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Short Term Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration
Case studies and relevant resources



  • Ecosystem restoration in the context of the CBD

    • Aichi Target 15

    • Adoption of the STAPER

    • Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative

  • Restoration terminology helper – a review of key concepts

    • Ecological restoration

    • Ecosystem restoration [are these different]

    • Forest (and) Landscape Restoration

    • Restoration ecology

  • A panorama of actors in the field of restoration


    • SER


The plan comprises four main groups of activities that could be undertaken, as a menu of options, on a voluntary basis, by Parties and other Governments, in collaboration with relevant organizations, in accordance with national legislation, circumstances and priorities. The four main groups of activities are:

  1. (a)  Assessment of opportunities for ecosystem restoration;

  2. (b)  Improving the institutional enabling environment for ecosystem restoration;

  3. (c)  Planning and implementation of ecosystem restoration activities;

  4. (d)  Monitoring, evaluation, feedback and disseminating results.

+ guidance for integrating biodiversity considerations into ecosystem restoration

This document presents, under each group of activities

  • case studies illustrating the application of the steps in context (incl. FERI projects)

  • Relevant concepts from restoration ecology

  • Supporting materials from GPFLR and CPF partners

  • Financial and technical support available from GPFLR and CPF partners


A. Assessment of opportunities for ecosystem restoration

To ensure that restoration activities are implemented in areas requiring restoration and that are high priority taking into account ecological, economic, social and institutional realities, it is useful to implement broad-scale ecosystem assessments, including mapping, or to make use of existing assessments. These assessments can be undertaken at various levels according to national circumstances and adjusted in the light of more detailed assessments that result from the site-level activities in step C. The following actions may be considered, and, as appropriate, taken:

  1. Assess the extent, type, degree and location of degraded ecosystems at regional, national, and local scales as well as the drivers of ecosystem degradation. Take into account current restoration activities and initiatives, and how these integrate biodiversity considerations.

ICRAF’s map of degree of degradation in East Africa -

  1. Identify and prioritize geographical areas where restoration would contribute most significantly to achieving national level targets contributing to the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (such as priority areas for the conservation of biodiversity, areas that provide essential ecosystem services, and areas that would enhance the integrity of protected areas and their integration into wider land- and seascapes).

UN-REDD Programme – Mapping of multiple benefits of REDD+

  1. Involve indigenous peoples and local communities and relevant stakeholders. Identify and obtain the prior and informed consent and full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities and involve relevant stakeholders in the process, including consideration for gender balance, in the identification of priority areas for restoration.


  1. Assess the potential costs and multiple benefits of ecosystem restoration at relevant scales. Benefits may include those linked to biodiversity and ecosystem services, and socioeconomic benefits, such as water and food security, carbon capture and sequestration, jobs and livelihoods, health benefits, and disaster risk reduction (e.g. fire and erosion control, and coastal protection). Identify opportunities for maximizing co-benefits and for reducing or eliminating conflicts among co-benefits. Costs of inaction may also be significant. Capitalize on lessons learned from previous restoration activities and the potential for ecosystem restoration to provide ecosystem services using nature-based solutions and developing green infrastructure.


  1. Assess the relevant institutional, policy, and legal frameworks and identify financial and technical resources, as well as gaps, for implementing ecosystem restoration. Analyse opportunities for innovative approaches to restoration, including financial ones.

UN-REDD BeRT tool ?

  1. Identify options to reduce or eliminate the drivers of the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems at various scales. Utilize pre-degradation baselines where appropriate and consult with experts and stakeholders, including indigenous peoples and local communities to determine baselines and other requirements, such as: resources; behavioural changes; incentive mechanisms; addressing perverse incentives; adopting sustainable land, water, forest, fisheries and agriculture management practices; diversifying land tenure; and recognizing resource rights. Assess areas where the implementation of sustainable productive practices could contribute to ecosystem restoration and to prevent land degradation.

Discussion of ‘pre-degradation baseline’ in restoration ecology lit?

