Story | 27 Aug, 2020

Clear roadmaps for land restoration in 25 countries

NOW AVAILABLE: A new series of briefs revealing the real potential for forest landscape restoration as the first purpose-built nature-based solution!  These reports provide an easy-reference roadmap for restoration action in 25 countries.

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Photo: IUCN / Craig Beatty

Each country’s restoration potential was assessed using the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM), and is now available to you in a concise format packed with relevant findings and resources.

Find all 25 ROAM country briefs here:

This new series of country-specific briefs captures key learning from the restoration assessment reports and associated strategies. They are meant to inform practitioners, researchers and policy makers on the types of information that ROAM reports provide and the ways in which this information could contribute to the implementation of forest landscape restoration (FLR). Examples include measures for locally suitable FLR practices, gender-responsive and stakeholder driven approaches, costs and benefits of proposed FLR interventions, finance and investment options, carbon sequestration potential of FLR, and major policy and institutional readiness for each country.

The assessment results can guide decision-makers on how the implementation of FLR will contribute to achieving global initiatives, such as the Bonn Challenge, Land Degradation Neutrality targets, Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2020 biodiversity framework. By demonstrating the potential socio-economic, climate and environmental benefits of FLR, they could help to leverage blended funding to close existing gaps in restoration finance, help to align sectoral policies and investments, and achieve broader uptake by stakeholders.

Key facts on the ROAM country briefs:

The 25 finalised assessment reports summarised in ROAM country briefs together represent 99.67 million hectares pledged to the Bonn Challenge

  • 16 of the countries profiled in these briefs have also embarked on measuring their progress towards their Bonn Challenge commitments using the Restoration Barometer.
  • These assessments cover over half a billion hectares, and equip decision makers and more than 900 stakeholders with critical restoration knowledge on where and how to implement FLR to achieve national priorities and targets.
  • Approximately 103 million hectares were identified as priority restoration areas for climate, biodiversity and socio-economic benefits at national and subnational levels.
  • Agroforestry/silvopastoral systems, planted forests and woodlots, natural regeneration and river/stream bank restoration are the priority FLR interventions identified across the assessments.
  • 8 countries have developed national strategies, building directly on the outcomes of the assessment processes, to accelerate restoration implementation and achieve broader uptake by stakeholders.

The Bonn Challenge presented a need for restoration assessments

The Bonn Challenge – the world’s largest voluntary restoration initiative – aims to bring 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. Its main architects, IUCN and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU), with the support of a group of world leaders, launched the initiative at a ministerial roundtable in Bonn, Germany in September 2011. At the core of the Bonn Challenge is the FLR approach, which aims to help regain ecological functionality and enhance human well-being across deforested or degraded forest landscapes.

A restoration opportunities assessment journey

In response to the Bonn Challenge, in 2011, with the support of BMU, IUCN piloted work in Ghana and Mexico to develop a practical approach to assess restoration opportunities and their associated benefits, including for climate.

This led to the ROAM handbook, developed by IUCN in cooperation with WRI, with support from BMU and the Norwegian and UK Governments, and co-launched with the World Bank in 2014. Since then, there has been a steady and ever increasing demand for ROAM.

“What we are seeing today is an increasing number of countries who are shifting from political commitments to on-the-ground planning and scaling-up through such means as ROAM assessments, and are monitoring global restoration progress using the Restoration Barometer tracking framework.” ­ – IUCN Forest Conservation Programme

During a ROAM process, decision-makers rely on the results from the multi-criteria spatial analyses to prioritise areas for FLR for diversified livelihood opportunities, carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, enhanced resilience, etc.

IUCN supported 25 countries in assessing their restoration potential between 2014-2018. The results emerging from these national and sub-national FLR assessments are now summarised in the ROAM country briefs. They contain links to the full ROAM reports and associated knowledge products, which now are available to the public.

In addition to these 25 country briefs, IUCN and its members have already completed or are currently undertaking assessments in another 25 countries, with a further 10 in the pipeline.

Along the way IUCN has also developed complementary capacity development programmes, tools and methodologies in support of landscape-level decision-making. These include, for example, the Gender-responsive restoration guidelines; Biodiversity guidelines for forest landscape restoration opportunities assessments; A Cost-Benefit Framework for Analyzing Forest Landscape Restoration Decisions; Restoration Opportunities Optimization Tool (ROOT), to name a few.

Impacts of ROAM processes on FLR and policy

Building on local knowledge and continuous learning and uptake, and linked from the outset to key political and planning processes in the countries, the ROAM reports in many countries have informed national policy and FLR strategy development, which provides the framework to achieve countries’ national restoration commitments under the Bonn Challenge (e.g. Malawi). They also support these efforts for the Rio Conventions on Biological Diversity, Climate Change and Combating Desertification, and the Sustainable Development Goals. ROAM is already being used to mobilise investments for implementation of Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility’s projects (e.g. Guatemala) and design of the World Bank’s country investments (e.g. Burundi).

The success of ROAM as the foremost landscape restoration methodology continues to grow and open doors to new opportunities. Explore these briefs and see where they may lead you.


– Blog by Salome Begeladze, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Forest Conservation Programme