World Resource Institute


Degraded lands can be found in nearly every country around the world. Nearly half of Earth’s forests have already been cleared or degraded to make way for agriculture and other human uses. As global population continues to rise, forests and agricultural land must be sustainably managed and more effectively used to satisfy increasing food demands and mitigate carbon emissions.

The Global Restoration Initiative works with governments and international partners to inspire, enable and implement restoration on degraded landscapes, returning them to economic and environmental productivity. Alongside IUCN and other partners, WRI has identified more than two billion hectares of cleared and degraded forest and agricultural lands suitable for restoration – an area roughly twice the size of China. Using this data as a foundation, we work to promote restoration of degraded lands back into natural forests, agroforestry systems, or productive agriculture. Embracing forest and landscape restoration will allow for a world in which the amount of forest cover grows while the productivity of existing agricultural land increases.

WRI and its partners are pursuing a three-pronged approach to restoring degraded lands:

  • Inspire commitments to restoration: WRI engages with the highest-level decision makers to promote restoration as a viable strategy to achieve international development goals, using maps and sound economics as support for why restoration of degraded lands should be a priority.

  • Get the right enabling conditions in place: WRI works to improve forest governance and land rights, allowing for an equitable restoration process in the landscape. WRI also has financial expertise to shape the next generation of restoration funding.

  • Mobilize implementation to achieve results: WRI is building a strong community of practitioners that champion restoration successes locally and globally to grow the movement and ensure results are achieved.

The Global Restoration Initiative aims to accelerate restoration of degraded land into sustainable agriculture, agroforestry and forested landscapes. The strategy will work at the global level and in-depth in a handful of countries. The Initiative’s outcomes will contribute to:

  • The Bonn Challenge: 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded forest land in the process of agroforestry and forest restoration globally by 2020;
  • New York Declaration on Forests: Building on The Bonn Challenge, 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded land under restoration by 2030


  • The Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) is a proactive worldwide network that unites governments, organizations including businesses, communities and individuals. With the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as its Secretariat, the Partnership seeks to increase awareness of the many benefits of restoration, build support among decision makers, mobilize expert support, increase capacity and share knowledge on best practices for restoration success.
  • The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) is a unique subnational collaboration between 29 states and provinces from Brazil, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States. Though traditionally focused on advancing jurisdictional programs designed to promote low emissions rural development and reduced emissions from deforestation and land use (REDD+), the governors are expanding their purview into forest and landscape restoration. WRI, IUCN and the Global Restoration Council are working with the GCF Task Force to empower subnational leaders to become restoration champions.
  • The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN) is an international collaborative initiative of knowledge sharing, dialogue and action to support integrated landscape management in order to achieve three simultaneous goals: improved food production, ecosystem conservation, and sustainable livelihoods. The Initiative supports the uptake of integrated landscape management at a globally significant scale by sharing and evaluating knowledge, experience and challenges; showcasing and assessing tools and methods for implementation; building capacity of innovators and institutions; and advancing an ambitious agenda through research, advocacy, and partnerships.