The primary objective of ecological restoration is to restore resources, conditions, and/or services that have been lost or reduced by natural or human disturbance. The US Forest Service has recently committed the agency to restoring the nations national forests including the Tongass National Forest (TNF). In Southeast Alaska, restoration projects and treatments are being planned and implemented to benefit terrestrial resources in young growth forests of the upland and along the beach fringe; aquatic resources in riparian forests, along forest roads, and in forest streams. The treatments and prescriptions used in these projects are all designed to restore natural structure, functions, and processes, to the landscape.
Restoration projects can provide jobs and employment for local businesses and communities. Recently, the TNF began bundling timber sale projects with restoration projects through stewardship contracting. These contracts can provide several advantages for contractors, the agency, and local communities.
Restoration can be expensive to implement, but can have long lasting benefits. Prioritization of restoration projects can ensure that limited funding is used for the best overall benefits. Integrated resource management projects (IRMP) implemented with stewardship contracting can help fund some restoration work with retained receipts and help identify priority areas and projects through the required collaboration. The Staney Creek Community Forest Report outlines how this collaborative group addressed restoration on Prince of Wales Island.