Forest landscape restoration: From local to regional

"The Global Landscape Forum’s Digital Summits are more than just webinars. They’re chances to dialogue with influencers and join diverse communities of practice in landscapes. Join the world’s leading experts for presentations and conversations on the most pressing issues for human well-being and the environment.”

-Global Landscapes Forum

forest landscape restoration, trees, forest

forest landscape restoration, trees, forest

On September 11th 2018, the Global Landscape's Forum (GLF) hosted a digital summit in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called

Scaling up forest landscape restoration commitments from local to regional level.

The summit aimed to address topics such as:

  • how to scale up forest landscape restoration (FLR),

    • what is needed to get FLR under the scheme of the Bonn Challenge and its regional initiative AFR100 in large-scale practice on the ground,

    • what is needed to boost and enable FLR implementation scale, and

    • which political priority setting and funding schemes are needed.

Speakers included:

Stefan Schmitz (Keynote speaker): Head of Directorate Food, Rural Developments, Natural Resources, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany

Valérie Ramahavalisoa: Head of the Service for watershed management at the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests, National Focal Point for soil projects, and Member of the FLR national committee

Simon Rafanomezantsoa: Senior Officer, Terrestrial Biodiversity, WWF Madagascar Country Office

Tim Rayden: Representative of Trillion Trees Programme, a cooperative initiative between WCS, WWF and Birdlife International that supports forest restoration projects

According to the UNCCD Global Land Outlook over 20% of cropland in Africa show signs of decreasing productivity. Nearly 45% of the world's agricultural land is located on drylands, mostly in Asia and Africa, supplying about 60% of the world's food production. While necessary for feeding an ever-growing global population, agricultural expansion threatens local and regional ecosystems as well as vital ecosystem services.

In 2015, the Madagascan government pledged to restore approximately four million hectares of forests, an area the size of Switzerland, by 2030, says Valérie Ramahavalisoa, Head of the Service for watershed management at the Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Forests, National Focal Point for soil projects, and Member of the FLR national committee. A multi-sectoral approach is what the country aims to follow, and through legislative methods such as implementing sanctions and fines against illegal logging practices.

Inspiration has been taken from countries like Ethiopia and Ruanda in terms of massive mobilisation. Monthly Green Days promote climate change awareness and introduce methods to make communities more sustainable in the long run.

madagascar, forest degradation, landscape

madagascar, forest degradation, landscape

Lack of technical knowledge is not the problem

The real challenge, however, is a lack of strong political commitment and will, says Stefan Schmitz,Head of Directorate Food, Rural Developments, Natural Resources, Federal   Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany.

"The issue at hand is by no means a technical one. The necessary technical knowledge to restore landscape already exists," Mr. Schmitz points out. "Many encouraging examples are available worldwide, but they have yet to become a fixed part of mainstream thinking," he says.

Mr. Schmitz highlights four key building blocks that make up the so-called Good Rule Governance. They include:

- decentralisation of government power from the top down,

- empowering communities from the bottom up to enable citizens to articulate their needs, fight for their rights and assume responsibility for their lives,

- territorial policies and instruments that allow for legally binding designation for defined land uses, and

- governance of tenure of land, fisheries and other productive sectors.

plant nursery, congo, watering plants

plant nursery, congo, watering plants

Bridging the gap between top and bottom

The key step of making forest landscape restoration a realistic priority is to combat poverty. As long as alternative practices for ensuring communities' livelihoods are not available, natural resources will continue to be exploited. If agricultural and food systems are to feed a global population, they must be productive and sustainable.

Tim Rayden, representative of the Trillion Trees Program, a collaborative partnership set up in 2017 including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), WWF-UK and Birdlife International, highlighted the importance of closing what is known as the implementation gap between commitment and action.

"What is needed are people on the ground to identify and specify exactly what is needed and where. Both governmental and multi-lateral donors are needed to develop conservation enterprises in key landscape areas," Mr. Rayden says.

When asked if non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are capable of mobilising large-scale funding and engaging the private sector, Mr. Rayden points out that NGOs may actually play a critical part in receiving multilateral funds, as successfully obtaining such funds often calls for the collaboration between the private sector and NGOs. FLR doesn't aim to achieve seamless agreements between different stakeholders, but rather reach a reasonable middle ground between conservation and business.

mau forest, kenya, forest

mau forest, kenya, forest

More than just planting trees

"FLR is not just about planting trees," says Simon Rafanomezantsoa, Senior Officer, Terrestrial Biodiversity of the WWF Madagascar Country Office. "It needs to address many aspects of landscape." In order to address these different aspects of landscape, good local structure of governance is essential. Mr. Rafanomezantsoa reminds us that local communities are the users of natural resources at a landscape level, and this social dimension of landscape restoration must be taken into consideration.

