Melo, F. P., Pinto, S. R., Brancalion, P. H., Castro, P. S., Rodrigues, R. R., Aronson, J., & Tabarelli, M. (2013). Priority setting for scaling-up tropical forest restoration projects: Early lessons from the Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact. Environmental Science & Policy, 33, 395-404.
Ongoing conversion of tropical forests makes it urgent to invest in ecological restoration on grand scales in order to promote biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. The 4-year old Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact (AFRP) aims to restore 15,000,000 ha of tropical forest in 40 years. The approaches and lessons learned appear transferable, and could help achieve the global restoration targets. Fundamental prerequisites for success include: effective technology undergoing continuous improvement, ongoing teaching, outreach and capacity-building efforts, presence of local intelligentsia, maintaining a clear and transparent legal environment, and presence of effective economic instruments and incen- tives for landowners. These prerequisites can be achieved by expanding and strengthening the network of stakeholders both in public and private forums that must be aware of macro- economic and social/cultural shifts and trends which may provide opportunities and impose constraints to further restoration activities. Finally, environmental regulations imposing habitat protection and restoration are usually beyond individual land-owners’ possibilities and level of interest. Therefore, forest restoration, even in a biodiversity hotspot, must be approached as a potentially sustainable economic activity. Otherwise, private landowners, and most other stakeholders, will not persevere.