The 4 Returns Framework for landscape restoration described in this report is a practical tested system-change framework that can be used by stakeholders to undertake a landscape approach.

The framework seeks to balance competing stakeholder demands in a mosaic of different management approaches and business cases, to supply a full range of inspirational, natural, social and economic returns. It is a valuable tool to achieve the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to restore the ecosystems of our planet, and heal our relationship with nature.

The report offers examples from India, Fiji and Spain to demonstrate these principles in practice. ‘Use cases’ explain what this means for governments, communities, and the business and finance sectors.

What role does finance play in the landscape approach?

Landscape scale initiatives take time to set up: time to negotiate, build trust and often also to introduce new techniques, new business models and sometimes to restore ecosystems to a point where they can be productive again. Blended finance will be needed through this period, probably both direct finance in terms of grants and soft loans, and loans with long payback periods or that convert to grants based on good performance. Finance, from lending agencies, donor programmes, private investment vehicles and from individuals looking to make a positive difference, can all play a critical role in kickstarting such initiatives.

As the world hardwires the global goals into finance, the next challenge is to integrate investments at landscape scale, so they really contribute to large-scale ecosystem restoration and climate results.
Sean Kidney
CEO, Climate Bonds Initiative

A collaborative effort

This publication is a collaboration between Landscape Finance Lab, Commonland and Wetlands International, with support from the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management.

The 4 Returns Framework combines methodologies developed by leading organisations and people that have been working in the area of landscape management and restoration for over three decades, with the aim of creating a common language and reducing complexity. It brings together Commonland’s 4 Returns and 3 Zones approach, with the 5 Elements approach, a framework developed by a consortium of five organisations (including the Lab) and endorsed by fifteen organisations in the Little Sustainable Landscape Book. Wetlands International brings more than 25 years of practical field experience from implementing landscape approaches in large wetlands around the world and working with myriad communities and partner organisations from multiple sectors. 

The 4 Returns Framework has been endorsed by the 1000 Landscapes for 1 Billion People consortium, the World Economic Forum and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.  

After years of testing, the 4 Returns Framework for restoring landscapes is building a sound concept that can go to scale. It will be a valuable tool to achieve the goals of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Tim Christophersen
Related Landscapes