Is forest restoration an investible opportunity?

Is forest restoration an investible opportunity?

Forest and landscape restoration (FLR) benefit private, public and global communities. FLR can contribute to climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation, as well as water and food security. However, high investment costs and low rates of return are misconceptions holding back investments in this sector.

How will decision makers weigh the pros and cons of investing in FLR? Why would investors and stakeholders risk investing in FLR projects? These were questions asked and answered at the 6th Mediterranean Forest Week in Brummana, Lebanon.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the benefit to cost ratio of FLR is 37.3, so why aren’t we investing in FLR?

Mr. Daowei Zhang, Senior Forestry Officer at FAO, said, “If we look at the available data set and we examine past efforts, we can clearly see that less than 5% of the studies in the literature provided both cost and benefit data” says Zhang. “Moreover, less than 50% provided enough cost information to allow for a coarse modeling of an estimated cost per hectare for different biomes”, says Zhang.

The lack of information on the costs and benefits of forest and landscape restoration (FLR) projects hinder global, public and private investments on restoration activities, jeopardizing the chances of meeting the Bonn challenges goals. From here emerges the need for a reliable and comprehensive database/tool on costs and benefits of FLR.

To address this gap, Mr. Daowei introduced The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) Project which aims to identify the economic benefits of FLR. Not only will the project build a reliable database for decision makers, stakeholders and investors, but the project will also serve as a base for more complex economic analyses.

So, the first step in scaling up restoration, is implementing TEER to get the right numbers.

Blogpost by Zeinab Chamas