Land Restoration for Peace and Profit
Land degradation is at the nexus of a vicious spiral which links low land productivity and biodiversity loss with poverty, hunger, instability and insecurity. Land degradation, for instance, releases carbon, worsening global climate change; it reduces crop yield, creating food insecurity; and it erodes livelihoods, driving migration. Under these conditions, instability can take hold, order can break down, and non-state armed groups can become established, leading in turn to impacts such as increases in wildlife poaching, deforestation and violence.
Land restoration and trust-building initiatives offer practical solutions. For example, carbon sequestration in soils and biomass can provide multiple ecosystem services like mitigate the impacts of climate change and boost agricultural productivity. Yet despite these multiple benefits, such initiatives are largely ignored by capital markets and often fail to attract significant investments. An ICRAF side event entitled “Land Restoration for Peace and Profit”, held as part of IUCN’s Landscape Restoration Day at the recent UNCCD COP13 in Ordos, China explored the relationships between land degradation, restoration, conflict and peace.