1. Marine restoration

1.0. Restoration of marine ecosystems

Here we invite contributions related to the restoration of marine ecosystems in general.


1.1. Ecological restoration in marine ecosystems: lessons learnt, challenges and opportunities

Coordinators: Cristina Gambi1, Silvia Bianchelli1, Roberto Danovaro1, Simonetta Fraschetti2, Mariachiara Chiantore3

1University of Marche, Ancona, Italy
2University Naples, Naples, Italy
3University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy



The success of restoration of marine habitats is highly dependent upon local environmental conditions, mitigation level of anthropogenic impacts and protocols that are specific for each marine habitat. The restoration can be partly compromised by the occurrence of extreme/episodic events (e.g., storms, heat waves). The drivers of success of most actions and failures are now lessons learned, allowing the identification of the best solutions to make successful future initiatives and to upscale interventions from pilot small- to large-spatial scale actions. There is an urgent need for integrated management actions for the protection and restoration of habitats and key-species populations based on the best scientific knowledge and for entrepreneurial uptake of the restoration challenge to cope with the EU and UN requirements, additionally contributing to the blue economy development. The topic of marine restoration can enhance social awareness about the need to have healthy marine ecosystems, promoting economically and ecologically sustainable restoration actions. 

This session presents an overview of marine key habitats/species to restore and it is open to fostering the reciprocal exchange of ideas, knowledge, and experiences among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from different marine restoration initiatives across European Seas and over.

Associated projects

EU CLIMAREST - Coastal Climate Resilience and Marine Restoration Tools for the Arctic Atlantic basin
FORESCUE - Innovative approaches FOr RESCUE and management of algal forests in the Mediterranean Sea
MARES - Marine Ecosystem Restoration - In the framework of the National Biodiversity Future Center (NBFC)


1.2. Nature-based solutions for the effective protection and restoration of Baltic Sea ecosystems 

Coordinators: Francisco R Barboza1, Miguel Villoslada2

1Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, Tallinn, Estonia
2University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland



Decision-making processes in marine and coastal environments often consider habitats/ecosystems as isolated management units, thus overlooking the links with other habitats/ecosystems across marine and terrestrial realms that enable their healthy functioning. The successful implementation of local actions (such as restorations) requires carefully designed and effectively enforced spatially comprehensive conservation measures (e.g., protected areas) that can protect ecosystems' spatial complexity and connectivity. Nature-based solutions have been suggested as promising approaches for mitigating and reversing human impacts sustainably, as long as they are regionally coordinated and designed upon an integrative and cross-realm understanding of the processes that shape marine ecosystems. 

The session welcomes presentations on environmental and governance frameworks, tools or empirical demonstrations facilitating the coherent design and implementation of nature-based solutions to restore and preserve marine and coastal ecosystems.

2. Freshwater restoration

2.0. Restoration of freshwater ecosystems

Here we invite contributions related to the restoration of freshwater ecosystems in general.


2.1. Restoration of river connectivity: planning, implementation, monitoring, and assessment

Coordinators: Andrea Mandarino1, Andrea Goltara2

1University of Genova, Genova, Italy

2Italian Centre for River Restoration, Mestre, Italy



Human activity has extensively impacted river corridors causing the degradation of many river ecosystems worldwide. Hydromorphological pressures, in particular, have severely conditioned the overall river health, inducing changes in ecosystem structure and functions. They are the primary cause of European rivers' failure to reach good ecological conditions as defined by the Water Framework Directive. Recently, the concern over river connectivity has greatly increased, thus stimulating new policies oriented to river restoration and several tangible restoration efforts in many countries. “Free-flowing rivers” are under the spotlight and among the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. Within this framework, it is essential to properly define effective and extensive ecological restoration projects, including the phases of prioritisation, post-intervention monitoring, and result assessment. 

This session aims to gather a broad range of contributions that focus on the ecological restoration of rivers. Specific topics of interest include (but are not limited to): approaches to support the design of river restoration measures; restoration of (longitudinal, lateral, vertical, and temporal) connectivity; floodplain restoration; mitigation of the impact of hydrological alteration on aquatic communities; hydromorphological monitoring of rivers; prediction of river evolutionary trajectories; assessment of restoration results; development of synergies between river restoration and flood-risk mitigation strategies.

3. Wetland restoration

3.0. Restoration of wetland and peatland ecosystems

Here we invite contributions related to the restoration of wetland and peatland ecosystems in general.


3.1. Restoration of wetlands: Pathways, trade-offs and co-benefits

Coordinators: Liisa Ukonmaanaho1, Vanessa Ferreira de Almeida2, Anna Lillebø3, Shubiao Wu4

1ALFAwetlands project, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Helsinki, Finland

2REWET project, IDENER, Sevilla, Spain

3Restore4CS project, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

4Wet Horizons project, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark



The restoration of wetlands stands as a pivotal element within climate change mitigation strategies. Their multifaceted roles, encompassing carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas regulation, resilience against extreme weather events, and biodiversity support, collectively contribute to fostering a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. Recognising the urgent need to safeguard wetland ecosystems, four EU-funded projects—REWET, RESTORE4Cs, WET HORIZONS, and ALFAwetlands—have forged collaborative partnerships involving over 40 entities across Europe. Together, they are dedicated to the restoration of wetlands and enhancing their medium to long-term mitigation capabilities. In this special session, these 4 EU projects will succinctly outline their initiatives aimed at accelerating wetland restoration encompassing natural wetlands, peatlands, mineral coastal wetlands, and floodplains. The session will also feature concise presentations derived from open abstract submissions, offering diverse insights. Subsequently, an interactive segment will engage the audience to collaboratively devise a roadmap for expediting restoration opportunities and maximising broader impact. This collective endeavour signifies a concerted effort to address the critical challenges faced by wetlands and underscores the importance of collaborative action in securing a resilient and sustainable future.


3.2. Understanding and overcoming barriers to rewetting peatlands effectively at scale

Coordinator: Zbigniew Karpowicz1

1Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Stevenage, United Kingdom



To have a project that is guaranteed to provide climate, nature, and community benefits quickly and efficiently, look no further than rewetting degraded peatlands. Adding that restoring peatlands can generate income for sustaining site financing, it is no surprise this restoration topic is attracting attention. Multiple projects rewetting degraded peatland at scale have identified how to locate and prioritise sites for rewetting, how to secure permissions, and how to measure and communicate the climate/biodiversity/community restoration benefits.  While every peatland site is unique, the processes to successfully restore sites has key barriers at every stage that must be a) recognised, b) avoided or c) overcome.

Barrier 1: Assembling all required experts – nationally and internationally – and understanding national capacity development needs

Barrier 2: Finding the sites using peat resources, hydrological maps and aerial surveys

Barrier 3: Working with landowners/farmers/fishery associations, and local authority offices

Barrier 4: Employing drainage experts and their hydrologists to reverse drainage

Barrier 5: Using the GEST (Greenhouse Estimation Site Types) methodology (plant-proxy/water level) for baseline assessments and providing evidence from post-restoration monitoring, and communicating benefits

Barrier 6: Securing carbon financing as ‘over the counter’ or bespoke purchases and creating pipelines to finance and enable large landscape-scale restoration

This session welcomes contributions related to peatland restoration allowing to discuss the abovementioned barriers.


