The second phase of Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) project was launched on April 1, 2019 with the aim to strengthen evidence supporting effective community-driven forest landscape restoration and its linkages with formal and customary rights.

FLR is a global effort to restore degraded forests to stabilise the Earth’s climate and to support global and national climate commitments. It presents great opportunities and risks for sustainable, rights-based restoration. In this project, we focus on one of the biggest risks, which is that forest and land rights have not yet been adequately addressed or incorporated in FLR’s principles and implementation, while much of the forest areas and land sought to be restored under the various FLR initiatives are claimed and customarily owned by Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local communities (LCs). At the same time, some of the most remarkable examples of forest conservation and forest landscape restoration are linked to initiatives by indigenous people and local communities with close correlation with customary or formal tenure rights.

This project seeks to analyse existing global datasets (International Forestry Resources and Institutions, Sentinel Landscapes and others) to quantify the restoration benefits of community ownership or tenure. By doing this, we work to ensure that the ongoing narrative and initiatives of FLR is aligned with the project’s mission of supporting Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities for the recognition of rights over their forest. It presents a unique opportunity to highlight the contributions of IPs and LCs’ sustainable land use, forest restoration that addresses local needs and yet delivers on the SDGs and climate goals.

The study will be part of a larger research programme to expand existing knowledge on restoration, land and forest rights and climate change in to understand the role that communities play in FLR and the large climate change discourse.

Following are the objectives of the project:

  • Assess the risks posed by existing or proposed FLR initiatives which don’t effectively address the rights of IPs and local communities.
  • Combine the evidence to make a strong case of incorporating forest and land rights as a core strategy of FLR and highlight best practices.
  •  Better inform policy makers and climate finance community on the importance of tenure security for the sequestration of carbon and achieving sustainable development goals through FLR.
  • Categorize countries/ regions based on demographic, political and socio-economic attributes and provide a guidance mechanism to determine priorities for FLR investments to maximize social and ecological benefits.