Hedge your bets in resilient landscape restoration

Bioversity International launched the Trees for Seeds: Resilient forest restoration initiative at the Global Landscapes Forum one month ago in Nairobi. Christopher Kettle, Science Domain Leader, Forest Genetic Resources and Restoration, reports.

Pardon the pun but hedging our bets with global land restoration is exactly what we need to be doing if we don’t want to bury billions of dollars in a failed investment. On the last two days of August I participated in the Global Landscapes Forum in Nairobi. This was an exciting meeting, not least because of the buzz around the African commitment to restoration through the African Forest Landscape Initiative (AFR100), and the very clear political will and private sector appetite for restoration – AFR100 is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes across Africa into restoration by 2030.

The rhetoric behind delivering large-scale restoration is compelling. Globally, degraded land costs about 10% of global GDP per year, while the benefits estimated in the billions of US dollars per year through improved ecosystem services, climate mitigation and improved productivity of degraded land.

The huge potential for AFR100 to contribute to a healthier, greener and more sustainable planet, are reasons to be happy. At the same time the growing pledges now at 100 million hectares for Africa, in the next 12 years, leaves one thinking: great, so how are we going to do this? That’s a lot of land, a lot of trees and a lot of seeds.