A global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020 is being launched in Bonn, Germany.
The announcement comes during the Bonn Challenge Ministerial Roundtable, where a select group of government officials, business leaders, and international forest experts are gathering to catalyze support for global forest and landscape restoration.
At the meeting, Göran Persson, former Prime Minister of Sweden, will propose a new Global Restoration Council to galvanize action for forest and landscape restoration and build support to achieve The Bonn Challenge. The Council will be facilitated by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Bonn Challenge builds on a global assessment that's identified over 2 billion hectares of the world's deforested and degraded lands that could be restored - an area larger than the United States.
The assessment, carried out by WRI, the South Dakota State University, and IUCN on behalf of the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, nearly doubles the previous estimate, reflecting greater precision and a better understanding of the conditions necessary for forests to grow.
"Forest restoration is big idea that carries many benefits. It will improve food security, enhance biodiversity, protect our climate, and generate jobs," says Manish Bapna, interim President for WRI. "With this new 150 million hectare target - and support from leaders like Mr. Persson - we have a great opportunity to take action that will enhance the resilience of people and nature."
Restoring 150 million hectares of land would be a significant contribution to implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity Target 15 and the REDD-plus agreement of the UNFCCC. They call for the restoration of at least 15% of the world's degraded ecosystems by 2020, while slowing, halting and reversing forest loss.
Here's a map of the landscapes to be restored.
Learn about the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration: