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The hands-on guide to 4 Returns holistic landscape regeneration

Over the past ten years, a group of local and international organisations developed and tested the 4 Returns approach to large-scale holistic landscape restoration. During those years, we gained many insights into what works in certain contexts and what does not. Although we recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all, many lessons apply more universally. So, by sharing our knowledge, we hope to help you move faster and create a bigger impact in your landscape. Determine for yourself what will work in your context, and what may not.

Each module presents best practices in a high-level, easy overview. For a higher level of detail and more practical pointers, a host of tools, examples, stories and other resources are connected to help you dive deeper and apply the knowledge in practice. You can go through the modules one by one or dive right into those most relevant to you.

The 4 Returns Framework

What are the 5 elements, 4 Returns, 3 zones, and 20 years? Learn our common language towards holistic landscape restoration....
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4 Returns principles

What are the key principles of the 4 Returns approach? These principles have developed over 10 years of co-creative regeneration work with our partners. Adopting these principles in your landscape initiative, will make you part of our shared mission...
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Creating spaces of belonging with Theory U

Applied to systems change around the world, and adapted for landscape restoration, Theory U has become an intrinsic part of the 4 Returns framework. This module shows how you can use Theory U in your landscape initiative. ...
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Defining the landscape

This module helps you select and define the boundaries of your landscape; whether you have or have not already selected your landscape. It also guides you through the scouting process, in case this is required.  ...
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Sharing an understanding of the landscape

Every landscape has its unique history and state, including a.o. its people, politics, economy. ecology, and climate. This module will teach you how to investigate and understand this context with a landscape and stakeholder analysis.  Cover photo by The Way Between ...
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Partnership building

Time to put words into action. Where do you start? How do you build a coalition of like-minded organisations?  This chapter gives some pointers on how to do this.  This chapter was heavily inspired by the books Team of Teams...
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Creating a shared vision for the landscape

In the Partnership Building chapter having a clear and appealing vision is crucial when collaborating, and collaborating is crucial for landscape restoration. This chapter will zoom in on what a 'landscape vision' is, how it may differ from other...
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Strategising: from vision to action

Having developed a good understanding of the landscape and its stakeholders, and having formulated a vision for the landscape and what you want to achieve in 20 years' time, the task ahead can be very daunting. This chapter focuses...
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Creating a landscape plan

A landscape plan is the landscape's strategy and plan for the coming 20 years. It includes an identification of the 3 zones and planned activities for each of the zones....
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Landscape teams

Local ownership of a landscape initiative is key to sustainable solutions. So, whether the initiative is convened by an external organisation or not, we believe that local coordination should be organised as much as possible from the beginning. This...
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Impact measurement to communicate and increase your impact

This chapter introduces you to what impact measurement entails. We show you how to develop your own impact measurement system in five steps and provide practical tips along the way. This chapter includes examples from the experience of our...
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Inspiring communities

A healthy landscape provides us with food, resources, fresh air, well-being and a stable climate. Yet, many people are disconnected from their landscape. How can we bring back hope and inspiration into a landscape? How can we truly connect to...
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Regenerative Agriculture for landscape restoration

Regenerative Agriculture can be a catalyst for holistic landscape restoration. The movement has grown more popular over the past years, bringing both opportunities and risks. This chapter will guide you through the basic concepts, practices, and examples of regenerative...
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Regenerative business

In order for restoration of degraded lands around the world to accelerate, we need the power of business to transform toward more regenerative business cases and business models. This module brings lessons learned from several 4 Returns businesses. ...
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Landscape Finance

Mobilizing different funding streams is essential to allow 4 returns landscape initiatives to grow, implement landscape-level interventions and develop 4 returns business cases. In this module we'll share our insights in fundraising, monetisation, carbon financing, and other forms of...
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Policy influencing for landscape restoration

Policymaking underpins our ability to protect and restore the Earth. Collaboration with policymakers can drive forward integrated, multi-level policy frameworks that support holistic landscape restoration and create more climate-resilient societies. This module is under development and will be published soon....
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Storytelling for the 4 Returns

Stories have an incredible power to change the way we think and act. Telling stories can therefore be incredibly effective in inspiring positive change in landscapes. In this module, you'll learn tips and tricks for telling your landscape's stories....
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