The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism has the potential to provide the developing nations with significant funding for forest restoration activities that contribute to climate change mitigation, sustainable management, and carbon-stock enhancement. In order to stimulate and inform discussion on the role of ecological restoration within REDD+, we outline opportunities for and challenges to using science-based restoration projects and programs to meet REDD+ goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and storing carbon in forest ecosystems. Now that the REDD+ mechanism, which is not yet operational, has expanded beyond a sole focus on activities that affect carbon budgets to also include those that enhance ecosystem services and deliver other co-benefits to biodiversity and communities, forest restoration could play an increasingly important role. However, in many nations, there is a lack of practical tools and guidance for implementing effective restoration projects and programs that will sequester carbon and at the same time improve the integrity and resilience of forest ecosystems. Restoration scientists and practitioners should continue to engage with potential REDD+ donors and recipients to ensure that funding is targeted at projects and programs with ecologically sound designs.