Tree Plantations in the Landscape (TPL)

There are a number of strands to the genesis of The Forests Dialogue’s Tree Plantations in the Landscape (TPL) initiative. All have their origins in recognition that planted forests, including tree plantations established for wood production, continue to grow in both extent and significance. Tree plantations currently provide a third of the world’s industrial wood, a proportion expected to increase significantly in coming decades. They also have great potential to deliver environmental services and social benefits. However, many aspects of tree plantations have been and remain controversial, with concerns that associated environmental and social costs often outweigh economic and other benefits. 

This initiative was originally named the 2nd Intensively Managed Planted Forests Dialogue (IMPF2) initiative, and builds upon the work of the IMPF dialogue initiative conducted from 2006-2008 on Intensively Managed Planted Forests. The dialogue identified “factors of critical importance” to successful IMPF projects and practice, and made recommendations for improving IMPF policy and practice. While some trajectories of IMPF development and contestation have continued much as they were in 2008, others have changed. For this reason, the 2nd IMPF dialogue initiative has been renamed as Tree Plantations in the Landscape (TPL) to represent the evolving state of issues related to tree plantations and planted forests.

In early 2015, The Forests Dialogue initiated a global stakeholder survey of perceptions of progress against these factors and recommendations, to inform the follow-up 2nd phase IMPF (TPL) dialogue series. Preliminary results of the survey suggest that most respondents believe the performance of the sector has improved since 2008, but not consistently; and that key actor groups – governments, businesses, and financing institutions – could do more to improve both specific IMPF projects and the performance of the sector overall. Following a more in depth analysis of the stakeholder survey, TFD held a Scoping Dialogue in Durban, South Africa on September 4-5 2015 to explore whether there is sufficient capacity on these issues to hold productive dialogues in the field.