Digitalizing forest landscape restoration: a social and political analysis of emerging technological practices.
Digital technologies are increasingly influencing forest landscape restoration practices worldwide. We investigate how digital platforms specifically reconfigure restoration practices, resources, and policy across scales. By analyzing digital restoration platforms, we identify four drivers of technological developments, including: scientific expertise to optimize decisions; capacity building through digital networks; digital tree-planting markets to operate supply chains; and community participation to foster co-creation. Our analysis shows how digital developments transform restoration practices by producing techniques, remaking networks, creating markets, and reorganizing participation. These transformations often involve power imbalances regarding expertise, finance, and politics across the Global North and Global South. However, the distributed qualities of digital systems can also create alternative ways of undertaking restoration actions. We propose that digital developments for restoration should not be understood as neutral tools but rather as power-laden processes that can create, perpetuate, or counteract social and environmental inequalities.