Land restoration: 5 key elements of reviving our Earth

  • 2023•06•15     Bonn, Germany

    © Marlon del Aguila Guerrero / CIFOR

    Land restoration refers to the process of halting degradation or rehabilitating degraded land, typically through activities like reforestation, soil conservation, and the protection of natural processes. It aims to enhance biodiversity, restore ecosystem services, and mitigate climate change impacts. It is therefore crucial for achieving several Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more about land restoration and its importance with these five key points!

    1. Healthy land supports healthy ecosystems

      Restoring land can have numerous benefits, such as improving soil fertility, increasing water retention, and preventing land degradation. It also helps in conserving biodiversity by providing habitat for plants, animals, and microorganisms, thus supporting overall ecosystem health.

    2. Land degradation poses significant challenges worldwide

      With an estimated 25 per cent of the Earth’s land surface being affected, activities like deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, urbanization and mining contribute to land degradation. As a result, nature experiences ecological imbalance, whereas humanity faces the loss of vital ecosystem services that support our well-being and livelihoods.

    3. Restoring land requires diverse approaches

      Restoration techniques vary depending on the type and extent of land degradation and the needs of local communities. They can involve measures like planting native vegetation, implementing sustainable land management practices, establishing protected areas and adopting agroforestry systems to restore soil health and productivity.

    4. Land restoration plays a crucial role in combating climate change

      Healthy soils act as carbon sinks, absorbing and storing significant amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Nearly 80 per cent of the carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems is found in soils. Restoring degraded lands can help sequester carbon, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to global efforts for climate change mitigation.

    5. Including local stakeholders is essential for successfully restoring land

      Involving local communities in restoration efforts ensures their participation, empowers them with sustainable livelihoods, and strengthens their connection to the land, leading to long-term success and resilience in land restoration projects.