What is restoration?
Forest and landscape restoration (FLR), also referred to as ecosystem restoration, is about much more than just planting trees. Instead, it’s the process of restoring deforested or degraded landscapes using a wide range of methods to meet both human and ecological needs.
These can include agroforestry, regeneration, managed plantations, ecological corridors, and protected wildlife reserves. Restoration aims to maintain and enhance natural ecosystems and build their long-term resilience. It also emphasizes working with various stakeholders to design and implement restoration methods that are tailored to local circumstances.
How do forests and other landscapes support a healthy climate?
- Forests are a vital part of the solution to the climate crisis as they store vast amounts of carbon in the form of biomass, absorbing 4–6 Gt of carbon per year. However, when they are cut down or burned, they release this carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for between 10–15% of global greenhouse gas emissions – second only to the burning of fossil fuels.
- Wetlands, too, play an important role in carbon storage, storing twice as much carbon as forests – yet they’re disappearing three times faster. Over 35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost since 1970, and their rate of decline is accelerating.
- Peatlands are a type of wetland that features a layer of partially decayed organic matter known as peat on the surface. Peatlands store more carbon than all of the world’s forests, despite making up only 3% of the Earth’s surface.
- Agriculture is responsible for around a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through deforestation and other types of land-use change. However, agricultural landscapes can also be transformed to mitigate climate change, such as by integrating trees with croplands and grazing lands.