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Landscape restoration aims to restore the ecological characteristics of a landscape using naturally regenerative techniques. This might involve approaches such as rewilding, in which land is left undisturbed, allowing natural processes to occur. It may also involve assisted regeneration, which uses techniques such as ecologically appropriate reforestation, farmer managed natural regeneration, rainwater harvesting and aquifer recharge, agroforestry, holistic rangeland management, permaculture, and regenerative farming. Landscape restoration supports biodiversity, helps carbon sequestration, reduces GHG emissions and pollution, increases soil water and organic content, makes ecosystems more resilient, and supports the development of sustainable livelihoods.
Protecting and conserving habitats
While it is important to restore degraded ecosystems, it is also vital to protect existing high-biodiversity ecosystems—and the wildlife populations that inhabit them—which are under threat from exploitation, habitat destruction, and land-use conversion. These include places like national parks and other protected areas, as well as community conservancies. Many such places lack proper infrastructure, equipment, and staff like rangers to ensure they are managed effectively and wildlife and habitats protected. Governments around the world recently agreed to ensure 30% of land and ocean are covered by protected and conserved areas by 2030. Ensuring these are areas important for biodiversity and carbon storage offers a critical route to boosting nature’s contribution to mitigating climate change.
Climate-related disasters, food and income insecurity, and a lack of options drive people to engage in activities like poaching, overfishing, and deforestation. Efforts to protect and restore landscapes and biodiversity should help local communities become more resilient to the challenges they face. This begins with ensuring that conservation programmes actively involve local communities. Leaders and representatives of key interest groups such as women, youth, and Indigenous People are included in decision making on IFAW projects and enabled to participate as full partners. IFAW aims to help communities understand and actively plan for climate change, which involves teaching them how to access, analyse, and use climate change information to make local adaptation plans.
Promoting climate-smart conservation
Through climate-smart conservation, we acknowledge that climate change is already affecting animals and their habitats and that these impacts will only increase over time. Climate-smart conservation begins with helping conservation agencies understand the threats climate change poses and develop plans that can manage climate change in the short, medium, and long term.
Importance of Locally Led Adaptation
Locally Led Adaption (LLA) involves ensuring local ownership and accountability by working with communities to develop climate-resilient conservation and landscape management plans that are adapted to their needs. We work to link these plans to local government authorities so communities can access the resources they need to implement their adaptation plans. We also lobby international finance providers and work with national governments to bring these plans to fruition, and we ensure they receive training and technical support. Ultimately, we want to ensure communities and local authorities gain the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to enact their own conservation and community development plans.
Making food systems climate-resilient
Climate-smart farming and agriculture aims to help communities adapt their food systems to the changing climate. Many biodiverse landscapes have been severely degraded by agricultural practices. Developing climate-smart, nature-friendly agriculture projects can help protect wildlife and secure livelihoods. Regenerative agriculture techniques can not only make food systems themselves climate-resilient but can also help restore these degraded landscapes. It can increase household food security and provide climate-friendly livelihood opportunities.
Focus on loss and damage
Vulnerable communities living near and around wildlife often experience the most loss and damage due to climate change and its impacts, including severe weather, droughts, and floods. Responding to such disasters and helping communities, animals, and ecosystems recover will become more urgent as global warming drives more extreme weather events. Equally, nature-based solutions help drive climate-resilient economic development by providing sustainable livelihood opportunities in these areas that have been most affected.
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