Human activities have significantly altered three-quarters of the Earth’s land and two-thirds of the ocean in recent decades. This has led to a catastrophic loss of biodiversity and is exacerbating already dangerous levels of climate change. Since 1970, there has been, on average, a decline of 68% in wildlife populations. Furthermore, the outbreak of Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus just how much human health and well-being and the health of our planet are inextricably linked. Already now, the degradation of our natural world due to human activities is having a negative impact on the well-being of at least 3.2 billion people.

Conversely, protecting and restoring nature and well-functioning ecosystems is a fundamental tool in tackling the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, and in preventing the future emergence and spread of diseases. Large-scale nature restoration is an investment that yields a range of benefits beyond improving biodiversity and sequestering carbon, such as flood protection, water retention and prevention of wildfires. Nature-based solutions, such as the restoration of natural forests and rewetting peatlands, could provide more than one third of the climate change mitigation efforts that are needed before 2030. Nature restoration also increases the resilience of our societies and economies. On average, the benefits of restoration are ten times higher than the costs.

This brochure showcases a variety of Europe’s restoration success stories, from the peatlands of Estonia to the Danube Delta in Romania, all of which clearly demonstrate the benefits of nature restoration for both people and the planet.