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  • On the move: People and forests in a globalized world

On the move: People and forests in a globalized world

Christine Padoch at the Center for International Forestry Research. CIFOR Photo/Aris Sanjaya
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By Catriona Croft-Cusworth, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News
Christine Padoch at the Center for International Forestry Research. CIFOR Photo/Aris Sanjaya
Christine Padoch at the Center for International Forestry Research. CIFOR Photo/Aris Sanjaya

Inclusive development is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, kicking off this week in Davos, Switzerland. We sat down with Christine Padoch, former Director of CIFOR’s Forests and Human Wellbeing Team, to discuss how inequality relates to global migration patterns, and what it all means for forests.

DO YOU SEE A LINK BETWEEN GLOBAL DISPARITIES AND MIGRATION PATTERNS?   

I think that when we talk about disparity, what most people are talking about is income disparity. But the disparities between rural areas and urban areas in services, like education, healthcare and so on, are enormous in many of the countries that we work in. The difference in the education that Dayak farmers’ kids in Kalimantan villages get, versus what the middle class kids in Jakarta get is like night and day. So it’s not just income disparities we need to understand, but also disparities in services. And that, obviously, pushes migration.

What I’ve done in my own research on migration in the Peruvian Amazon, is to interview people on why they went to the city in the first place. It’s very often not because they expected to get a better job, but because they needed to go for education, for healthcare – just to really feel that they’re integrated into regional or national society. Communications networks still don’t reach many of these remote Amazonian areas.


I think it’s very often those kinds of disparities that are really pushing migration within countries. And international migration is driven by that and by income disparities as well. So I think that growing inequality in many places certainly drives a lot of mobility. And how migration interacts with forests is a complex issue, as we know.

WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS FOR FOREST-DEPENDENT COMMUNITIES?

For forest-dependent people, we first need to understand that their incomes tend to be sourced in very complex ways, and that actually has been the case for a long time. Remittances are one of those sources for many people.

MIGRATION PATTERNS
Unpacking migration and gender in Nepal’s community forests

Migrants tend to send home personal remittances. With the scale of migration that we are seeing today, remittances, both international and internal, have become enormous flows of income, and they’re very important for many forest-dependent households today. I think in places like Indonesia, for example, we’ve misunderstood — and certainly, we’ve underestimated — how important this has been for a long time.

Remittances are very interesting because they go directly to households, unlike development aid, which goes through government agencies, and  before it reaches households is encumbered by a large number of requirements and processes. Whereas personal remittances are important because they come in directly and households really can determine how they want to use them, and often the actual remittance flows are far, far larger than development aid.

Click to read: People in motion, forests in transition: Trends in migration, urbanization, and remittances and their effects on tropical forests
Click to read

WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS FOR FORESTS?

Whenever foresters have talked about migration and forests before, they have considered it a negative, often summarized by simplistic statements like “migrants cut forests”. But the truth is that if we look closely, we see that there is a lot of migration not just into forests, but also out of forests, and how that affects forests is something that has been given less attention by researchers. So our projects are looking at, for instance, how much income comes in from migration flows by those who leave forests, how households and communities are investing that income, and how that affects forest use.

We have indications that in some places, migration ultimately results in more forest cover not less, because people choose to buy more food from the market rather than clear forest to plant their own, and because they no longer have the labor force to cut trees.  So fewer trees are cut and forests may recover. But on the other hand, we have also seen that remittances may be invested in chainsaws and hired labor to cut more trees, so as I said, it’s a complex issue. We are trying to identify the factors that lead to different outcomes for communities and for forests.

There are many, many different pathways by which migration affects forest users and could potentially affect forest use. What the outcomes are depends on other variables in communities, and certainly inequality is one of these. We hope to understand enough about migration and forests to ultimately help promote policies that result in less pronounced disparities, as well as better forest management.

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
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  • Guinea pig or pioneer: Translating global environmental objectives through to local actions in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia’s REDD+ pilot province

Guinea pig or pioneer: Translating global environmental objectives through to local actions in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia’s REDD+ pilot province

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Authors: Sanders, A.J.P.; da Silva Hyldmo, H.; Prasti H., R.D.; Ford, R.M.; Larson, A.M.; Keenan, R.J.

