Knowledge Dissemination: Understanding Ecological Restoration

Topics range from degraded areas recovery techniques to environmental legislation

January, 2024 – As a result of the environmental degradation and climate emergency, ecosystem restoration has been gaining more and more attention in the socioenvironmental agenda. Learning and exchanging knowledge is key to the process of restoring nature on a large scale. With this in mind, a partnership involving a number of institutions resulted in the First Ecological Restoration Training Program for environmental analysts working in federal conservation units. 

The training was delivered by the National Center for Research and Conservation of Cerrado Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CBC/ICMBio). It was made possible thanks to USAID support and in partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS), and the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes project. The classes are currently available on YouTube.

In the 2022–2030 Climate Strategy, USAID promoted confronting the crisis with equitable and ambitious action, setting a number of goals to support the conservation, restoration, and management of 100 million hectares around the world with climate change mitigation benefits, in line with the United Nations’ Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (from 2021 to 2030) that calls for “the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.”

The training program enabled participants to share basic concepts related to ecological restoration and administrative procedures that can be adopted by environmental analysts to promote the recovery of native species in degraded areas, thus rehabilitating ecosystem services. 

The course was held in December and it attracted 48 participants, including conservation unit managers from 16 states and the Federal District, IBAMA staff, and representatives from the Brazilian Environment Ministry, the United States Forest Service, and Conservation International Brazil. 

“Our experience in the first round of training made it even clearer that restoration goes far beyond planting trees. It requires multiple partnerships involving government, academia, the private sector, and organized civil society, in addition to the engagement of local communities,” says Carlos Eduardo Ferreira, a civil servant working at ICMBio.

For Otávio Gadiani Ferrarini, a member of the Forestry Department at Brazil’s Environment Ministry’s National Secretariat of Biodiversity, Forests, and Animal Rights, coordination among environmental agencies is key to enabling ecological restoration. Topics such as ecosystem degradation, restoration techniques, including scientific research, how to manage exotic and invasive species, and environmental legislation were discussed.

“The course was very helpful in providing us with a better understanding of project dynamics on the ground, and looking at how this might affect the design of restoration policies.”

Ecological Restoration – Restoration is the process of helping an ecosystem that has been disturbed, degraded, or destroyed to return to its original state. It involves planting native species and conserving biodiversity, thus maintaining the benefits of ecosystem services.