While land degradation and deforestation date back millennia, industrialization and a rising population have dramatically accelerated the process. Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.
Currently, nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth. Recognizing this opportunity, the African Union set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
Land restoration is an urgent response to the poor management of land. Forest and landscape restoration is the process of reversing the degradation of soils, agricultural areas, forests, and watersheds thereby regaining their ecological functionality. According to the World Resources Institute, for every $1 invested in land restoration it can yield $7-$30 in benefits, and now is the time to prove it.
THE CHALLENGE: This challenge aims to find and award the best tech(-enabled) solutions in the land restoration and land degradation space. The challenge aims to find environmental, social and financial startups that are focusing on land restoration activities.
In a nutshell, a specific emphasis is laid on, but not limited to:
Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and/or conservation purposes
Startup using big data and technology to reverse land degradation
Technology used to optimise resource efficiency, reduce impacts on ecosystems and lower carbon emissions
Water-Saving Soil Technologies
Technologies focused on improving livelihoods and communities
Planning, management and education tools for land restoration
Agriculture (with a focus on precision conservation) and Agro-Forestry
Clean Energy solutions that aid in the combat of land degradatio