The Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism

What is The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration about?

Year published: 10/11/2020

Please visit the new TEER webpage to stay updated with the initiative in progress.

The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER), launched in 2019, aims to estimate the net benefits per hectare per year of any restoration intervention in any given context, thus offerings a reference point for the estimation of costs and benefits of future terrestrial ecosystem restoration projects in all major biomes and across a wide range of contexts worldwide, based on information from comparable data collected through a standardized framework.

To achieve the global restoration goals set out by the international community under various fora, more investments need to flow from both the public and private sector at the local, national and global level. To do so, it is important to understand the economics of restoration. The current lack of information hinders further public and private investment in restoration activities, jeopardizing the chances of achieving global restoration goals.

TEER responds to this need by establishing a network of twenty partners, led by FAO[1], to develop information and decision-making tools that donors, investors, project implementers, governments and other stakeholders can use and consult for reliable cost and benefit data for their decision-making in ecosystem restoration.

Building on these tools, a consistent and reliable database on the costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration will facilitate further analysis and decision-making and will scale up the financing for restoration.

Current status of activities

A questionnaire for data collection on the costs of restoration has been developed in in close consultation with partners and specifically with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). The questionnaire distinguishes between two levels for data collection on ecosystem restoration:

  1.  the project level, which considers a restoration project or a set of restoration interventions, planned and implemented within a common framework (objectives, budget, timeframe and partners) under the responsibility of the same entity/organization;
  2.  the intervention unit level, with the intervention unit being defined as “a continuous and homogeneous area of land over which the same restoration intervention or combination of restoration interventions is homogeneously applied.”

The questionnaire is currently structured through an Excel template (Excel Workbook) divided into several tabs focused on different elements of information. The questionnaire on restoration costs was tested during the summer of 2020 in seven projects implemented in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Mozambique, the Niger, Peru and Zambia. This piloting phase helped evaluate the feasibility and complexity of the questionnaire and gather feedback on improvements needed for further versions.

In July 2020 work was also initiated on the questionnaire for data collection on benefits under the lead of the World Resources Institute (WRI). This module will ensure that key benefits of restoration interventions are captured and consistency with the module on costs is maintained.

Future activities

Together with the finalization and testing of the modules for data collection on costs and benefits, TEER is establishing collaborations with several organizations and institutions, with the aim of avoiding duplication of efforts and promoting exchanges of knowledge and expertise at different levels. TEER is also being promoted during international events and conferences, including at the 14th session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF14) in New York, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP14) in Delhi in 2019 and the XV World Forestry Congress (WFC) in the Republic of Korea. For more information, please contact [email protected].

 Valentina Garavaglia (FAO) and Blaise Bodin (FAO)

[1] Bioversity International; the Convention on Biological Diversity; the Center for International Forestry Research; Commonland; Conservation International; Forestoration; the International Institute for Sustainability; the International Union for Conservation of Nature; the New Partnership for Africa’s Development; the Society for Ecological Restoration; The Nature Conservancy; Tropenbos International; the United Nations Environment Programme; the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; the University of São Paulo; the US Forest Service; WeForest; World Agroforestry; the World Bank; and the World Resources Institute.