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The biodiversity and ecosystem service contributions and trade-offs of forest restoration approaches

Hua, F., et al. | Science | 2022
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl4649

Abstract

Forest restoration is being scaled-up globally to deliver critical ecosystem services and biodiversity benefits, yet we lack rigorous comparison of co-benefit delivery across different restoration approaches. In a global synthesis, we use 25,950 matched data pairs from 264 studies in 53 countries to assess how delivery of climate, soil, water, and wood production services as well as biodiversity compares across a range of tree plantations and native forests. Carbon storage, water provisioning, and especially soil erosion control and biodiversity benefits are all delivered better by native forests, with compositionally simpler, younger plantations in drier regions performing particularly poorly. However, plantations exhibit an advantage in wood production. These results underscore important trade-offs among environmental and production goals that policymakers must navigate in meeting forest restoration commitments.