The Restoration Barometer
Learn more about the go-to tool to track progress on global restoration targets. The Restoration Barometer Report 2022 provides an up-to-date comparison of countries.
Ecosystems are wonderfully diverse. A successful ecosystem restoration project is one that embraces this diversity and enhances the capacity to provide global environmental benefits. To achieve this, restoration projects need to be monitored regularly. Monitoring serves a vital scientific role by revealing long-term trends that can lead to new knowledge and understanding. It can also be an effective tool to understand how restoration works and to document best practices that can be extrapolated to other similar ecosystem restoration projects. IUCN has developed an ecosystem restoration-monitoring tool to address this need.
How the tool works
The Restoration Barometer (launched in 2016 as the Bonn Challenge Barometer) is the only tool currently used by governments to track the progress of restoration targets. The Barometer was designed for countries that have committed to restore landscapes under international goals or agreements. It provides an opportunity for national and sub-national governments to simplify and streamline reporting on their restoration commitments and can help track and record progress towards global goals. These include the Bonn Challenge, the 30x30 target under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the Paris Agreement and the Land Degradation Neutrality Target.
The Barometer tracks restoration progress across all terrestrial ecosystems including coastal and inland waters where use or management rights can be identified (i.e., not high seas). Ecosystem restoration interventions are classified according to the IUCN Restoration Intervention Typology for Terrestrial Ecosystems (RITTE). This builds on the IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology 2.0 and categorization of ecosystems by the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and includes human dominated landscapes like urban and mixed-use areas, which can provide untapped potential for restoration. Continuing the development of RITTE, IUCN is now finalizing typologies for seagrasses, kelp forests and shallow reefs. This will allow countries to report on ridge-to-reef ecosystem restoration and allow for more robust planning that accounts for the interconnectedness of ecosystem types, reinforcing the utility of the Restoration Barometer as the go-to tool for monitoring restoration.
Applying the Barometer allows pledgers to report on actions taken, and to identify obstacles to achieving their pledges. It is structured as a systematic yet flexible protocol, with eight indicators that build a comprehensive picture of a country’s restoration progress. The “Impact” indicators provide an overview of the tangible restoration outputs. It records the size of the area being brought under restoration as well as the corresponding climate, biodiversity, and socio-economic benefits, where as the “Action” indicators are the underlying factors that enabled a successful restoration intervention.
It covers the enabling policies and funding structures while highlighting what actions are working and why, the monitoring systems in place, and provides a foundation for scaling up and increasing investments in restoration. Based on the core principles of flexibility and inclusivity, it can still be used even if there is not adequate data for all indicators.
Tajikistan, Ghana or Mexico - Barometer in action
More than 50 countries have endorsed the Barometer and, so far, in 2022, 22 countries have applied it to report the progress of their restoration targets. Private sector organizations and associations are also currently able to use the Barometer to report progress on their restoration pledges.
Already, there are encouraging signs as some countries have already exceeded their targets. Tajikistan pledged 66,000 hectares under the Bonn Challenge but already has 90,000 hectares under restoration. 1000 hectares of this area will directly contribute to the protection of threatened species, through the creation of ecological corridors, improving the condition of existing habitats, reducing additional pressure on wild species.
In Ghana, over 600,000 hectares of land is currently under restoration with a focus on areas that are highly degraded, have high levels of poverty and are the most vulnerable to climate change. Ghana is relying on agroforestry, natural regeneration, mangrove restoration and watershed protection to meet its pledge of 2 million hectares by 2030. This has already benefitted the country as they build a greener economy, especially on the backdrop of COVID-19, as these restoration efforts have been able to provide jobs to local communities whilst also sequestering over 30 million tonnes of CO2.
In Mexico, restoration projects have created major biodiversity benefits, through enhancing habitat corridors across landscapes, improved soil health and protected Key Biodiversity areas. Currently, 5.2 million hectares are under restoration and the pledge of 8.4 million hectares does not seem far-fetched for Mexico, which has already created 1.8 million green jobs.
What sets the Barometer apart is its Impact indicators. Using this Barometer, countries like Tajikistan, Ghana, and Mexico have been able to track the enabling policies and institutional arrangements, the money actually spent on restoration, the restoration planning approaches used to define interventions, and the monitoring systems in place to ensure that their restoration efforts are effective. This information helps us understand what makes restoration successful, so we can scale it up.
Out now – Restoration Barometer Report 2022
IUCN has just published the 2022 Flagship report, which details the progress of countries and identifies the best practices for restoration. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) supports ecosystem restoration, including credible and comprehensive monitoring through the Restoration Barometer under the International Climate Initiative (IKI). This also means better preparation and support for the respective countries when it comes to setting targets according to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, implementing measures and tracking their progress.
These are just a few examples of the Barometer's capability to empower countries and private sector organizations to track a broad spectrum of restoration benefits. During the period 2022-2023, more than 20 companies and private organizations will use the Barometer to report their pledges. We are witnessing a significant shift in the future of the Barometer, but this is only to be expected. As the global movement towards ecosystem restoration continues to gain momentum and more companies seek a reliable and trusted method for measuring progress, the Restoration Barometer is well placed to support member states and private sector organizations to measure their progress and impact upon the agreed pledges.
The importance of landscapes and seascapes, and continued threats to them from multiple natural and anthropogenic drivers, has been met with high profile policy responses. In 2011, leaders pledged support for the Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million ha of forests by 2020, which was expanded to 350 million ha by 2030 in 2014 by the New York Declaration on Forests. The Bonn Challenge (BC) has spawned regional offshoots in Africa (AFR100), Latin America and the Caribbean (Initiative 20x20), and Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (ECCA30). Currently, more than 70 pledgers from more than 60 countries are working to bring more than 200 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands into restoration.
At the Climate COP26, countries re-emphasized the value of landscape restoration for their climate mitigation potential. The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use commits to halting and reversing global forest loss by 2030. More than 140 nations currently endorse the declaration of which more than 60 have already made pledges to the Bonn Challenge. Similarly, the 2022 UN Ocean conference concluded with a ground-breaking Political Declaration designed to protect the ocean from pollution, harmful fishing practices, loss of biodiversity, and acidification.
The second part of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15) is currently taking place in Montreal, Canada. There, 196 states are negotiating which targets the global community must achieve by 2030 and, in the long term, by 2050, in order to start a trend reversal towards the restoration of nature. The great challenge is, on the one hand, to adopt ambitious and measurable goals for the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity and, on the other hand, to firmly anchor their implementation, including appropriate financing.
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If you work for an NGO and would like to learn more about the tool, please email the IUCN team:
Website on the Restoration Barometer
Website UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration