FAO calls for stepping up forest & landscape restoration
Halting & reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide is vital to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
28 October 2020, Rome – Efforts to restore the world’s degraded forests & landscapes must be scaled up to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, said FAO in a new publication released today.
Land & forest degradation are among the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Globally, 25 percent of the total land area has been degraded. To safeguard the future of our planet, major actions are needed to prevent, halt & reverse the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.
The importance of land & forest restoration is highlighted in a new edition of FAO’s quarterly forestry publication Unasylva, launched today at the Global Landscapes Forum Biodiversity Digital Conference: One World – One Health.
Entitled Restoring the Earth: the next decade, the latest edition also underlines that considerable progress in forest & landscape restoration has been made in the last ten years.
To date, 63 countries & other entities have committed to restoring 173 million hectares – an area half the size of India – & regional responses such as the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) & Initiative 20×20 in Latin America are making significant advances.
However, the publication argues that much more needs to be done at the national, regional & global scale to meet commitments under the Bonn Challenge, which aim to restore 350 million hectares of degraded & deforested lands by 2030, & other international pledges.
“Forest & landscape restoration is about much more than trees: it has social & economic benefits such as improving human well-being & livelihoods, & contributes to many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including mitigating climate change & conserving biodiversity,” said Mette Wilkie, Director, FAO Forestry.
The new edition of Unasylva outlines a series of new restoration initiatives & programmes aimed at increasing funding, empowering local stakeholders & enhancing technical assistance for forest & landscape restoration.
The publication also presents technical approaches, such as Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), to increase the adoption of forest & landscape restoration, & underlines the factors that underpin its implementation.
Among positive stories highlighted is China’s success in reversing centuries of forest degradation & loss thanks to political leadership, multi-stakeholder involvement & an adaptive management approach.
Unasylva also profiles Northern Kenya’s community conservation movement, which shows that land restoration is most successful when peace, governance, enterprise & wildlife conservation are also addressed.
Case studies in Brazil, Cambodia, Madagascar & Sao Tome & Principe meanwhile illustrate the range of options for institutional coordination mechanisms in forest & landscape restoration. Examples from the Niger & Burkina-Faso showcase the importance of local government & community’s empowerment for planning & financing restoration & sustainable land management.
The publication also outlines actions needed to realize the momentum offered by the upcoming UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) to upscale forest restoration across hundreds of millions of hectares.
These include developing comprehensive business cases for governments & private-sector investors, new policies & legislation to support investments in restoration, & protocols for restoration tailored for specific landscapes.
Effective monitoring at the global, landscape & project scales is also essential for keeping restoration on track.
“Societies worldwide will need to be convinced of the global restoration imperative by rational economic argument, compassion for current & future generations, & an emotional connection to nature,” according to the authors of one article in the journal.
Unasylva is an international journal of forestry & forest industries & FAO’s longest running periodical, existing since 1947. Its goal is to bring globally significant developments in forestry to a broad range of readers – such as policymakers, forest managers, technicians, researchers, students & teachers.
Each issue involves authors from every region of the world & from a variety of academic & research institutions, other United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organizations & civil society.