3.3. Remote sensing of peatland ecology and restoration

Coordinators: Koreen Millard1, Iullia Burdun2, Tauri Tampuu3

1Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario

2Aalto University, Finland

3KappaZeta Ltd, Tartu, Estonia



Peatlands, as vital components of the global carbon cycle, are under increasing pressure due to changing hydrological and climatic conditions, and anthropogenic disturbances. Various international and regional initiatives require or aspire to monitor peatland ecohydrological conditions, sometimes across vast regions. Ground-based monitoring can be supplemented with remote sensing, where various sensors (optical, synthetic aperture radar, LiDAR) have been demonstrated to be useful in capturing peatland ecohydrological conditions over time and space. Novel techniques in remote sensing are continually developed, leading to an improved understanding of peatland ecohydrology and the ability to monitor the response of peatlands under many scenarios (e.g. drought, disturbance, restoration).  

This session seeks to highlight innovative applications of remote sensing tools and techniques for monitoring peatland restoration. We also welcome presentations about monitoring natural, disturbed, and restored peatlands, as the know-how is transferrable between peatlands of various ecological statuses. We invite contributions that explore novel developments in the mapping of surface conditions (e.g. soil moisture, water table, vegetation growth, etc.) and/or change detection techniques. We also welcome presentations showcasing novel approaches to bridge the gap between in-situ field measurements and remote sensing data, thereby fostering a comprehensive understanding of the ongoing and potential future changes in peatland ecosystems.

4. Forests

4.0 Restoration of forest ecosystems

Here we invite contributions related to the restoration of forest ecosystems in general.


4.1 Restoration lessons for rethinking future forest landscapes in Europe

Coordinators: Verónica Cruz-Alonso1, Asun Rodríguez-Uña2, Andivia, Enrique1

1Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

2University of Cambridge, UK



Restored forests operate differently than natural ones or those recovered naturally after human impacts (e.g. land use changes, pollution, presence of invasive species). Frequently, ecosystem structure and species composition do not recover to baseline values when compared to reference ecosystems, and it is common to need several interventions to ensure the functioning of the restored ecosystem. 

The main objective of this special session is to share outcomes and experiences of forest restorations in different European forest types and discuss the best strategies to ensure the functioning of restored ecosystems under changing conditions. This session will try to be comprehensive to have an overview of different monitoring methods (metrics, reference value selection, etc), different spatial scales or target organisms, and contrasting management schemes. 

The boom of restoration and its consequent extensive legacy in the landscape make it necessary and timely to rethink future interventions based on the results obtained with different restoration strategies, and thus help practitioners to face restoring challenges under future conditions. 


4.2 Pathways to peatland forest restoration

Coordinators: Tuula Larmola1, Liisa Ukonmaanaho1 

1Natural Resources Institute Finland, Helsinki, Finland



Peatlands are widely recognized for their remarkable ability to sequester carbon, with up to two-thirds of ecosystem carbon stored as peat in the EU. However, peatlands can also serve as sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs), emitting different gases depending on the water table level. Consequently, the restoration of peatlands is considered a potential solution to enhance carbon storage and mitigate climate change. A high water table level prevents decomposition, thereby reducing GHG emissions, especially CO2, and ensuring the stability of peatlands as a carbon store. 

While ecological restoration, i.e. rewetting peatlands and removing tree layers partially or completely depending on the pre-drainage tree cover, is a viable option, it's not the only one. Climate-smart management methods, like continuous cover forestry, which enables to control the water level and thus has an effect on decomposition and GHG emissions, are viewed as more sustainable approaches than rotation forestry. These methods can efficiently contribute to the EU's targets to support climate change mitigation, maintain biodiversity, water protection, and provide income for landowners. However, there are still significant knowledge gaps concerning the impact of alternative restoration/ management methods in peatland forests.


We invite this session presentations from different aspects of peatland forest restoration relating to carbon sequestration, GHG emissions, biodiversity and water protection.

5. Grasslands

5.0. Restoration of grassland and dryland ecosystems

Here we invite contributions related to the restoration of grassland and dryland ecosystems in general. Contributions regarding both natural and semi-natural open ecosystems are welcome.


5.1. Open ecosystem restoration in the face of climate change

Coordinators: Péter Török1, Csaba Tölgyesi2

1University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary

2University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary



The intersection of ecosystem restoration and the science of climate change has so far been restricted to afforestation and forest restoration. This session is dedicated to increasing the recognition of open ecosystems’ restoration as an equally important tool in our fight against the effects of climate change and biodiversity conservation. We welcome oral presentations and posters spanning restoration planning to implementation and monitoring. Studies dealing with temperate grasslands, savannas, heathlands, peatlands, and other open habitat types are all within the scope. The role of open ecosystems in climate mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, adjustments of restoration practices for projected climate scenarios, concepts that challenge the supremacy of forests in climate and biodiversity conservation strategies, as well as evaluations of post-restoration management – with a special focus on disturbance regimes – are all welcome. We encourage submissions that improve our understanding of the restoration of ecosystem parameters other than species composition (i.e., functional traits, ecosystem functions and services, resilience, and the general multi-functionality of open ecosystems). Contributions may also include advances in basic restoration methods and the evaluation of their success in open ecosystem types whose restoration has so far been understudied but can be linked to climate-change-related challenges.


5.2. Challenges in restoring & rewilding Europe’s grasslands

Coordinator: Genevieve Stephens1

1Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Kazakh Steppe Project, London, United Kingdom


Temperate grasslands provide habitats for an abundance of biodiversity and play a key role in climate change mitigation: Sequestering atmospheric carbon; Enriching soils; and reducing flood risks. They are botanical and fungal treasure troves, supporting diverse flowering plant communities along with their pollinators, equally vital for agricultural ecosystems.

Over centuries, policies, economics, and poverty drove land conversion, overgrazing, fire, illegal hunting, land abandonment, and climate change that destroyed, degraded, and divided Europe’s grasslands dramatically, emptying the remaining fragments of their unique wildlife. Fortunately, restoring healthy grassland ecosystems is gaining ground and building momentum. This Special Session will bring together experts from across Europe’s most ambitious grassland restoration initiatives to discuss their pioneering techniques, solutions, and approaches to tackle head-on challenges facing European grasslands.

The session will provide insights into research, policies, and practices:

(1) Creating landscape-level approaches to restore and reestablish connectivity and ecosystem functions, including carbon sequestration, in large grassland landscapes

(2) Enabling trophic rewilding by reestablishing Europe’s native grassland species, from the largest ecosystem engineers to the smallest pollinators

(3) Facilitating co-existence for wild and domestic grazers, predators, and scavengers in grassland landscapes alongside agricultural communities

(4) Generating livelihood benefits and securing sustainable financing for grassland restoration landscapes.


5.3. Floodplain Meadows - managing and restoring species-rich grasslands on floodplains

Coordinator: Olivia Nelson1

1Floodplain Meadow Partnership, Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom


The Floodplain Meadows Partnership (FMP) will run a session on species rich floodplain grasslands as a prime example of a nature-based solution that can deliver a range of ecosystem services, whilst remaining a sustainable productive agricultural crop. It will outline the work of the FMP in undertaking long-term monitoring to improve knowledge about plant community responses to environmental change and how this is shared with those involved in policy development, management and restoration. 

