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A personal take on forest landscapes restoration in Africa


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Presented by Robert Nasi, Director General of Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) at the Global Landscapes Forum Nairobi 2018, on 29 August in Nairobi, Kenya

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A personal take on forest landscapes restoration in Africa

  1. 1. A personal take on forest landscapes restoration in Africa GLOBAL LANDSCAPES FORUM 29-30 August 2018, Nairobi Robert Nasi, CIFOR
  2. 2. “When I arrived in Cameroon in 1982, there was no mention of restoration, forest certification or climate change. The focus was on economic development and on the use of natural resources offered by the humid forests. Fast-forward 35 years… We have huge restoration pledges (AFR100), the recognition of importance of African forests and savanna for climate change, biodiversity and environmental services. China and India emerged as major trading partners displacing old colonial powers. We have seen huge improvements in democracy and free elections and there are 1.3 billion Africans.”
  3. 3. The Guardian, 2018 “A series of recent publications highlight a global increase in tree cover, a worldwide encroachment of savanna by trees, the large scale greening of the Sahel. All this triggered by climate change and human interventions. But where and how? The Sahel looks greener, global deforestation has decreased and there is even a net growth in tree cover. The main greening outside the Sahel is in Northern Europe and China whereas degradation seems to prevail around the Amazon and in the Zambezian domain.”
  4. 4. “So do we still need restoration? Unfortunately we do and more than ever. About 12 million hectares of land are lost each year to degradation, harming the wellbeing of more than 3 billion people. We must restore at least these 12 million hectares annually simply to reach land degradation neutrality. And if we want to rectify errors from the past, then we need to run twice as fast.”
  5. 5. IPBES, 2018 “Let’s first understand the drivers of degradation…”
  6. 6. “A key question is where to restore, how, for whom. Any tree-less or seemingly unproductive area is not necessarily a place to restore. Africa offers the greatest potential for forest landscape restoration but we need to be careful. We should not listen to the tyranny of trees in grassy biomes. Restoration is more than planting trees, it can take many forms from exclosures to intensive planting. Restoring forest landscapes is not only about ecosystems but also mainly about people and communities.”
  7. 7. “Before restoring, it is important to understand and agree on what degradation is… • Degradation is a state of arrested succession. • A forest is not degraded provided it retains dynamics that facilitate recovery. • Once in a state of arrested succession, external intervention is required.” Ghazoul et al., 2015
  8. 8. “How do we measure restoration success? Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds and it depends on the actual purposes of restoration as well as the chosen baselines. The literature mostly relates to either the return to an ideal pre-degradation ecosystem, that is in most case impossible because conditions have changed or to an increase of the production of ecosystem goods and services compared to the degraded land baseline.”
  9. 9. “Another key question is, how are we going to finance restoration? An estimate of the funding needed is about $350 billion… but $300 of these $350 billion are not there and need to be found. So to finance restoration at the scale needed it must become an economic activity and financially attractive one way or another. The value of ecosystem services lost annually to degradation is estimated at 6.3 trillion USD. At the same time, achieving restoration at scale could result in trillions in net benefit and a significant return on investments. Restoring degraded forests generates an estimated $7–30 in economic benefits for every dollar invested.”
  10. 10. “We need a paradigm change. We need to invest in R&D and proper planning to lower the restoration costs, to provide increased incomes and to create an industry that create jobs, and to invest in a natural capital that provides goods and services to society. For financing, let’s turn to blended finance and active participation of the private sector. For sustainability, let’s promote bottom-up approaches.”
  11. 11. Slide 3. • Venter, Z. S., Cramer, M. D., & Hawkins, H. J. (2018): Drivers of woody plant encroachment over Africa. Nature communications, 9(1), 2272. • The Guardian (2018): The great African regreening: millions of 'magical' new trees bring renewal. Slide 4. • Song, X. P., Hansen, M. C., Stehman, S. V., Potapov, P. V., Tyukavina, A., Vermote, E. F., & Townshend, J. R. (2018). Global land change from 1982 to 2016. Nature, 1. Slides 5-6 • IPBES (2018): Summary for policymakers of the assessment report on land degradation and restoration of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. R. Scholes, L. Montanarella, A. Brainich, N. Barger, B. ten Brink, M. Cantele,B. Erasmus, J. Fisher, T. Gardner, T. G. Holland, F. Kohler, J. S. Kotiaho, G. Von Maltitz, G. Nangendo, R. Pandit, J. Parrotta, M. D. Potts, S. Prince, M. Sankaran and L. Willemen (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 44 pages Slide 7 • World Resources Iinstitute (2014): “Atlas of Forest and Landscape Restoration Opportunities” (World Resources Institute, Washington, DC • Veldman, J. W., Overbeck, G. E., Negreiros, D., Mahy, G., Le Stradic, S., Fernandes, G. W., ... & Bond, W. J. (2015): Tyranny of trees in grassy biomes. Science, 347(6221), 484-485. • World Resources Institute (2014): Restoration: It’s About More than Just the Trees. about-more-just-trees • Center for International Forestry Research (2017): Restoring forest landscapes: A question of community rights. Slide 8 • Ghazoul, J., Burivalova, Z., Garcia-Ulloa, J., & King, L. A. (2015). Conceptualizing forest degradation. Trends in ecology & evolution, 30(10), 622-632. Slides 11-12 • World Resources Institutes (2017): Roots of prosperity: The Economics and Finance of Restoring Land Slide 13 • Strassburg, B.B.N., Latawiec, A.E. (2014): The Economics of Restoration: Costs, benefits, scale and spatial aspects. Convention of Biological Diversity meeting, Linhares, 2014