Alliance for Restoration of Forest Landscapes and Ecosystems in Africa (AREECA)

AFR100 member countries:

Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, and Rwanda

Area of impact:

20,000 ha direct restoration; 100,000 ha increased ecosystem and socio-economic functionality of degraded landscapes; 5,900,000 ha covered by planning processes of forest and landscape restoration measures

Investment amount and funder(s):

23,5 Mio Euro
Financed by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

Key partners:


About This Project

The loss of forests and advancing land degradation are among the many challenges people living in Central and East Africa face. Even as agricultural and land use practices continue to damage the land, the region’s ecosystems face the looming threat of climate change. These compounding effects undermine land productivity and food and water security, weaken livelihoods, harm biodiversity and reduce the resilience of communities to climate change.

Forest and landscape restoration (FLR), a set of approaches that restore ecological and economic productivity to the land, can help reverse that negative trend. However, poor natural resource governance, little access to innovation and resources, and unfavorable public policies prevent many AFR100 partner countries from scaling up their restoration work. At the same time, there are many African communities, enterprises and government leaders already invested in the movement to restore forest landscapes and ecosystems. As national ambitions to protect communities, the climate, and biodiversity continue to grow, so does pressure for local stakeholders to match these commitments in the field.

With the goal of unblocking the barriers to large-scale restoration in Africa, the AREECA consortium brings the strong technical expertise and ample experience of leading institutions to the task of large-scale landscape restoration in Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, and Rwanda. AREECA aims to increase the socio-economic, ecological and climate-related benefits of appropriately planned large-scale restoration for communities. The activities within the four partner countries differ according to the specific national and local needs, but overall, the program will technically support the restoration of a minimum of 100,000 hectares within each country. In addition to transforming the health of whole landscapes, AREECA strengthens the core capacities of local farmer organizations to make work on the ground more efficient and impact-oriented, improve household incomes, and improve the institutional and technical capacities for landscape-level restoration. The goal is to build private sector engagement and cross-sectoral collaboration, monitoring and exchanging on FLR progress and best practices, crafting subnational development strategies and raising awareness are the approaches that AREECA uses to scale up restoration.

The programme’s partner institutions support capacity building and provide policy advice to enable FLR, unblock large-scale finance and leverage resources, share experiences and monitor results. The programme’s monitoring system will integrate high-quality independent data within nationally specific monitoring processes. AREECA also works closely with the AFR100 Monitoring Working Group on the joint development of monitoring indicators for the whole AFR100 partnership.

Purposefully employing an evidence-based gender approach, the programme’s target groups are land users and their organisations at the local level, government institutions at the local, regional, and national levels, traditional authorities, private sector enterprises and NGOs, and finance institutions, with the goal of forming networks of action that can create sustainable impact at the policy level and on the ground.

AREECA will have impact by increasing and safeguarding carbon stocks in vegetation and soils, diversifying land use systems and the climate resilience of subsistence farmers, and reducing pressure on biodiversity-rich habitats. Around 185,000 people, with a focus on smallholder farmer households, will be directly supported to better manage forest landscapes. By providing farming household erosion control and planting materials, the programme will help communities manage both plantations and natural forests, establish and improve agroforestry and sustainable agricultural systems. AREECA supports private sector growth for FLR, e.g., by identifying and building the capacity of restoration entrepreneurs.

Country Impact


In Cameroon, the AREECA project is implemented in the landscapes of the Bamboutos Mountains, a volcanic massif that reaches an altitude of 2000 m. It is a landscape marked by a strong pressure from agriculture due to the high fertility of the soils, which allows people to grow several types of food crops. Under the program, inclusive restoration processes will be carried out on 25,000 ha and planning processes will be initiated for another 1 million ha. All on ground activities are implemented by GIZ, IUCN and WRI jointly with government partners, notably the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife and the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development.

In the selected landscapes, smallholder and medium-scale farmers, nursery operators, Bororo livestock herders, producer organizations, and small-scale entrepreneurs will benefit through access to financing incentives, capacity building, and increased productivity of land through direct implementation of agroforestry and watershed management measures. Special focus lies on women and youth groups as well as marginalized groups, like the Bororo livestock herders and their associations. Subnational government leaders, including traditional leaders and local natural resource management committees and management structures, will have a central role in planning, coordinating and monitoring implementation in the selected landscapes.


In Kenya, the AREECA project is implemented by WWF as the lead and supported by the two consortium partners, IUCN and WRI. Located in southern Kenya, just on the border with Tanzania and close to Amboseli National Park, the project area stretches from a small national forest on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to the surrounding agricultural land, rich with agroforestry systems cultivated by the local communities, and the flat pastureland used by the Maasai. The diverse ecosystems and land use types in this area provide a unique opportunity to apply FLR measures in a broad landscape approach. Key restoration methods are analyzed and applied in a participatory way. To achieve this, WWF works closely with the local population, authorities, organizations and the private sector. Through AREECA, suitable methods for successful restoration at target group level are developed to unblock large-scale FLR approaches by supporting favorable conditions for FLR implementation and by motivating all actors. In order to scale AREECA’s approach to other regions of Kenya, the project supports the development and implementation of the national FLR strategic framework.


AREECA Activities in Malawi will be implemented under the overall coordination of the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources and FAO’s technical lead, with the support of various consortium partners, such as IUCN and WRI. The programme aims to catalyse efforts for increasing the socio-economic, ecological and climate-related benefits generated from large-scale FLR. The main expected outcome is to increase ecosystem and socio-economic functionality across 25 000 hectares of degraded landscapes in the Ntcheu district, with direct FLR interventions on 5 000 hectares in the Mpira dam catchment area. Key activities include conduction of community mobilization meetings for selection of sites for planting the procured fruit tree and forest tree seedlings, developing awareness-raising strategies and collaboration with UN Women and Ministry of Gender to launch the Women's Network on Climate Action, and setting up the National Crosssectoral FLR Taskforce under the theme of "Building a restoration movement for climate resilience."

The implementation guidance provided by the National Programme Steering Committee, consisting of representatives of government, civil society, the private sector and communities, is critical for the programme's on ground activities. In December 2021, the programme conducted a field baseline survey and hotspot mapping to assess the current status of and restoration opportunities within the landscape.


In Rwanda, the AREECA  programme is being implemented by a consortium made up of the Rwanda Forestry Authority, IUCN, WRI, WB, AUDA-NEPAD, FAO and GIZ  and comes at a time when the country is celebrating the achievement of a 30.4% national forest cover and the self-reported restoration of over 700,000 ha of degraded lands in the previous decade. The programme builds on past initiatives, such as Investment Packages for Rwanda (IPR), to intensify and scale up restoration efforts in the country.

Targeting the restoration of 25,000 ha of degraded lands in the Kirehe and Nyagatare districts, the programme is putting up catalytic and supportive measures that impact the livelihoods of over 13,000 households and over 50,000 people. In a bid to reduce pressure on the forest, the programme is set to distribute 2,000 improved cooking stoves as the local authorities intensify FLR awareness. As an incentive for restoration, the programme is setting up a Community Environmental Conservation Fund (CECF) that will popularize restoration among the target communities. The programme is working closely with the Ministry of Youth and ICT to institutionalize FLR in the country, as youth engagement is seen as a powerful catalyser. The programme also is strengthening the existing Cross-Sectoral FLR Task Force platform to enhance institutional coordination and knowledge sharing.

Focal Points

Hannah Weggerle
Junior Advisor AREECA, GIZ

Mark Schauer
Head of Component AREECA, GIZ

Key Resources:

Photo creditsCourtesy of AREECA

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