Communal Management as a Strategy for Restoring Cloud Forest Landscapes in Andean Ecuador
Wilson, Sarah Jane. “Communal Management as a Strategy for Restoring Cloud Forest Landscapes in Andean Ecuador.” World Development Perspectives 3 (2016): 47-49.ScienceDirect. Web.
Engaging smallholders in restoring forests can be challenging, but is essential if landscape-level projects are to succeed in many populated regions. Compared to other competing land uses (agriculture, pasture, and even other tree-based systems such as plantations) the benefits of restoration are often dispersed, less obvious, unproven in the local context, and require large areas to be realized, making restoration risky or difficult for an individual landholder. This study in the Ecuadorian Andes showed that introducing communally owned and managed reserves created a space for people to learn about the practice and benefits of planting trees. Because communal reserves provided a relatively low-risk, low-cost environment to restore forests, key barriers to participation were lifted. In the process, farmers learned about tree planting and its benefits, knowledge they could (and did) apply on private farms. Introducing communal land-tenure thus changed local norms and practices around forest cultivation and clearing, and produced diverse forests across the landscape.