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Strategies and Innovations for Building Capacity for Ecological Restoration


In the past 5 years, Latin American countries have begun committing to the restoration of forest to millions of hectares of degraded land through initiatives such as the country commitments of Bonn Challenge, the Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact of Brazil, and the landscape-level projects in Mexico and Colombia funded by the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank.  As expressed at the 2012 Convention on Biological Diversity, the key to implementing these global and regional initiatives is by building the capacity to carry out successful restoration projects among stakeholders at many levels, from policy makers, to mid-level professionals, to landowners themselves. Capacity-building is an integral part of providing the technical means of implementing restoration on-the-ground.  Additionally, capacity-building has been used to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge among stakeholders with different experiences in the subject as well as connect scientific understandings and advancements with the people who can implement and affect change on-the-ground. Most importantly, capacity building has the potential to empower different stakeholders to analyze their own social and ecological conditions and take ownership over restoration projects adapted to their local needs.

The Strategies and Innovations for Building Capacity for Ecological Restoration Symposium provided an opportunity for speakers and congress participants to discuss innovative approaches to capacity building on restoration. Speakers from a range of Latin American countries presented briefly on the innovative approaches they use for capacity building, the environmental and socioeconomic impacts they have achieved so far, and their critical reflections and lessons learned through this process.

The symposium concluded with a lively discussion among the speakers and participants on the opportunities and approaches needed to meet the emerging national and regional targets for restoration in Latin America.