The risks of overstating the climate benefits of ecosystem restoration

Doelman, J.C. & Stehfest, E. | Nature | 2022 | Peer Reviewed | Communication |


Arising from B. B. N. Strassburg et al. Nature (2020

Preventing dangerous climate change and halting the global loss of biodiversity are considered crucial goals to ensure a sustainable future on Earth1,2. Strassburg et al.3 present a high-resolution method to identify optimal locations for ecosystem restoration globally for conserving biodiversity and increasing carbon sequestration. Their most prominently presented conclusion is that 30% of the total CO2 increase in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution can be sequestered by restoring 15% of converted lands. Here we argue that this is an overly optimistic message that is partly based on inaccurate assumptions and that this creates unrealistic expectations for the contribution of restoration to the mitigation of climate change.