Korea to support global forest restoration


Restored forests around the city of Pohang in North Gyeongsang Province, Republic of Korea. Photo: Korea Forest Service.

Korea, with its impressive track record in restoring degraded ecosystems, has announced it will help other countries achieve their global biodiversity targets.

The Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative was launched on 14 October 2014 by the Korea Forest Service during the 12th Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

The initiative will help to transfer Korea’s knowledge in forest restoration to other Parties so that they can work towards achieving globally-agreed Aichi Biodiversity Targets 5, 11, 14 and 15. The Government of Korea plans to initially contribute USD 6 million to the initiative to maximize restoration efforts through providing knowledge-sharing as well as implementation and technical support.

Korea, which was almost denuded of forests by the 1950s now boasts 64 per cent forest cover.

“I commend the Republic of Korea for its impressive large-scale forest ecosystem restoration success, which incorporated a social campaign to mobilize communities in the effort,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Speaking at the launch, Phil Dobie, Senior Fellow with the World Agroforestry Centre acknowledged the Republic of Korea’s leadership in the field of forest restoration. The Centre is among several organizations that have pledged their support for the initiative.

“Replicating Korea’s success in other countries today will be challenging,” said Dobie. “More than 50 per cent of the earth’s potentially productive surface has been transformed for grazing, agriculture and urban development.”

Forests across the globe have been degraded and fragmented into areas of forests mixed with agriculture. A major challenge is to restore landscapes that are mosaics of forest and productive land.

“It will be important to retain people’s potential to make a living off the land while restoring forests and the important ecologies that go with them,” added Dobie. “Agroforestry provides a means of achieving this while increasing biodiversity on farmed land.”

The Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative is essentially a collaborative partnership which shares experience in forest ecosystem restoration across the globe. During its launch – co-hosted by the CBD Secretariat – the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations indicated their interest to pair with the Korea Forest Service in implementation.

The initiative is expected to run over a 6-year period and assist Parties to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Targets through: assessing the potential costs and benefits of restoration; identifying and assessing areas with ecosystem and forest degradation; identifying areas with high potential for forest and ecosystem restoration; implementing appropriate restoration activities; and managing the complex dynamics inherent in forest and ecosystem restoration.

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets were agreed to during the 2010 Conference of Parties to the CBDin the Japanese city of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture. They include targets for 2011 to 2020 such ashalving the rate of habitat loss, expanding water and land areas under conservation and restoring at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems.

At the CBD COP11 in Hyderabad in 2012, a call was made for coordinated long-term efforts to mobilize resources and facilitate ecosystem restoration activities for the benefit of all. This followed on from the Bonn Challenge, a global aspiration to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020. Korea’s new initiative is a direct response to this call and highlights the importance of forest conservation and restoration in the context of sustainable development.


Read the media release: Korea launches forest initiative to help countries achieve global biodiversity goals

Find out more about the World Agroforestry Centre’s participation at CBD COP12

Related stories

Why agroforestry can add so much more to landscape restoration efforts

Breathing life into degraded landscapes with trees: Restoration in Korea, South Africa and Ethiopia


Kate Langford

Kate Langford is a consultant writer with close to 20 years’ experience in communicating natural resource, environmental and land management issues for various government and non-government organizations. She previously worked as Communications Specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya and has worked in Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

You may also like...