Many difficulties have arisen from top-down approaches to the design and implementation of global environmental initiatives. The concept of translation and other analytical features of Actor-Network Theory (ANT) can offer a way of conceptualising these difficulties and their practical effects. By translation, we refer to what happens in-between the formulation of international goals and the results of implementation, and more specifically, relations and negotiations within this broader process. We examine several aspects of translation in the case of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a prominent global environmental initiative. Using an ethnographic approach, we explore local responses in Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia, to REDD+ ideas and goals that originate at international and national levels. Following selection in 2010 as the official REDD+ pilot province, Central Kalimantan became a site for the convergence of actors and projects with varied sources of funding. The study identifies a central tension that emerged between an initial vision of Central Kalimantan as a pioneer, and local concerns about being used as an experimental subject or ‘guinea pig’ for the testing of externally designed schemes. Results show that greater flexibility in the design of programs and initiatives is needed, to provide space for local inputs. Implementation should pay attention to how local actors are included in planning processes that inform decision-making at higher jurisdictional levels. To bring about intended changes in land use, programs like REDD+ need to extend beyond a focus on short-term projects and targets, to instead emphasise long-term investments and forms of collective action that support learning.

Source: CIFOR Publications

Publication Year: 2017

ISSN: 0959-3780

Source: Global Environmental Change 42: 68-81

DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2016.12.003

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  • New hope for agroforestry in Myanmar

New hope for agroforestry in Myanmar

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agroforestry-has-a-long-history-in-myanmarBy Prasit Wangpakapattanawong, originally posted at Agroforestry World Blog

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a newly democratic country. Centuries before, this country was rich in culture, natural resources and competent citizens, the latter likely influenced by the colonial government of Britain. Visiting the former capital, Yangon, in the rainy season gives you a sense of how green the city is, with the intense monsoon rains making you appreciate why the citizens wear sandals.

After decades of military rule, everything seemed to be possible when the country held a general election in 2015. Its citizens, especially the younger generation, seemed to beam with hope for a bright and prosperous future, as the country had been economically far behind neighbouring Southeast Asian countries. Being sandwiched between the two giants of Asia—China and India—can, in my opinion, be both a blessing and a curse, as the country wants to stand on its own feet but still relies heavily on foreign investment.

The former military government forced universities to be scattered all over the country to prevent students from staging protests in the former capital. About 30 minutes from the current capital, Nay Pyi Daw, more than 370 km north of Yangon, there are three universities: Yezin Agricultural University; Yezin University of Forestry; and the University of Veterinary Science, Yezin. The current political situation should allow clever minds in these universities to blossom and help steer the country in the right direction.


Also read: “Scientists without borders”: ICRAF’s Director General on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees Agroforestry


Taking a road trip from the former capital to the current one leads through gently rolling landscapes, flanked in the distance by north-south mountain ranges. The greenness of the roadside agricultural land and sparsely-forested areas makes someone with an agroforestry background imagine endless possibilities for various kinds of agroforestry practices: agro-silvicultural, silvopastoral and agro-silvopastural. This is just a part of the story of where agroforestry can be appropriate. The country also features diverse ecological zones where agroforestry can certain play a vital role, from the dry central area through the extremely long (and vulnerable) coastline to high mountain ranges. The above-mentioned universities can be a driving force for all things agricultural and forestry. Some Thai universities, too, such as Chiang Mai University where I am based, could play a strategic role in providing technical support.

peatland-restoration-role-of-agroforestry-by-atiek-widayati-icraf-1-638
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A team of specialists from ICRAF The World Agroforestry Centre—Horst Weyerhaeuser, capacity and institutional building specialist; Robert Finlayson, interim head of global communications; and I, Thailand country coordinator—recently met with high-ranking agricultural and forestry officials, who were extremely positive about the possibility of creating an inventory of existing agroforestry practices in the country and introducing new ones. It has been difficult in the past to do this owing to the sectoral division between the two departments. According to the officials, ICRAF can help bridge this divide.

Internationally-funded local NGOs are equally excited, as are foreign organizations—such as the European Union, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation—which are also looking forward to seeing on-the-ground implementation of agroforestry for food security, environmental protection and climate-change mitigation and adaptation. This demonstrates a well-defined niche for ICRAF as capacity builders in agroforestry policies and practices, agroforestry inventory compilers and designers of agroforestry systems.

Yet there is only one ICRAF project in Myanmar, run from the East and Central Asia Program based in Kunming, China. To provide more support to the smallholders and government of Myanmar, ICRAF needs to prepare more ground very carefully with local and international partners, which will take some time and resources, so that Myanmar can improve the livelihoods of its millions of smallholding farmers, secure its food supply and sustain the services provided by the environment.

This research relates to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

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  • The role of agroforestry in climate-change adaptation in Southeast Asia

The role of agroforestry in climate-change adaptation in Southeast Asia

Witoon Chamroen (left) explaining to Prasit Wangpakapattanawong of ICRAF how his 40-year-old rubber trees in his mixed tree garden produce more latex than younger trees grown in monoculture, in Phattalung, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson
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Index of climate vulnerability. Source: Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia
Index of climate vulnerability. Source: Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia

The ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Experts argue that agroforestry can help make the region’s millions of smallholding farmers more resilient and secure food supply.

