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Benefits of landscape restoration,
with a focus on African dryland biomes.
Introduction
Degradation of ecosystems poses a tremendous threat to human well-being, as a UNEP study suggests
that ecosystem services are possibly worth more than the world’s combined Gross National Incomes
(UNEP, 2010). On the ground, land degradation leaves communities that rely on the land in peril,
threatening their livelihoods.
Addressing land degradation in African drylands is of
particular importance:
•	 In drylands the demands of human communities
have been much higher than the capacity of
ecosystems to sustainably deliver, resulting in the
rapid depletion of these resources, more so than in
other biomes (FAO, 2015).
•	 Drylands cover a large portion of the earth’s surface
and are home to a substantial amount of the world
population.
•	 The African continent is the most affected in terms
of soil erosion (ELD, 2015b), placing even greater
importance on African drylands in fighting land
degradation. Moreover, Africa is often thought to be
the region most vulnerable to climate change and
variability (Haile, 2005).
Justdiggit has developed several intervention strategies suitable for African dryland biomes (biomes
are the world’s major ecological communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and
characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment, such as woodlands, grasslands
and temperate forest (Campbell, 1996)). Justdiggit is currently active in Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania.
Author: 		 Daan Groot (N2
Inc)
Contributors: 	 Dolf de Groot (Wagening University), Sander de Haas & Roos Willard (Justdiggit)
Quick facts
•	 60 percent of all services provided by ecosystems are
under threat (UNEP, 2010);
•	 2 billion hectares of arable land are degraded (MEA,
2005);
•	 25 % of the global food production may be lost during
the 21st
century because of the combined effect of
land degradation, climate change, water scarcity, and
invasive pests (UNEP, 2009a);
•	 Drylands cover 41% of the earth’s land surface and are
home to over 2 billion people (FAO, 2015);
•	 Benefits of restoring drylands generally outweight costs
by a factor of up to 1:35.
N2
Inc for
www.n2-inc.org 	 www.justdiggit.org
Abstract
African drylands are degrading rapidly. Justdiggit develops land restoration programs by applying water
harvesting, reforestation and climate resilient agriculture techniques at scale. Our programs result in a wide
array of bankable and non-bankable benefits, closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals
and with huge positive socio-economic impacts, besides addressing climate change and biodiversity loss,
two of the major challenges of our time. This whitepaper explains the mechanisms behind the benefits of
landscape restoration and provides insights in the scale at which these benefits can be achieved.
The promise of Justdiggit
Restoring degraded lands can be an effective solution for
climate adaptation and mitigation. First of all, it mitigates
climate change by sequestering CO2
in vegetation and soils.
Secondly, increased vegetation improves the hydrological
cycle and lowers local temperatures, making it an effective
adaptation strategy. The promise of the Justdiggit approach
however proceeds beyond these local effects: by creating a
network of strategic project locations within a hydrological
corridor where our re-greening techniques are applied,
adjacent areas also benefit from increased cloud cover and
rainfall, ultimately resulting in regional and global climate
impacts (see graph).
Landscape restoration projects, as proposed by Justdiggit,
do not only serve as an effective way to address climate
change, but result in a much wider set of benefits. In fact, land
restoration contributes significantly to achieving the United
Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNCCD, 2016), as
explained below.
Restoration of dryland
landscapes reduces
poverty and generates
employment,
specifically benefitting
the extreme poor1,2,3,4
.
Sustainable Land
Management increases
yields, decreases
undernourishment,
,
and prevents
malnutrition,1,5,6,7,8
.
Healthy landscapes
increase physical and
mental health and
human well-being and
provide with medicinal
resources1,6,9
.
Biodiversity loss can
negatively impact
access to education,
while increasing
income through
landscape restoration
increases access to
education1,6,10
.
Ecosystem
performance is not
gender-neutral,
restoring landscapes
and climate change
adaptation can
help reduce gender
inequalities1,9,11
.
Restoring degraded
landscapes contributes
to increased
water infiltration,
storage, quality and
availability1,12,13,14
.
The transition
towards renewable
energy relies to an
extent on functioning
ecosystems, especially
for the world’s poor1
.
Investment into
landscapes results into
direct and indirect jobs,
and wider economic
growth through
multiplier effects1,15,16,17
.
No effect. As failing ecosystems
often hit the poor the
hardest, restoring
landscapes benefits
the bottom 40 per
cent of the global
population4
.
The world’s growing
and urbanizing
population depends
on resilient rural areas
and communities,
while exerting
additional pressure on
landscapes1,6,10
.
Restoring productivity
through Sustainable
Land Management is
integral to responsible
and sustainable food
production1,18
.
Landscape restoration
contributes to both
climate change
mitigation and
adaptation, capturing
CO2
and increasing
climate resilience1,19,20,21
.
Restoring degraded
drylands can reduce
soil-erosion induced
eutrophication of
lakes and oceans and
reverse below water
biodiversity loss22,23
.
Life on land is the
basis of our human
existence. Landscape
restoration contributes
to increased
biodiversity and
ecosystem services24
.
Combatting
desertification through
restoration of drylands
addresses one of
the major drivers
of migration and
conflict5,25
.
Landscape
restoration requires
multi-stakeholder
engagement and
therefore fosters new
partnerships26
.
Restoration of
degraded landscapes
contributes
significantly to the
delivery of many
of the Sustainable
Development Goals1
.