B. Improving the institutional enabling environment for ecosystem restoration

  1. Review, improve or establish legal, policy and financial frameworks for the restoration of ecosystems. This may include, as appropriate, laws, regulations, policies and other requirements for protecting and restoring habitats, as well as improving ecosystem functions. It may require a certain proportion of land, coast or sea to be maintained in its natural state.

Legislation in Sao Paulo State -

  1. Review, improve or establish a legal and policy framework for land tenure, and for recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.

  2. Promote and strengthen formal and informal education systems at all levels by including content related to ecosystem restoration, and raise awareness about the benefits of ecosystem restoration for the economy and the well-being of society, including through the dissemination of scientifically sound information.

  3. Review, improve or establish terrestrial and marine spatial planning processes and zoning activities in the framework of integrated management.

  4. Consider the need for safeguard measures to reduce risks of displacing habitat loss and degradation as well as other risks to biodiversity and indigenous peoples and local communities (see Principles and appendix I).

Zoom on FLR Principles

  1. Review, improve or establish targets, policies and strategies for ecosystem restoration. These activities would normally be reflected in national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and/or national plans for sustainable development, climate change mitigation and adaptation and land management. Setting targets can demonstrate political commitment and help to increase public awareness, support and engagement. Existing targets established under other relevant processes may also be taken into account.


  1. Develop accounting processes that take into account the values of natural land, semi-natural, ecosystems, and of the functions and services they deliver.

  2. Promote economic and financial incentives and eliminate, phase out or reform incentives harmful to biodiversity in order to reduce the drivers of ecosystem loss and degradation, and to foster ecosystem restoration, including through sustainable productive activities.

  3. Develop plans for resource mobilization. Create a framework for mobilizing resources to support ecosystem restoration, from national, bilateral and multilateral sources, such as the Global Environment Facility, leveraging national budgets, donors and partners, including the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities and non-governmental organizations, to implement the action plans and to fill gaps identified through assessments in step A. Public funds and instruments can be used to leverage private funding through such methods as, inter alia, risk guarantees, payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, and other innovative financial approaches.

  4. Promote and support capacity-building and training and technology transfer for the planning, implementation and monitoring of ecosystem restoration so as to improve the effectiveness of restoration programmes.


C. Planning and implementation of ecosystem restoration activities

Restoration activities should be planned on the basis of priorities identified in Step A and implementation facilitated by actions in step B. Actions would benefit from consultation with stakeholders and experts from various disciplines to assist with all phases of project work (assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting). Capacity-building for stakeholders, including legal and legislative support for the rights of women and indigenous peoples and local communities, may be required. The following actions may be considered, and undertaken as appropriate:

  1. Identify the most appropriate measures for conducting ecosystem restoration, based on the best available evidence and taking into account ecological appropriateness, the use of native species, scale of measures linked to the processes to be restored cost-effectiveness, and support to indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas, and respect for their traditional customary knowledge and practices. Emphasis should be given to restoration approaches and activities that allow people to maintain and/or establish sustainable livelihoods.


  1. Consider how ecosystem restoration activities can support the ecological and economic sustainability of agriculture and other production activities, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation, and disaster risk reduction, and enhance ecosystem services, including for urban areas. Restoration may be mainstreamed into land- and seascape planning. The expected effects of restoration activities on the ecological function of adjacent lands and waters should be considered, for example through environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments. Potential future environmental changes, such as those resulting from climate change, should be taken into account.



Restoration Ecology

Agro‐Successional Restoration as a Strategy to Facilitate Tropical Forest Recovery

Daniel L. M. Vieira

Karen D. Holl

Fabiana M. Peneireiro

First published: 24 July 2009

  1. Develop ecosystem restoration plans with clear and measurable objectives and goals for expected environmental, economic and social outcomes. In addition to goals and objectives, plans could include the extent and lifetime of the project, the feasibility of mitigating degrading forces, budget and staff requirements, and a coherent plan for monitoring project implementation and efficacy. Project goals may include the desired future condition of the areas being restored, and the expected ecological and socioeconomic attributes of the reference ecosystem(s). In addition, project goals could explicitly specify ecological and socioeconomic targets (e.g., biomass of vegetation, jobs), and for each target an action (e.g., reduce, increase, maintain), quantity (e.g., 50 per cent), and timeframe (e.g., five years). Objectives could then be developed with an appropriate monitoring programme to detail the specific steps required to fulfil the goals.

