is a challenging yet important proposition that has a real but undervalued place in environmental conservation in the twenty-first century.
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The sclerophyll forests which once extended over the lowlands of the west coast of New Caledonia are now reduced to small fragments representing about 2% (10 000 ha) of their original area. Much of the remaining forests are degraded. Threats to sclerophyll forests come from land clearance, grazing by cattle or deer, and fire. In sclerophyll forests, 223 endemic phanerogam species occur and 59 of these are specific to this forest type. Several of the 59 specific species are known only from a few plants at a single locality and are critically endangered. Pittosporum tanianum sp. nov. became extinct shortly after its discovery in 1988, and becomes the first documented plant extinction in New Caledonia. A further 15 species of New Caledonian plants, not recorded for several decades, are discussed, and it is concluded that between 4 and 9 of them may be extinct. The existing reserves containing sclerophyll forests are inadequate to protect the remaining biodiversity of the forests. Four immediate steps needed to protect sclerophyll forests are (i) restoration of Leprdour Island; (ii) purchase and restoration of selected privately owned forests; (iii) management of publicly owned forest near Npoui; and (iv) ex situ conservation of certain species.
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