Only 3,000 ha of floodplain meadows remain and only 11% of floodplains support any kind of semi-natural habitat in the UK, so there is huge potential for more floodplains to be managed as species rich grasslands, leading to a more resilient landscape in the face of climatic changes. 

We will provide practical advice on farming practices and restoration techniques and highlight current FMP research projects, such as analysing soil carbon and assessing the success of restoration. This includes involvement in European projects as the habitat stretches across central and northern Europe. 

We will discuss how we are using policy changes to support the management and restoration of floodplain meadows on a landscape scale, and engaging with the wider public through arts and creative activity.

6. Agricultural

6.0 Returning biodiversity to agricultural ecosystems: above- and belowground

Healthy soils and good conditions for above- and belowground biodiversity in agricultural areas are vital for sustainable food production and human well-being. Here we invite contributions related to improving the biodiversity and ecosystem services on agricultural land.

7. High human impact areas

7.0. Supporting nature in high human impact areas

Here we invite contributions related to supporting native biodiversity and returning nature in high human impact areas such as abandoned quarries, road verges, cities, power production areas, and “wastelands”.


7.1. Opportunities and challenges for ecological restoration in solar parks and wind farms

Coordinators: Sandra Dullau1, Armin Bischoff2, Csaba Tölgyesi3

1Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Bernburg, Germany

2Avignon University, Avignon, France

3University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary



Renewable energy solutions, particularly photovoltaic and wind power, are the main tools for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving climate neutrality for Europe by 2050. However, their exponential spread has a considerable footprint on European landscapes, with strong effects on biodiversity at different scales. Ecological assessments of renewable energy solutions have so far been scarce and revealed contrasting results, ranging from highly negative to positive effects on biotic communities and associated ecosystem services. However, adapted restoration strategies may even help to increase biodiversity if renewable energy solutions are constructed on disturbed habitats. We welcome oral and poster presentations to our session that examine the ecological impact of renewable energy solutions and provide guidance on how to minimize negative ones and take advantage of the positive ones. Evidence-based recommendations on environmentally sound design, construction and management, as well as the evaluation of social, economic and policy-related obstacles to recognising and using renewable energy solutions as potential areas of biodiversity conservation (and ecosystem restoration) are all within the scope of the session. With this session, we aim to contribute to resolving the looming conflict between renewable energy development and biodiversity and discuss a win-win that strengthens the synergy between the goals of the EU’s Green Deal and Nature Restoration Regulation


7.2. On a way to European Mining Restoration Guidelines

How much can we rely on natural processes across European regions?


Coordinators: Klára Řehounková1, Miguel Ballesteros Jiménez1

1University of South Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic



Mining takes place all over Europe, with over 100,000 post-mining sites, causing an undeniable impact on the landscape. Mining projects need to be accompanied by restoration plans that create significant natural value after the operation, but we lack sound practical guidelines for appropriate restoration across different European regions and mining contexts. Maximising environmental outcomes with minimum investment will depend on an adequate choice of restoration methods. Therefore, we need to determine to what extent we can rely on natural processes (spontaneous succession), leaving disturbed sites to be colonized by target species from nearby well-preserved habitats, and combine this with assisted restoration measures to overcome existing constraints or prefer mainly the latter. Properly restored mined sites have much to contribute to the improvement of current EU natural capital as demonstration sites and supplementarily support conservation efforts. Establishing an informal European mining restoration network under SERE and identifying the most efficient restoration approaches in different mining contexts in Europe is the first step. We welcome researchers, practitioners, representatives of the mining sector and anyone interested in sharing their perspectives. Let's do it!


7.3. Ecological restoration in urbanized areas

Coordinators: Karin Bachmann1, Julia-Maria Hermann2,3, Merle Karro-Kalberg4, Valentin Klaus5,

1Kino Landscape Architects, Estonian Art Academy, Tallinn, Estonia

1Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany

3Evangelical Lutheran Church District Rendsburg-Eckernfoerde, Germany

4University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

5ETH Zürich, Switzerland



Urbanization is an ongoing process and in 2030 about 80% of the European population will live in urban areas. Expanding (but also shrining) urban areas can be recognized as highly dynamic landscapes containing several potentially valuable habitats for wildlife, summarized as urban green infrastructure. Promoting the ecological value of urban green infrastructure is often seen as one of the most relevant strategies facing urban environmental degradation and integrating ecosystem services and wildlife into urban landscapes. However, approaches assessing and improving biodiversity as well as ecosystem functions and services in the urban context have to consider the particular urbanized setting, which includes intensive interactions with the city population. Thus, restoration approaches can often not be directly adapted from ecological restoration approaches of natural or semi-natural areas but have to be further developed or adapted. 

The aim of this special session is to highlight conceptual and applied research on urban ecosystems and urban landscapes, addressing the specificities of urbanized nature to improve habitat quality. With this session, we want to present new possibilities but also arising limitations of promoting the ecological value of urban green infrastructure to benefit both people and nature in cities.


7.4. Nature-Based Solutions: Examples of Soil and Water Bioengineering in Urban Restoration

Coordinator:  Paola Sangalli1

1European Federation of Soil Bioengineering EFIB


Habitat, in ecology, is understood as the place where the appropriate conditions exist for an organism, species, animal, or plant community to live. In urban planning, it is understood as the built space where man lives. Joining both definitions, the habitat of the human being should be the built space where the

appropriate conditions are given to carry out our life, in all its phases. But our cities are far from this definition. Increasing urbanization affects not only our habitat but also natural habitats and endangers our well-being as well as having negative consequences for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. For some years now, the EU has been proposing the application of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) as a tool to restore urban ecosystems. The future European Law on Nature Restoration takes into account, especially the urban environment. Within the NBS, Soil and Water Bioengineering offer proven solutions to build and restore urban rivers, deep slopes, phyto-purification of water, and urban afforestation In the special session, we will present different examples, some with decades of implementation in several European cities under different climatic conditions.

8. Ecosystem functioning

8.0. Restoration of ecosystem functions, interactions and services in changing climate

Here we invite contributions related to the restoration of ecosystems from the functional angle, keeping in mind the ongoing climate change. We will discuss which restoration measures are necessary to ensure the recovery of a healthy ecosystem and its ecosystem services. Contributions relating to the restoration and recovery of different aspects of biodiversity (functional, phylogenetic, genetic etc.) are welcome here. 


8.1. Restoring biotic and social-ecological interactions in threatened ecosystems

Coordinators: Vicky Temperton1, Catrin Westphal2,  Jacqueline Loos3, Annika Hass2

1Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany

2University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

3University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria



Despite a surge in international focus on ecological restoration the ecological, social and interlinked social-ecological influences and consequences of restoration remain under explored. Similarly, restoration has traditionally focused strongly on reintroducing plants, with little focus on biotic and/or social-ecological interactions. Yet, interactions between plants and animals or plants and microbes, or between social and economic factors influence how successful restoration approaches are in achieving their goals. 

