The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism


Forest and landscape restoration (FLR) is not only about planting trees, but a process usually aiming to achieve both environmental and socioeconomic objectives. These specific objectives can vary depending on the program, project or initiative to be implemented.

Large scale FLR interventions and major investments are needed to bring long-lasting fruits during this global restoration momentum. Monitoring FLR will play a critical role to:

  • support the implementation of FLR interventions at all scales and provide feedback for adaptive management and learning;
  • provide evidence of progress, achievements and impact in relation to expectations and targets;
  • communicate results and outcomes to keep the momentum going and inspire emulation;
  • support reporting to FLR investors (government, private sector, donors, smallholders…) and foster additional investments by projecting ability to oversee FLR investments; and
  • support reporting on national, regional and international commitments.


Some conditions for successful FLR monitoring are already in place. The technological revolution contributed to mainstream the use of remote sensing; a variety of methodologies, tools and approaches are available and easily accessible; and funding has been released for assessment and monitoring purposes.

However, important challenges still need to be tackled to ensure a realistic monitoring of FLR progress at such a wide scale on all the aspects of monitoring: environmental, socioeconomic and enabling environments. The most critical challenges include the need for improving the coordination amongst projects and stakeholders, for meeting the needs of different audiences at different scales, for implementing sustainable processes of assessment, monitoring and evaluation including socio-economic aspects, and for linking monitoring at all levels – from the international to national and local levels. Participatory approaches including all relevant groups should be mainstreamed to ensure that the ownership of the process is transferred to the appropriate stakeholders.


The FLRM serves as a catalyst for that effort to take place and in 2016 organized the "Drylands & FLR Monitoring Week" at FAO headquarters together with CILSS, GPFLR, GM UNCCD, UNCCD, ICRAF, IUCN, UNEP, World Bank and WRI. This Week kicked-started a collaborative dynamics aimed at feeding into the global efforts towards the achievement of the various FLR pledges made by countries.

Looking at a way to solve these issues and make a greater impact, the “Drylands & Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) Monitoring Week” gave participants the opportunity to share updates on progress made in the implementation of the Rome Promise; review needs and opportunities for FLR monitoring; take stock of available tools and approaches and share examples of their application; and to identify gaps and priority actions to move forward. These priority actions and recommendations from participants have been captured into the key outcomes of the “Drylands & FLR Monitoring Week:”

  1. A revised roadmap for the Rome Promise; A proposal for a COFO working group on Dryland forests and Agrosilvopastoral systems; and
  2. A roadmap to support and align FLR monitoring efforts globally: the collaborative roadmap for FLR monitoring.

The collaborative roadmap for FLR monitoring was jointly designed by participants with the view to encourage and support countries and in-country actors, and other relevant partners in monitoring FLR at all scales, by helping organizations to collaborate and coordinate their individual actions.

  • Activity stream 1: Develop and refine guidance documents on the design, establishment and operation of FLR monitoring systems, aligned with existing processes and fostering cross-sectoral coordination.
  • Activity stream 2: Develop and maintain an interactive FLR knowledge platform including:
    • An on-line library (tool box) of monitoring resources (candidate indicators and tools, guidance materials); and
    • Capacity building materials (e-learning modules…).
  • Activity stream 3: Form and test evolving technical alliances, mechanisms and / or networks to support effective FLR processes (including monitoring) in selected countries and regions.
  • Activity stream 4: Create (or as appropriate, build on existing) and facilitate a community of learning, supported, amongst other things by knowledge sharing events (incl. peer to peer).
  • Activity stream 5: Form an innovation hub to support other activity streams, harnessing contributions from the science, technology and innovation communities (integrated into the other activity streams).


The collaborative roadmap on FLR monitoring is under implementation by an open coalition of partners. Partners include, but are not limited to, FAO, WRI, the CBD Secretariat, UNEP, IUCN, Wageningen University, the Secretariat of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), CATIE, CIFOR, ICRAF, SER, and the Regional Center of CILSS (AGRHYMET). The collaborative roadmap will contribute to the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) and to the achievement of the Bonn Challenge pledges.


Since the endorsement of the collaborative roadmap back in 2016, the FLRM has been carrying out different activities regarding monitoring of forest and landscape restoration:

  • Publication of guidance documents and tools under the Activity stream 1
    • “The Road to Restoration: A guide to identifying priorities and indicators for monitoring forest and landscape restoration
      • Launched November 2019
      • Available here
    • Assessment, Understanding and Reporting of Restoration Actions (AURORA) web application
      • Interactive version of "The Road to Restoration."
      • Facilitates indicator selection and track progress
      • Available here
    • Mapping together: A guide to monitoring forest and landscape restoration using Collect Earth mapathons.
      • Launched February 2021
      • Available here
  • Continuous updates of the knowledge platform under the Activity stream 2
  • Support countries with national monitoring frameworks and establishment of biophysical baseline under the Activity stream 3:
    • Support the preparation of a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning System of the National FLR Strategy in Guatemala
    • Land use data collection exercise using Collect Earth in Niger, Kenya and Pakistan and Fiji
    • In the context of the GEF6 funded project “The Restoration Initiative” (TRI), targeted support to countries in the review of their results matrices in line with the project M&E guidance document based on the new GEF architecture and the National Child Projects
    • In the context of the IKI-funded programme "The Alliance for Restoration of Forest Ecosystems in Africa (AREECA)" targeted support to FAO-led national project in Malawi in setting up a baseline and support to the Programme Management Unit in the overall monitoring of the programme
  • Regular exchanges through the Online Community of Practice for Forest and Landscape Restoration under the Activity stream 4. The community has held so far 2 online events related to FLR monitoring:
    • Innovative approaches for monitoring forest and landscape restoration
    • Forest and landscape restoration: Participatory approaches and monitoring


To join the collaborative roadmap on FLR monitoring and take part into one or several of the activity streams, please contact us at [email protected].