Current challenges and perspectives for governing forest restoration

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Negotiation, reconciliation of multiple scales through both ecological and social dimensions and minimization of power imbalances are considered critical challenges to overcome for effective governance of forest restoration. Finding the right mix of "command and control" in forest restoration vs. "environmental governance", which includes non-state actors, regulatory flexibility, and market based instruments is at the heart of these challenges. This Special Issue attempts at shedding light on these challenges with case studies from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. Some provide within-country as well as cross-country comparisons. A few others present case studies at the household level. Both policy and legal constraints towards implementing forest restoration are also discussed as a function of top down vs. bottom up approaches. The effectiveness of payments for environmental services is examined as catalyzers of forest restoration initiatives. Finally, two papers deal with the legal and policy constraints in making restoration through natural regeneration a viable and cost-effective tool. In the face of renewed perspectives for expanding forest restoration programs globally, governance issues will likely play a key role in eventually determining success. As many of the papers in this Special Issue suggest, the fate of forest restoration outcomes is, more often than not, associated with overall governance challenges, some of which are often overlooked particularly across multiple scales.

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