The Political Ecology Playbook for Ecosystem Restoration is designed to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The playbook demonstrates that long-term restoration cannot be achieved without addressing the root causes of degradation, such as tackling colonial legacies, unequal power structures and persistent issues of social injustice. That requires changes across local, national and international scales. The playbook presents 10 principles across these scales to effectively tackle the root causes of degradation. Each arena requires a different strategy and approach. It is important to reiterate that local, national and international arenas are not fixed but highly interdependent and interconnected.


  • Privilege local knowledge and practices: Enhance and secure local and Indigenous knowledge and values, decision making, governance, management and land use practices.
  • Ensure participation of the most impacted groups: Recognize heterogeneity of local groups and existing power differentials, and be inclusive of different stakeholders across the landscape.
  • Ensure social/environmental equity and justice: Ensure that the most marginalized actors receive a fair share of benefits, and that restoration contributes to social justice.


  • Align restoration practices with local needs and aspirations: Implement a variety of restoration practices driven by traditional ecological knowledge, and local needs and aspirations rather than political and economic agendas.
  • Align state policies to support restoration: Align state policies and subsidies to support equitable ecosystem restoration.
  • Empower representative local decision-making authority: Work toward democratic decentralization of some government policies so local needs can be addressed in transparent and equitable ways.


  • Promote regenerative interventions: Shift incentives to regenerative development that supports restoration and sustainable livelihoods.
  • Prioritize social and ecological benefits over financial returns: Prioritize social and ecological investment models as opposed to models that prioritize financial returns on investments.
  • Ensure fair funding: Finance must be based on responsibility, accountability, and social equity.
  • Collaborate across country borders: Recognize that opportunities for restoration might not be equally distributed across all countries, requiring transnational cooperation.

Click on “view file” below to download the publication and learn more.


  • Tracey Osborne, Department of Management of Complex Systems, University of California, Merced, CA USA
  • Samara Brock, Yale School of the Environment, New Haven, CT, USA
  • Robin Chazdon, Tropical Forests and People Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD, Australia
  • Susan Chomba, World Resources Institute
  • Eva Garen, Yale School of the Environment, New Haven, CT, USA
  • Victoria Gutierrez, Commonland, Kraanspoor Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Rebecca Lave, Department of Geography, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
  • Manon Lefevre, Yale School of the Environment, New Haven, CT, USA
  • Juanita Sundberg, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada


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