Landscape restoration as an effective way to
achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
Interventions at the scale of
the hydrological corridor
1.	 Local interventions through water harvesting
and conservation methods, in ten strategically
chosen areas of 3 000 hectares, optimize water
infiltration and enable vegetation to return;
2.	 Better soil conditions and improved vegetation
results in evapotranspiration;
3.	 Secondary climate: as project areas start
to interact adjacent regions also benefit from
increased cloud cover, rainfall and local cooling;
4.	 Regional climate effect: local atmospheric
changes resulting in more evenly distributed rain
throughout the adjacent region.
Table I: 	 Multiple benefits of landscape restoration in numbers
		 for selected dryland biomes (global)
Overall Temperate Forest Woodlands Grasslands Agriculture
Cost-benefit ratio 1:2.2 - 1:3527
Biomespecificnumbers(ifavailable)
1:3 - 1:2227
1:4 - 1:3227
1:4 - 1:3527
n/d
Climate
Rainfall up to 30%31
30%31
n/d n/d n/d
Temperature 0.5-0.8 °C lower21
n/a 0.5-0.8 °C lower21
0.5-0.8 °C lower21
0.5-0.8 °C lower21
Carbon
Sequestration
+140 GT CO2
e3
up to 320 t C/ha32
up to 262 t C/ha32
up to 296 t C/ha32
+62%28
Agriculture
Yields +79% crop yield
increase14
, future
potential of 1.4 trillion
USD18
n/a n/a n/a +280 million tons of
cereal crops7
+2.3 billion tons of
total crops18
Soil quality 62.4 billion USD /
year7,
n/a n/a n/a prevent 53 kg/ha/year
nutrient loss7
Economy
Income 35 -40 billion USD /
year2
n/d n/d n/d n/d
Employment 200 million jobs by
205015
> 3 million jobs3
n/d n/d n/d
Water
Water availability n/d n/d up to 13 % higher safe
abstraction rate30
up to 13 % higher safe
abstraction rate30
water productivity
increase of 15 -
256%14
water use down by
70- 90%33
Infiltration up to 3 fold n/d up to 3x13
up to 3x13
up to 3x13
Biodiversity
Species richness +4424
- 6828
% +4424
+4424
+4424
+6828
%
Biomass n/d + 21,211 Mt of
biomass34
up to 8x tree biomass
accumulation 29
n/d n/d
n/d = no data available; n/a = not applicable.
Wide set of benefits
Table 1 shows a whole range of quantified benefits of landscape restoration for relevant dryland biomes
and agricultural systems, as observed in meta-research and case-studies. These numbers highlight
the potential of restoration projects. Take for example the potential for carbon sequestration: up to 140
Gigatons of CO2
e by 2030, which is more than ten times the current global Emissions Gap (UNEP, 2015).
Or the 200 million jobs that are estimated to result from investing in an agricultural sector that fully adopts
Sustainable Land Management (ILO, 2012). Water harvesting can increase the safe abstraction rate of
aquifers.Local temperture potentially decrease by 0.8 °C through increased vegetation. And not to forget
the increase in biodiversity that results from landscape restoration.
Various studies have demonstrated that landscape restoration not only delivers all these benefits, but
against costs that are easily outweighed by the benefits (De Groot et al, 2013; UNEP 2015), while creating
more jobs per dollar invested than for example the oil and gas industry (BenDor, 2015). Cost-benefit ratio’s
of ecosystem restoration can be as high as 1:35 for grasslands and 1:31 for woodlands, while remaining
positive for all other biomes (De Groot et al., 2013).
In addition, landscape restoration could also be used as an entry point to address other social goals, such
as improving gender equality (Broeckhoven, 2015) or increasing access to finance (Chokkalingam, 2005).
Monetary values of ecosystem services
Using the Global Land Degradation Information System (GLADIS) we have assessed the current
biophysical state of the land on potential locations in Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania to determine the
current land degradation status. We then combined the degradation status of the land with the potential
value of ecosystem services provided by these lands, as calculated by De Groot et al. (2012) and Costanza
et al. (2014) at a global level. The results, as presented in Table II, provide with insight in the potential added
value for landscape restoration in the countries Justdiggit is currently working.
Ecosystem services include provisioning (e.g. food), regulating (e.g. climate regulation, pollination),
supporting/habitat (e.g. maintenance of genetic diversity) and cultural services (e.g. recreation, spiritual
experiences) (see Appendix I). The monetary values of ecosystem services are calculated using different
valuation techniques, including so-called non-market values or shadow prices. Shadow prices highlight
values that are not fully internalized in our economic system, or in the wrong place (e.g. damage costs of
degradation are added to GDP) or are not accounted for at all and future generations will have to pay the
price.
The values presented in Table II are calculated assuming the ecosystems will function at a fully sustainable
level after restoration. Table II shows that land restoration provides considerable value through the
increased delivery of ecosystem services. In the case
of Tanzania, the combined value for the services
provided by three biomes compares to 3,2% of their
2016 gross domestic product. Furthermore, the one-
off intervention costs of Jusstdigit are well below the
annual recurring monetary values that are provided by
the restored ecosystems.
Potential for Africa
To demonstrate the potential of our approach, Justdiggit
has performed a mapping analysis of the potential for
our interventions across Africa, as presented in the map
on the right (please consult our memo “Hydrological
corridor potential map of Africa” for technical details
about the mapping analysis).
