Bring back lost and degraded forests, says IUCN

Preliminary analysis shows that an estimated 1.5 billion hectares of the world’s lost and degraded forests, an area almost the size of Russia, could be restored. This is the result of the latest global research, which now needs to be expanded at a national level to identify specific on the ground opportunities, says IUCN.


Deforestation and land degradation in Tsorona, Eritrea

“Until recently scant attention has been paid to the world’s degraded forests,” says Stewart Maginnis, Director of Environment and Development at IUCN. “Now is the time to recognise the potential of restored forests to deliver the double benefit of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and helping lift people out of poverty. However, there’s no 'one size fits all' solution - each forest landscape is unique and needs its own individual restoration strategy.”

The analysis reveals that Africa and Asia hold the greatest promise, each with about 500 million hectares of forest landscapes offering opportunities for forest restoration, according to IUCN.

The new analysis from the World Resources Institute, South Dakota University and IUCN, carried out for the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration (GPFLR) comes a month ahead of the launch of the UN’s International Year of Forests.

“Restoring the world’s lost and degraded forests is possible,” says Carole Saint Laurent, IUCN’s Senior Forest Policy Advisor. “Countries as diverse as China, Ghana, Mexico, India, the United Kingdom, the United States and many others have already embarked on ambitious forest restoration programmes.”

The full report is available at:

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

  • Borjana Pervan, IUCN Media Relations Officer, t +41 798574072, e
  • On site: Brian Thomson, IUCN Media Relations Manager, t+41 797218326, e
  • Daniel Shaw, IUCN Forest Communications Officer, t+41 22999168, e

About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

Work area: 
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