Local communities, private stakeholders, forest administrations and multi-level governments must be included in a capacity building plan. Flexibility and understanding between the scientific and non-scientific communities is critical, says Mr. Rafanomezantsoa.

Mr. Rafanomezantsoa considers the biggest challenge in upscaling to be the promotion of national strategies and all levels: governmental, ground level, NGOs, etc. Practices must be brought from the ground up to a national level.

Don't miss the GLF's next upcoming digital summit on how Congo Basin peatlands help mitigate the impact of climate change. The summit will be held on October 4th 2018 from 12:00 to 13:30 CET.  

For more information and to register for the summit, please visit:

Les tourbières: Un passage à découvrir

The summit will be conducted in French and a recording will be provided after the event has ended.

Join the Movement: Earth Hour 2018

Earth Hour is just around the corner, again! I feel like with annual events and holidays you really realise how quickly time flies. What? It's Earth Hour again?! We're only here for just a short moment and then *poof* it's all over. That's even more the reason the embrace each moment and each Earth Hour. If you missed it last year now you've got the chance to join the movement!

What is Earth Hour?

This #EarthHour, join us on a journey to spark never-before conversations and show us how you, your friends and family #Connect2Earth!

Earth Hour is, as the name suggests, an hour-long event that takes place around the world. It is coordinated by WWF together with various volunteer organisations and crosses geographic, political and religious boundaries and connects millions of people with one common goal: Creating climate change action.

Earth Hour 2018 will take place on Saturday March 24th at 8.30pm local time regardless of your time zone. Basically the event consists of people around the world switching off all of their lights and any electrical appliances for one hour (8.30 - 9.30 pm) and raising awareness for climate change. Earth Hour isn't about saving energy or cutting down on your electricity bill. It's about raising awareness for the one and only planet we have, and that we are rapidly and consistently destroying. Combatting climate change is obviously much more than just turning your lights off for an hour once a year, but all change stems from awareness and interest. Earth Hour aims to raise the awareness needed for the planet's inhabitants to adapt more sustainable lifestyles.

Why Earth Hour?

The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia in 2007 and had over two million participants. 10 years later, in 2017, the event had turned itself into an international phenomenon reaching 187 countries and territories as well as millions of people, communities, organisations and private companies. Over 3000 monuments and landmarks switched off their lights in support of the event.

Finland celebrated its first Earth Hour in 2009 and it 2017 1,3 million Finns took part. That's a lot of people for a country with just 5,5 million inhabitants! Over 120 Finnish restaurants, bars and cafés pledged to turn off their lights as well as over 70 schools and hundreds of companies.

Changed attitudes lead to actions, and some of Earth Hour's accomplishments during its ten-year history include:

- Over 250.000 planted trees during Earth Hour 2016

- 50.000 collected signatures in Spain petitioning for renewable energy sources in Spain

- Earth Hour 2014 lead to a complete plastic bag ban on the Galapagos Islands

- Fundraising in Nepal and Madagascar for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly stoves in homes

- Campaigning for solar panel usage in India and Philippines

- Fundraising for the restoration of damaged and lost traditional fishing boats in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in Philippines in 2013

WWF's Earth Hour shows us how each of us can be heroes for our planet, our home. Our actions today can change our tomorrow - together, let's #ChangeClimateChange. Join the movement at http://www.earthhour.org/ClimateAction/ today. Earth Hour 2017 will take place on Saturday 25 March 8:30 p.m.

How to take part in Earth Hour?

If you're in Finland there are several different Earth Hour events planned for the 24th of March, and more undoubtably are still to come.

WWF on koonnut Earth Hour -sivustolle listan erilaisista tapahtumista. Mukana on mm. Dining in the Dark -pimeä illallinen Tampereella La Fiesta -ravintolassa, retki jään yli Saariselän parilaavulle, valojen sammuttaminen Punahilkan Päiväkodissa Vaasassa ja paljon, paljon muuta!

Mikäli haluat ilmoittaa oman tapahtumasi mukaan Suomen Earth Houriin, klikkaa tästä linkistä.

Join the movement!

By going to your country's WWF page you can find more information on Earth Hour in your country as well as ways to participate. Regardless of your country or time zone, remember to turn the lights off on Saturday March 24, 2018 from 8.30-9.30 pm.

