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The Economic Case for Landscape Restoration in Latin America

Date & Time

Oct. 28, 2016
11:00am – 1:00pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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Land degradation is a major concern globally.  It has led to substantial losses in natural capital, impoverishment of soils, reduction in agricultural yields, job losses in rural areas and considerable greenhouse gas emissions. This is particularly relevant for Latin America, where land use and land use change are central to the economic and social fabric of the region and where these sectors are responsible for 58 percent of the regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  Latin America and the Caribbean account for over 20 percent of the world’s degraded lands, with 300 million hectares of degraded forests and 350 million hectares now classified as deforested—an area almost double the size of Mexico. According to a new report by the World Resources Institute, an effort to restore Latin America and the Caribbean’s degraded forests, savannas, and agricultural landscapes would result in substantial net economic benefits. Landscape restoration offers an opportunity to reclaim these lost benefits.

As agricultural and forestry demands increase pressure on natural areas, Brazil and other Latin American countries have a leading  role to play in a wide range of agricultural and environmental relief efforts. Latin American countries have even committed to begin restoration across more than 20 million hectares—an area larger than Uruguay— in the next few years through Initiative 20x20. Inspired by this and other efforts, the World Resources Institute report on The Economic Case for Landscape Restoration in Latin America, uses a robust economic analysis to put a dollar value on some of the benefits provided by restoration across Latin America. The report, authored by a team of WRI experts led by  Walter Vergara and Luciana Gallardo Lomeli, will be featured in an October 28th seminar jointly sponsored by the Wilson Center’s  Brazil Institute and Environmental Change and Security Program and George Mason University’s Environmental Science and Policy program as part of the series “Managing our Planet,” which has hosted over thirty unique seminars focusing on planetary challenges and solutions.    

Welcome Remarks

Paulo Sotero

Director, Brazil Institute



Helen Mountford

Director of Economics, World Resources Institute

Presentation of the Study

Walter Vergara
Coordinator, Initiative 20x20 and Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute

Luciana Gallardo Lomeli
Economist, Initiative 20x20, World Resources Institute

Panel Discussion


Sean DeWitt
Director, Global Restoration Initiative, World Resources Institute


Lester Brown
President Emeritus and Founder, Earth Policy Institute

Julia Bucknall
Director for Environment and Natural Resources, World Bank

Thomas Lovejoy
Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation

Hosted By

Brazil Institute

The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and US institutions in all sectors. The Brazil Institute plays this role by producing independent research and programs that bridge the gap between scholarship and policy, and by serving as a crossroads for leading policymakers, scholars and private sector representatives who are committed to addressing Brazil’s challenges and opportunities.  Read more

Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.  Read more

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

Thank you for your interest in this event. Please send any feedback or questions to our Events staff.