Forest landscape restoration (Green Development Fund/REDD+ Landscape)
Title: Forest landscape restoration in Central America and the Dominican Republic and implementation of the Green Development Fund/REDD+ Landscape
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Lead executing agency: SG-SICA; Secretariat General of the Central American Integration System
Overall term: 2017 to 2022
Central America constitutes just 0.5 per cent of the Earth’s surface. Yet this relatively small area is home to around eight per cent of species worldwide. Moreover, among the world’s tropical regions, it is the most severely affected by the consequences of climate change. Deforestation, soil degradation as a result of non-adapted agricultural use and monocultures additionally increase susceptibility to the consequences of climate change.
At the same time, the population is growing. This, combined with a high level of poverty and weak political structures, greatly endangers the remaining forests. Forest areas are increasingly fragmented. They are no longer able to perform their important functions for the water balance, soil conservation and biodiversity. Many governments are therefore striving to restore forest landscapes and are participating in the international Bonn Challenge initiative. Their aim here is to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 and 350 million hectares of forest by 2030. By means of forest landscape restoration (FLR), they aspire to ensure important environmental services while strengthening the resilience of ecosystems and the population that depends on them. Achieving these goals will play a key part in the region’s future ability to adapt to the consequences of climate change.
Central America has taken on a pioneering role for the Bonn Challenge. Eight million hectares of forest are to be restored in the region. National strategies and mechanisms for implementation and financing have emerged in all eight member states of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo, CCAD). However, there is a lack of precise political and technical specifications, (management) skills and experience to implement measures on a large scale.
In selected landscapes in Central America and the Dominican Republic, the quantity of fixed carbon has been increased, the regulation of the water balance has been improved and the ability to adapt to the consequences of climate change has been reinforced.
The project supports at least six countries in establishing, enhancing and utilising implementation and financing mechanisms for the restoration of forest landscapes. For this purpose, national strategies, instruments and regulations are introduced, anchored in legislation and implemented. Indigenous groups using the land, the representative bodies of such groups and also women are systematically involved. This sensitises them towards the significance and implementation possibilities of measures to restore and conserve the forest.
In addition, training courses are provided for the specialist personnel. Knowledge and experience is to be disseminated in the region using a platform at CCAD, SICA's (Central American Integration System) sub-organisation for the environment and development. The European Union's Green Development Fund integrated into the programme provides project funds for the national financing mechanisms. This enables municipalities and local land users to implement pilot projects based on land usage and management plans. To supplement this, the project raises funds from additional public and private investments.
To establish lasting dialogue, there are plans to develop a regional knowledge platform and set up a network for forest landscape restoration. Workshops, working groups and dialogues are then to take place in the network. The project is also supporting the development of a seed centre in El Salvador to improve the availability of high-quality seed.
Moreover, the project is helping CCAD to spread the Bonn Challenge initiative in the neighbouring Caribbean region too.