Five scale challenges in Ecuadorian forest and landscape restoration governance

Wiegant, Daniel; Peralvo, Manuel; Oel, Pieter van; Dewulf, Art


The forest and landscape restoration (FLR) targets set as part of the Bonn Challenge draw attention to the governance arrangements required to translate national FLR targets into local action. To achieve the targets, actors at multiple levels of the governance scale aim to influence relevant processes on the ecological scale. In this article, we focus on the scale challenges relating to the implementation of Ecuador's restoration targets, by analysing the implementation of the 2014–2017 National Forest Restoration Plan in the montane Chocó Andino and Bosque Seco landscapes. From 54 semi-structured interviews, a document review, and geographical data analysis, we identified two temporal (i, ii) and three spatial scale challenges (iii, iv, v): i) Political cycles mismatch with FLR timelines; ii) Planning horizons mismatch with FLR timelines; iii) National restoration objectives mismatch with decentralised land use planning realities; iv) The governance level of existing FLR efforts mismatches with the level receiving restoration funds; and v) Tensions exist between the spatial dimensions of biodiversity and water-related restoration efforts. The findings highlight that more attention must be given to scale-sensitive governance to make the process in which national FLR targets are translated into local action more effective.