Volterra supports UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

This year the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) started. Since its foundation in 2015 the Volterra team has been focused on introducing and promoting nature-based solutions in Spain and Portugal in order to help restore affected ecosystems. We do that through our participation in national and European research and demonstration projects and company projects with landowners. 

Land restoration has the potential to deliver multiple benefits simultaneously, making it a highly integrated solution for sustainable development. The way that land is used, managed and protected is central to achieving the goals of the UN Conventions on land degradation and desertification, climate change and biodiversity, as well as many of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is because the choices, synergies and trade-offs between sustainability ambitions often materialise on land.

Around 2 billion hectares of degraded lands worldwide have potential for ecosystem restoration, according to the UN. Most of the rehabilitation work could take the form of "mosaic restoration", in which forests are combined with protected areas, agriculture, waterbodies, and human settlements on a landscape-wide scale. Transformational ecosystem restoration requires strong commitment, and the efforts of countries, the international community, civil society, the private sector, and other actors. Achieving the Bonn Challenge objective of restoring at least 350 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030 could realize up to $9 trillion in net benefits, and alleviate poverty in many rural communities. The UN Decade aims to promote a concerted and holistic landscape-focused approach to the interdependence of ecosystems, human needs, and biodiversity, to accelerate the progress needed to maintain and restore ecosystems.

Now with the Mediterranean suffering increasingly from climate change, erosion, forest fires ….the process of desertification is accelerating fast. For us at Volterra Ecosystems it is clear that the only answer is investing NOW in regenerative agriculture practices and rotational grazing based on soil-building practices. We need to massively plant trees and bushes in agroforestry and food forests settings or at least around the land. Hedges are a perfect erosion barrier and a local biodiversity heaven which in turn help with biological control so landowners spend less on pesticides. Providing shadow for the animals and land helps preventing the drying out of soils. In this regard also cover crops help with natural fertilizing cycles and keeping soils healthy and vibrant. Waste can be recycled into high value compost or biochar, which give an additional boost to soil life at relatively low cost. 

All these techniques are proven to reverse soil degradation, rebuild soil health, increase water retention and make farms resilient to extreme weather, while maintaining good harvests. At Volterra we promote healthy soils and believe that the CAP payment programme for farmers should reward those farmers investing in regenerative agriculture and clearly incentivise conventional farmers that are willing to transition to sustainable production methods.

We recently made a video of one of Volterra’s projects in regenerative agriculture in Spain and we regularly visit farms around the country to plant trees through the Life Terra project. If you are a landowner and are interested in building a more resilient farming system, please contact us here.