Forests: many benefits of the Bonn Challenge

International Union for Conservation of Nature, Washington DC, USA.

Search for this author in:

International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland.

Search for this author in:

International Institute for Sustainability, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Search for this author in:

Although natural regeneration can be ecologically effective in the right environmental and socio-economic contexts, the importance of the Bonn Challenge should not be downplayed (see S. L. Lewis et al. Nature 568, 25–28; 2019). Its aim is to promote the recovery of degraded and deforested lands (see, rather than solely to mitigate climate change, as the authors imply.

Some of the land pledged in response to the challenge will consist of plantations, but not to the extent suggested by the authors. Brazil, for example, is committed to regenerating 12 million hectares (not 19 million hectares), which includes restoration of native forest as well as new plantations. Also, given that restoration must accommodate a multiplicity of needs, including those of smallholder farmers, we disagree that agroforestry should be confined to treeless regions. And some agroforestry systems use native species for restoration — Evergreen Agriculture integrates crops with Faidherbia albida trees, for example.

Nature 570, 164 (2019)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01817-z
Nature Briefing

Sign up for the daily Nature Briefing email newsletter

Stay up to date with what matters in science and why, handpicked from Nature and other publications worldwide.

Sign Up