On 1 March 2019, the UN General Assembly declared 2021–2030 to be the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, aligning with the last decade of the Sustainable Development Goals, with the objective of massively scaling up the restoration of degraded or destroyed ecosystems. The Decade aims to use restoration to address issues related to the climate crisis, food and water security, biodiversity loss and others integral to the SDGs. Efforts during the decade will accelerate existing restoration goals, particularly the Bonn Challenge and associated forest initiatives and will also support wider efforts at ecosystem restoration across terrestrial and marine biomes. Planning is underway, but there is already debate about what can be achieved. This paper identifies ways in which area-based conservation can play a positive role in the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.