According to the European Red List of Habitats, more than a third of all terrestrial habitats are currently under threat or degraded, especially species-rich grassland habitats, and less so heathland and forest. Many biodiverse habitats were transformed through human land management and thus the social-ecological context needs to be considered if restoration is to be successful. This session will focus on studies that address biotic interactions in restoration (such as below-above ground, predator-prey or plant-pollinator interactions) as well as the role of social-ecological factors that influence restoration approaches and outcomes. Moreover, we will analyze the characteristics of social-ecological networks that facilitate or impede restoration outcomes. This will provide an integrative, holistic perspective that targets different spatial scales as well as multiple facets of social-ecological contexts of restoration.


8.2. Recovery of genetic diversity as part of restoring resilient ecosystems

Coordinators: Tsipe Aavik1, Philippine Vergeer2, Zuzana Mynzbergová3,4 

1University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

2Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands

3Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

4Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic



Genetic diversity is the pillar of biodiversity. It is crucial for securing the adaptive ability of species to respond to environmental change. Hence, reinstating and maintaining the genetic diversity of populations should be one of the goals of ecological restoration. Genetically diverse populations support the recovery of resilient and self-sustainable ecosystems, which is an important aim in an era of ongoing climate change. Furthermore, genetic tools enable monitoring the success of restoration activities by providing information on various key aspects of biodiversity, the evaluation of which is not possible or problematic with non-genetic approaches, e.g., monitoring the recovery of functional connectivity (gene flow) among fragmented ecosystems and assessing the evolutionary potential of populations to react to factors of global change. However, despite the recognition of the importance of genetic diversity in the framework of the Convention of Biodiversity, there is yet a lack of consensus about whether and how genetic diversity should be integrated and addressed in regional and international restoration frameworks, such as the Nature Restoration Regulation recently proposed by the European Commission. The session brings together knowledge, experiences and best practices in restoring the genetic diversity of plant and animal populations. Based on current understanding, the session aims at taking a step forward for merging the genetic concepts and tools into practical restoration initiatives.

9. Policy

9.1. Implementing the Nature Restoration Regulation: technical and legal challenges for National Plans across Europe

Coordinators: Eleonora Ciscato1, Jordi Cortina-Segarra3, Kris Decleer3, Francesca Leucci4

1University of Milan, Milan, Italy

2University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain

3Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussel, Belgium

4Wageningen University and Research, Wageningen, Netherlands


The adoption of the Nature Restoration Regulation in the EU, mandating the development of National Restoration Plans (NRPs) by the Member States, poses complex challenges for the multi-level governance of nature restoration due to competing interests and unclear priorities in the law. This panel aims to pursue a twofold goal:

tackle the uncertainties regarding the preparation of NRPs and favour their alignment with international standards for ecological restoration practices; 

examine the intricate interplay between the Regulation and the existing legislation, such as the Renewable Energy Directive, the Common Agricultural Policy, the LULUCF, the Critical Raw Materials Act, the Habitats Directive, national pollution and land use laws. 

To achieve these goals, we invite contributions from ecological scholars that scrutinize the current state of NRP development in various member states and engage in discussions concerning the primary challenges encountered in this process. Papers should aim at analyzing existing technical and information gaps, fostering exchange among practitioners and enhancing the experts' capacity to influence NRP developments.  Moreover, we welcome contributions of legal scholars who aim to investigate the synergies and conflicts between NRPs implementations and various sectoral policies (particularly energy, agriculture, forestry, transport, urban development, etc.). We also invite analyses of the role of different institutions (public authorities, private bodies, civil society and hybrid organizations) in streamlining procedures to implement restoration plans and strategies, including comparisons with other regions of the world.

The discussion is aimed at developing concrete recommendations to implement the Nature Restoration Regulation in a timely, ecological and just manner at different institutional levels.


9.2. Standards-based restoration for elevating outcomes from the European Nature Restoration Regulation

Improving synergies with the UN CBD Global Biodiversity Framework

Coordinators: Diana Colomina1, Jordi Cortina-Segarra2, George Gann3, María Melero4, Bethanie Walder5

1WWF Spain, Spain

2University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain


4WWF Spain, Spain




The EU’s adoption of the Nature Restoration Regulation (NRR) is an extraordinarily proactive, globally relevant step towards creating net gain for nature and people by mandating that all EU parties develop and implement national restoration plans. Yet, the definition of nature restoration in the NRR is largely focused on European nature directives. Relevant aspects of ecological restoration are not explicitly mentioned in the Regulation, which could undermine restoration outcomes. Restoration advocates, practitioners, policymakers and investors can help ensure that the NRR delivers real benefits for nature and people by incorporating standards-based restoration, voluntarily, as the best-practice approach. This session will: 1) introduce the core concepts of standards-based restoration, 2) explore the legal framework in which standards-based restoration can be recommended and applied, 3) discuss the intersectionality between the NRR and the Global Biodiversity Framework and other global commitments), 4) introduce an experts network available to support countries as they develop their national plans, and 5) highlight case studies of standards-based restoration as already applied in Europe.


9.3. Towards Policy Coherence for Enabling Landscape Restoration. What does it take?

Coordinator: Victoria Gutierrez1

1Commonland, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Landscape restoration (LR) approaches that are systemic, based on long-term thinking, and work holistically to deliver multiple objectives, rely on mutually reinforcing policy actions across sectors and government levels. Yet, the lack of policy coherence remains a major barrier to landscape restoration. The session builds on the outputs from a 2-day intersectoral workshop on tackling policy discord to be held in March. It focuses on understanding and advancing solutions towards increasing policy coherence in Europe as a means for enabling and scaling landscape restoration.

The specific content will build on the discussions of the 2-day workshop scheduled in March and the collaborative work that is expected to emerge as a result. Organisations that are likely to be involved include SERE, The Nature Conservancy, EIT Climate-KIC, WRI, Gold standard, Oxfam, Imperial College, EU Commission, etc. This ensures the programme of the workshop tackles current efforts towards increasing policy coherence in Europe and contributes to ongoing work.


9.4. Results-based payment schemes for habitat restoration and maintenance

Coordinators: Annaliisa Kaaremaa1, James Moran2

1Republic of Estonia Environmental Board, Pärnu, Estonia

2Atlantic Technological Unversity, Dublin, Ireland


Action-based agri-environmental measures are currently the predominant policy mechanism across Europe. However, with the 2023–27 reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), member states have shown increased interest in incorporating result-based schemes. Compared to action-based schemes, result-based approaches are thought to have several advantages both in habitat restoration and maintenance. It actively involves farmers in the process, allowing them to adapt cost-effective approaches and promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility for the results. Additionally, farmers may opt for land that is best suited for habitat restoration and protection, a choice that might not be as evident in action-based schemes. 

While result-based schemes may be more efficient in attaining the intended outcomes, they come with various challenges, and it may not necessarily address all weaknesses of current schemes. More risk for farmers arises due to biodiversity outcome uncertainties, and both farmers and policymakers face elevated monitoring costs. A key challenge in designing result-based schemes is also finding the appropriate biodiversity indicators.