Southeast Asia, with a population of more than 600 million mostly reliant on agriculture and forests, is ranked high on measures of vulnerability to the impact of climate change. The high-level Experts Dialogue on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in ASEAN, held in Bali, Indonesia, 30 November 2016, heard that agroforestry could help farmers adapt while also mitigating climate change. The Dialogue was supported by Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The list of impacts of climate change is long: shifting seasons that affect planting and growing periods; extreme heat, droughts, increased aridity and water shortages that reduce or wipe out yields; erratic rainfall that makes farm planning difficult if not impossible; storms, floods and landslides that destroy crops, livestock and homes; rising sea levels that salinate farm land; increased human, plant and livestock diseases; and lowered productivity of livestock, including fisheries.

An agroforest in Lao PDR. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson
An agroforest in Lao PDR. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

‘Vulnerability is defined as the deficit in coping and adaptive capacity at household level’, explained Ingrid Öborn, Regional Coordinator for Southeast Asia for The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

‘It is linked to buffering and filtering capacities at landscape and broader societal levels. Agroforestry is increasingly recognized as a sustainable land use in multifunctional landscapes that helps reduce farmers’ vulnerability and increase their ability to adapt, providing multiple benefits. As well as increasing carbon storage on formerly degraded or unused land, immediate benefits include increased and diversified food supply, increased income and maintenance of services provided by ecosystems, such as improved quantity and quality of water’.

Öborn pointed out that 30% of the world’s rural populations are already using trees and that trees are present on 46% of all agricultural land.

‘These “trees outside forests” are often not properly considered when governments make agricultural and forestry policies’, she said. ‘To address climate change thoroughly, we need to bring these trees to the forefront and support farmers to intensify and diversify their agroforests’.

ASEAN is one major body that has understood the need for an integrated perspective. Its Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016–2025, which was endorsed by the ASEAN ministers of agriculture and forestry in September 2015, takes a global and regional perspective and recognizes the main issues as 1) rapid economic growth; 2) regional integration and globalization; and 3) pressures on the natural resource base, including climate change.

The Strategy explicitly identifies agroforestry’s role in its plan of action: ‘Increase resilience to climate change, natural disasters and other shocks: expand resilient agroforestry systems where ecologically and economically appropriate’.

Witoon Chamroen (left) explaining to Prasit Wangpakapattanawong of ICRAF how his 40-year-old rubber trees in his mixed tree garden produce more latex than younger trees grown in monoculture, in Phattalung, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson
Witoon Chamroen (left) explaining to Prasit Wangpakapattanawong of ICRAF how his 40-year-old rubber trees in his mixed tree garden produce more latex than younger trees grown in monoculture, in Phattalung, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

Öborn told the meeting that in the past, farmers often responded to climate variations by gradually changing their practices, mixing crops with trees to reduce risk if a crop failed because of weather patterns. Understanding this dynamism, replicating the most successful agroforestry systems and matching them to specific socio-cultural-ecological circumstances is crucial for helping farmers adapt to climate change. But governments also need to adapt to changing circumstances and think differently about how farmers, agriculture and forests interact.

She gave several examples of how agroforestry contributes to adaptation. In Viet Nam, researchers from ICRAF and partners found that ‘forest gardens’ sustain livelihoods when variable weather hits intensified crop cultivation. Farmers in Cam My in Central Viet Nam were using forests, as well as their farms, as gardens where they grew vegetables and trees for timber, fruit and other benefits. The gardens were established on land designated as State-owned forest. This created some conflict and highlighted the need to adjust policies to officially recognize farmers’ management that did not reduce the services provided by the forests.

Also in Viet Nam, in the Northwest, whole provinces were under monocultural maize farming on steeply sloping land that led to massive soil erosion, frequent landslides, loss of soil fertility, declining yields and overall severe degradation of the agro-ecosystem. The region was one of the poorest in the country.

Supported by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Research, ICRAF and national partners establishment experimental trials of agroforestry systems that had been computer-modeled to show that they could not only provide environmental benefits but also increase farmers’ incomes quickly. The trials were so successful that not only did neighbours adopt the systems but also the local governments in the three provinces established, together with farmers, three whole landscapes of agroforests of 50 hectares each.

More than 22,000 trees are being planted as well as 50,000 m of forage grasses along contour lines to reduce erosion, and 20,000 seedlings of five fruit-tree species. The landscapes are a co-investment by the ACIAR project (54%), farmers (35%) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (11%).