The mapping analysis reveals the tremendous
opportunity for projects across Africa.
Morocco Kenya Tanzania
Temperate
Forest
Wood-
lands Grasslands
Temperate
Forest
Wood-
lands Grasslands
Temperate
Forest
Wood-
lands Grasslands
Size (ha) 1.100 23.200 119.800 41.200 159.500 321.600 453.000 113.100 411.800
Current average
GLADIS biophysical
state
72% 26% 22% 66% 45% 45% 52% 38% 38%
Potential added value
per ha per year USD 846 1.180 2.250 1.027 876 1.568 1.437 983 1.765
total per year
(in million USD 2007)
0.9 27.4 269.6 42.3 139.7 504.3 651.1 111.1 727.0
Table II: 	 Potential for landscape restoration in monetary values for selected 		
		 biomes in selected countries
high potential
low potential
Opportunities
The results of this quick scan show the enormous benefits of landscape restoration in African drylands and
the potential for the development of business cases to bring our water harvesting and soil conservation
projects to scale. Main initial drivers behind the business case could benefit from increased agricultural
yields and carbon sequestration. Other project finance could come from governments or international
development organisations pursuing public goals, such as addressing climate change, achieving land
degradation neutrality or delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.
Financial instruments for land restoration are currently being developed, such as the Green Climate Fund
or the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, and are in need of investment-ready projects.Justdiggit is able
to fast-track a pipeline of on-the-ground projects, by combining concept-of-proof with pre-existing
aggregation points through their network of local implementation partners.
Justdiggit presents goverments, businesses, (impact) investors and international
funds an incredible opportunity to combat climate change and restore productive
landscapes, while at the same time achieving a wide range of other social,
economic and environmental benefits.
N2
Inc for
www.n2-inc.org 	 www.justdiggit.org
References & notes
1.	 UNCCD (2016)
2.	 The Global Commission On The
Economy And Climate (2014)
3.	 Alexander et al (2011)
4.	 Nachtergaele (2010)
5.	 FAO (2015)
6.	 Monela et al (2005)
7.	 ELD (2015b)
8.	 Jones. et al (2013)
9.	 WHO (2005)
10.	 CBD (n.d.)
11.	 UNDP (2013)
12.	 WOCAT (2007)
13.	 Ilstedt et al (2007)
14.	 Pretty, et al (2006)
15.	 ILO (2012)
16.	 ILO (n.d.)
17.	 BenDor et al (2015)
18.	 ELD (2015a)
19.	 UNEP (2013)
20.	 UNCCD (2015)
21.	 Bounoua et al (2000)
22.	 Blignaut et al (2010)
23.	 Costello et al (2010)
24.	 Rey Benayas et al (2009)
25.	 IPCC (2014)
26.	 Sayer et al (2013)
27.	 De Groot et al (2013)
28.	 Rey Benayas et al (2015)
29.	 Gupta (1995)
30.	 ELD (2014)
31.	 Blyth et al (1994)
32.	 UNEP (2009b)
33.	 UNEP (2010)
34.	 Form (2013)
Alexander et al (2011) Opportunities and Challenges for Ecological Restoration within
REDD+, Alexander, S., Nelson, C., Aronson, J., Lamb, D., Cliquet, A., Erwin, K., Finlayson,
C., De Groot, R., Harris, J., Higgs, E., Hobbs, R., Lewis, R., Martinez, D., Murcia, C.,
Restoration Ecology, 2011, Vol.19(6), pp.683-689.
BenDor, Todd et al (2015) Estimating the size and impact of the ecological restoration
economy PLoS ONE 10 (6)
Blignaut et al (2010) Restoring and managing natural capital towards fostering economic
development: Evidence from the Drakensberg, South Africa, Blignaut, J., Mander, M.,
Schulze, R., Horan, M., Dickens, C., Pringle, C, Mavundla, K., Mahlangu, I., Wilson, A.,
Mckenzie, M., Mckean, S., Ecological Economics, 2010, Vol.69(6).
Blyth et al (1994) ). The effect of forest on mesoscale rainfall: An example from
HAPEX–MOBILHY. Blyth, E. M., A. J. Dolman, and J. Noilhan, 1994: J. Appl. Meteor., 33,
445–454
Bounoua et al (2000). Sensitivity of Climate to Changes in NDVI. Bounoua, L., G.J.
Collatz, S.O. Los, P.J. Sellers, D.A. Dazlich, C.J. Tucker, and D.A. Randall, :. Climate, 13,
2277–2292.
Broeckhoven et al (2015) Gender and ecological restoration: time to connect the dots,
Broeckhoven, N. and Cliquet, A., Restoration Ecology, 23: 729–736.
Campbell, N.A. (1996) Biology, Menlo Park.
CBD (n.d.) Gender and Biodiversity, Montreal.
Chokkalingam et al (2005). Local Participation, Livelihood Needs, and Institutional
Arrangements: Three Keys to Sustainable Rehabilitation of Degraded Tropical Forest
Lands. Chokkalingam, U., Sabogal C., Almeida E., Carandang A., Gumartini T., de
Jong W., Brienza S., Lopez A., Adiwinata Nawir A., Rumboko Wibowo L., Toma, T.,
Wollenberg E., and Zaizhi Z., Forest Restoration in Landscapes. Beyond Planting Trees.