Several EU member states have already implemented numerous agri-environmental Results-Based Payment (RBP) schemes and projects, adopting a range of approaches from pure results-based to hybrid payment schemes. To assess the effectiveness and suitability of results-based approaches, there is a need for increased international collaboration and knowledge-sharing. In this session we will explore a range of approaches to incorporate results-based payments into agri-environment scheme design, the need for local/regional adaptation or coordination of approaches (e.g. territorial/placed adapted approaches) and the enabling environment required.

10. LIFE programme

10.1. Accelerating the achievement of EU nature restoration goals through LIFE

Joining forces & resources to restore EU Nature

Coordinators: Jan Sliva1, Lynne Barratt1, Sylvia Barova2, Giulia Carboni2




The LIFE Special Sessions have become an integral part of the SERE conferences. In 2024, the LIFE session will focus on strengthening the EU Nature Restoration Regulation by maximising synergies between LIFE projects and the EU Nature Directives (Habitats and Birds Directives) and other EU policies, programmes and funding instruments such as the other relevant pillars of the Green Deal (in particular the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and the European Climate Law), the WFD, the CAP and the IAS Regulation.

In order to make a maximum contribution to the ambitious goal of the Green Deals, LIFE projects in the area of ecological restoration are making considerable efforts to bundle the instruments and resources of all relevant policies and programmes in order to achieve a substantial and long-lasting impact on European nature and landscape.

After 2-3 introductory overview presentations have set the scene for the session, a series of contributions from selected LIFE projects will highlight different cases of such synergetic win-win pooling of policy objectives and resources with conservation measures and ecological impacts. Not only showcase successes, but also implementation obstacles and setbacks will be addressed and taken home as essential learnings from this event.


10.2. Fostering LIFE projects’ commitment to Principles & Standards for Ecological Restoration

Coordinators: Vito Emanuele Cambria1,2, Christos Georgiadis1, Maria Makaronidou1, Evangelia Korakaki3, Fabio Attorre2, Nikos Petrou1

1Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, Greece

2Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

3Institute for Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems, IMFE, Greece



Restoration practitioners and stakeholders, including LIFE programme beneficiaries and potential applicants, convene to exchange views and experiences. Through engaging discussions and practical examples, attendees foster reciprocal commitments and explore collaborative opportunities. A final talk summarises contributions, aiming to assess the LIFE program's impact on ecological restoration in Europe. 

The LIFE programme is the key EU financing instrument for environment and climate action, lending more than EUR 1 billion for ecological restoration activities since its inception. For over 30 years, it has increasingly supported ideas and solutions for restoring degraded landscapes, habitat types, and associated species. The special session will critically examine whether LIFE projects:

  1. a) have created standardised, transnational, interdisciplinary, and evidence-based ecological restoration schemes in Europe;
  2. b) have helped bridge the gap to fully recognise the Principles & Standards of Ecological Restoration in the EU; 
  3. c) can support Member States in meeting targets outlined in the EU Restoration Regulation, such as drafting National Restoration Plans. 

If you represent a public body, private company, start-up, NGO, university, or research centre, then this event is definitely for you. The event is sponsored by the project LIFE PRIMED with the financial contribution of the EU's LIFE Programme.

11. UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

11.1. UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and opportunities to support Europe’s restoration ambition

Coordinators: Bhattacharjee, Anushree, UNEP-WCMC and Ascenzi, Giacomo, UNEP-WCMC (as UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration partner agency representatives)



This high-level session will aim to explore the synergies between the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the achievement of Europe’s global and regional ecosystem restoration ambition, with a particular focus on targets under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

The current decade running from 2021 to 2030 has been declared by the UN as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The UN Decade is building a global movement to inspire and support collaborative action from all actors, including governments, NGOs, academia, local communities and the private sector, to implement effective restoration initiatives that deliver for both nature and people. To do this, the UN Decade is helping restoration actors across the world to identify the knowledge, projects, partners, and funding they need to support restoration action on the ground. The UN Decade is therefore expected to help achieve multiple societal goals, including those under the UN CBD’s Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (particularly Target 2 on restoration), and the Sustainable Development Goals. There are many best practices and cross-country collaboration efforts already emerging from the ten World Restoration Flagship initiatives that could be relevant for European countries as they develop their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and potentially even National Restoration Plans in the upcoming years. Understanding the linkages and synergies between the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and these global and regional goals can help ensure that the activities, resources and opportunities generated through the UN Decade are effectively used to meet social, environmental and economic targets.



  1. Yelena Finegold, FAO Forestry Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Co-Lead Agency): ‘UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework: Alignment with Europe’s restoration ambition’
  2. Florian Clayes, Policy officer on the Nature Restoration Law and climate-biodiversity synergies at DG ENV, European Commission: ‘EU’s ambitions for nature restoration’
  3. Anushree Bhattacharjee, Programme Officer, Nature Restored, UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration Partner Agency): ‘Convening key stakeholders to overcome the barriers to Europe’s restoration ambition and supporting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’
  4. Fisseha Tessema Abissa, Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank (UN Decade Task Force on Finance): ‘Ecological restoration: Practical Guidance from Armenia and Moldova’

Andrea Romero Montoya, FAO Consultant (UN Decade Task Force on Best Practices): ‘The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: best practices for repairing ecological integrity and enhancing human wellbeing’


11.2. Advancing the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration: collaboration, best practices and flagships

Coordinators: Andrea Romero Montoya1, Mark Day2

1Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

2Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Kazakh Steppe Project, London, United Kingdom


The United Nations General Assembly declared 2021–2030 as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and invited UNEP and FAO to spearhead its implementation. Under this role, FAO leads collaborative efforts on best practices and monitoring to develop several innovative tools/products and approaches such as principles and standards of practice for ecosystem restoration; a Capacity, Knowledge and Learning Action Plan; a framework for sharing good restoration practices; a Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring (FERM); and GBF target 2 indicators. This event intends to showcase these innovative tools/products developed through the collaborative efforts led by FAO and will provide updates on the progress made by the UN Decade after three years of implementation.

Five diverse European Restoration Flagships were identified in 2022, with one going on to be nominated a World Restoration Flagship in the first award of its kind. 

What marks out Flagships ecosystem restoration initiatives as different?

How can these initiatives be used to catalyse greater ambition and impact?

This Special Session will provide insights into research, policies, and practices that: 

(1) Generate evidence to inform the design of multifaceted actions across landscapes, across diverse specialisations over time

(2) Design and build core partnerships and wider collaborations to deliver both specialist and generic functions in long-term and large-scale restoration initiatives

(3) Understand then advocate for workable enabling policies that avoid perverse incentives and provide positive frameworks to scale impacts effectively 

(4) Build a clear identity for their initiative, to ensure that key imagery and consistent restoration messages are disseminated, and compelling stories are told to their priority audiences across both traditional and digital media over time

(5) Secure the essential financial and human resources to firstly build and then sustain these European Restoration Flagships

12. Various restoration topics

12.0. Various topics of ecological restoration

Here we invite contributions covering topics of ecological restoration that are not included in the rest of the session programme.


