Production, restoration, mitigation: a new generation of plantations


Forests provide a wide variety of ecosystem services and international conventions and national policies for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation recommend forest protection and restoration. However, global forest cover continues to decline, and recent evidence suggests deforestation rates are accelerating. Against this background the area of planted forests has increased globally. Recognizing the substantial potential of well-managed forest plantations, the new generation plantations (NGP) platform was launched in 2007. NGP encourages well-managed planted forests in the right places to conserve biodiversity and meet human needs. Here we describe the NGP approach and analyze data and information from NGP participants and others over 10 years. This shows that NGP participants are responsible for c.11.1 million ha of land, much of it previously degraded or abandoned; 43% is managed as timber plantations, with the remainder being wildlife reserves, restored natural forest, grassland and agriculture. NGP case studies illustrate a range of biodiversity, conservation and socio-economic achievements. These achievements, considered together with future projections of timber demand and of the land available for restoration to tree cover, demonstrate the potential of well-managed plantations to protect natural forests, provide timber, conserve biodiversity and mitigate climate change. The NGP concept works in a variety of countries and contexts; participants have shown that it is possible to produce timber while maintaining and enhancing ecosystems and contributing to socio-economic development. We present the case for forest production, restoration and mitigation/adaptation to limit climate and other environmental risks and to improve the resilience of landscapes.

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Fig. 1

Source: IIASA/WWF 2012. Living forests report

Fig. 2

Source: WWF. 2012. Living forests report


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We thank the new generation plantations platform Participants: China Green Carbon Foundation, Forestry Commission of Great Britain, Governo Estadual do Acre (Brazil), African Plantations for Sustainable Development, Arauco, CMPC, Fibria, Kimberly-Clark, New Forests Company, Mondi, The Navigator Company, Stora Enso, Suzano, UPM, Veracel and Barney Jeffries for his work on the typescript of this paper.

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Correspondence to Peter Freer-Smith.

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Silva, L.N., Freer-Smith, P. & Madsen, P. Production, restoration, mitigation: a new generation of plantations. New Forests 50, 153–168 (2019).

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  • Afforestation
  • Reforestation
  • Restoration
  • Conservation
  • Adaptation
  • Mitigation