To date, around 47% of the world’s potential forest area has been cleared or degraded to make way for crops and cattle land as well as cities and roads. More than a third of the forest that remains is fragmented. A recent global analysis conducted by WRI, the University of Maryland, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), on behalf of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) indicated that more than two billion hectares of cleared and degraded forest lands offer opportunities for restoration. These findings underpin the goal of the The Bonn Challenge.
Degraded lands are areas that have had their natural forest cover cleared or significantly diminished, now contain low levels of biodiversity, and low stocks of carbon (below ~40 metric tons/hectare) and are not currently used intensively as croplands or settlements. Depending on the land and the context, degraded lands could be restored into natural forests, mixed forest-agriculture landscapes or agroforestry, or highly productive agricultural land.
Through the project “Inspire, Support, and Mobilize Forest Landscape Restoration”, WRI, IUCN, and partners seek to catalyze the start of forest landscape restoration to meet The Bonn Challenge. The goal is to have restoration of at least 10 million hectares committed or initiated in 5 countries by 2016 as a new contribution to The Bonn Challenge.
The benefits of forest landscape restoration are multifold and complementary and include:
- Increasing local wood supplies and food yields
- Creating jobs and greening economies
- Protecting biodiversity
- Mitigating and adapting to climate change
- Securing freshwater supplies
- Curbing erosion
- Stabilizing slopes