#EarthHour #changeclimatechange #horadelplaneta

Planeettamme Maa II Hartwall Arenalla 24.2.2018

"BBC:n uuden Planeettamme Maa II -menestyssarjan miljoonat katsojat ympäri maailmaa lumonnut kuvamateriaali herää henkiin jättiscreenille heijastetussa 4K-Ultra-HD-kuvaformaatissa 80-henkisen sinfoniaorkesterin tulkitessa Oscar-palkitun säveltäjämestari Hans Zimmerin sekä Jacob Shean ja Jasha Klebenin musiikkia."


Näin kerrotaan Planeettamme Maa II -tapahtuman nettisivuilla, ja jos tapahtuman kuvausta on uskominen niin konsertista tulee sanalla sanoen mieletön. Planeettamme Maa II on vuonna 2016 ilmestynyt jatko-osa kymmenen vuotta aikaisemmin maailman ensi-iltansa saaneelle Planeettamme Maa -dokumenttisarjalle. Dokumenttisarjaa juontaa kukas muukaan kuin Sir David Attenborough, BBC:n pitkäaikainen luonto-ohjelmien juontaja. Attenborough on juontanut mm. Suomessa nähtyä Avara luonto - sarjaa. Dokumenttisarjojen musiikin on säveltänyt maailmanmainetta niittänyt ja Oscar-palkinnonkin saanut Hans Zimmer, sekä Jasha Klebe ja Jacob Shea.

penguins blue planet

penguins blue planet

Planeettamme Maa II -sarjaa kuvattiin kolmen vuoden ajan 40:ssä eri maassa. Lauantaina 24.2.2018 dokumenttisarja herää aivan uudella tavalla eloon kun liveshow saapuu Helsingin Hartwall Arenalle. Ohjelmassa yhdistetään dokumenttisarjan kuvausmateriaali Hans Zimmerin säestämän ja Prahan 80-henkisen filharmonisen kaupunginorkesterin soittaman musiikin muodossa.

planeettamme maa fullsteam

planeettamme maa fullsteam

Näin ulkosuomalaisena joskus harmittaa että ei ole mahdollista osallistua tämänkaltaisiin tapahtumiin. Liput ovat mielestäni hintavia (39€ hattuhyllyllä - 164€ VIP-lippu) mutta mikäli on luontodokumenttien ja Zimmerin säveltämän musiikin ystävä, sijoitus on varmasti sen arvoinen. Jos olisin Suomessa menisin aivan ehdottomasti katsomaan! Rakastan luontoa ja rakastan orkesterimusiikkia joten yhdistelmä on mielestäni täydellinen.

Jos lukijoissa on tähän tapahtumaan osallistuvia, olisi ihanaa kuulla kokemuksesta!

panther chameleon bbc

panther chameleon bbc

Kuvat eivät ole omiani vaan ne löytyvät täältä, täältä ja täältä.

5 Zero-Waste Resolutions for 2018


reusable produce bag

Welcome, 2018! The new year has always represented the opportunity for new beginnings, and I must admit that I'm a sucker for recapping past years and listing new goals for the one to come. This year, I'd like to do more practicing than just preaching in terms of contributing towards a sustainable environment, and continue expanding my own zero-waste lifestyle.

Looking back, moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle is something that I've been doing kind of subconsciously for years. Moving house pretty much yearly has definitely been a significant factor in reducing my purchases as a consumer, because the truth is that the more things you own, the more things you have to move! Using reusable tote bags, swapping plastic containers for glass ones, buying in bulk and reducing my use of animal products are all things that I already do in my day-to-day life. However, I feel like I still have plenty of room for improvement which is why I wanted to make a list of five zero-waste New Year's resolutions I have for 2018.

1. Buy ONLY in bulk.

beans tupperware

Currently, I buy the a large part of my fruits and vegetables in bulk and often at my local produce market. However, I'd like to take this habit up a notch and avoid buying packaged products all together. This includes bread (which I mostly make myself anyway), grains, cereals and any other food products that can be bought in bulk. Buying in bulk is often more expensive than buying packaged products but I can pinch those pennies elsewhere.

2. Buy fruits and vegetables ONLY in reusable produce bags.

Some time ago I purchased reusable produce bags from the Finnish Red Cross's online shop. The bag itself contributes to reducing plastic waste in the environment and part of the procedes go to the Finnish Red Cross organisation itself so it's a real win-win situation. On my most recent trip to Finland I visited back the actual physical shop (Tehtaankatu 1A, 00140 Helsinki) and purchased bags for many of my friends in Spain. Reusable produce bags are quite the rarity here, and whenever I use them in shops I always get tons of curious looks and comments.