Costanza et al (2014) Changes in the global value of ecosystem services, Costanza, R.,
R. de Groot, P. Sutton, S. van der Ploeg, Sharolyn J. Anderson, I. Kubiszewski, S. Farber,
R.Kerry Turner. in Global Environmental Change 26 (2014): 152-158
Costello MJ, et al (2010) A Census of Marine Biodiversity Knowledge, Resources, and
Future Challenges. PLoS ONE 5(8).
De Groot et al (2012) Global estimates of the value of ecosystems and their services
in monetary units, R. de Groot, L. Brander, S. van der Ploeg, R. Costanza, F. Bernard,
L. Braat, M. Christie, N. Crossman, A. Ghermandi, L. Hein, S. Hussain, P. Kumar, A.
McVittie, R. Portela, L. Rodriguez, P. ten Brink, P. van Beukering, Ecosystem Services,
Volume 1, Issue 1, July 2012, Pages 50-61.
De Groot et al (2013). Benefits of Investing in Ecosystem Restoration Groot, R, Blignaut, J.,
Ploeg, S., Aronson, J., Elmqvist, T., ; Farley, J., in Conservation Biology, 2013, Vol.27(6),
pp.1286-1293
ELD (2014) An economic valuation of a large - scalerangeland restoration project
through the Hima system in Jordan, Bonn.
ELD (2015a) Reaping economic and environmental benefits from sustainable land
management, Summary, Bonn.
ELD (2015b) The Economics of Land Degradation in Africa, Bonn.
FAO (2015) Global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in
drylands, Rome.
Form (2013) Estimation of global recovery potential of degraded forest areas, Hattem
Gupta (1995) Rain-water management for tree planting in the Indian Desert, Journal of
Arid Environments, 31, October 1995.
The Global Commission On The Economy And Climate (2014). Better Growth Better
Climate: The New Climate Economy Report, Washington.
Haile, M. (2005) Weather patterns, food security and humanitarian response in
sub-Saharan Africa in Philosophical Transactions 2005 November 29; 360(1463):
2169–2182.
ILO (2012) Working towards sustainable development. Opportunities for decent work and
social inclusion in a green economy, Geneva.
ILO (n.d.) Greening the Rural Economy and Green Jobs, Geneva.
Ilstedt et al (2007). The effect of afforestation on water infiltration in the tropics:
a systematic review and meta-analysis. U. Ilstedt, A. Malmer, E. Verbeeten, D.
Murdiyarso. For. Ecol. Manage., 251 (2007), pp. 45–51
IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability - IPCC Working
Group II Fifth Assessment Report. Technical summary. Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC)
Jones, A. et al (2013) Soil Atlas of Africa. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the
European Union.
MEA (2005) Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources
Institute, Washington. D.C.
Monela et al (2005). A Study on the Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts
of Forest Landscape Restoration in Shinyanga Region, Tanzania, Monela, G.C.,
Chamshama, S., Mwaipopo, R., Gamassa, D IUCN and the Government of Tanzania:
Gland, Switzerland.
Nachtergaele F, Petri M, Biancalani R, Van Lynden G & Van Velthuizen H (2010) Global
Land Degradation Information System (GLADIS). Beta Version. An Information
Database for Land Degradation Assessment at Global Level. Land Degradation
Assessment in Drylands Technical Report, no. 17. FAO, Rome.
Rey Benayas et al (2009) 44%: a meta-analysis. Rey Benayas, J., Newton, A., Diaz, A.,
James M., Science (New York, N.Y.), 28 August 2009, Vol.325
Rey Benayas et al (2015) Quantifying the impacts of ecological restoration on biodiversity
and ecosystem services in agroecosystems: A global meta-analysis. Barral, M., Rey
Benayas, J., Meli, P., Maceira, N., Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 1 April 2015,
Vol.202, pp.223-231
Pretty, J.N. et al (2006) Resource-Conserving Agriculture Increases Yields in Developing
Countries, Environmental Science & Technology/40 (4), p.1118
Sayer, J. et al (2013) Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture,
conservation, and other competing land uses. Sayer, J., Sunderland, T., Ghazoul,
J., Pfund, J. L., Sheil, D., Meijaard, E., & van Oosten, C. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, 110(21), 8349-8356.
UNCCD (2015) Land Matters for Climate. Reducing the gap and approaching the target,
Bonn.
UNCCD (2016) A Natural Fix, AJoined-Up Approach To Delivering the Global Goals for
Sustainable Development, Bonn.
UNDP (2013) Overview of linkages between gender and climate change, New York.
UNEP (2009a) The environmental food crisis – The environment’s role in averting future
food crises, Arendal.
UNEP (2009b) The Natural Fix? The Role Of Ecosystems In Climate Mitigation A Rapid
Response Assessment, Arendal.
UNEP (2010). Dead Planet, Living Planet – Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration for
Sustainable Development. A Rapid Response Assessment, Arendal.
UNEP (2013) The Emissions Gap Report 2013, Nairobi.
UNEP (2015) The Emissions Gap Report 2015 , Nairobi.
UNCCD (2015) Land Matters for Climate. Reducing the gap and approaching the target,
Bonn.
UNCCD (2016) A Natural Fix, A Joined-Up Approach To Delivering the Global Goals for
Sustainable Development, Bonn.
WHO (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: Health synthesis, Geneva.
WOCAT (2007) Where the land is greener - case studies and analysis of soil and water
conservation initiatives worldwide, Bern.
