Restoring Latin America's Landscapes


Initiative 20x20 is a country-led effort seeking to change the dynamics of land degradation in Latin America and the Caribbean by beginning to protect and restore 50 million hectares of forests, farms, pasture, and other landscapes by 2030. The initiative—launched formally at COP 20 in Lima in 2014—supports the Bonn Challenge and the New York Declaration on Forests, global commitments to bring 350 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2030.

So far, 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries and three regional programs have committed to improve more than 52 million hectares of land (or about 124 million acres, an area roughly the size of Paraguay and Nicaragua combined) through Initiative 20x20.

The initiative is supported by more than 85 technical organizations and institutions and a coalition of impact investors and funds deploying US$3.09 billion in private investment. 

Initiative 20x20 Map



An estimated 58% of Latin America’s climate-warming greenhouse emissions comes from land use, land use change, and forestry. When people cut down forests and damage ecosystems, the climate, biodiversity, and local people suffer.

Already, more than 40% of forests in Latin America and the Caribbean have been completely deforested or degraded. The region contains some of the most ecologically valuable forest ecosystems in the world, but 20% of forest lands (nearly 350 million ha) have been completely deforested and a further 20% (300 million ha) badly degraded. Large-scale and small-scale agriculture, infrastructure, and mining are the primary drivers of this change – and source of carbon emissions.

Why should people invest in restoring all of that land? It presents a special opportunity to shift the region’s landscapes from a carbon source to a carbon sink and to decarbonize the region’s economies. And because Latin America is home to an estimated 50% of the world’s biodiversity, protecting and restoring forests, wetlands, and other landscapes is key to protecting rare flora and fauna.

Healthy landscapes are also the lynchpin of the region’s agricultural sector, which represents an estimated 13% of global food and fiber trade. Sustainable agricultural and forestry practices – which can add up to $1,140 in value to a hectare of restored land – can support the growing demand for commodities and create jobs while maintaining and expanding forest cover. They can also help communities on the front line of climate change adapt to warming temperatures and extreme weather.

Initiative 20x20 partners are embracing that vision of a restored future by leading programs centered on six key techniques. In forests, reforestation (natural and assisted) and avoiding degradation and deforestation help bring ecological functionality to entire landscapes, protect biodiversity, and store carbon. In agricultural areas, the initiative works to boost crop yields while protecting water sources and soil health through agroforestry (trees on farms), silvopasture (trees on pasture), sustainable grassland management, and other low-carbon farming techniques. 

More than 60 examples of Initiative 20x20 partner projects that embrace these techniques are available on our Restoration Projects page.

6 interventions


World Resources Institute (WRI)‘s Global Restoration Initiative is the secretariat of Initiative 20x20. WRI works with governments and international partners to inspire, enable and implement restoration on degraded landscapes, returning them to economic and environmental productivity.

To get in touch with the Secretariat, email René Zamora Cristales.

Maggie Gonzalez  Maggie Gonzalez, Project Manager, Restoration Policy


Mary Gronkiewicz  Mary Gronkiewicz, Project Manager


Luciana Gallardo Lomeli  Luciana Gallardo Lomeli, Research Associate, Adaptation for Landscape Restoration


Victoria Rachmaninoff  Victoria Rachmaninoff, Research Associate, Restoration Policy & Biodiversity


 Natalia Ruiz Guevara, Research Analyst, Gender Equity in Restoration


Jerin Tan  Jerin Tan, Communications Manager


Rene Zamora Cristales  René Zamora Cristales, Initiative 20x20 Coordinator











Main activities of Initiative 20X20

  • Support national commitments to restoration by engaging in a robust dialogue with ministries of environment and agriculture;

  • Analyze the economic, ecological, and social barriers to large-scale ecosystem restoration and protection and identify solutions to those challenges;

  • Promote private and public sector investment in restoration projects and entrepreneurs.

Key Facts

  • An estimated 58% of greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean come from forestry, land-use change, and agriculture.

  • Latin America lost 5.8 million hectares of tree cover in 2020, an area of land larger than Costa Rica, according to Global Forest Watch.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean contain about 50% of the world's biodiversity.

  • In Latin America, every hectare restored can bring $1,140 in added revenue to local economies.

  • Land restoration can increase food productivity and security for an estimated 49 million under-nourished people in Latin America and the Caribbean.