John A. Stanturf, Nicolas Mansuy
Two articles which have strong policy implications for the forestry sector and post-COVID-19 green recovery.
COVID-19 and Forests in Canada and the United States: Initial Assessment and Beyond
Information on the initial effects of a novel coronavirus, COVID-19, during 2020 on forests in Canada and the United States was derived from existing published studies and reports, news items, and policy briefs, amplified by information from interviews with key informants. Actions taken by governments and individuals to control the spread of the virus and mitigate economic impacts caused short-term disruptions in forest products supply chains and accelerated recent trends in consumer behavior. The COVID-19 containment measures delayed or postponed forest management and research; a surge in visitation of forests near urban areas increased vandalism, garbage accumulation, and the danger of fire ignitions. Forests and parks in remote rural areas experienced lower use, particularly those favored by international visitors, negatively affecting nearby communities dependent upon tourism.
Stimulating post-COVID-19 green recovery by investing in ecological restoration
In the face of the global COVID-19 recession, countries are looking at stimulus packages to kick-start their stalled economies. The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis also coincides with a critical opportunity to fight against ecosystem degradation and climate change. In this opinion article, I put in perspective that by investing in ecological restoration, governments do not have to choose between economic priorities and environmental concerns. First, I describe the restoration economy and give real-world examples of how investing in restoration activities can simultaneously ease pressure on the environment and create immediate jobs and revenues. Then I suggest that to obtain political attraction, a successful restoration strategy will require a triple-bottom-line approach to ensure that in addition to environmental objectives, stakeholders integrate socioeconomic outcomes in decision-making. Finally, I conclude that a new economic approach that prioritizes investment in our ecological capital will necessitate transdisciplinary policies to build bridges across the different silos of the economy and the environment.