Ecosystem service
All vallues in USD 2007 per ha per year
Temperate
forest
Woodlands Grasslands
Provisioning services 671 253 1 305
1	Food 299 52 1 192
2	 Water 191 60
3	 Raw materials 181 170 53
4	 Genetic resources
5	 Medicine resources 1
6	 Ornamental resources 32
Regulating services 491 51 159
7	 Air quality regulation
8	 Climate regulation 152 7 40
9	 Disturbance moderation
10	 Regulation of water flows
11	 Waste treatment 7 75
12	 Erosion prevention 5 13 44
13	Pollination 93
14	 Nutrient cycling 31
15	 Biological control 235
Habitat services 862 1 277 1 214
16	 Nursery services 1 273
17	 Genetic diversity 862 3 1 214
Cultural services 990 7 193
18	 Esthetic information 167
19	Recreation 989 7 26
20	Inspiration
21	 Spritual experience
22	 Cognitive development 1
Total economic value 3 013 1 588 2 871
Appendix I:	Summary of monetary values
for selected dryland biomes (De Groot, 2012)

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Benefits of landscape restoration, with a focus on African dryland biomes

  • 1. Benefits of landscape restoration, with a focus on African dryland biomes. Introduction Degradation of ecosystems poses a tremendous threat to human well-being, as a UNEP study suggests that ecosystem services are possibly worth more than the world’s combined Gross National Incomes (UNEP, 2010). On the ground, land degradation leaves communities that rely on the land in peril, threatening their livelihoods. Addressing land degradation in African drylands is of particular importance: • In drylands the demands of human communities have been much higher than the capacity of ecosystems to sustainably deliver, resulting in the rapid depletion of these resources, more so than in other biomes (FAO, 2015). • Drylands cover a large portion of the earth’s surface and are home to a substantial amount of the world population. • The African continent is the most affected in terms of soil erosion (ELD, 2015b), placing even greater importance on African drylands in fighting land degradation. Moreover, Africa is often thought to be the region most vulnerable to climate change and variability (Haile, 2005). Justdiggit has developed several intervention strategies suitable for African dryland biomes (biomes are the world’s major ecological communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment, such as woodlands, grasslands and temperate forest (Campbell, 1996)). Justdiggit is currently active in Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania. Author: Daan Groot (N2 Inc) Contributors: Dolf de Groot (Wagening University), Sander de Haas & Roos Willard (Justdiggit) Quick facts • 60 percent of all services provided by ecosystems are under threat (UNEP, 2010); • 2 billion hectares of arable land are degraded (MEA, 2005); • 25 % of the global food production may be lost during the 21st century because of the combined effect of land degradation, climate change, water scarcity, and invasive pests (UNEP, 2009a); • Drylands cover 41% of the earth’s land surface and are home to over 2 billion people (FAO, 2015); • Benefits of restoring drylands generally outweight costs by a factor of up to 1:35. N2 Inc for www.n2-inc.org www.justdiggit.org Abstract African drylands are degrading rapidly. Justdiggit develops land restoration programs by applying water harvesting, reforestation and climate resilient agriculture techniques at scale. Our programs result in a wide array of bankable and non-bankable benefits, closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and with huge positive socio-economic impacts, besides addressing climate change and biodiversity loss, two of the major challenges of our time. This whitepaper explains the mechanisms behind the benefits of landscape restoration and provides insights in the scale at which these benefits can be achieved.
  • 2. The promise of Justdiggit Restoring degraded lands can be an effective solution for climate adaptation and mitigation. First of all, it mitigates climate change by sequestering CO2 in vegetation and soils. Secondly, increased vegetation improves the hydrological cycle and lowers local temperatures, making it an effective adaptation strategy. The promise of the Justdiggit approach however proceeds beyond these local effects: by creating a network of strategic project locations within a hydrological corridor where our re-greening techniques are applied, adjacent areas also benefit from increased cloud cover and rainfall, ultimately resulting in regional and global climate impacts (see graph). Landscape restoration projects, as proposed by Justdiggit, do not only serve as an effective way to address climate change, but result in a much wider set of benefits. In fact, land restoration contributes significantly to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNCCD, 2016), as explained below. Restoration of dryland landscapes reduces poverty and generates employment, specifically benefitting the extreme poor1,2,3,4 . Sustainable Land Management increases yields, decreases undernourishment, , and prevents malnutrition,1,5,6,7,8 . Healthy landscapes increase physical and mental health and human well-being and provide with medicinal resources1,6,9 . Biodiversity loss can negatively impact access to education, while increasing income through landscape restoration increases access to education1,6,10 . Ecosystem performance is not gender-neutral, restoring landscapes and climate change adaptation can help reduce gender inequalities1,9,11 . Restoring degraded landscapes contributes to increased water infiltration, storage, quality and availability1,12,13,14 . The transition towards renewable energy relies to an extent on functioning ecosystems, especially for the world’s poor1 . Investment into landscapes results into direct and indirect jobs, and wider economic growth through multiplier effects1,15,16,17 . No effect. As failing ecosystems often hit the poor the hardest, restoring landscapes benefits the bottom 40 per cent of the global population4 . The world’s growing and urbanizing population depends on resilient rural areas and communities, while exerting additional pressure on landscapes1,6,10 . Restoring productivity through Sustainable Land Management is integral to responsible and sustainable food production1,18 . Landscape restoration contributes to both climate change mitigation and adaptation, capturing CO2 and increasing climate resilience1,19,20,21 . Restoring degraded drylands can reduce soil-erosion induced eutrophication of lakes and oceans and reverse below water biodiversity loss22,23 . Life on land is the basis of our human existence. Landscape restoration contributes to increased biodiversity and ecosystem services24 . Combatting desertification through restoration of drylands addresses one of the major drivers of migration and conflict5,25 . Landscape restoration requires multi-stakeholder engagement and therefore fosters new partnerships26 . Restoration of degraded landscapes contributes significantly to the delivery of many of the Sustainable Development Goals1 . Landscape restoration as an effective way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Interventions at the scale of the hydrological corridor 1. Local interventions through water harvesting and conservation methods, in ten strategically chosen areas of 3 000 hectares, optimize water infiltration and enable vegetation to return; 2. Better soil conditions and improved vegetation results in evapotranspiration; 3. Secondary climate: as project areas start to interact adjacent regions also benefit from increased cloud cover, rainfall and local cooling; 4. Regional climate effect: local atmospheric changes resulting in more evenly distributed rain throughout the adjacent region.
