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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling

Realizing landscape restoration: Enabling transformative change of land-use

Alternative title: Storskala naturrestaurering i praksis: Hvordan oppnå gjennomgripende endringer i arealbruk og forvaltning av landskap?

Awarded: NOK 11.4 mill.

Habitat destruction and land-use put areas and species under heavy pressure, with serious impact on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, food production, climate, distribution of resources, migration and human health. A core message from IPBES is the need to reverse land degradation, and a call for a transformative change in the use of land. Both IPBES and IPCC point at massive upscaling of ecosystem restoration (the 15% target) to combat land-degradation and climate change, in order to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services, to reduce carbon emissions and ensure human well-being. The UN member states have declared the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030) to realize the benefits of restoration towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Large-scale restoration however also presents an array of challenges. There is a need for empirical on-site research to establish how transformative governance can influence future landscape management, how to accomplish upscaling from single, small-scale restoration projects to large-scale landscape management, and understanding of the societal context in which ecological restoration takes place. RESCAPE will establish a conceptual framework for how large scale restoration can be realized by enabling transformative change of land-use. RESCAPE will collect data from realized restoration projects to identify drivers and barriers for future restoration and assess prospective opportunities in real landscapes together with stakeholders. Data from RESCAPE will be used to understand the societal context of restoration and how to integrate ecological and socio-political-economic aspects in restoration projects and further upscaling to landscape restoration. A core contribution from RESCAPE will be the development of on-the-ground-tools for restoration, including spatial models for prioritization (where to restore), best-practise cookbook on methods and decision making (how and what to restore).

A core message from IPBES is the need to reverse the trend of landscape degradation and loss of biodiversity worldwide. IPBES calls for a transformative change in the use of land and specifically points at ecosystem restoration as an inevitable tool to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Large scale restoration however also presents an array of challenges, such as 'where', 'how' and 'what' to restore, to achieve the targets while avoiding any unintended output. RESCAPE will provide knowledge and tools to realize landscape restoration, by enabling transformative change of land-use. The project will deliver research and real-world testing of transformative governance and establish a conceptual framework for how restoration can be a part of transformative change of land-use. RESCAPE will collect data from realized, restoration projects to identify drivers and barriers for future restoration, and assess prospective opportunities in real landscapes by using interactive and participatory dialogue processes. Data from RESCAPE will be used to understand the societal context of restoration and how to integrate ecological and socio-political-economic aspects to restoration projects. We will demonstrate how knowledge from small scale restoration can be transferred into large-scale landscape management. A core contribution from RESCAPE will be the development of on-the-ground-tools for restoration, including spatial models for prioritization (where to restore), best-practise cookbook on methods and decision making (how and what to restore) for planners and managers. The RESCAPE team of researchers and user partners will collaboratively integrate theoretical knowledge and on-the-ground empirical case studies. The obtained knowledge base and practical experiences, will be encapsulated into a social-ecological systems framework to develop spatially-explicit decision-support tools for planning and implementation of future on-the-ground ecosystem restoration.

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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling