THE BIG PICTURE
• Restoration and other natural solutions can deliver one third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep global warming below 2C while also helping societies and economies adapt to climate change.
• Restoring 15% of converted lands in the right places could prevent 60% of projected species extinctions.
• Ecosystem restoration contributes to the achievement of all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals by their 2030 target date, including the elimination of poverty and hunger.
THE VALUE OF ECOSYSTEMS
• Half of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature and every dollar invested in restoration creates up to 30 dollars in economic benefits.
• Forests provide drinking water to one-third of the world’s largest cities; they also support 80%, 75% and 68% of all amphibian, bird, and mammal species, respectively.
• At least 2 billion people depend on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods, particularly poor and rural populations.
• Peatlands store nearly 30% of global soil carbon.
• Street trees provide a reduction of around 0.5 to 2.0° C in summer maximum air temperatures, benefiting at least 68 million people.
• Ecosystem degradation is already affecting the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people – 40% of the world’s population.
• Every year, the world loses 10 million hectares of forests – an area the size of the Republic of Korea, or twice the size of Costa Rica.
• Soil erosion and other forms of degradation are costing the world more than $6 trillion a year in lost food production and other ecosystem services.
• Approximately 30% of natural freshwater ecosystems have disappeared since 1970.
• One third of global fish stocks are overexploited, up from 10% in 1974.
IMPACTS OF DEGRADATION ON HUMAN WELL-BEING
• Around $10 trillion in global GDP could be lost by 2050 if ecosystem services continue to decline.
• Land degradation could reduce global food productivity by 12%, causing food prices to soar by up to 30% by 2040.
• Up to 700 million people are predicted to migrate because of land degradation and climate change by 2050.
• The decline in soil fertility in maize fields costs US farmers an estimated half a billion dollars per year in extra fertilizer.
• Ecosystem degradation can increase contact between humans and wildlife and has been linked to outbreaks of diseases.
RESTORATION OPPORTUNITIES AND BENEFITS
• Opportunities for restoration can be found on 2 billion hectares of deforested and degraded forest land worldwide – an area larger than South America.
• Meeting the Bonn Challenge goal of restoring 350 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands around the world could create up to $9 trillion in net benefits.
• Restoration through agro forestry alone has the potential to increase food security for 1.3 billion people.
• Restoring coral reefs in Mesoamerica and Indonesia could deliver an additional $2.5–2.6 billion in ecosystem service benefits per year.
• Restoration of forests and other watershed ecosystems could save water utilities in the world’s largest cities $890 million each year in water treatment costs.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021