Forest Landscape Restoration: A Key to Unlocking Climate Solutions

A woman plants a tree seedling.
Municipality of Guindulman, Bohol Province, Philippines: An employee of the Bayong Farmers Association plants a tree seedling.

Discover how Forest and Landscape Restoration supports global climate goals across diverse regions. Impactful initiatives supported by the IKI demonstrate sustainable progress and community empowerment.

In the global fight against climate change, Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) stands as a critical strategy, not only in revitalising degraded lands but also supporting the attainment of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. This article explores the implementation of FLR initiatives across three diverse regions: the Pacific Islands, the Sahel and the Mediterranean region, thanks to the financial support provided by the International Climate Initiative (IKI). 

The Pacific Islands

Local communities in the Philippines and Fiji have made significant progress. Notably, the projects have focused on integrating forest restoration with sustainable land-use activities such as agriculture, agroforestry and ecotourism. 

In the Philippines, restoration efforts have covered 400 hectares in Bohol and 605 hectares in Bataan, directly benefiting hundreds of local households through increased income from sustainable agriculture involving cash crops like pineapples and bananas. Moreover, these initiatives have emphasised community involvement and awareness-raising about the importance of FLR and sustainable forest management (SFM), integrating various conservation activities such as assisted natural regeneration, water source protection, and income-generating activities like beekeeping and vanilla cultivation.

The Sahel 

People on a field in Africa.
Restoring land in Niger - a group in a field.

The Great Green Wall initiative in Niger exemplifies the power of small-scale interventions with significant socio-economic impacts. Supported by the French Global Environment Facility and IKI, the project has provided small grants to local communities, fostering additional income, skill development, and empowerment. These funds have supported the cultivation of drought-resistant crops and the implementation of water-saving techniques, which are crucial for communities facing erratic rainfall, high temperatures, and poor soil quality. 

A standout success has been a grant to a women’s cooperative for developing Moringa—a climate-resilient plant—which has not only bolstered sustainable agriculture but also highlighted the role of women’s leadership in community development.

The Mediterranean region

View of the Maâmora forest (Morocco), the largest cork oak forest in the Mediterranean region and pilot site of the IKI-funded project "The Paris Agreement in action".

In the Mediterranean region, countries like Lebanon and Morocco have been at the forefront of applying integrated management and restoration FLR techniques. Projects have focused on preparing the ground for upscaling restoration by creating more favourable conditions and presenting ad hoc technologies and methods that enable the achievement of national and global restoration targets. Biodiversity has increased, and sustainable agriculture (sensu lato) practices have improved, such as reforestation, assisted natural regeneration and grazing, paying particular attention to an integrated and participatory approach. Technological tools showcased in regional workshops have proven essential for future planning and informed decision-making in ecosystem restoration. 

In the case of Morocco, the activities implemented align with the principles of the new forest strategy, for which the participation of local actors and stakeholders is a priority. In the Maâmora forest, which is the largest cork oak forest in the Mediterranean region, national partners have developed a participatory restoration management plan. The aim of this plan is to systematically involve local populations, through cooperatives, in conservation and restoration activities that align with the national forest strategy.

Achieving targets

The multifaceted approach that the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) takes to FLR in these regions demonstrates the significant role of tailored, locally relevant solutions in achieving global environmental targets. By supporting regional platforms, facilitating knowledge exchange, building local capacities, mobilising innovative financing, and implementing national action plans, these initiatives not only restore degraded landscapes but also build resilient communities capable of confronting the challenges posed by climate change. The ongoing success of these projects serves as a compelling model for other regions worldwide, emphasising the critical need for integrated, community-focused environmental strategies in the global climate agenda.

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