El Mecanismo para la Restauración de Bosques y Paisajes

New guidance aims to maximize benefits of ecosystem restoration


5 February 2024, Rome – Guidance on how to carry out restoration projects for the maximum benefit of nature and people was published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN CEM) and the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), in cooperation with 22 collaborative organizations.

The publication, titled Standards of practice to guide ecosystem restoration: A contribution to the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, presents over 300 recommendations and highlights key principles that are fundamental for long-term success across all types of ecosystems and restoration projects, from forests to oceans.

“Restoring and reviving ecosystems around the world is vital if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, from combating climate change and preventing the loss of biodiversity to enhancing livelihoods,’’ said Tiina Vähänen, Deputy Director of FAO’s Forestry Division.

“These new standards of practice to guide ecosystem restoration are designed to be as useful for voluntary community member-led efforts as they are to highly resourced, nationally funded projects.”

The five phases of the restoration process

The publication identifies five key phases that should underpin all good restoration work: assessment, planning and design, implementation, ongoing management and monitoring and evaluation. The process is not linear and elements of each phase can be carried out simultaneously.

There is information and guidance on different aspects of each phase, designed to help those carrying out restoration projects to develop further understanding, improve their practices and foster replication of effective ways of working.

Cross-cutting elements for long-term and successful ecosystem restoration

The publication stresses the importance of some aspects of restoration, such as broad engagement, information sharing and adaptive management, which crosscut the five phases and are fundamental for the whole restoration process.

“Long-term sustainability of restoration projects is only possible when each component of the restoration process promotes active engagement and transparent information sharing among those directly or indirectly involved in, or affected by, restoration activities,” said James Hallett, past Chair of SER. “Adaptive management is also key to successful ecosystem restoration, given that restoration is a long-term endeavour for which there is general uncertainty about efficacy and effects in the context of social, economic, political, and climatic forces.”

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 calls for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems and restore them to achieve global goals.