Getting Started on Restor: Videos
Welcome to Restor
Thank you for joining our Global Community! We are excited to help you get started using the platform.
What is Restor?
An introduction to Restor, its features, the people who are using it to restore nature.
Providing Site Data for Multiple Sites
Creating and Publishing Site Profiles
Benefits with Public Sites
There are plenty of benefits to setting your sites public on Restor. We've been talking to you, our users and these are some of the biggest perceived benefits. To find out what it means to set your sites public click here.
What kind of projects does Restor support?
Restor best supports projects working on sustainable land use, ranging from conservation to agroforestry, sustainable forest management, regenerative agriculture, and natural regeneration, but we invite all kinds of land-use projects to benefit from the knowledge in Restor and improve their impact on ecosystems. We currently have 12 intervention type categories to choose from when you save a project. While we welcome marine restoration projects, the data in Restor is not yet tailored to that context.
What countries are included?
Our data has global coverage and people from all countries are welcome on the platform.
Which habitats and ecosystems is Restor made for?
Restor is made for projects working across any habitat or ecosystem. Restor provides information and functionalities that facilitate the work across the globe. To visualize the diversity of restoration types, we particularly encourage projects working in habitats that are currently underrepresented in global discussions to publish their sites on Restor!
What types of restoration interventions can be registered on Restor?
Any type of land management is welcome on Restor. The site profile template lets you categorize interventions as follows: Active restoration, Agroforestry, Assisted natural regeneration, Conservation and ecosystem protection, Human disturbance removal, Landscape scale intervention, Passive natural regeneration, Restoring natural disturbance regimes, Sustainable agriculture, or Other. You’ll find definitions for each of these by clicking on the (i) button.
Restor provides data, tools and connections to help improve the sustainability of land management, and increase the beneficial impacts an intervention has on climate and biodiversity.
Only one intervention type can be selected per site. If multiple intervention types are being planned or implemented within one site, you have a few options: 1) you can register multiple sites, each representing a specific intervention type, and organize them within a shared collection, 2) you can register one site and select the dominant intervention type for your project, potentially creating new custom fields for the secondary intervention types 3) you can select “Landscape scale” as your intervention type and add custom fields to describe the multiple interventions associated with your project. Please choose whichever option works best for you and your project goals! Remember, you can always provide additional detail in your project description and through custom fields.
Does Restor cost anything?
Restor is free! We’ve been able to build our platform through the generous donations of philanthropists and the goal is to share our science as widely as possible. We may charge a fee for specific additional features or services in the future but the general Restor features will always be freely available for everyone.
Who is Restor for?
Restor is for you! Restor is for everyone engaged with or interested in the ecological restoration movement. From the people and organizations implementing restoration and conservation projects to the people and organizations investing in those projects with their time, knowledge, or financial resources. Restor is also for people who just want to learn more about restoration.
How do I access Restor?
The Restor platform is currently available by sign up only. You can sign up to access the beta version of the platform here. Since Restor is a brand new platform that involves a lot of novel code and data layers, we are still working out some of the kinks as we see how the platform performs under real world conditions. We are carefully monitoring the platform’s performance as more users come on board and making the necessary adjustments to ensure Restor can provide an excellent experience to everyone in the future. We are onboarding users as swiftly as we are able and you should hear from our team within a few days of signing up.
Restor as an Organization
What is Restor’s relationship with Crowther Lab?
The idea for Restor was born in 2017 in the Crowther Lab. Ecologists at the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich use machine learning models, field data, satellite imagery and environmental information to generate new maps that describe global ecosystems. The concept for Restor was to build a platform that could make all of this information readily available to the practitioners on the ground who are managing ecosystems directly. In 2020, the Crowther Lab began working with Google to build and scale Restor into a functioning online ecosystem, in collaboration with a wide network of restoration projects, communities, scientists, and environmental organizations around the world. Restor is now a separate organization, built for and with groups of all sizes that work in the restoration space to plan, manage and monitor restoration projects.
What is Restor’s relationship with Google?
The Restor platform was developed in collaboration with Google, but is now a fully separate entity that is owned and operated by the Restor Foundation.
Restor is supported by a $1M grant from Google.org, to help the Restor team test new ways to collect data about individual restoration projects at scale, and use that data to help restoration organisations better monitor those projects over time.
What is Restor’s legal status? Is Restor a not for profit organization?
Yes. Restor is 100% owned by a Swiss charitable Foundation, with the purpose to restore, preserve and maintain global ecosystems and their biodiversity.
Restor Models & Data
What are Restor’s data sources / where does Restor’s data come from?
References for all of our data sources can be found in the platform by clicking the “i” icon in the top corner of any data display. Restor gives preference to data layers and methodologies that are peer-reviewed, published in scientific journals, or otherwise validated by experts. Our Science Advisory Council assists us in deciding what data goes on the platform, to ensure quality.
Restor has great satellite imagery now, but what about future satellite data?
We are working with technology providers to ensure we can provide data over the long term. The ESRI maps that power our monitoring tool will be updated every 2-3 years for the next 20 years.
I’m getting native species suggestions for plants that don’t seem suitable for the place I’m looking at, what’s going on?
