Forests sequester carbon; they provide us with food, medicines, and fuel; they offer areas for recreation and meditation. Forests provide habitat for about 80 per cent of terrestrial species; they protect our water courses, providing us with potable water. Forests stabilize soils, making land more productive. However, our fragile forests are being lost and degraded. Forest loss and degradation continue to afflict our planet, with an area the size of Bulgaria (11 million hectares) lost every year, and much more being degraded. As we lose forests, we lose the very basis for much of life on earth. Reversing this trend will require many actions, including halting the factors that cause forest loss and degradation in the first place, protecting key forest areas, and restoration. In response, large-scale international initiatives focused on forest restoration have been launched, such as the Bonn Challenge on Forest Landscape Restoration (2011), the New York Declaration on Forests (2014) and, more recently (2019), the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030. One of the approaches that has been widely embraced in recent years is forest land- scape restoration (FLR), which seeks to scale up restoration while meeting both eco- logical and social objectives. There are many challenges in upscaling forest restoration; for example, addressing trade-offs between social and ecological priorities, establishing enabling governance measures and securing long-term financing.
This report reviews case studies of 10 locations that have scaled up forest restoration (Bhutan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kenya, Madagascar, Vietnam, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel, and Brazil’s Espírito Santo State) in order to identify possible enabling factors related to governance and economics and thereby to guide future FLR interventions. The broader umbrella term “forest restoration” is generally preferred in this report to reflect the fact that most of the cases were not explicitly initiated as FLR (except for the Fandriana-Marolambo project in Madagascar).