I. Global Status Reports on Ecosystems Conditions

II. Global Conventions with focus on Ecosystem Health

III. Lead Documents on Ecosystem Restoration

IV. Databases with focus on Conservation and Restoration

V. Journals with focus on Ecosystem Restoration

VI. Newsletter Services


Dear What IF visitors, it’s great to see you here in the resources section of the What IF site. This page is full of information about global ecosystem restoration. You will find links to key scientific literature, as well as organizations active in the restoration world.

Included are essays from a variety of fields that span investigation into our present day ecosystem conditions (I.), global conventions on ecosystem health (II.), leading documents on restoration (III.), information about how to revitalize degraded systems (IV.), journals on restoration ecology (V.) and a number of specific newsletters you can subscribe to (VI). All this information pivots around the topic of how functionality can be brought back to a large-scale degraded area.

We welcome feedback on what additional resources you would like to see here. Our hope is for this to become an open source portal for information on ecosystem restoration projects, studies and papers. Please contact Patrick Augenstein –

Our starting place is to learn more about the current situation – to better understand what needs to be done.

Section One will give you an overview of the most comprehensive studies ever made about the threats and status quo of our earth systems. It includes reports such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report, the Global Forest Resources Assessment, the Stern Report, an GIS-based estimate on global soil degradation by the Isric/Lada Institute, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, plus the annually updated Red List on endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

After gaining a good understanding about immediate and long-term threats to the life support systems of our planet, we continue with all current major conventions that try to create consensus to halt this destruction.

In Section Two you will find all international agreements on water, land and air. The Ramsar Convention, as an example, deals with protection, maintains and rehabilitate of wetlands across the globe and is currently signed by 161 nations. The control of the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste is regulated in the Basel Convention. The Cartagena Protocol deals with Biosafety issues. The Montreal Protocol is one of the rare positive exceptions that created legally binding policies that led to the restoration of the earth ozone layer within a few decades. The Rotterdam Convention tries to limit the impact on ecosystems from chemicals and pesticides as a result of international trade.  Do we miss a specific convention on global ecosystem restoration? Let us know.

How to restore degraded systems? The way to restore, and the philosophy behind restoration, is presented in Section Three. John D. Liu, in Finding Sustainability in Ecosystem Restoration, provides a visionary outlook. A Primer on Ecological Restoration from the Society of Ecological Restoration give practical hands-on advice about how to design and implement projects at scale. A restoration bible on how to re-green agricultural lands is provided by the World Overview on Conservational Agricultural Techniques (WOCAT), Where the Land is Greener.

Well structured information is provided by multiple databases with a focus on revitalizing our green infrastructure in Section Four. These include the Society for Ecological Restoration International, the Geodata Portal by the UNEP, the Global Restoration Network, the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies, Global Adaption Institute Index, UN Documentation Center on Water and Sanitation and the World Association on Soil and Water Conservation Knowledge Network. Information is provided for free on all these platforms. It could not come at a better time.

Indispensable, but not quite in the true philosophy of open-source, are four scientific journals that publish quarterly to provide the latest findings for a young disciple. Cutting-edge research is provided by Ecological Restoration, Restoration Ecology, Ecological Engineering and the Ecological Management & Restoration Journal. This can be found in Section Five.

For those of you who wish to get updated via newsletters regarding latest developments on the protection and restoration of our ecosystems we  recommend these four subscriptions in Section Six – the International Institute for Sustainable Development Newsletter, the International Institute for Environment and Development Newsletter, the Food and Agricultural Organization Infosylva and the IUCN Arborvitae Newsletter.








I. Global Status Reports on Ecosystems Conditions


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report












Global Forest Resources Assessment













Stern Report












Isric/Lada: Soil Degradation Reports







The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Studies














IUCN Red List












II. Global Conventions


Basel Convention









Cartagena Protocol










Convention on Biological Diversity






Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals












Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora








Kyoto Protocol












Montreal Protocol












Rotterdam Convention







Ramsar Convention








Stockholm Convention











United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification









III. Lead Documents on Ecosystem Restoration


Finding Sustainability in Ecosystem Restoration











SER Primer on Ecological Restoration












SER Guidelines for Developing and Managing Ecological Restoration Projects













Ecological Restoration in Protected Areas










WOCAT – Where the Land is Greener














Guide for REDD+ Negotiators










IV. Databases with focus on Conservation and Restoration


Global Restoration Network Database





World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies – Database








Society for Ecological Restoration International Reading Sources





World Association on Soil and Water Conservation Knowledge Network








Geodata Portal by the UNEP





Global Adaption Institute Index








UN Documentation Center on Water and Sanitation






The Center for People and Forests








EDX – Free Online University Courses









The Geojournalism Handbook










V. Journals with focus on Ecosystem Restoration


Ecological Restoration












Restoration Ecology













Ecological Engineering













Ecological Management & Restoration















VI. Newsletter Services


International Institute for Sustainable Development Newsletter













International Institute for Environment and Development Newsletter






Food and Agricultural Organization Infosylva Newsletter





IUCN Arborvitae Newsletter