Aware of the critical need to halt, prevent and reverse ecosystem degradation, and to effectively restore degraded terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems across the globe, through Resolution 73/284, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2021–2030 as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (hereafter the “UN Decade”). To support the implementation of the UN Decade and help achieve its goals, there is a need for a shared vision of ecosystem restoration, defined as “the process of halting and reversing degradation, resulting in improved ecosystem services and recovered biodiversity. Ecosystem restoration encompasses a wide continuum of practices, depending on local conditions and societal choice” (UNEP, 2021, p. 7).
A key step in creating a shared vision of ecosystem restoration is to adopt principles that underpin the full set of ecosystem restoration activities in support of the UN Decade Strategy. Although principles for specific types of restorative activities – such as ecological restoration and forest and landscape restoration already have been published, there is a need for principles to underpin all of the restorative activities that are part of the continuum of ecosystem restoration defined by the UN Decade, and which are applicable across all sectors, biomes, and regions.
To support the implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and help achieve its goals, there is a need for a shared vision of ecosystem restoration. A key step in creating a shared vision of ecosystem restoration is to adopt principles that underpin the full set of ecosystem restoration activities. To this end, this brochure presents ten principles for ecosystem restoration including a first principle that orients restoration in the context of the UN Decade, followed by nine best-practice principles. These best-practice principles detail the essential tenets of ecosystem restoration that should be followed to maximize net gain for native biodiversity, ecosystem health and integrity, and human health and well-being, across all biomes, sectors and regions.