Pete Whitbread-Abrutat was awarded a prestigious Travelling Fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) to research world class landscape restoration projects in the USA, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The range of ecosystems visited included tropical and temperate forest ecosystems, tropical islands, wetlands and drylands affected by large-scale disturbances, such as mining, tourism, agriculture, logging and urban encroachment.
The WCMT fellowship aimed to:
- Identify and understand the main challenges to delivering world class landscape restoration projects.
- Identify and understand the elements of success required to deliver world class landscape restoration projects.
- Develop a set of generic recommendations that should apply to almost any project anywhere.
The following landscape restoration projects were visited and investigated, with in-depth discussions with key actors in each:
- Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) and allied projects in Kentucky and West Virginia
- Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and allied projects in Florida
- Dry tropical forest restoration in Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica
- Tropical island restoration, Galapagos, Ecuador
- REGUA, Serra da Concordia Wildlife Sanctuary, SOS Mata Atlantica and Atlantic Forest Restoration Pact of Brazil’s eastern seaboard
- Tropical rainforest restoration at Carajas iron mine and Trombetas and Juruti bauxite mines in the Brazilian Amazon
- Pumalin Park and Future Patagonia National Park in Patagonia, Chile
- Estancia Menelik, Patagonia, Argentina
The WCMT project analysed the detailed stories behind each initiative, summarising them as a range of generic challenges and success factors that aimed to stimulate and inspire thinking on landscape restoration possibilities and opportunities elsewhere, particularly with respect to the international mining industry.