  • 3. Table I: Multiple benefits of landscape restoration in numbers for selected dryland biomes (global) Overall Temperate Forest Woodlands Grasslands Agriculture Cost-benefit ratio 1:2.2 - 1:3527 Biomespecificnumbers(ifavailable) 1:3 - 1:2227 1:4 - 1:3227 1:4 - 1:3527 n/d Climate Rainfall up to 30%31 30%31 n/d n/d n/d Temperature 0.5-0.8 °C lower21 n/a 0.5-0.8 °C lower21 0.5-0.8 °C lower21 0.5-0.8 °C lower21 Carbon Sequestration +140 GT CO2 e3 up to 320 t C/ha32 up to 262 t C/ha32 up to 296 t C/ha32 +62%28 Agriculture Yields +79% crop yield increase14 , future potential of 1.4 trillion USD18 n/a n/a n/a +280 million tons of cereal crops7 +2.3 billion tons of total crops18 Soil quality 62.4 billion USD / year7, n/a n/a n/a prevent 53 kg/ha/year nutrient loss7 Economy Income 35 -40 billion USD / year2 n/d n/d n/d n/d Employment 200 million jobs by 205015 > 3 million jobs3 n/d n/d n/d Water Water availability n/d n/d up to 13 % higher safe abstraction rate30 up to 13 % higher safe abstraction rate30 water productivity increase of 15 - 256%14 water use down by 70- 90%33 Infiltration up to 3 fold n/d up to 3x13 up to 3x13 up to 3x13 Biodiversity Species richness +4424 - 6828 % +4424 +4424 +4424 +6828 % Biomass n/d + 21,211 Mt of biomass34 up to 8x tree biomass accumulation 29 n/d n/d n/d = no data available; n/a = not applicable. Wide set of benefits Table 1 shows a whole range of quantified benefits of landscape restoration for relevant dryland biomes and agricultural systems, as observed in meta-research and case-studies. These numbers highlight the potential of restoration projects. Take for example the potential for carbon sequestration: up to 140 Gigatons of CO2 e by 2030, which is more than ten times the current global Emissions Gap (UNEP, 2015). Or the 200 million jobs that are estimated to result from investing in an agricultural sector that fully adopts Sustainable Land Management (ILO, 2012). Water harvesting can increase the safe abstraction rate of aquifers.Local temperture potentially decrease by 0.8 °C through increased vegetation. And not to forget the increase in biodiversity that results from landscape restoration. Various studies have demonstrated that landscape restoration not only delivers all these benefits, but against costs that are easily outweighed by the benefits (De Groot et al, 2013; UNEP 2015), while creating more jobs per dollar invested than for example the oil and gas industry (BenDor, 2015). Cost-benefit ratio’s of ecosystem restoration can be as high as 1:35 for grasslands and 1:31 for woodlands, while remaining positive for all other biomes (De Groot et al., 2013). In addition, landscape restoration could also be used as an entry point to address other social goals, such as improving gender equality (Broeckhoven, 2015) or increasing access to finance (Chokkalingam, 2005).
