By Celia Kenyangye |07 September 2022|5 Min Read
The recent and past centuries have witnessed a lot of environmental changes from the industrial revolution till today. There has been unprecedented loss of biodiversity (1) as a result of natural (floods, wildfires) and human (uncontrolled deforestation, over grazing) processes. Daily, 80,000 acres of tropical forest (2) are lost because of unrelenting population growth causing deforestation. If the rate of exploitation is greater than that of regeneration, ecosystems are at risk of destruction, yet humans need their services to thrive. This calls for action to restore the degraded ecosystems.
Ecosystem restoration supports recovery of disturbed or degraded ecosystems such as forests (3). Forest ecosystems are restored directly through planting of trees and indirectly by removing inherent pressures that undermine ecosystem functions so that nature can recover on its own.
Action to restore an ecosystem can be done at both local and global scales through different initiatives such as tree planting, for example the Bonn challenge target of restoring 46% of the worlds degraded forests. These initiatives have the potential to improve air quality, reverse forest clearance, slow biodiversity loss and improve human livelihoods for the present and future generations.
Notably, it is not always possible or desirable to return an ecosystem to its original condition. For instance, the growing population (4) still needs farmland and infrastructure on land that was once a forest ecosystem. However, this means that we ought to strike an equilibrium between conservation of nature and human activities.
In conclusion, restoration of ecosystems is important in sustaining life on earth and protecting them makes the achievement of associated sustainable development goals (SDGs) (5) possible such as, zero hunger (SDG2), clean water and sanitation (SDG6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), climate action (SDG 13), life below water (SDG 14) and Life on land (SDG15).