By identifying opportunities for landscape restoration, the Restoration Opportunity Assessment Methodology that WRI helped to create informed decision-making in Brazil and Indonesia that led to new policies to advance large-scale restoration, offering the potential to foster prosperity and social inclusion while benefiting biodiversity and keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

The Challenge

Brazil and Indonesia, two of the world’s largest tropical forest countries, have seen historically high deforestation rates since 2000 due to increasing pressure from development, agricultural expansion and illegal logging. Restoring degraded and deforested land in both countries could create economic opportunities and benefits for local communities and support the governments’ climate and development goals. Until recently, however, concerns about the cost of restoration hampered progress.

WRI's Role

The Restoration Opportunity Assessment Methodology (ROAM), developed by WRI and IUCN in 2014, identifies opportunities for landscape restoration. In Brazil, WRI used ROAM diagnostic tools to support the development of the national restoration plan and helped to identify potential areas for natural regeneration. In Indonesia, WRI worked with the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), the South Sumatran government, the Provincial Watershed Forum and local restoration coalitions to apply ROAM in South Sumatra. ROAM showed a significant opportunity for natural forest regeneration and agroforestry and contributed to the development of a South Sumatra Green Growth Plan. In both countries, WRI worked with partners to identify cost-effective and scalable interventions to realize the restoration potential.

The Outcome

Brazil announced its National Policy on Recovery of Native Vegetation (PROVEG) in January 2017. This policy – the most ambitious of its kind in the world – creates and integrates policies, programs, financing, monitoring and other actions to spur native vegetation recovery to contribute to Brazil’s objective of restoring 12 million hectares (nearly 30 million acres) of degraded land by 2030, an area about the size of Iceland. These efforts will also support Brazil's commitments to the WRI-led Initiative 20x20, a regional initiative in Latin America to support the Bonn Challenge for global land restoration. In Indonesia, in May 2017, the Government of South Sumatra formalized the South Sumatra Green Growth Plan for economic growth driven by renewable resources, which aims to restore 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) of degraded land by 2030.

If these ambitions are met, landscape restoration in Brazil and South Sumatra could keep hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and contribute to achieving emissions reduction targets of both countries as set in the Paris Agreement. Achieving these goals would also benefit biodiversity, reduce poverty, increase social inclusion and improve local economies.