12.1. The added value of Long-term Ecological Research (eLTER) site network to upscale restoration

Coordinators: Bruna Paolinelli Reis1, Cristina Branquinho1, Katalin Török2, Alice Nunes1, Melinda Halassy2

1Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes & CHANGE, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

2 HUN-REN Centre for Ecological Research, Vácrátót, Hungary



Achieving global and EU restoration targets (e.g. UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, EU Green Deal and NRL) poses challenges such as the need for long-term understanding of ecosystem functioning and effective monitoring of restoration success, interdisciplinary collaboration, suitable reference ecosystems, and sustained funding. Yet, these conditions are often lacking, limiting the effectiveness of restoration. The eLTER can address these challenges by providing added-value services through long-term understanding of ecosystem structure, functioning and services in response to different environmental impacts, and its rich experience in interdisciplinary collaboration and standardizing monitoring methods for different ecosystems that can help identify best restoration practices and support the implementation of the EU NRL.

This proposed session aims to stimulate and dynamize the restoration hub within the eLTER community. Divided into three subsections, it will commence with the presentation of findings from an eLTER community-wide survey on restoration experts and projects, followed by audience feedback. The second part will feature speakers sharing experiences from diverse countries, and exploring their long-term knowledge in restoration projects at eLTER sites. The third part will foster an open dynamic discussion among participants, encouraging knowledge sharing, collaboration brainstorming, and promoting and dynamizing future activities within the scope of the long-term restoration expertise hub. 


12.2. Native seeds interest and production in Europe as a growing and collaborative network

Coordinators: Sandra Malaval1, Candido Galvez1

1European Native Seed Producers Association



When sowing is a necessity for initiating an ecosystem restoration, the question of how to choose the best seeds comes quickly around. Standard rules for ecological restoration are asking for native seeds, to restore ecosystem functionality, but native seeds are not the majority on agricultural and landscaping markets. However, a growing network of passionate farmers in Europe aims to make native seeds a reality on the market. From collecting the first seeds in nature to elaborating the technical routes for the production, or establishing the right mixture, this part of ecological restoration is a melting pot of talents somehow in the shade of the big lights.

This session aims to present the challenges that occur in native seed collection, production and availability for the growing number of Ecological restoration projects in Europe, along with the Nature Restoration Regulation. Both technical aspects of seed collection and production and systemic organisational issues can be presented here. 


12.3. Exploring ecological restoration through the lens of history

Coordinators: Radim Hédl1,2, Triin Reitalu3

1Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, Brno, Czech Republic

2Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic

3University of Tartu, Estonia



History provides essential insights into the ecological and cultural context of landscapes. It can guide restoration efforts by providing a baseline reference of ecosystem biodiversity, functioning, social context, legacy effects and future perspectives. Incorporating historical knowledge into ecological restoration projects enhances their effectiveness in terms of sustainable management of ecosystems. This session aims to bring together researchers and practitioners passionate about improving ecological restoration by incorporating historical perspectives. We invite contributions drawing on palaeoecological research, historical documents and similar data sources, both in the forms of examples and guidelines on how the historical information can be incorporated into the restoration decision-making.


12.4. Restoring nature in the 21st century: Balance between ecological restoration and rewilding?

Coordinators: Thierry Dutoit1, Grégory Mahy2

1Avignon University, Aix-Marseille University, CNRS-IRD, IMBE, IUT Avignon, France

2University of Liège, Belgium.



To counteract biodiversity and ecosystem service collapse, simply protecting existing ecosystems and species of high conservation value is insufficient, and restoring degraded ecosystems is necessary. To restore ecosystems and their taxonomic or functional characteristics, various concepts of restoration emerged in the 20th century, each with particular paradigms. Among these disciplines, we focus in this session on ecological restoration and rewilding because interest in rewilding is thus recently increasing, with a large number of conceptual scientific papers published in recent years. Increasing enthusiasm has led to discussions and debates in the scientific community and land managers about the differences and applications of ecological restoration and rewilding. The main goal of this session will be to compare experiments relevant to each field in order to identify not only differences but also how these approaches can move towards each other in the same project. Our objectives will be to underline the complementarity in time and in space of ecological restoration and rewilding and that reconciliation of these two fields of nature conservation will ensure complementarity for creating more synergy to achieve their common scope.


12.5. Education and Training to bridge the gap between Science, Practice and Policy of restoration

Coordinators: Patricia María Rodríguez González1, Ryan Campbell2, Álvaro Roel Bellot3

1University of Lisbon, Portugal

2Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Germany

3Imperial College London, United Kingdom. 


Biodiversity decline and climate change have pushed ecological restoration up the Environmental Agenda. Yet, despite scientific and technical progress, ecological restoration success remains limited, in part, due to insufficient knowledge exchange between academia, practitioners, and policymakers. Improving the exchange of ecological restoration knowledge between all relevant sectors, as well as between new and established restoration professionals, may enhance restoration outcomes. This, however, will require transformational change that draws from current knowledge, while incorporating the needs and views of future generations in its outlook.

In this special session, we will explore ways to achieve the transformational change needed to improve ecological restoration knowledge exchange between academia, practitioners and policymakers. With an emphasis on multidisciplinarity, education and training, and active participation of early career professionals. 

This session will be hybrid (in-person and online) and openly available. 

The session is organised by SERE’s Working Group on Education and Training (WGET), TEAM#UP and YOUNG#ER. SERE’s WGET aims to promote education and training in ecological restoration. TEAM#UP is an Erasmus+ funded project for sharing knowledge, tools, training and resources for ecological restoration in Vocational Education and Training (VET).  YOUNG#ER is a SERE initiative to support and involve students and young professionals in Ecological Restoration in Europe.


NOTE:  This session results from the collaborative work of the following SERE WGET and TEAM#UP project members: Patricia María Rodríguez González, Ryan Campbell, Álvaro Roel Bellot, Joakim Andren, Jordi Cortina-Segarra, Sébastien Gallet, Melinda Halassy, Anita Kirmer, Agustín Merino, Markus Meyer, Simon Moolenaar, Mark Nason, Bruna Paolinelli Reis, Emanuela Weidlich


12.6. The (hidden) role of support services in integrated approaches to nature restoration

Coordinator: Gary Goggins1

1LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature, University of Galway, Ireland



Nature conservation and restoration is a multi-dimensional multi-actor process involving social, technical, economic, environmental and ecological factors. Poor integration of these myriad considerations can give rise to barriers, delays and other (unforeseen) complications, resulting in suboptimal outcomes for nature and society. These issues are often exacerbated in protected sites (e.g. Natura 2000). Developing good practice in restoration techniques, underpinning restoration within broader land use policies (e.g. water, climate, biodiversity, agriculture), incorporating scientific knowledge, and securing appropriate long-term funding are all important to deliver nature restoration. Equally important are the often overlooked and sometimes hidden support services such as administration, ICT and data management, as well as other critical work such as communication of processes and procedures with landowners, policy-makers and the public.

This session will explore the potential for better integration within and across these various components to incentivise ecological conservation and restoration. Submissions are welcome on a range of related topics including, but not limited to, the design and implementation of integrated land-use approaches; integration of land-use policy; implementation of multi-actor frameworks; consideration of divergent actors’ views; perspectives of farmers, landowners and land managers; stakeholder communications; and the broader role of support services. Papers with a focus on Natura 2000, focused on practitioners, and with a strong social science component are particularly welcome.

Overall, this session will:

- highlight the importance of ‘support services’ (e.g. administration, IT, data management) for conservation and restoration

- examine how support services can enhance multi-actor approaches to ecological conservation and restoration.

