IUCN’s major initiatives to restore the world’s degraded forests
By Stephanie Lee
The IUCN is the world’s first environmental organisation with biodiversity conservation being central to their mission. Forest Landscape Restoration, or FLR, is one of their major areas of work that focuses on the important role of forest and trees. A side event on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge was organised on day 4 of UNFF 12. Before moving ahead with the details of the event, let us understand what is FLR and the Bonn Challenge.
What is Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR)?
FLR is an ongoing process to restore degraded or deforested landscapes in a way that improves ecological functionality and enhances human well-being across the landscape. It is more than just planting trees. It is a long term vision of providing multiple benefits for the present and the future generations across landscapes. For more information you can visit https://infoflr.org/what-flr
What is the Bonn Challenge?
It is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. It facilitates the implementation of existing international commitments: the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Land Degradation Neutrality goal, and climate change commitments under the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), including the Paris Agreement and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) related to forest and land use sector. For more information you can visit bonnchallenge.org
The ongoing work on Forest Landscape Restoration and the Bonn Challenge couldn’t have been more timely than now with the adoption of the UN Strategic Plan on Forest (UNSPF) 2017 -2030. The side event had presentations from IUCN, Ghana, Columbia and Ecuador.
Ms Carole Saint Laurent, Deputy Director of Global Forest and Climate Change Programme of IUCN talked about the restoration opportunities available globally, which is nearly 2 billion hectares of degraded and deforested land. She highlighted ROAM (Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology) which they use to identify and prioritize FLR opportunities. So those of you interested in GIS and mapping in forestry you must definitely take a look at this cool tool. The country representatives from Ghana, Columbia and Ecuador spoke much about their national efforts to restore the degraded forest landscape and their commitments to Bonn challenge targets. The targets did seem ambitious, but it sets out a road map for the countries to move towards the goal.
Find out more about FLR and Bonn Challenge through IUCN’s publication FORESTBRIEF https://www.iucn.org/theme/forests/resources/forest-briefs