Inspiring and driving large-scale landscape restoration projects

Our goal is to extend the 4 Returns framework into a global movement, contributing to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Landscape development and support

Commonland brings a holistic approach to landscape restoration. Our international team of specialists offers our partners a wide range of support tools, advice, guidance and global network to maximize the 4 Returns framework at scale.

Looking out over the Wheatbelt landscape
Landscape planning with team

Identifying landscape initiatives

We work with large scale landscapes initiatives, as ecology will then work for you. Our holistic approach to landscape restoration starts by understanding  local leadership, ecological restoration potential, land tenure and economics of an area. We explore the potential of regenerative business cases, able to drive 4 Returns landscape restoration at scale.

 

Stakeholder engagement

The first step in landscape restoration is co-creating a common vision for the landscape. We use a process based on Theory U as developed by the Presencing Institute. These landscape vision quests with farmers, landowners, local NGO’s, governments, and entrepreneurs raise awareness amongst all in a way that allow them to see their own blind spots and opens their minds, hearts and efforts. It provides the relevant touch points needed throughout the years to identify and prioritize activities and realise long lasting landscape restoration partnerships.

We also work with partners to set-up 4 Returns Labs that bring people from different backgrounds and motivations together to seek out the root causes behind problems and explore new ways of collaboration. Our first 4 Returns Lab, For Tomorrow’s Harvest (Voor de Oogst van Morgen), has been set up in partnership with the Dutch Physical Environment Consultative Council of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. With 80 landscape leaders we focus on deep innovation and collective leadership development that will support transformation within the Dutch food and agricultural system.

Mapping: designing actions on the ground within three zones

During 3-zone co-creation mapping sessions, we implement the common vision in the landscape with all landowners and land-users involved. Designing around 4 Returns and 3 Zones, we define priorities, start activities like natural carbon sequestration through tree planting and regenerative agriculture, water catchment restoration and conservation. We foster the exchange of knowledge through trainings and workshops.

 

Business development

Together with our landscape partners we develop business cases built on regenerative agriculture, agroforestry and rotational grazing – from pilot to scale. Business cases developed to date include Almendrehesa, Baviaanskloof Devco, Wide Open Agriculture and Dirty Clean Food, amongst others.

 

Finance and fundraising

Over the years our international team has developed the expertise in mobilising blended funds towards landscapes, including grants, carbon, subsidies, loans and investments.

Knowledge and innovation platform

We are currently prototyping an online community platform called 4returns.earth. This online space caters to a growing global community of practitioners and other professionals involved in large-scale landscape restoration projects using our holistic 4 Returns framework. The 4 Returns platform connects you to a like-minded global community that shares ideas, tools, publications, events and stories. The platform also currently offers two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) via Coursera. Join the community and let us know what you think.

Lab day of the innovation lab 'For the Harvest of Tomorrow'
Workshop on our 3 zones approach