hoes and rakes hung on bamboo pole in woodsGlobal analysis has found more than two billion hectares of land that could benefit from restoration. What do these opportunities look like at the landscape level? Where should countries, organisations, and individuals interested in restoration begin? There is a growing suite of tools from which to choose to assess and map restoration potential, identify opportunities, perform cost-benefit analyses, navigate policy and more. Beyond ROAM, many other tools support the FLR process in different ways. These tools include:

Restoration Ecosystem Service Tool Selector (RESTS)

Restoring degraded forests and agricultural lands has become a global conservation priority. A growing number of tools can quantify ecosystem service tradeoffs associated with forest restoration. This evolving “tools landscape” presents a dilemma: more tools are available, but selecting appropriate tools has become more challenging. IUCN has developed a Restoration Ecosystem Service Tool Selector (RESTS) framework that describes key characteristics of 13 ecosystem service assessment tools. Analysts enter information about their decision context, services to be analysed and desired outputs. Tools are filtered and presented based on five evaluative criteria: scalability, cost, time requirements, handling of uncertainty, and applicability to benefit-cost analysis. RESTS uses a spreadsheet interface, but a web-based interface is planned. Given the rapid evolution of ecosystem services science, RESTS provides an adaptable framework to guide forest restoration decision-makers toward tools that can help quantify ecosystem services in support of restoration.

Forest restoration prioritization tool (ROOT)

IUCN and the Natural Capital Project have developed a tool that optimises the location of forest restoration activities to support increased ecosystem service benefits by minimising the costs of trade-offs between projected ecosystem services. ROOT uses a robust optimisation algorithm to weigh and prioritise ecosystem service benefits and provides a series of maps that are easily understood and communicated to decision-makers.

The Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF)

IUCN is collaborating with the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) to pilot test a land degradation surveillance framework (LDSF) to carry out assessments of land health, using indicators such as fractional vegetation cover, soil erosion, root-depth restrictions, soil organic carbon (SOC) and infiltration capacity to show how these indicators can be used to identify degraded areas and determine options for restoration such as the selection of suitable tree species for restoration of degraded soils or erosion control.

Africa Tree Finder app

The Africa Tree Finder App enables users to find suitable tree species for a particular location. Currently the app can be used within the East Africa Countries of Uganda and Kenya, with other countries to be included soon. The app, developed by IUCN and partners, can be used by extension officers, foresters, ecologist and farmers to help identify suitable tree species for their surroundings. The app has simplified the task of identifying a tree species by giving the user option of selecting basic "major uses" like "Wood", "Human Consumption", "Environmental Use" and "Animal Consumption" after which they can get a listing of species that can be planted in the area.               

Household surveys

The household survey methodology developed for the 2014 study on forest dependence in Eastern Europe and Russia uses elements of the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Survey and the CIFOR Poverty Environment Network methodology. It systematically accounts for all household income (cash and non-cash) for the preceding 12-month period including income from forests, agriculture, livestock, wage labour, commercial business activities and any other sources. IUCN and partners conducted the household surveys as part of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument East Countries Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Program (ENPI-FLEG II).

The Forest Community Fingerprint (FCF)

The Forest Community Fingerprint is a novel approach to more accurately estimate the human-nature dependency structure in boreal and temperate forest ecosystems and to document drivers of sustainability and efficiency of interactions between communities and their surrounding forest ecosystem resources. The FCF concept utilises specific data gathered during targeted household surveys as well as information derived via remote sensing techniques. The FCF concept has a flexible nature and can potentially be adjusted to measure overall levels of community poverty and forest productivity. Each parameter is calculated based on a set of weighed input variables, which can be adapted and changed to reflect the local conditions of the region of interest. Additional information can be used to complement the analysis and to provide an even more detailed assessment of the six FCF parameters (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions, gross domestic product). Like the household survey methodology mentioned above, the FCF concept was introduced through ENPI-FLEG II, which is implemented by IUCN and partners.

Mobile phone map of Vegetation and Climate Change in East Africa (VECEA)

With a mobile phone-based application, VECEA is tool for collecting data on fallows for extension of forest landscape restoration information to farmers. IUCN worked with the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) to develop this innovative mobile phone application (running on Android software) to provide accessible and up-to-date information to farmers who could benefit from restoring their lands, but lack crucial information about how and where to do so.

Qualitative method: the Forest-Poverty Toolkit

Based, in part, on participatory rural appraisal techniques, the Forest-Poverty Toolkit focusses systematically on forest and natural resource issues and uses a simple and rapid way of capturing qualitative and quantifiable information on non-cash as well as cash incomes. Its central tool analyses total annual household income, split by income source: agriculture, livestock, forests, other environmental income, employment, trading, etc. Cash and non-cash (subsistence) income from each of the first four are captured by gender and by wealth level. IUCN and its partners have applied the Forest Poverty Toolkit to investigate forest reliance over the last 15 years in over 23 countries and 75 sites in different parts of the world. These analyses have demonstrated that forest dependency is much greater and more extensive than was previously thought. Forest dependency is a significant feature in the lives of not only the poor but also of wealthier households, and not only in tropical forests in developing countries but also in northern temperate and boreal ecosystems in the developed world.

Nature-based Solutions infographic
Nature-based Solutions are defined by IUCN as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. Click on image to learn more.