  2. Develop explicit implementation tasks, schedules, and budgets. Anticipated details of implementation, including site preparation, installation, or follow-up activities, may be considered. In addition, performance standards could be explicitly stated, along with a preliminary and adaptable list of questions to be addressed through monitoring and the proposed protocols that will be used to examine project success at specified intervals during restoration. Monitoring and evaluation may benefit from the establishment of standards for data collection, management and retention, analyses, and sharing of lessons learned.

International Standards for Ecological Restoration

Guidelines for Quarry restoration in RRC

  1. Implement the measures outlined in the ecosystem restoration plan to conserve, manage sustainably, and, restore degraded ecosystems and landscape units in the most effective and coordinated manner possible, making use of existing science and technology and traditional knowledge.



  • Address the drivers of biodiversity loss, including land-use change, fragmentation, degradation and loss, over-exploitation, pollution, climate change, and invasive alien species. Ecosystem restoration generally costs more than avoiding degradation, and the loss of some species and ecosystem services might not be recoverable. Further, natural habitats act as refugia for species that can offer restoration opportunities to other areas.


  • Avoid the afforestation of grasslands and ecosystems with naturally low tree cover.

Summary of the Veldman debate in Nature?

  • Determine how natural and traditional disturbance regimes (e.g., under fire or grazing) which may be important for ecosystem structure and functioning could be part of restoration activities. Make use of research on the functions of species in ecosystems and the links between ecosystem functions and services. Due consideration should be given to the restoration and recovery of species directly providing ecosystem services and functions, such as seed dispersal, pollination, and maintaining the food web (such as key predators) and nutrient flows.


  • Priority may be given to the restoration of habitats important for the reproduction and recovery of species.

  • Take into consideration the fact that natural regeneration may allow a degraded area to recover on its own after drivers of fragmentation, degradation and loss have been removed or reduced. If active restoration is required, such as removing invasive alien species, reintroducing native plants and animals, and revitalizing soils and hydrological processes, this will generally require greater resources over a greater period of time.


  • If ecosystem restoration is being aided by planting and reintroduction, make use of native site-adapted species, giving attention to genetic variation within and among native species, their life histories and the consequences of their interactions with each other and with their environment.

Genetic considerations in ecosystem restoration using native tree species Paper I Book
Bioversity International completed this study for the FAO report on The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources. It reviews evidence of the critical role that genetic diversity plays in seedling survival and adaptation of forests to environmental change and discuss’ the advantage of using native tree species over exotic species for meeting conservation and sustainable development goals.

Safeguarding investments in forest ecosystem restoration
Policy Brief which sets out the keys to success including:

  • Use adapted and genetically diverse seed

  • Allow ample planning and implementation time - restoration can take up 20 years or more!

  • Monitor success as multiple stages


FERI Project - stablishment of pilot restoration plots in the biodiversity compensation area of the hydrological powerplant of Ituango - Antioquia, Colombia.



The importance of species selection and seed sourcing in forest restoration for enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change: Columbian dry forest as a model – Publication



  • Site-based actions could be taken in the context of integrated land- and seascape management practices. For example: priority may be given to restoring ecosystem services within a mosaic of land uses; or promoting landscape connectivity and biodiversity conservation through ecosystem restoration in proximity to species refugia (e.g., protected areas, key biodiversity areas, important bird and biodiversity areas, and Alliance for Zero Extinction sites) creating buffer zones, or connectivity corridors between them.

  • Prevent the introduction of those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species: if the use of alien species is being considered, for example to initially stabilize severely degraded soils, this should, in particular, be guided by sound science and the precautionary approach in line with the preamble of the Convention in order to avoid loss of habitat and species due to invasive alien species.



Find a home for Restoration Evidence

Veldman -

Misty Woodland
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