reusable produce bag

As a consequence of the stares and raised eyebrows that I get, I sometimes feel shy using these bags, particularly at my local produce market where I buy most of my fruits and veggies! And then I resort to plastic. It's totally backwards, I know. So in 2018 I want to challenge myself to stop feeling insecure and think of the reactions I get from people as an opportunity to market these fantastic bags and introduce the idea of plastic reduction in my own, very local community.

punainen risti hedelmäpussi

3. Reduce my use of animal products.

During my late teens and early twenties I was a vegetarian/vegan, but since moving to Spain where tuna is often considered a vegetable, my vegetarian and vegan lifestyle has become a thing of the past. Currently my diet is mainly plant-based at home, but when eating out I don't shy away from meat dishes, cow's milk or seafood. More often than not, vegan versions are simply not available at the restaurants and cafes in my area. It's of course not an excuse but more a reality. I am fully aware of the horrendous effects livestock production has on the environment which makes my consumption of animal products even worse.

red meat

We already cook all of our meals at home from scratch, including making our own bread and pasta sauce. The only real dairy product I frequently use is Greek yoghurt. A few times a month we eat meat grown in the region and sold by our butcher down the street, as well as locally sourced fish that we purchase at the market. However, even little consumption is still more than no consumption and a fully plant-based diet is what we should all strive for if we really care for the planet.

raw red meat

I feel like this is the area that will cause the most challenges for me. Many of the meat substitutes available at my local supermarket are packed with artificial colorants and preservatives, and have a somewhat off-putting appearance. I wonder if these products, many of which come wrapped in several layers of plastic, really are more environmentally friendly than locally grown, free-range meat sold by a butcher.

4. Give zero-waste gifts.

We often lead by example and what better way to introduce a zero-waste lifestyle to friends and family than giving zero-waste gifts. My family already has a fairly long tradition of giving non-material gifts such as dinner vouchers at special restaurants or tickets to the opera. I love both giving and receiving these kinds of gifts as they're often things that I would love to experience but don't get around to doing myself.

tote bags

There are, however, many material gifts that fit a zero-waste lifestyle perfectly. For example, reusable produce bags and tote bags, bamboo cutlery, reusable coffee cups, glass tupperware(lid is plastic), cloth kitchen towels, silicone baking mats, DIY lip balm or even reusable straws are just a few great zero-waste gift ideas for friends and family who want

Although I'm a pretty lazy gift-giver in general (sorry friends and family!), in 2018 I'm going to make it a goal of mine to make sure all of the gifts I do give fit into the zero-waste mentality.

glass tupperware

5. Make my own milk.

I primarily use plant-based milks in my diet although I do still drink my coffee with cow's milk when I'm out of the house. This is often due to the fact that milk alternatives are simply not available in most cafes where I live. Of course I have the option of learning to have my coffee black or dropping cafe coffees all together. Regardless, I've been thinking about making my own milk at home for a while now. On one hand I am genuinely curious about making milk at home, and on the other hand I feel inspired by the zero-waste movement that encourages reducing different forms of packaging.

So here are some of my zero-waste goals for this year! I'm going to check in within the next few months to see how my zero-waste year has started off and if necessary, hold myself accountable for the choices I'm making in 2018. I'd love to hear about any zero-waste goals you have and above all, tips and tricks that you've found useful along the way!

beans glass tupperware

Disclaimer: None of the links in this post are affiliate or referral links, they're just products I came across while surfing the internet.

ERASMUS+ Internship at CIMAR in Santa Pola, Spain

Map SantaPolaAs part of my undergraduate degree I participated in an Erasmus+ Internship at the Centro de Investigación Marina (CIMAR) in Santa Pola, Spain from January to April 2017. 

Santa Pola is located in southeastern Spain, approximately 30 km south of Alicante. The center itself was founded in 2005 in cooperation with the University of Alicante and the City of Santa Pola. Originally, the center functioned as an army barrack for the Spanish Carabiniere Force from the 1920s until the 1940s when the force was dismantled and merged with what is nowadays known as the Guardia Civil. Although some restorations and refurbishments have been carried out throughout the years, the majority of the building remains in its original state.

Due to the strong theoretical emphasis of our degree program, I was very keen on learning and developing my practical skills in the field. In particular I was interested in completing my internship at a center that focused on topics related to marine biology, as I felt that further knowledge in the area would be of great benefit to me in the future.

I have long been a fan of Spanish culture and language, so when the opportunity arose to complete my internship abroad, I immediately knew I wanted to pursue the chance of interning in Spain. I chose to search for an internship within the Valencian Community  in particular, as this region was previously somewhat familiar to me and I found the area interesting from a marine management point of view. Spain in general is a fascinating country when it comes to sustainable coastal management, as the country has nearly 5.000 km of coastline that is divided between two very different marine environments: the Mediterranean in the south and east and the Atlantic in the north.

