How feasible are global forest restoration commitments?
Speaker: Dr. Matt Fagan (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Numerous countries have made voluntary commitments to conduct forest landscape restoration over millions of hectares of degraded land in the coming decade. We consider the relative likelihood these countries will achieve their restoration commitments. After controlling for existing forest and plantation area, we found that, across countries, the area committed to restoration was inversely related to development status, with less developed countries pledging more area. These massive restoration commitments will be challenging to meet without the wholesale transformation of food production systems. Furthermore, high rates of land cover change may reverse gains: a quarter of countries experienced recent deforestation and agricultural expansion that exceeded their restoration commitment area. The limited progress reported by countries, and the sheer scale of commitments, raises serious questions about long-term success, especially absent necessary monitoring and management plans.
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