The suggestions outlined in the “plant species” section represent a set of species that could possibly grow at your site, based on predictive models that correlate on-the-ground observations (in this case the presence of different plant species) with environmental data (things like the local climate, elevation and the type of soil present) to estimate where a given species might occur. The environmental variables that inform the models we’ve included are typically relatively low resolution (often 1km2 or more), meaning that they can provide predictions at broader scales, but cannot capture very local-scale variation. Our species lists may therefore not be perfectly accurate at the scale of your backyard (for example), which might be drier than average for the area, have less fertile soil, etc. – this is a great example of why global data needs to be paired with on the ground knowledge and experience! We always recommend consulting with local experts before starting any new restoration projects.
I have concerns about sharing my data.
I have concerns about the Restor platform using my browsing data.
Why is some site information required to create a polygon?
Restor has consulted with a wide range of experts in order to determine which information is required vs. optional to create a site profile. There are several important reasons to include some consistent baseline information: it makes it possible to filter projects on Restor based on key characteristics, it provides standardized data to researchers seeking to improve restoration science, and it ensures a minimum level of transparency across the Restor community. Restor is currently participating in multi-stakeholder processes to develop consistent sets of restoration indicators. As these indicator processes advance, we may shift site information to reflect them.
What does it mean to make my restoration project “public”?
Setting a site to "public" means it can be viewed by anyone with access to the Restor platform. Your site will appear in searches, be shareable between users on Restor, and show up on our global map of restoration projects. All of the information you enter into Restor about your site (including pictures) can be seen by anyone using Restor. To set a site to "public" you have to provide a minimum amount of project-specific information (e.g. Site Status, Pre/Post-Restoration Land Use and Intervention Type), plus any other additional information you choose to add. If your site is set to "private", it will NOT appear on our global map and is viewable to only you and the Restor accounts that you have explicitly granted access to.
What are the guidelines for making a polygon “public”?
We welcome all kinds of restoration projects on Restor and want to connect people to them. Sites that have reached a late stage of planning, are already underway, are actively protected, or are completed should be set to “public”. Sites that you create to learn about an area, or to scope out an idea should remain private. While we do not require proof of land ownership to share sites publicly on Restor, we do ask that you act in good faith and only publish sites where 1) you have rights to the land, 2) you are working with the individual(s) with rights to the land or 3) you are sharing a site with the goal of bringing awareness to restoration work in the area and have transparently identified that you are not the land-owner.
What are private polygons?
A polygon can be kept private, meaning it won’t be shown on the global map and can’t be found through the search function. When keeping polygons private, you can still manage them for internal purposes. Polygons should stay private if you are using them to explore a potential restoration site or to learn more about an area you are interested in.
When I upload or create a polygon, what data gets publicly shared?
Creating a site on Restor does not mean it will be publicly shared. Each user will make that decision about each site. You can also choose to upload photos and site descriptions and an organizational overview to your projects (both public and private).
Will Restor have an API so I can export my information to an external website?
We plan to build an API to make our data available more widely and are scoping features for that, but our current focus is ensuring Restor’s core system functionalities and data.
Is there a way to easily import multiple existing shape files?
Right now, you can only upload one polygon at a time, but we know this is cumbersome and are working hard on expanding this functionality. If you have many sites or a lot of site information, contact us and we are also available to support you with your import.
What does an optimal site profile look like?
An optimal profile provides all the relevant information available. Transparency is a really important part of monitoring and knowledge sharing. The more you share, the more others can learn from you. We encourage you to share photos that help people see what kind of restoration is happening and make your profile more engaging to interact with. We also encourage you to add your contact information so other practitioners, volunteers, or anyone else that’s interested in your project can get in touch. Please note, any images uploaded to the site must be appropriate for all audiences. We use a machine learning programme to identify any images or text that might be considered inappropriate.
How will Restor include social information in the future?
Although Restor is a platform born out of an ecological science lab, we fully believe that long-term restoration success depends on social and economic dynamics. We will have social information as part of the required and optional fields when you make your site profile on the platform and are working on globally available socially relevant map layers. We are also working with social scientists to build a survey that will be circulated via the platform, and to identify emerging global layers of social and economic data relevant to restoration and conservation activities. The most valuable social information will come from what users like you provide on their profiles.
How does Restor manage quality control of user input?
The level of a project’s transparency, monitoring data, and inputs from the Restor community are all cues that help assess the quality of a project. Restor aims to encourage transparency for all types of projects - those starting, succeeding, or still struggling to find the best solutions for their context. By having required data to make a project public, we ensure a minimum level of transparency.
How are you ensuring that local communities are not negatively impacted by your platform?
One of our goals is to ensure that restoration success is no longer limited by information access, which can disproportionally affect local communities. We hope that Restor can have a positive impact for anyone who uses it, including local communities using our tools to restore or conserve their lands, but we understand that we ultimately can’t control how people practice restoration. We wholeheartedly believe that ecosystem restoration needs to be socially responsible, fully engaging and respecting local and indigenous peoples. We are working towards a future in which Restor makes an active positive contribution to socially responsible restoration. In the meantime, we are mitigating possible negative impacts using the tools we currently have, including disclaimers and expert support from our Science Advisory Council.
Is Restor working with other restoration monitoring platforms?
Yes, we are actively collaborating with other organizations doing this work.
Can I mention that I’m working with Restor?
Of course! We welcome partners and site users sharing that they are using Restor in their work and restoration action. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to use our logo.