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Scaling Up Efforts to Restore Forests

April 18, 2018 |

This article was originally published on

“We are at the cusp of a transformation that is changing societal perspectives and values on our environment. The Bonn Challenge – which seeks to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 – represents a global response to deforestation, land degradation, and climate change.

Never mind that with only 2 years to go, only 5 million hectares have actually been restored. More important is that this initiative has galvanised countries, organisations, and individuals to recognise the imperative to reverse environmental degradation in all its forms. Governments have already pledged 160 million hectares for forest restoration, but pledges, while welcome, must be translated into action.

Scaling up requires scaling out

How do we scale-up from existing scattered restoration initiatives to a programme more than an order of magnitude larger than all collective efforts to date? Any such challenge requires a “ thinking approach” that transcends disciplinary boundaries and spatial and temporal scales. It requires drawing on knowledge sourced from multiple scientific fields to inform strategies across policy, society, economic, and environmental sectors.

Scaling out across disciplines and sectors is complex, but is exactly what is needed to effectively address scaling up of forest restoration. The Latsis Symposium 2018 on scaling up Forest Restoration convenes at ETH Zurich on 6, 7 and 9 June to explore how this might be achieved in practice (see Box)…”

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