At the core of every restoration initiative of Commonland lays the aim to work closely with local farmers, land-users and experts, ensuring that every project had the potential to develop a viable business case as the basis for its practices. In order to do that, Commonland has developed a 4-return, 3-zone, 20-year framework.
The 4 returns expected from the restored landscapes are:
- Inspiration: give people hope and a sense of purpose.
- Social capital: employment, business activity, education, and security.
- Natural capital: biodiversity, water and soil quality improvement.
- Financial capital: long-term sustainable profits.
In every landscape 3 geographic zone are distinguished, each with a different balance between economic activity and undisturbed nature:
- The first zone is the natural zone, where most nature is untouched. The objective here is to fully conserve and restore the ecosystem so that it can provide all the services it has the potential to provide: rich biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water regulation, and forest products.
- The second zone is a combined zone, with the objective to restore the topsoil and deliver low and sustainable economic productivity. Ecosystems are restored to provide biodiversity and carbon sequestration, but in this area agroforestry, fruit and timber production and tourism activities also take place.
- The third zone is the economic zone, designed to deliver high and sustainable economic productivity. Here crops are sustainably grown and harvested, and infrastructure and real estate development take place.
Figure 1: 4 Returns.