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UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration


The EU's 2020 Biodiversity Strategy called for the restoration of 15% of degraded ecosystems. In the period 2021-2030, in the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, this goal is now to be implemented. Experts from the University of Vienna (Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research), the Federal Environment Agency and the Federal Forest Research Center (BFW) have identified specific landscape areas in Austria for the implementation of restoration measures. Ecologically restored landscapes ultimately also make a greater contribution to climate change resilience.

The regenerative capacity of ecosystems depends in particular on the development time, but also on relevant site and use changes (e.g. drainage, eutrophication, damming of floodplains). For many ecosystem types, well-developed concepts are now available: On the one hand, status can be improved by reducing general environmental pressures (e.g., nutrient loading of inland waters). On the other hand, interventions in the water and nutrient balance of particularly sensitive systems (e.g. tree-free rainforests and flow-through peatlands) are often irreversible. Therefore, complete regeneration is often only possible over historical or geologic time periods.

Landscapes identified for restoration efforts

A team of experts with participation of the University of Vienna (Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research) has now defined concrete landscape areas in Austria where restoration measures for the restoration of ecosystems or landscapes are to be implemented. The Federal Environment Agency designed the methodological concept for this. A map of the distribution of national biotope types served as a basis. For the planning of the restoration measures it is important to know the condition of the ecosystems. This was assessed and differentiated into four levels of degradation.

With regard to the 15 % target, the experts calculated the costs separately for the ecosystems forest, surface waters as well as for open land ecosystems and they amount to a total of about 10.7 billion euros for an implementation period of about 30 years, excluding urban and settlement ecosystems.


The ecosystem map of biotope types in Austria helps to identify specific landscape areas for the implementation of restoration measures. © Environment Agency Austria