UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – What can bioenergy contribute?

“Preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.”

This is the objective of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which begins in 2021. Under various international pledges – such as Land Degradation Neutrality targets, Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement and National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, and the Bonn Challenge – countries have committed to restore around 750 million to 1 billion hectares of land.

Half of the area pledged is in sub-Saharan Africa, where traditional biomass use in the form of firewood or charcoal is a driver of deforestation and forest land degradation. The provision of affordable modern fuels, including modern bioenergy, is therefore a core component for ecosystem restoration.

However, we know that the provision of modern bioenergy services is not enough; it must go hand in hand with effective policies that not only incentivize modern energy but also restrict unsustainable land use. Availability of data to inform policy decisions is an important ingredient, as well as understanding the most effective governance options.

In 2021, the Activity Group 4 will be investigating the different aspects of biomass for landscape restoration under the workstream “Woody biomass for Forest Landscape Restoration and sustainable livelihoods”. The series of webinars to be held throughout 2021 will focus on important lessons learnt from case studies around the world in order to shed light on the various elements of landscape restoration, including the threat presented by ongoing climate change.