- provide insights into how support services assist with the integration of various international and national policies related to sustainable land use

- examine successes and challenges associated with communication with diverse actors and the incorporation of perspectives and views of divergent actors.


12.7. Scaling-up restoration using limited interventions

Coordinators: Kristín Svavarsdóttir1, Ása L. Aradóttir2  

1Land and Forest Iceland

2Agricultural University of Iceland.



Ecological restoration has increasingly become an important measure to counteract degradation and destruction of ecosystems worldwide. The UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) and other global restoration initiatives encourage scaling-up ecosystem restoration and identify barriers varying from legislative and policy environments to technical capacity, scientific research, and public awareness. 

The aim of this special session is to address the diverse challenges and issues that need to be considered when scaling-up restoration. Topics include integration of knowledge across disciplines and bridges between science and management. The session will consist of presentations that cover a range of topics that need to be considered for scaling-up, including a broad overview of the need of it, examples of scaling-up in different contexts and the importance of issues related to stakeholders and governance.

13. Landscape scale restoration action in Europe

Block of sessions covering different aspects of landscape-scale restoration, jointly coordinated by the Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Programme  and SER Europe.


13.1A Measuring change at landscape scale: data collection and applications in restoration

Coordinators: Taylor Shaw1, Nancy Ockendon1

1Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Progam (ELSP), Cambridge Conservation Initiative, UK



Monitoring ecosystems after restoration action is critical for improving future effectiveness, informing adaptive management, providing transparency to stakeholders, and communicating change. However, monitoring can also be challenging, from selecting appropriate indicators, to designing a monitoring campaign across adequate spatial and temporal scales, data analysis and inference, and packaging complex data to meet specific audience needs. This can be particularly challenging at large spatial scales, which often entail additional climatic, ecological, socio-economic and political complexities. This special session focusses on techniques that can be used to effectively monitor ecosystems at large scales and uses of the resulting data. Specifically, we invite presentations on data collection methodology, analytic approaches, interpreting and communicating complex results, or challenges overcome to assess change and apply learnings at large spatial scales. This could involve methodologies that enable large-scale monitoring, such as (but not limited to) genetic monitoring, camera trapping, or acoustic monitoring. We are equally interested in how collected data can be applied within larger social, political, and economic contexts, to engage and inform stakeholders and promote change.


13.1B Perspectives on the role of remote sensing for supporting restoration

Coordinators: Jasper van Doninck1, Taylor Shaw2, Miguel Villoslada3, Louise Willemen1

1University of Twente, Netherlands

2Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Progamme (ELSP), Cambridge Conservation Initiative, UK

3University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland



Advances in satellite and airborne remote sensing instruments, algorithms, and tools continue to create opportunities that support, monitor and guide ecosystem restoration activities. Its ability to repeatedly generate data over large geographic extents, while achieving unprecedented spatial and spectral resolutions, makes remote sensing essential for the implementation of, among others, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and the EU’s Nature Restoration Regulation. How well are technical advances and tools in line with practitioner needs and skills?

In a mix of presentations and hands-on demonstrations, this session will highlight novel methods on how remote sensing data can be used to monitor and support restoration activities and showcase operational tools for the evaluation of ecosystem restoration effectiveness. The session will include reflections and an open discussion on how tools based on remote sensing data can (better) match the needs and requirements of the ecosystem restoration community. Whether you are working on restoration practice or tool development, this session is for you.


13.2A Strategies for restoring at landscape scale

Addressing complexities, cross-sectoral challenges, interdisciplinary aspects, stakeholder engagement, and the integration of nature-based solutions

Coordinators:  Sebastian Birk1, Florian Borgwardt2, Craig Bullock3, Magda Bou Dagher Kharrat4, Daniel Hering1, Shane Mc Guinness3, Agustin Sanchez-Arcilla5, Virgil Iordache6, Nancy Ockendon7

1University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

2University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria

3University College Dublin, Ireland

4European Forest Institute, Spain

5Technical University of Catalonia, Spain

6University of Bucharest, Romania

7Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Progamme (ELSP), Cambridge Conservation Initiative, UK



The conference special session aims to explore the crucial question: What practical knowledge is uniquely required for the effective systematic and integrated restoration of entire landscapes? Ecosystem restoration research is dominated by approaches that separately focus, for instance, on forests, wetlands, rivers, coastal areas or urban ‘ecosystems’. An overarching integrated landscape-based approach bridging different ecosystem types is largely missing due to a lack of interdisciplinary expertise. This division is also reflected in existing restoration planning and wider society, which is split into various sectors (e.g., forestry, water management, coastal protection). These ‘silos’ can also be seen in the design of the European Nature Restoration Regulation.

The session advocates for restoration strategies that embrace a landscape-based approach, prompting discussions on its characteristics, required concepts and models, and the design of planning and practical implementation processes that can effectively deliver restoration at large scales across complex heterogeneous landscapes. Additionally, the session seeks to identify and address barriers to landscape-scale restoration, emphasizing the need for collaboration between sectors. It welcomes contributions from both the scientific community, focusing on landscape-scale restoration theory and practice, and experienced practitioners involved in such projects. The discussions may cover diverse topics, including functional concepts, models, ecology, connectivity, economics and governance. We aim to contribute to a fuller understanding of landscape-scale restoration challenges and the solutions needed to practically deliver restoration at the scales required to meet new legislative targets, address the biodiversity crisis, and provide solutions to social challenges.


13.2B Knowledge needed for large-scale/landscape restoration projects: scientific and experiential

Coordinators: Virgil Iordache1, Sebastian Birk2, Pål Martin Eid3

1University of Bucharest, Romania

2University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

3SWECO, Norway


The purpose of this session is to explore the critical capacities and functions relevant to large-scale ecosystem restoration (LER) economy and to point out the complementarity of scientific and experiential knowledge and the key role of case studies in increasing this resilience. The restoration economy can be defined as “the market consisting of a network of businesses, investors, consumers, and government initiatives engaging in or driving the economic activity related to ecological restoration.” Its segment dealing with LER can be delimited by the large complexity of the system related to the natural, legislative, institutional, funding, project structure, and organizational network to implement the project, as well as of the economic sectors involved in the implementation of the projects. Success or failure depends on the interplay between the variables describing the environment of the project, its structure, and its functioning. For success, the uptake of scientific information is as important as the experiential (tacit) knowledge of practitioners, stakeholders, and policymakers. Scientific knowledge can be delivered to the LER economy by structures (models) and data (variables and measurements/estimations of their values), but in practice often it is not a limiting resource. Experiential knowledge can be transferred to some extent by narratives (stories, opinions, examples in common language). The role of case studies for LER is to provide hints about what worked and did not work in other situations, and on this basis to prepare the adaptive management and increase the resilience of each new project. The session will provide opportunities for scientists to interact with practitioners about the problem of LER adaptive management and illustrate the issues with examples of scientific knowledge transfer to current or potential projects and case studies. The session is conceived as crosscutting the missions of the LER and European sections of the Society of Ecological Restoration and is relevant for the development of the restoration economy in the EU through the implementation of the future European Nature Restoration Law, its effectiveness, and its efficiency.


