Doing bad by meaning good: exploring the side-effects of land restoration.

Photo courtesy Neil Palmer/CIAT (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Doing bad by meaning good: exploring the side-effects of land restoration.

Based on the article “Creating space for large-scale restoration in tropical agricultural landscapes” published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment vol.13 by Focali member Toby Gardner and colleagues.

The recent decades of unsustainable natural resources management resulted in major degradation of land and ecosystems around the world. It is estimated that around 2 billion hectares of land is deforested and degraded globally. As a response to that, international initiatives, like for example the Aichi Target 15 and, the Bonn Challenge set up ambitious goals to restore 150 million hectares of land before 2020. The New York Declaration on Forests extended these goals to restoration of 350 million hectares of land before 2030.

There are high hopes for the success of these initiatives in practice. Restoration of degraded and deforested land is a chance to reconstruct ecosystem services and rebuild biodiversity. Restoration is wished-for by many, but there is also a necessity to study possible unintended side-effects by large-scale projects of this kind. The possible side-effects, referred to as “leakage”, mean displacement of pre-existing land uses like agriculture.

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