They provide food, water, clean air, a stable climate, biodiversity, good health, security and happiness. However, one-fourth of the world’s land mass is seriously degraded from centuries of human activity.
Think: deforestation, overgrazing, overexploitation, the building of infrastructure and pollution. In economic terms, this incurs an estimated loss of more than USD 4.3 trillion per year. The good news is that this process can be reversed.
Pauline van der Meer Mohr Former President Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
“Most of the top management journals remain focused on the firm, not the system. It’s essential for managers and academics to take a more systemic approach to landscape restoration, in tandem with the natural sciences and local people.”
Piet Kruger South African farmer
“All people should benefit from restoration of the land, not just the land owners. Everyone.”
Patrick King Regional General Manager Sanlam, South Africa
“Water is a key resource for Port Elizabeth; essential for its people and industrial production. We believe that restoring the degraded landscapes upstream can help us secure that resource.”
John D. Liu Filmmaker
“It’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems. So if we can rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems – why don’t we do that?”
Jagdeesh Rao CEO Foundation for Ecological Security, India
“By locating forests, pastures and water bodies within the larger ecological, social and economic context, landscapes open up to meet a range of objectives that could address demands of preservation, conservation and exploitation.”
Keith Bowers IUCN CEM Ecological Restoration Group Lead, Biohabitats
“The 21st century will demand more than conservation, it will require us to invest in ecological restoration. Restoring our degraded landscapes and seascapes will foster long term resiliency, promote economic vitality and cultivate a shared vision for our future.”
Luc Gnacadja Architect, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
“Degraded landscapes are underperforming common assets linked to many development priorities. And landscape restoration successes have often debunked two prevailing myths: that is takes too long and costs too much. Let’s now overcome the hurdles to scaling up and out.”
Carmen Román Reche Managing Director of Crisara (Organic Almonds) and Spanish National Award on "Innovation Excellence in Rural Women", Spain
“If we cannot conceive our natural and agricultural environments as a single unit, as a close symbiotic network where all the pieces fit perfectly together, we must be doing something fundamentally flawed. Each of us should undergo a deep reflection to understand that the only being that is expendable in our planet is the human being.”
Paco Casero Agricultor, Spain (retired president of Asociación Ecovalia for organic growers)
“We require the specialized labor of men and women that work in the fields, because it is them who provide us with our food staples. We must recognize and honor the work of rural people. The quality of our future depends on their good work and on our collective ability to maintain a proper balance with the surrounding natural ecosystems.”
Read here our most recent Newsflash. Read more
2,5 million EURO to large-scale ecosystem restoration. We are proud and grateful to the Nationale Postcodeloterij (Dutch National Postcode Lottery) to be their new beneficiary. Read more
Enable Consortium launches open, online course on landscape restoration. Read more
Our holistic restoration approach combines and connects 3 different landscape zones, for a period of 20 years, delivering 4 returns.
Giving people hope
and a sense of purpose.
Bringing back jobs, business
activity, education and security.
soil and water quality.
Worldwide, degraded landscapes have led to the loss of biodiversity, productivity, jobs, food security, and social stability. These losses can be reversed, however, by restoring degraded landscapes – at scale – through economically viable solutions.
4 Returns Partners creates market-based solutions for landscape restoration, from idea to realization. Based on the 4 returns philosophy developed by Commonland, our aim is to unite the restoration of landscapes with the economic and social revitalization of communities.
To effectively support our partners with realizing landscape restoration, we offer a combination of advisory services:
Commonland works in close cooperation with internationally leading organizations.
In this library you will find a selection of publications and videos that give an introduction to landscape restoration. In addition, it also provides an overview of expert libraries that have compiled a large collection of articles, country reports, maps, books, guidelines and videos related to landscape restoration.
4 returns from landscape restorationCommonland Publication
Article in Dutch newspaper October 2016Willem Ferwerda heads Dutch sustainable 100 list
Sustainable 100 interview in Dutch newspaper October 2016Interview with nature restorer Willem Ferwerda
A holistic framework for ecological restoration by people and business for next generations4 returns, 3 zones, 20 years
Biodiversity and ecosystem restoration for sustainable developmentDead planet, living planet
Exploring the safe operating space for humanityPlanetary boundaries
Can we live within the doughnut?A safe and just space for humanity
Restoration ecology: time to roll up our sleevesEcosystem restoration is now a global priority
A Sustainable Development Goal for Rio+20Zero net land degradation
TEEB for businessEconomics of ecology & biodiversity
Changes in the global value of ecosystem servicesChanges in global value of ecosystems
Science, business, and practiceRestoring natural capital
Prosperous lands and positive rewards through sustainable land managementThe value of land
Achieving sustainable development through integrated landscape managmentThe little sustainable landscapes book
Public engagement and temporal and spatial scale in a complex social-ecological systemThe role of trust in restoration success
A global assessment for sustainable developmentEconomics of land degradation and improvement
Sustainable land management: A business opportunityELD initiative: Report for the private sector
Connecting Ecosystems, Value Chains and ConsumersNew Horizons for the Transitioning of our Food System
By Willem Ferwerda, 5th of September 2017Royal Address Sustainability
Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects.VPRO Backlight Green Gold 1
Ecologist Willem Ferwerda explains how the planet, the environment, and the economy can be restored on the basis of 4 returns.VPRO Backlight Green Gold 2 - Teaser
Environmental film maker John D. Liu demonstrates that it is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems.Hope in a changing climate - Trailer
Environmental film maker John D. Liu documented the world's largest watershed restoration in China.Lessons of the Loess Plateau
The ELD initiative produced a short information film on the value of soil and the economic impact of land degradation.The value of soil
When land is shared by everyone, who is responsible for its well-being?Land for life award - Foundation for ecological security
Commonland ambassador, John D. Liu, talks about his first encounter with Allan Savory and what he learned about Holistic ManagementJohn D. Liu about Allan Savory & Holistic Management
Unbroken Grounds explains the critical role food will play in the next frontier of our efforts to solve the environmental crisis.Unbroken Ground by Patagonia
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The story behind the Sankofa
The Commonland logo is derived from the image of the Sankofa. This Ghanese symbol represents the importance of learning from the past.
The original symbol shows a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back. It symbolizes taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the use of knowledge.
At the same time the logo can be seens as a "C" representing the name "Commonland" or as a graphic illustration of the world.