There is more than one way to restore 

The options for how to restore degraded land are vast. There is no one "right way" to restore land. The best, most socially appropriate and economically feasible restoration interventions should be determined at the landscape level, based on the circumstances of the land and the needs of surrounding communities. The GPFLR has produced a framework of general categories of restoration intervention that may be helpful to consider when thinking about restoration in your own landscape. These are based on three categories of degraded land: (1) forest land; (2) protective land and natural buffers, such as slopes, rivers, wetlands or coastal areas; and (3) agricultural land. Explore these categories below to see what form restoration can take in different land uses.

Forested land: Where trees dominate


There are many restoration interventions that can enhance existing forests and woodlands that are of diminished quality and stocking. Traditional forestry and silvicultural treatments that fall into this category of restoration option include liberation thinning, enrichment planting, reducing fire and grazing, removing invasive species, and many more.

Natural Regeneration

Natural regeneration of formerly forested land offers a highly cost-efficient and effective option for returning degraded land into a forested state, though it is slower than planting. Often natural regeneration sites are highly degraded and no longer able to fulfil their past functions, particularly if they were productive agriculture land. If the site is heavily degraded and no longer has seed sources, some planting will probably be required.

Protective land and natural buffers: Nature's defense

Watershed Protection and Erosion Control

Watershed protection and erosion control is a primary benefit of establishing trees and enhancing forests on very steep sloping land, along water courses, in areas that naturally flood, and around critical water bodies, like drinking water reservoirs. Trees and forests in these locations can hold soil fast, slow the run of water and filter pollutants, and absorb the wind energy and water surge from storms.

Mangrove Restoration

Establishment or enhancement of mangroves along coastal areas and in estuaries can bring tremendous benefits to coastal communities, which depend on this wet forests for protecting juvenile fish, offering ecotourism opportunities, and protecting against catastrophic storm surges.

Agricultural land: Food and life


Establishment and management of trees on active agricultural land (under shifting agriculture), either through planting or regeneration, can improve crop productivity, provide dry season fodder for livestock, significantly increase soil fertility, and, in arid environments, enhance water retention and lower the costs or need for irrigation.

Improved Fallow

Establishment and management of trees on fallow agricultural land to improve productivity is an old idea made new. Restoration interventions in this category, such as fire control and incorporating trees into extending fallow periods, can produce many benefits, like soil enrichment and erosion control, while the land recharges, with the evnetual intention to revert back to active agricultural use.