This blog is part of a series using data from World Development Indicators to explore progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets. The new Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017, published in April 2017, and the SDG Dashboard provide in-depth analyses of all 17 goals.
As global demand for food rises, the halting of landscape degradation and the restoration of these areas is paramount. Sustainable Development Goal 15 recognizes that efforts to restore degraded areas also benefit livelihoods and biodiversity by reducing erosion, supplying clean water, and providing wildlife habitat and other forest products (targets 15.1 and 15.3). Forests and trees also help mitigate climate change, enhance soil fertility, conserve soil moisture, and boost food production (target 15.3). A restored landscape may accommodate a range of land uses such as agriculture, protected reserves, ecological corridors, regenerated forests, well-managed plantations, agroforestry systems, and riparian plantings to protect waterways.
Landscape degradation directly affects 1.5 billion people, many of which live in extreme poverty.Around half of all land used globally for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.
Worldwide, nearly 25 million square kilometers offer opportunities for restoration, many in tropical and temperate areas. Nearly 18 million square kilometers would ideally combine forests and trees with other land uses through "mosaic restoration," including smallholder agriculture, agroforestry, and community forestry. A further 5 million square kilometers would be suitable for wide-scale restoration of closed forests. Africa provides the largest restoration opportunity, followed by Latin America (figure 15h).
The African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100)/TerrAfrica is a country-led effort to accelerate the restoration of 100 million hectares of land across the continent by 2030, in order to enhance food security, increase climate change resilience and mitigation, and combat rural poverty.