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If achieved, global restoration targets would constitute the largest anthropogenic land-use change to be realised over one human generation and can potentially provide major contributions to societal goals of mitigating dangerous climate change and halting species extinctions. Evidence suggests that restoration benefits are highly variable in space, but these studies focus on local to national or regional scales and often to single goals or ecosystem types. Here we present the first global spatial prioritisation maps for restoration and assess their associated impacts, illuminating trade-offs and synergies across benefits for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation, as well as for reducing land-use opportunity costs. We developed a tailored spatial optimisation algorithm, identified 2.9 billion hectares of lands available for restoration, their associated climate change mitigation potential, and impacts of ecological restoration on extinction risks for over 20,000 vertebrate species and agricultural opportunity costs. Restoration would deliver a vast and cost-effective potential contribution of restoration to these global challenges, but these benefits and their costs have a very high spatial heterogeneity. Trade-offs are pronounced, with the best solution for climate change achieving only 61% of the potential benefits for biodiversity. Nevertheless, our analysis shows optimal compromise solutions, and found one which achieves 94% and 91% of the maximum benefits for biodiversity and climate change, respectively. Our maps can inform the implementation of existing regional, national, and global targets, as well as providing input for upcoming global negotiations on post-2020 conservation targets.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program
Society for Ecological Restoration