Ecological connectivity: An essential component of ecosystem restoration
16 May 2022
Monday 16 May | 18:00 GMT | room MET-11 | Sofitel Abidjan Côte d'Ivoire
The United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 sets the goal to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems and enshrines restoration as a fundamental pathway for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing the interconnected environmental crises facing the world today: accelerating biodiversity loss, increasing global warming and advancing land degradation.
The upcoming working paper “Ecological connectivity: An essential component of ecosystem restoration,” produced by UNCCD in collaboration the Center for Large Landscape Conservation and the Convention on Migratory Species, provides the scientific evidence and approaches for implementing pathways for land restoration. It articulates the interrelation between connectivity and restoration through two key messages:
Connect to restore: The inclusion of ecological connectivity requirements in integrated land-use planning maximizes the beneﬁts of restoration for the entire landscape.
Increasing land-use changes drive the transformation of the landscape’s shape and function, creating disconnected patches that have lost the functionality to support wider ecological processes, and restoring connectivity is a vital ingredient of the restoration process.
Restore to connect: Restoring ecological connectivity means restoring the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth.
Ecological networks are some of the tools that strengthen the connectivity of ecosystems and landscapes. Mapping and removing barriers between them is an important restoration opportunity that can add value to other sustainable management efforts.
An example illustrating the “Restore to connect” message is linked to the Great Green Wall of Africa initiative. By creating a mosaic of green restored areas and productive landscapes in sub-Sahara, ecological connectivity will be increased at local and regional scales, improving the performance and ecological functioning of restored areas. At a continental scale, the Great Green Wall is envisioned to be an expanse of revitalized lands that overcomes the lack of ecological connectivity between West and East Africa by fostering natural processes and ecosystem functioning at the landscape and soil levels. At the intercontinental scale, the Great Green Wall has the potential to ensure that processes that occur on a broader scale, such as bird migrations along the African-Eurasian flyway, will not be disrupted.
The findings of the working paper will be presented at an event organized on the margins of UNCCD COP15 by the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, WWF International, the Center for Large Landscape Conservation, and the Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group under the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.