Last month, 40 nations agreed to restore 5 million hectares (12.4 million acres) of degraded lands and areas of low-quality bamboo production into productive, healthy bamboo forests at the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan’s (INBAR) Ninth Council Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This pledge will help answer the Bonn Challenge—an effort to pledge to have 150 million hectares (370 million acres) of degraded and deforested lands in restoration programs by 2020—and could create significant environmental and climate benefits, if bamboo can overcome its image problem.
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.