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Megan Tierney

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Forest restoration

Forest ecosystems can play a key role in climate mitigation. They regulate climate in several different ways. The high rates of evapotranspiration of tropical forests decrease surface air temperature1 and surface roughness of the trees attracts precipitation2. However, the main focus on forest in climate mitigation policy is due to their carbon sequestration and storage potential (see Table), both of which have been damaged by deforestation and degradation. Forest ecosystem restoration can therefore contribute extensively to climate change mitigation (see related resources: Implications of the REDD negotiations for forest restoration).

Table 1: Gigatonnes of carbon stored in forest biomes3


Gigatonnes of Carbon (GtC)

Tropical & subtropical forests

Temperate forests

Boreal forests




Forest restoration for climate mitigation is not limited to terrestrial ecosystems. Mangrove forests are large carbon sinks, sequestering approximately 18.4 tons of carbon annually4. There has been widespread loss of mangrove area and interest in mangrove restoration is growing, partly because of their role in climate change adaptation5

While the role of forest restoration within REDD+ is still emerging, it can already be funded through the voluntary carbon market. Some case studies on forest restoration are available below. Those with a climate change mitigation objective include Belize, Chiapas in Mexico and Uganda.

For a fuller list of forest restoration studies please use the Forest Restoration Case Studies link below.


See also

UNEP-WCMC is a member of the Global Partnership for Forest Landscape Restoration

Forest Landscape Restoration Website