During my internship I was able to participate in several different types of activities at the center. A typical working day at CIMAR started with measuring the temperature and salinity of the sea at the beach nearby. This was done using a thermo-salinometer and the results were marked in a register kept at the center. The aim of registering the measurements was to recognise any anomalies and study potential reasons behind them.

IMG_20170426_124241 copy

While measuring the temperature and salinity I would also observe the shoreline for any changes in its composition or any unusual findings, for example large amounts of posidonia oceanica, which naturally exists in the area and is considered “litter” according to conventional beach goers. In reality posedonia oceanicis a marine plant whose abundance is a sign of good water quality.

During my internship I had the opportunity to gain practical experience in many areas of field work, one of which was through participating in a project collecting sediment samples in the Santa Pola salt marshes. The aim of the project was to collect sediment samples from three different locations in the Bonmatí salt mines, located a few kilometers south of Santa Pola. Sampling was carried out using a Van Veen grab and all samples were observed and labeled on site. Afterwards each sample was fixed using formaldehyde solution and at a later date analyzed using a microscope. 

In addition to collecting samples, the surrounding flora and fauna were also observed and a final presentation on the project outline, data collection, observations and results was then prepared to summarise the project and presented to local authorities as background material for an upcoming project.


Another project I cooperated in was collecting samples on a vessel with a team of staff from the University of Alicante as well as the Instituto Español de Oceanografía. The aim of the activity was to collect sediment samples from several points in the Mar Menor  bay using a Van Veen grab. Samples were collected from various locations and depths ranging between 6-8 meters. Samples collected with the grab were then observed, strained and labeled onboard the vessel. Upon returning to the laboratory pH levels were measured and all samples were fixed using a formaldehyde solution to be analyzed at a later date.

IMG_20170224_123907 copy

Furthermore, I had the opportunity to assist in the data collection as part of a UA student's Bachelor’s Thesis on the terrestrial flora and fauna at several locations along the Santa Pola coastline. Participating in this task allowed me to get to know and be able to recognize some of the most common terrestrial and marine fauna found in the Santa Pola area, many species of which are common in the Mediterranean region and the Levantecoast.

An important part of CIMAR is its participation in environmental education. In addition to offices and laboratories used by staff of the University of Alicante, CIMAR’s facilities also include an exhibition hall with a vast collection of findings originating both from the Santa Pola-Alicante region as well as other parts of the Spanish Mediterranean. The exhibition hall is open to the general public daily and guided tours of the center are organised weekly. This offers any interested members of the public the opportunity to get to know the centre its mission and in addition learn more about the local marine environment.

The center also offers guided tours and visits for school groups, vocational learning institutions and adult-education centres interested in learning more about marine and coastal environments. These groups come from both Santa Pola and the surrounding areas as well as other regions of Spain. The centre also collaborates with foreign learning institutions. Participating in the organisation of these visits was very interesting because not only did it allowme to learn more about CIMAR itself and the different species found in the Mediterranean, but in addition I had the opportunity to connect with the visitors themselves and participate in environmental education activities, which I find very important.

I was given the opportunity to assist in UA's Ciencias del Mar Bachelor program's practical lessons, which was again an interesting and different type of experience. One such practical included the observation and collection of marine fauna samples in the littoral zone as well as laboratory work and data analysis of the samples collected.

IMG_20170203_095539 copy

I also joined the students aboard a research vessel as they collected samples in the area around the Alicante Bay. In this practical students learned to use GPS positioning devises, different types of grabs and nets for sample collection, visibility observation using a Secchi disk, fixation using formaldehyde solution, etc. My primary tasks were to assist students using the thermo-salinometer as well as aid them in visibility measurements using the Secchi disk. Participating in the students’ practicals was interesting and rewarding because not only did it allow me to gain practical skills myself but also I had the opportunity to get to know Spanish students and compare experiences as university students in marine-related fields.

In general I was very pleased with my internship experience at CIMAR. I was taken in with open arms and a positive attitude that carried throughout the entire period. I had the chance to participate in many different activities despite my internship taking place during winter months which is generally considered "low season" at the centre.

My goals going into the internship were to get a better understanding of how a marine research center functions as well as develop my skills and knowledge regarding practical field work and marine biology in general. I feel as though I accomplished these goals during my stay. I am able to identify some of the most common terrestrial and marine vegetation in the area of Santa Pola, I have gained practical experience collecting samples, I got a glimpse into the world of environmental education and in general I feel as though I have a much better understanding of the marine research field. I believe that all of these skills will be helpful in my role as a coastal manager.

IMG_20170408_121927 (1)