Degraded land is a challenge for many of Africa’s farmers, and plays a role in driving people away from their villages into cities. But a new wave of young entrepreneurs is heading back to the land, bringing with them startups and jobs focused on restoring forests and farmland.
The annual economic benefits of restoring degraded and deforested land globally are an estimated $84 billion.
There are 2 billion hectares of degraded land around the globe. Restoring it could not only put food on the table, it could create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
To date, 21 African nations have signed onto the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) and committed to restore 63.3 million hectares (156 million acres) of degraded land.
Restoring degraded landscapes and forests has the potential to enhance social and economic well-being while delivering powerful environmental benefits. The challenge is getting the funding to make that happen.
While Latin America and the Caribbean have lost an area of land the size of Mexico to deforestation and degradation, all hope is not lost. Restoration success stories from three nations point to a way forward.
Drained peatland caused by agricultural expansion is an important but little-known source of emissions in tropical regions. New WRI research finds that the annual emissions from peat drainage in Indonesia and Malaysia equate to emissions from nearly 70 coal plants, or the total annual emissions of Vietnam.
New WRI research finds that in order to help secure a sustainable food future, cropland expansion should be limited to lands with "low environmental opportunity costs."
Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Ten
Installment 10 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future proposes a definition for lands with low environmental opportunity cost. From there, it offers recommendations for how any new cropland expansion can be directed toward these lands.