How feasible are global forest restoration commitments?
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Type of Work8 pages
Citation of Original PublicationFagan ME, Reid JL, Holland MB, Drew JG, Zahawi RA. How feasible are global forest restoration commitments? Conservation Letters. 2020;e12700. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12700
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Numerous countries have made voluntary commitments to conduct forest landscape restoration over millions of hectares of degraded land in the coming decade. We consider the relative likelihood these countries will achieve their restoration commitments. Across countries, the area committed to restoration increased with existing forest and plantation area, but was inversely related to development status, with less developed countries pledging more area. Restoration commitments are generally large (median: 2 million hectares) and will be challenging to meet without the wholesale transformation of food production systems. Indeed, one third of countries committed >10% of their land area to restoration (maximum: 81%). Furthermore, high rates of land cover change may reverse gains: a quarter of countries experienced recent deforestation and agricultural expansion that exceeded their restoration commitment area. The limited progress reported by countries, and the sheer scale of commitments, raises serious questions about long‐term success, especially absent necessary monitoring and management plans.
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