Inspiring Change

Landscape restoration approaches need to be adopted on a much larger scale is essential if we countries are to deliver global, national and local objectives for biodiversity, climate and sustainable development, but requires changes in policy and practice across these scales.

The current scale of biodiversity loss has caused it to be described as the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event. It is on a scale equivalent to the collapse of ecosystems that were triggered by massive volcanic eruptions and giant asteroid impacts. As well as the intrinsic tragedy of losing treasured species, the loss of biodiversity has inevitable impacts on the life-support systems on which all of humankind depends.

Confronted with scientific evidence, governments have come to realise that conserving the ecosystems and biodiversity that we have left won’t be enough to halt, let alone reverse negative environmental trends – we also need to restore damaged ecosystems. Therefore, countries have committed to international targets for restoration as part of a ‘nature-based solution’ that will deliver significantly on objectives for the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.

These include, for example, a target to restore at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems by 2020 (Convention on Biological Diversity, Aichi Target 15) and to ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services (Sustainable Development Goals, Target 15.1). In the face of inevitable climate change, restoring ecological integrity will help to improve water and food security, climate adaptation and energy provision – as well as contribute to the fight against climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide.

The Endangered Landscapes Programme is helping restoration targets to be met by implementing and show-casing inspirational, large-scale initiatives that deliver on multiple objectives – biodiversity, development and climate.

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