Ecological restoration as objective, target and tool in international biodiversity policy. Ecology and Society 20, no. 2 (2015):43. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08149-200443 [Open Access]
Ecological restoration has been mainstreamed in international biodiversity policies in the last five years. I analyze statements about restoration in three international policies: the Convention for Biodiversity Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Convention for Biodiversity Decision XI/16 on ecosystem restoration, and the European Union’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. I argue that restoration functions at three different levels in these policies: as an objective, as a target, and as a tool. Because restoration appears at all three levels, the policies encourage counting all restoration activity as meeting the objectives of the policy regardless of the activity’s actual effect on ecosystem services or biodiversity more broadly. Reaching a numerical target for a restored area may not necessarily support the overarching policy goals of maintaining Earth’s biodiversity and supporting ecosystem services.