Verifying voluntary ecosystem restoration - case-studies from Mozambique and Sweden.

Published online
25 Jan 2017
Content type
Bulletin article

Vorhies, F. & Winkler, S.

Publication language
Africa South of Sahara & Baltic Sea & Mozambique & Nordic Countries & Sweden


Under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Governments have committed themselves to restoring 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems by 2020. It is not enough to rely solely on legally protected areas to conserve and restore areas. Conservation efforts must be expanded across all parts of the planet, especially to the places where people live and work. The Verified Conservation Area (VCA) approach aims to scale up conservation efforts by encouraging new stakeholders to conserve and restore areas and by providing support to their efforts. This includes recognizing ecosystem restoration and enhancing the assurance that funding provided to these efforts delivers biodiversity-positive outcomes. The VCA approach is backed by an international multistakeholder coalition including the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management. By adopting a standards-based approach to recognizing area-based conservation and restoration, the VCA approach aims to establish a new, investable asset class of natural capital. VCAs may be used as an assurance mechanism for biodiversity loss mitigation and ecosystem restoration. They may also be used as a way to verify the natural-capital enhancement derived from ecosystem restoration for various landuse options, such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining, ranching, recreation, or tourism. They may also be used to increase the market valuation of the land itself. In all these cases, as the VCA approach scales up, there is likely to be an increasing interest in valuing and investing in VCAs as natural capital assets. This paper looks specifically at two VCAs that aim to restore degraded ecosystems: Cinco Grandes in Mozambique and Tullstorp Stream in Sweden. Cinco Grandes aims to restore a wilderness area by a major restocking of wildlife and establishing a sustainable wildlife-management system that engages both private investors and local communities. Tullstorp Stream has established a partnership of local farmers to restore a freshwater ecosystem, including through the establishment of ingetlands ("no-man's lands" or "no-go areas") for wildlife habitat, and to reduce polluted runoffs into the Baltic Sea. Both cases demonstrate the potential for recognizing the voluntary restoration of degraded ecosystems beyond protected areas, in places where people live and work.

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