  • 4. Monetary values of ecosystem services Using the Global Land Degradation Information System (GLADIS) we have assessed the current biophysical state of the land on potential locations in Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania to determine the current land degradation status. We then combined the degradation status of the land with the potential value of ecosystem services provided by these lands, as calculated by De Groot et al. (2012) and Costanza et al. (2014) at a global level. The results, as presented in Table II, provide with insight in the potential added value for landscape restoration in the countries Justdiggit is currently working. Ecosystem services include provisioning (e.g. food), regulating (e.g. climate regulation, pollination), supporting/habitat (e.g. maintenance of genetic diversity) and cultural services (e.g. recreation, spiritual experiences) (see Appendix I). The monetary values of ecosystem services are calculated using different valuation techniques, including so-called non-market values or shadow prices. Shadow prices highlight values that are not fully internalized in our economic system, or in the wrong place (e.g. damage costs of degradation are added to GDP) or are not accounted for at all and future generations will have to pay the price. The values presented in Table II are calculated assuming the ecosystems will function at a fully sustainable level after restoration. Table II shows that land restoration provides considerable value through the increased delivery of ecosystem services. In the case of Tanzania, the combined value for the services provided by three biomes compares to 3,2% of their 2016 gross domestic product. Furthermore, the one- off intervention costs of Jusstdigit are well below the annual recurring monetary values that are provided by the restored ecosystems. Potential for Africa To demonstrate the potential of our approach, Justdiggit has performed a mapping analysis of the potential for our interventions across Africa, as presented in the map on the right (please consult our memo “Hydrological corridor potential map of Africa” for technical details about the mapping analysis). The mapping analysis reveals the tremendous opportunity for projects across Africa. Morocco Kenya Tanzania Temperate Forest Wood- lands Grasslands Temperate Forest Wood- lands Grasslands Temperate Forest Wood- lands Grasslands Size (ha) 1.100 23.200 119.800 41.200 159.500 321.600 453.000 113.100 411.800 Current average GLADIS biophysical state 72% 26% 22% 66% 45% 45% 52% 38% 38% Potential added value per ha per year USD 846 1.180 2.250 1.027 876 1.568 1.437 983 1.765 total per year (in million USD 2007) 0.9 27.4 269.6 42.3 139.7 504.3 651.1 111.1 727.0 Table II: Potential for landscape restoration in monetary values for selected biomes in selected countries high potential low potential
  • 5. Opportunities The results of this quick scan show the enormous benefits of landscape restoration in African drylands and the potential for the development of business cases to bring our water harvesting and soil conservation projects to scale. Main initial drivers behind the business case could benefit from increased agricultural yields and carbon sequestration. Other project finance could come from governments or international development organisations pursuing public goals, such as addressing climate change, achieving land degradation neutrality or delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. Financial instruments for land restoration are currently being developed, such as the Green Climate Fund or the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, and are in need of investment-ready projects.Justdiggit is able to fast-track a pipeline of on-the-ground projects, by combining concept-of-proof with pre-existing aggregation points through their network of local implementation partners. Justdiggit presents goverments, businesses, (impact) investors and international funds an incredible opportunity to combat climate change and restore productive landscapes, while at the same time achieving a wide range of other social, economic and environmental benefits. N2 Inc for www.n2-inc.org www.justdiggit.org
  • 6. References & notes 1. UNCCD (2016) 2. The Global Commission On The Economy And Climate (2014) 3. Alexander et al (2011) 4. Nachtergaele (2010) 5. FAO (2015) 6. Monela et al (2005) 7. ELD (2015b) 8. Jones. et al (2013) 9. WHO (2005) 10. CBD (n.d.) 11. UNDP (2013) 12. WOCAT (2007) 13. Ilstedt et al (2007) 14. Pretty, et al (2006) 15. ILO (2012) 16. ILO (n.d.) 17. BenDor et al (2015) 18. ELD (2015a) 19. UNEP (2013) 20. UNCCD (2015) 21. Bounoua et al (2000) 22. Blignaut et al (2010) 23. Costello et al (2010) 24. Rey Benayas et al (2009) 25. IPCC (2014) 26. Sayer et al (2013) 27. De Groot et al (2013) 28. Rey Benayas et al (2015) 29. Gupta (1995) 30. ELD (2014) 31. Blyth et al (1994) 32. UNEP (2009b) 33. UNEP (2010) 34. Form (2013) Alexander et al (2011) Opportunities and Challenges for Ecological Restoration within REDD+, Alexander, S., Nelson, C., Aronson, J., Lamb, D., Cliquet, A., Erwin, K., Finlayson, C., De Groot, R., Harris, J., Higgs, E., Hobbs, R., Lewis, R., Martinez, D., Murcia, C., Restoration Ecology, 2011, Vol.19(6), pp.683-689. BenDor, Todd et al (2015) Estimating the size and impact of the ecological restoration economy PLoS ONE 10 (6) Blignaut et al (2010) Restoring and managing natural capital towards fostering economic development: Evidence from the Drakensberg, South Africa, Blignaut, J., Mander, M., Schulze, R., Horan, M., Dickens, C., Pringle, C, Mavundla, K., Mahlangu, I., Wilson, A., Mckenzie, M., Mckean, S., Ecological Economics, 2010, Vol.69(6). Blyth et al (1994) ). The effect of forest on mesoscale rainfall: An example from HAPEX–MOBILHY. Blyth, E. M., A. J. Dolman, and J. Noilhan, 1994: J. Appl. Meteor., 33, 445–454 Bounoua et al (2000). Sensitivity of Climate to Changes in