PRINCIPLE 2: LANDSCAPES
A large-scale biophysical area representing a broad range of forest values, including social, cultural, economic and environmental concerns.
Model Forests are large-scale biophysical areas encompassing a broad range of forest values, natural resources and diverse ecosystems. They are watershed scale approaches to natural resource management where forests are an important feature in the landscape, but certainly not the only one. The forest-farm interface, for instance, represents a critical component of many Model Forests, as does the rural-urban interface.
As an example, research conducted by the Chiquitano Model Forest of Bolivia identified the native leguminous Chiquitana Almond (Dipteryx alata) typical of wooded savannas as an ancestral food source with nutritional value, both for humans and for wildlife and cattle. A strategy to increase the production of the Almond as a food source was developed without expanding the agricultural frontier, and mitigating the socio-environmental vulnerability to the climatic changes.
A Chiquitana woman from Santiago de Chiquitos (Bolivia), part of the Association of Natural Medicine, with a sample of the products obtained from the wild plant species of the Chiquitano Forest.
Forest and landscape restoration (FLR) is a key theme in Model Forests, FLR’s dual objectives to restore degraded lands while also improving human well-being through multifunctional landscapes is ideally suited to the Model Forest approach. For example, the in Colombia is one of 11 Model Forests in Latin America contributing to the 20×20 Initiative in support of the Bonn Challenge. Through FLR, Model Forests promote the use of FLR frameworks such as Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM), build capacity in FLR techniques, strengthen links between national commitments and directly contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change at the local level.
Because they operate at a landscape or watershed level, many Model Forests are directly concerned with integrated water resource management at the local level, linked to an intent to share best practices at a national or regional policy level. Chorotega Model Forest in Costa Rica is one example of the latter, where stakeholders are implementing actions to preserve the lands in the river basin to restore water flow.
Model Forest landscapes can also include coastal areas, as well as mangrove forests, which are critical for marine habitat and mitigating impacts from extreme weather events. The plantation of 40 mangrove species to buffer strong waves and provide spawning habitat for coral fish (which are important for the livelihood of local fishermen) in Carood Watershed Model Forest in the Philippines is an illustration of actions Model Forests undertake to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources within their boundaries.