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About this guidebook

Welcome to the online environment of the 4 Returns Guidebook!

The 4 Returns Framework in Practice: A Guidebook for Holistic Landscape Restoration is an inspiring yet practical [online and print] book. The content of the book is the result of more than a decade of experience in restoring landscapes worldwide. The guidebook takes the reader through the complexity of long-term, large-scale holistic landscape restoration, providing clear insights into the ‘why, what, and how,’ of delivering inspirational, social, natural, and financial returns. Compiled by experts and practitioners from a diverse set of local landscape partnerships and international organisations, the guidebook aims to provide practitioners with the knowledge, tools & methods to use a holistic landscape approach for large-scale restoration initiatives. Through both stories and practical resources, the guidebook aims to provide landscape practitioners with knowledge, tools and methods needed to restore degraded landscapes and seascapes worldwide.

The online guidebook can be found on the 4 Returns Community Platform. On this platform, you will also find inspiration, resources and a network for 4 Returns enthusiasts and practitioners. The users of this platform collaborate to develop evolving knowledge of how the 4 Returns approach works on the ground by sharing learnings and resources.

Are you ready to accelerate your landscape restoration initiative, but don’t know where to start? Do you want to partner with local actors to contribute to a sustainable future for your landscape? Or would you like to learn how to communicate efficiently about your initiative to attract funding and decision-maker’s attention in policy?  The success of your landscape initiative is only one read away!

How to get started?

There are three ways to read and use the 4 Returns guidebook:

  1. Online guidebook: Use this online environment guidebook to read the sections relevant to you. Jump straight to the recommended tools and methods, which can be found in the toolbox of this platform.
  2. Print (parts of) the book. Instructions on this are coming soon.

The 4 Returns Framework in Practice: A Guidebook for Holistic Landscape Restoration (printed copy) is available for an international audience from July onwards. The book is not for sale.

Are you a landscape practitioner, or is your organisation active in (educating on) landscape restoration? Are you also curious to learn more about holistic landscape restoration via the 4 Returns or help us share the Guidebook with more people? Please reach out to communications@commonland.com for further information.

Would you like to help us promote the guidebook? Find a toolkit with resources here.

How to read the 4 Returns guidebook?

There are six sections in this guidebook, starting with Foundation, which explains the 4 Returns framework in more depth, with tips and recommendations for getting started.

The remaining sections are each dedicated to one of the 5 elements of the 4 Returns framework. The 5 elements break down an iterative process that makes holistic landscape restoration practical.

In this section, we will guide you through these main concepts by providing practical steps, resources, tools, and stories.

In practice, the 5 elements are not usually implemented in a step-by-step order, therefore this guidebook is not meant to be read from cover to cover. Each section’s introduction will navigate you towards the information, tools, and resources that you need. We encourage you to jump into the chapters that are most relevant to you!

The guidebook does not aim to be a blueprint that guarantees certain outcomes, rather it is non-prescriptive and provides advice, principles and experiences. This format underlines the fact that every landscape is unique. To find success with this guidebook you must adapt the information to fit where you work.

Get in touch with the learning network!

The use of ‘we’ in this guidebook refers to Commonland. However, the knowledge within the book has been gained from the collective experiences of a global network of restoration practitioners who have been testing and learning with the 4 Returns framework over the past decade. Therefore, we see the result of this book as a collective achievement. The guidebook is enriched with the knowledge, tools and methods developed by Commonland in our partnership with Wetlands International and Landscape Finance Lab. We look forward to continuing to grow our collective knowledge about the 4 Returns approach with an expanding international network.

Register on this 4 Returns platform or sign up for the newsletter to stay updated and connect with the network!

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