To begin discussing forest restoration, we must answer the question “what is a forest?” The most basic definition is that a forest is an ecosystem that is dominated by trees. The Convention on Biological Diversity calls a forest an area of greater than 0.5 ha with a tree canopy cover of more than 10% and where the area is not under non-forest land use (such as agriculture). Similarly, for the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA), the definition of forest land is at least 0.5 ha and is at least 10% stocked by trees of any size, including land that formerly had tree cover and that will be naturally or artificially regenerated. In relation to these definitions about forest restoration, we define a forest as a non-agricultural ecosystem of greater 0.5 ha that is dominated by trees that yield greater than 10% canopy cover. Unlike the FIA definition, we do not consider an area that was once treed to be a forest, although, through restoration, it has the potential to become a forest.
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