Many of the world's ecosystems have undergone significant degradation with negative impacts on biological diversity and peoples' livelihoods. There is a growing realization that we will not be able to conserve the earth's biological diversity through the protection of critical areas alone. When applicable, Ecosystem Restoration should be an important component of conservation and sustainable development programmes so that the livelihoods of people depending on these degraded ecosystems can be sustained. Ecosystem Restoration is thus a significant contribution to the application of the Ecosystem Approach, e.g. in informing the negotiation of land use options and enhancement of healthy ecological networks. The Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) has identified Ecosystem Restoration as one of its 19 priority thematic areas.