Forest ecosystems are ecological life-support systems.
Forests provide the full suite of goods and services that are vital to human health, livelihood, culture and identity. They are our pantry, factory and storehouse as well as providing for wildlife habitat and diversity, water quantity and quality, carbon sequestration for clean air and scenic landscapes.
Value created by restoring our forests’ critical natural assets can now be accounted for on businesses’ and society’s balance sheet.
Wetlands are the link between land and water providing important functions that benefit people and wildlife.
Wetlands act like sponges; they trap flood waters, provide storm provide storm protection, recharge ground water and remove pollution. Plants found in wetlands help control water erosion, sequester carbon and provide fish and wildlife habitat.
Wetlands are economic drivers of fishing, hunting, agriculture and recreation.
Restoration traditionally focuses on relatively small projects that are easy to conceptualize, fund and deliver. To successfully restore ecosystems you need to ‘think big’ and restore degraded land at very large scales. Now, there is a powerful and growing movement towards landscape scale restoration that rebuilds ecological health and integrity providing benefits for both people and the environment.
Landscape-scale restoration goes beyond a patchwork approach and knits together disconnected landscape elements, involving a collective of ecological habitats, communities, and land uses. It ensures habitat and communities are enhanced by the restoration, supporting a self-sustainable system. Landscape scale restoration is cost effective, highly impactful and takes a long term-perspective – generations, decades and centuries.
Restoration of healthy ecosystems reduces risk, makes communities more resilient, enhances health and well-being, creates jobs, improves livelihoods, provides a sense of place and reaffirms cultural heritage. It’s an opportunity to transform degraded land into assets that create incredible value and be boldly proactive in the fight against climate change.
Landscape scale restoration is a significant, low-cost way to keep the world within the 2°C warming threshold. And it has the potential to cut global warming by 0.5°C by the end of the century.
Landscape scale restoration is now proven – it’s not pie-in-the-sky. And it’s on the global agenda in Article 5.1 of the Paris Agreement inked in at COP21 in December 2015.