Climate Change

Beyond Carbon: Interactions Between Tropical Reforestation and Climate Change Encompass Multiple Socio-ecological Dimensions

Forest restoration sequesters carbon and contributes greatly to mitigate climate change. But climate change will also impact the conditions under which restoration will occur. Climate change will increase climate variability and cause extreme seasonal heat in tropical areas and shifts in precipitation patterns, ultimately increasing the frequency of disturbances.

Not all tree cover will be able to cope with climate change impacts to the same degree, nor will they assist with adaptation strategies to the same extent. For example, diverse secondary forest will be both more resilient to the impacts of drought, and also better at combating drought conditions than monoculture plantations. The species pool that will result from the climate change disturbance will also affect forest recovery trajectories and resulting forest communities. Therefore, promoting forest recovery and restoration that is resilient to climate change and disturbance, incorporates socio-ecological aspects that promote longevity, and ultimately sequesters carbon in the long is key for planning and practicing “climate-smart reforestation.”