13.3A Equitable and effective stakeholder engagement and co-produced solutions in landscape restoration

Coordinators: Bautista, Susana1; Ibañez, Andreu1; Disante, Karen1; Bonet, Andreu1, Torres, Aurora1, Derak, Mchich2; Cortina, Jordi1 and Fairburn, Billy3

1University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain;

2Regional Forest Directorate. Tétouan, Morocco

3BirdLife International, Cambridge, United Kingdom



The success of long-term environmental, economic and socially viable responses to land degradation lies in their ability to consider local conditions and needs, and to distribute costs and benefits fairly among the population groups concerned. The meaningful and inclusive participation of the local communities and other relevant stakeholders is also key to landscape restoration success. In this context, co-produced solutions become central to the equitability and effectiveness of the response. This Special Session aims to discuss approaches, strategies and good practices to co-designing, co-developing, co-implementing and co-evaluating effective and socio-environmentally sustainable responses to land degradation. The session welcomes studies on tested integrated science-society pathways to support effective landscape restoration and spatial planning against degradation, especially innovative approaches towards interactive multi-stakeholder, user-oriented collaboration such as Living Labs. Of special interest are contributions addressing collaborative governance systems and co-governance operationalisation methods, landscape- and multisector-scale protocols for restoration planning and actions, including integration and prioritization strategies, and methodologies and tools for participatory assessment of actions, tailored to different contexts and spatial scales. Studies merging environmental sciences with social, economic, and political sciences are also of core interest. The goal is to offer practitioners, decision makers, researchers and other stakeholders interested in landscape restoration useful guidelines and approaches to co-produce solutions built on a transdisciplinary science-society dialogue.


13.4A Supporting restoration through the development of nature-positive economies

Coordinator: David Thomas1

1Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Progamme (ELSP), Cambridge Conservation Initiative, UK



Development of new nature-positive economies can support restoration. The history of past land and resource use may have driven the loss of biodiversity and degradation of habitats, but these same land use practices may also have deep cultural importance. Elsewhere, traditional land use might have helped shape and maintain a biodiverse landscape, but the wider economic and social decline is causing their abandonment and consequent loss of biodiversity. In either case, if restoration at landscape scale is to be successful it needs to find ways of linking the creation and maintenance of nature-rich landscapes to the local economy, culture and wellbeing. This session welcomes studies and practical examples of how economic enterprise has been used to establish pathways for ecosystem restoration. Of particular interest are contributions concerning scaling up and networking of micro-enterprises to have landscape-level impact, the sustainable use of wild harvested products, and micro-financing for local eco-entrepreneurs.  The session aims to offer practitioners, planners and policymakers examples and transferable principles that can help design sustainable approaches to the development of nature-positive economies, underpinning strategies for restoration.


13.4B Restoring natural processes and ecosystem function at landscape scale

Coordinator: Nancy Ockendon1

1Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Progamme (ELSP), Cambridge Conservation Initiative, UK


In this special session we will explore approaches to restoring natural processes and ecosystem function as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to recovering biodiversity and delivering benefits to people at landscape scales. Natural processes may include disturbance regimes, such as fire, floods or impacts of large herbivores, as well as trophic interactions, such as predation, scavenging and decomposition, and connectivity that allows the free and natural movement of species with a landscape. Restoring these processes should enable ecosystems to reach a tipping point where management can be reduced and natural ecosystems can function independently, resulting in landscapes that are more resilient to shocks and pressures, including climate change and invasive species. 

Restoring natural processes can also provide a range of benefits for people, including flood, wildfire and climate change mitigation. However, such open-ended restoration will often require a decision not to have a final or desired target or end-point, but instead to accept that ecosystems are dynamic and will continue to change and evolve into the future. This can provide challenges to traditional, objective-driven approaches to conservation, as well as to designations based on the maintenance of ecological features. 

We welcome presentations that focus on the science and practice of restoring natural processes and/or approaches for evaluating ongoing and open-ended changes at large spatial scales.


13.5A Unlocking landscape restoration finance in Europe

Coordinators: Bhattacharjee, Anushree, UNEP-WCMC; Cassola, Rodrigo, UNEP-WCMC; Gutierrez, Victoria, Commonland; and Costa, Luís, Nature Returns



Restoration can play an important role in addressing the challenges of biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change while supporting ecosystem services and improving overall human well-being. However, several barriers are presently hampering our ability to carry out restoration at scale, and insufficient funding has been identified as one of the key barriers for restoration in Europe.

This special session will focus on overcoming key barriers to increasing investment in landscape restoration across Europe, including private financing. We invite speakers to present learnings from innovative models of bringing in and scaling up landscape restoration finance across Europe, including private and blended finance. The goal is to bring together restoration practitioners and researchers, restoration project managers and developers, policy makers and decision makers, as well as key stakeholders from the finance sector to discuss useful guidelines, best practices and approaches to co-produce solutions towards increasing investment for long-term restoration across Europe.



  1. Martin Varley, RSPB: A Brexit bonus? – How changing policy is financing nature recovery at scale in the UK
  2. Rosalie Wright, Blue Marine Foundation: Trialling Sustainable Financing Mechanisms for Seascape-scale Restoration and Monitoring
  3. Maria Antonova, UNEP-WCMC: Carbon Finance for Landscape Restoration: Opportunities and Barriers for Securing Long-Term Funding
  4. Luís Costa, Nature Returns (Portugal): Bringing Innovative Businesses into Protected Areas’ Management and Restoration
  5. Stephen Hart, EIB: Investing in Ecosystem Restoration: Way Forward for Public and Private Financial Options for Europe
  6. Rodrigo Cassola, UNEP-WCMC: Addressing the Barrier of Inadequate Finance for Ecosystem Restoration in Europe through Convening Key Stakeholders


13.5B Workshop: Unlocking private finance for ecosystem restoration

Coordinators: Bhattacharjee, Anushree, UNEP-WCMC; Cassola, Rodrigo, UNEP-WCMC; and Ascenzi, Giacomo, UNEP-WCMC



Insufficient restoration finance is identified as one of the key barriers to scaling up restoration across Europe. The Convening for Restoration project, funded by the Endangered Landscapes & Seascapes Programme (ELSP) was launched to help address some of these key barriers for scaling up restoration including the critical one of inadequate finance. The project aims to strengthen the dialogue between the various sectoral actors needed to ensure successful scaled-up restoration, such as the conservation community, restoration practitioners, local communities, the finance sector, and policymakers.

Under the project, a dedicated ELSP Finance for Restoration Taskforce has been established (led by UNEP-WCMC) with the focus of exploring opportunities, challenges, as well as the risks of increasing the flow of private and potentially blended finance into ecosystem restoration in Europe. This convening workshop is being organised by the finance taskforce members to brainstorm with key stakeholders from diverse sectors to start co-creating a playbook for restoration project developers across Europe to better access increased private financing. The workshop will particularly focus on capturing lessons and best practices on improving the financial attractiveness of restoration projects for private sector funding and closing gaps in capacity and knowledge for accessing private finance.  

The Taskforce will aim to continue engagement with the workshop participants post the workshop in order to continue co-creating the workshop outputs. 


Interested participants are requested to please register their interest through the below link or QR code:





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