Recent FAO Report Emphasises the Critical Importance of Restoring Africa’s Degraded Terrain

The first-ever stocktake of Africa’s forests and landscapes, released on Wednesday, reveals slow progress in restoring the continent’s degraded areas and calls for increased climate action. 

The Review of Forest and Landscape Restoration in Africa 2021, which was launched during Africa Climate Week and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, shows that more needs to be done to tap the continent’s opportunity to return the land to sustainable production, protect biodiversity, and safeguard livelihoods in the fight against climate change. 

The FAO and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD collaborated on the report. 

According to the report, up to 65 % of fertile land is degraded, and desertification affects 45 per cent of Africa’s geographical area. 

While the overall trend is lower, Africa’s net forest loss is still increasing, with four million hectares of forest being lost each year. 

Furthermore, Africa’s drylands are becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change, making their restoration a top priority for adaptation and the development of robust and long-term food systems. 

The majority of the projects evaluated in the Review had a significant climate change component, with the goal of not only sequestering carbon but also creating jobs and reducing rural people’s vulnerability to food insecurity. 

Local ownership is essential for success, according to the report, as is high-level political backing and financial resources. 

According to the evaluation, important issues include longer-term financing, land tenure, and property rights. 

Insecurity and war, a lack of technical capacity, and limited access owing to poor infrastructure are among the other hurdles.