- Posted 6 May 2024

Bringing Life Back to the Land: The Restoration Initiative Sows Seeds For a Sustainable Future

  • Restoration
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  • landscape
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  • regeneration
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Bringing Life Back to the Land: The Restoration Initiative Sows Seeds For a Sustainable Future TRI project beneficiaries producing seed balls to revive degraded forests. Photo Credit– TRI Pakistan

A new collaboration of environmental heavyweights has created a framework to restoredegraded and deforested land, addressing one of the defining challenges of our time.

The Restoration Initiative (TRI) brings together nine countries and three Global Environment Facility agencies — the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) — to reverse unsustainable farming practices and other drivers of deforestation and ecosystem degradation that contribute to food insecurity and climate change.

One of the biggest global drivers of deforestation and forest degradation is an agricultural system that degrades soil through chemical interventions, destroying ecosystems and delivering lower yields, compromising water quality and access, and resulting in lower incomes to rural communities. TRI is reversing the impact of decades of poor practices, enhancing ongoing land-use strategies to provide sustainable and nutritious food, fodder and fuel production to the local people living and working on these lands.

TRI aims to restore healthy lands involving communities that rely on the natural ecosystems under threat. TRI’s global team helps countries to increase their seed cultivation and genetic diversity, while local units train communities in sustainable land management, climate-smart agriculture, value-chain development, and techniques to restore degraded forest areas, which in turn will improve water security. TRI emphasises that its real value resides in the collaborative opportunities it creates through its international and national teams. The combined expertise in policy design, institutional capacity building and best practices, private sector engagement and finance mobilization may well be the key to its success.

Forests, mangroves, grasslands, and semi-arid lands of Kenya, Tanzania, China, Pakistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, and Sao Tome and Principe are part of this bold alliance encompassing governments, international and national partners, and local stakeholders. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, TRI has facilitated funding of 70 microprojects to improve household incomes through forest and landscape restoration by engaging with existing community organisations. Its impact has already reached 3 680 households. In Guinea Bissau, collaborations between governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and local communities have helped to repair coastal ecosystems and facilitated long-term mangrove restoration. In Cameroon, 12 nurseries have cultivated over 211 628 bamboo and non-timber forest product plants, and 142 local stakeholders have been trained in restoration practices.


TRI project beneficiaries producing seed balls to revive degraded forests. Photo Credit– TRI Pakistan

According to the organization, incentivizing investment in restoration is critical, and its model includes financial and technical support directly to those on the ground. TRI’s global team of experts from IUCN, FAO, and UNEP collaborate with country teams to reinforce results, improve current agricultural practices, and promote restoration, while training locals to develop their agricultural businesses.

TRI’s anticipated impacts are significant: 483 000 hectares under restoration, 1.8 million hectares under improved sustainable management, and 30.4 tCO2eq emission reductions/removals. It’s a massive plan for the restoration of degraded lands and forests across the world. To bolster its impact, TRI maintains that, with additional funding, the initiative could significantly enhance food and water security, mitigate against climate change impacts, conserve biodiversity, and create employment opportunities.

Learn more about the Restoration Initiative.

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