NDVI. Bounoua, L., G.J. Collatz, S.O. Los, P.J. Sellers, D.A. Dazlich, C.J. Tucker, and D.A. Randall, :. Climate, 13, 2277–2292. Broeckhoven et al (2015) Gender and ecological restoration: time to connect the dots, Broeckhoven, N. and Cliquet, A., Restoration Ecology, 23: 729–736. Campbell, N.A. (1996) Biology, Menlo Park. CBD (n.d.) Gender and Biodiversity, Montreal. Chokkalingam et al (2005). Local Participation, Livelihood Needs, and Institutional Arrangements: Three Keys to Sustainable Rehabilitation of Degraded Tropical Forest Lands. Chokkalingam, U., Sabogal C., Almeida E., Carandang A., Gumartini T., de Jong W., Brienza S., Lopez A., Adiwinata Nawir A., Rumboko Wibowo L., Toma, T., Wollenberg E., and Zaizhi Z., Forest Restoration in Landscapes. Beyond Planting Trees. Costanza et al (2014) Changes in the global value of ecosystem services, Costanza, R., R. de Groot, P. Sutton, S. van der Ploeg, Sharolyn J. Anderson, I. Kubiszewski, S. Farber, R.Kerry Turner. in Global Environmental Change 26 (2014): 152-158 Costello MJ, et al (2010) A Census of Marine Biodiversity Knowledge, Resources, and Future Challenges. PLoS ONE 5(8). De Groot et al (2012) Global estimates of the value of ecosystems and their services in monetary units, R. de Groot, L. Brander, S. van der Ploeg, R. Costanza, F. Bernard, L. Braat, M. Christie, N. Crossman, A. Ghermandi, L. Hein, S. Hussain, P. Kumar, A. McVittie, R. Portela, L. Rodriguez, P. ten Brink, P. van Beukering, Ecosystem Services, Volume 1, Issue 1, July 2012, Pages 50-61. De Groot et al (2013). Benefits of Investing in Ecosystem Restoration Groot, R, Blignaut, J., Ploeg, S., Aronson, J., Elmqvist, T., ; Farley, J., in Conservation Biology, 2013, Vol.27(6), pp.1286-1293 ELD (2014) An economic valuation of a large - scalerangeland restoration project through the Hima system in Jordan, Bonn. ELD (2015a) Reaping economic and environmental benefits from sustainable land management, Summary, Bonn. ELD (2015b) The Economics of Land Degradation in Africa, Bonn. FAO (2015) Global guidelines for the restoration of degraded forests and landscapes in drylands, Rome. Form (2013) Estimation of global recovery potential of degraded forest areas, Hattem Gupta (1995) Rain-water management for tree planting in the Indian Desert, Journal of Arid Environments, 31, October 1995. The Global Commission On The Economy And Climate (2014). Better Growth Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report, Washington. Haile, M. (2005) Weather patterns, food security and humanitarian response in sub-Saharan Africa in Philosophical Transactions 2005 November 29; 360(1463): 2169–2182. ILO (2012) Working towards sustainable development. Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy, Geneva. ILO (n.d.) Greening the Rural Economy and Green Jobs, Geneva. Ilstedt et al (2007). 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An Information Database for Land Degradation Assessment at Global Level. Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands Technical Report, no. 17. FAO, Rome. Rey Benayas et al (2009) 44%: a meta-analysis. Rey Benayas, J., Newton, A., Diaz, A., James M., Science (New York, N.Y.), 28 August 2009, Vol.325 Rey Benayas et al (2015) Quantifying the impacts of ecological restoration on biodiversity and ecosystem services in agroecosystems: A global meta-analysis. Barral, M., Rey Benayas, J., Meli, P., Maceira, N., Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 1 April 2015, Vol.202, pp.223-231 Pretty, J.N. et al (2006) Resource-Conserving Agriculture Increases Yields in Developing Countries, Environmental Science & Technology/40 (4), p.1118 Sayer, J. et al (2013) Ten principles for a landscape approach to reconciling agriculture, conservation, and other competing land uses. Sayer, J., Sunderland, T., Ghazoul, J., Pfund, J. L., Sheil, D., Meijaard, E., & van Oosten, C. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(21), 8349-8356. UNCCD (2015) Land Matters for Climate. Reducing the gap and approaching the target, Bonn. UNCCD (2016) A Natural Fix, AJoined-Up Approach To Delivering the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Bonn. UNDP (2013) Overview of linkages between gender and climate change, New York. UNEP (2009a) The environmental food crisis – The environment’s role in averting future food crises, Arendal. UNEP (2009b) The Natural Fix? The Role Of Ecosystems In Climate Mitigation A Rapid Response Assessment, Arendal. UNEP (2010). Dead Planet, Living Planet – Biodiversity and Ecosystem Restoration for Sustainable Development. A Rapid Response Assessment, Arendal. UNEP (2013) The Emissions Gap Report 2013, Nairobi. UNEP (2015) The Emissions Gap Report 2015 , Nairobi. UNCCD (2015) Land Matters for Climate. Reducing the gap and approaching the target, Bonn. UNCCD (2016) A Natural Fix, A Joined-Up Approach To Delivering the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Bonn. WHO (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: Health synthesis, Geneva. WOCAT (2007) Where the land is greener - case studies and analysis of soil and water conservation initiatives worldwide, Bern. Ecosystem service All vallues in USD 2007 per ha per year Temperate forest Woodlands Grasslands Provisioning services 671 253 1 305 1 Food 299 52 1 192 2 Water 191 60 3 Raw materials 181 170 53 4 Genetic resources 5 Medicine resources 1 6 Ornamental resources 32 Regulating services 491 51 159 7 Air quality regulation 8 Climate regulation 152 7 40 9 Disturbance moderation 10 Regulation of water flows 11 Waste treatment 7 75 12 Erosion prevention 5 13 44 13 Pollination 93 14 Nutrient cycling 31 15 Biological control 235 Habitat services 862 1 277 1 214 16 Nursery services 1 273 17 Genetic diversity 862 3 1 214 Cultural services 990 7 193 18 Esthetic information 167 19 Recreation 989 7 26 20 Inspiration 21 Spritual experience 22 Cognitive development 1 Total economic value 3 013 1 588 2 871 Appendix I: Summary of monetary values for selected dryland biomes (De Groot, 2012)