Forest restoration programs are often based on the sowing or plantation of large amounts of propagules but with little care of the plants. As a result, high rates of mortality or damage to the plants (e.g. by herbivores) are common, translating into a loss of time and resources. We advocate that restoration in general, and forest restoration in particular, should consider a precision approach that maximizes its efficiency, trying to ensure that planted seedlings or sowed seeds will become adult trees with the appropriate landscape configuration to create functional and self-regulating forest ecosystems. Precision Forest Restoration should take advantage of ecological knowledge, technologies and methodologies from the landscape scale to the individual-plant scale, and from the more traditional, low-tech approaches to the latest high-tech ones to ensure the survival of the revegetated plants. Precision Forest Restoration may be more expensive at the level of individual plants, but will be more cost-effective in the long-term if it allows for the creation of resilient forests able to provide multiple ecosystem services.
Jorge Castro, Professor of Ecology at the University of Granada (Spain)