The restoration of China's Loess Plateau is unmatched in scale, yet the allure of non-native species to engineer a desired outcome in the landscape is common globally.
With changing climate and increasing populations, we need to restore landscapes to ensure the resilience of ecosystem services in the 21st century recognizing that cultural diversity is as important as biodiversity in restoration decisions.
Imagine that we have the chance to cut greenhouse gas emissions, boost household incomes and increase crop yields, while making vulnerable areas more resilient to severe weather and improving the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest regions.
The fact is, we could do all this and more by restoring the world’s degraded landscapes to productive, sustainable use.
The New York Declaration on Forests issued at the UN Climate Summit last month includes a global pledge to restore 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes by 2030.
Several countries confirmed their commitment to restore millions of hectares of degraded land, with Ethiopia making one of the most significant pledges—setting a target to restore 15 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into productivity by 2025.
One of the most far-reaching of the commitments from the recent UN Climate Summit is the New York Declaration on Forests, which includes a plan restore 350 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes into productivity by 2030. While restoration holds great promise for many countries, this ambitious new target is especially important for Africa. As we’re already seeing, if done right, restoration could boost food and water security, improve livelihoods, and curb climate change in some of the most vulnerable regions on Earth.
Leaders at this week's UN Climate Summit unveiled “The New York Declaration” on forests, which many hope will inject life into efforts to reverse forest loss.
While the Declaration is not an “official” UN agreement—and has been carefully worded to avoid the appearance of commitments being binding—it is a positive development. If governments and business take it seriously going forward—and civil society watchdogs hound them sufficiently to do so—it would yield significant impacts.
Trees have become an iconic image of environmentalism, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should plant millions of them.
While scale is important for landscape restoration, we need to reconsider quality and not just quantity. When does the presence of a tree really make a difference, and when is it neither an environmental or economical solution to a host of complex issues? What are the implications for food security, biodiversity and landscape protection?
by Andrew Steer and Monique Barbut, UN Convention to Combat Desertification - July 28, 2014
Andrew Steer, CEO of WRI, and Monique Barbut of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification discuss the urgent need for a global commitment to restoring degraded land and how it may remedy deforestation, desertification and food scarcity.
The expected rise in world population to 9 billion by 2050, and the need for a 70 percent increase in food production from 2006 levels, makes the need for a solution particularly urgent. This challenge will be even more difficult in the face of a changing climate.