Despite conservation efforts, the tropical forests are globally at loss of 61000 square miles. The global rate of loss has been constantly accelerating.
According to a report from The Conversation; in 2016 the rate hiked up to a 15 year which led to clearing of 114000 square miles per year. Many countries are trying and pledging to save large forests. In 2011, the Bonn Challenge was a global initiative called commitments to restore 580000 square miles of globally degraded and deforested areas by 2020.
The New York Declaration of Forests in 2014 increased this goal of regrowing to 1.35million squares by 2030, which is double the size of Alaska. The Bonn Challenge seems to be very exciting for ecologists and geographers as they are the active members in the part of the ecological restoration.
Ecological restoration is recovering of damaged ecosystems that are beneficial for both wildlife and humans. This Challenge has brought about many global discussions including climate change, soil erosion, species extinction which helps in connecting communities, government, organizations and catalyzing potential investments for forest restoration.
The US and Pakistan have fulfilled their commitment to the Bonn Challenge by restoring 67,000 square miles. But there is still an argument about the challenge’s success. It has been seen that restored forests have been poor replacements for natural habitat. These plantations are looked up as green deserts than forests.
A lot of tropical wildlife are seen in mature forests and can barely survive in open agro forests or young and monoculture plantations. Restoring potential forest will require diversity in terms of species and also time.
With the changing climate, global warming, and industrial growth, the question here remains is, how long will these reforested tropical forests survive? In 2018 a study showed that only 50 per cent of naturally regenerated forests endure for 20 years. Usually, those places were cleared over and over again for the purpose of farming. A lot of organizations are trying to work for ways of conservation of forests and sustainable farming.
Timber plantations replantation depends on the demand of the market for wood. After harvested from 6 to 14 years after the growth they are considered as a bad investment and replaced with higher yielding crops.
It is difficult to track the success of the Bonn Challenge as a lot of nations have set unrealistic goals as areas of restoration. To convert short term restorations to long term, nations will have to find a critical approach and strict rules. Nations may have to invest in satellite and monitoring networks in order to find the growth of the whole ecosystem. A lot of national and international investment is required in sectors of agriculture, mining and forest loss and regrowth.
The article has suggested restoring a 5000 square miles of forest that is 100 years old rather than focusing on larger areas of newly grown forests.
UN General Assembly has decided to approve the resolution designed 2021 to 2030 as per the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. This decision may hopefully help the nations to motivate themselves to invest their efforts in restoring ecosystems. Especially the ones those are degraded and damaged.