In Indonesia, an area in Central Java was heavily logged in the 1950s, resulting in soil erosion, agricultural decline, drought-induced famines and high levels of poverty. Re-agroforestation was undertaken, using teak trees as the major species. The landscape was rehabilitated successfully, moving from 2 to 28% tree cover, with teak making up over half. Farmers interviewed said they planted teak as a kind of ‘savings bank’ and because it was part of their cultural heritage.

Witoon Chamroen (left) explaining to Prasit Wangpakapattanawong of ICRAF how his 40-year-old rubber trees in his mixed tree garden produce more latex than younger trees grown in monoculture, in Phattalung, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson
Witoon Chamroen (left) explaining to Prasit Wangpakapattanawong of ICRAF how his 40-year-old rubber trees in his mixed tree garden produce more latex than younger trees grown in monoculture, in Phattalung, Thailand. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Finlayson

Only 15% maximized teak management for sale to markets. Most farmers preferred mixed systems with diverse trees and crops that sustained customary life and improved the environment. Nevertheless, they said they also wanted to improve their management, obtain better-quality seeds and seedlings, have greater access to markets and expand the amount of intercropping between their trees.

Globally, smallholders produce 90% of cocoa, 75% of rubber, 67% of coffee, 40% of palm oil, 25% of tea and 20–30% of teak in an annual trade worth USD 60 billion. In Indonesia, smallholders are key producers of rubber, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, tea, tea, rattan, honey, sandalwood, damar, benzoin, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and candlenut, most of which are produced in agroforestry systems that could benefit from improved management, greater technical knowledge and easier access to markets.

‘Economic value and potential yields depend on socioeconomic and biophysical conditions and farmers’ management practices’, said Öborn. ‘We need to understand farmers’ contexts and needs if we are to help improve their agroforests and thus their livelihoods and resilience to climate change’.

To help farmers adopt agroforestry or improve the management of the agroforests they already have, they need a range of support, such as helping increase their technical knowledge, providing them with accurate weather forecasts and advice on how specific agroforests that suit their conditions can buffer farms against climate change. Other barriers to adoption include a lack of secure land tenure and weak links between agroforestry and climate, food security and development policies.

‘It is a big challenge for governments to sort out all of this’, confirmed Öborn. ‘But the benefits are worth it and can be aggregated from individual farms to whole landscapes that can reap the rewards in the form of biodiversity conservation, better watershed management and carbon sequestration. Globally, agroforestry can be a substantial contribution to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and helping ASEAN nations meet their Nationally Determined Contributions’.

To help governments understand the full range of benefits and challenges, ICRAF is releasing a series of policy briefs under the aegis of the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry. The first in the series, Agroforestry in Southeast Asia: bridging the forestry–agriculture divide for sustainable development, was launched during the Experts Dialogue.

Read the first four policy briefs

Van Noordwijk M, Lasco RD. 2016. Agroforestry in Southeast Asia: bridging the forestry-agriculture divide for sustainable development. Policy Brief no. 67. Agroforestry options for ASEAN series no. 1. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program; Jakarta, Indonesia: ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change.

De Royer S, Ratnamhin A, Wangpakapattanawong P. 2016. Swidden-fallow agroforestry for sustainable land use in Southeast Asia Countries. Policy Brief no. 68. Agroforestry options for ASEAN series no. 2. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program; Jakarta, Indonesia: ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change.

Hoan DT, Catacutan DC, Nguyen TH. 2016. Agroforestry for sustainable mountain management in Southeast Asia. Policy Brief no. 69. Agroforestry options for ASEAN series no. 3. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program; Jakarta, Indonesia: ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change.

Widayati A, Tata HL, van Noordwijk M. 2016. Agroforestry on peatlands: combining productive and protective functions as part of restoration. Policy Brief no. 70. Agroforestry options for ASEAN series no. 4. Bogor, Indonesia: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program; Jakarta, Indonesia: ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change.

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  • Incentives and Constraints of Community and Smallholder Forestry

Incentives and Constraints of Community and Smallholder Forestry

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Authors: de Jong, W.; Galloway, G.; Katila, P.; Pacheco, P.

This editorial introduces the special issue: Incentives and constraints of community and smallholder forestry. The special issue contains nine papers, listed in a table in the main text. The editorial reviews briefly some key elements of our current understanding of community and smallholder forestry. The editorial also briefly introduces the nine papers of the special issue and points out how they link to the debate among academics and specialists on community and smallholder forestry. Finally, the editorial highlights the new elements that the nine papers contribute to our understanding of community and smallholder forestry, before it concludes at the end.

Publication Year: 2016

ISSN: 1999-4907

Source: Forests 7(9): 209

DOI: 10.3390/f7090209

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  • “Scientists without borders”: ICRAF’s Director General on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees Agroforestry

“Scientists without borders”: ICRAF’s Director General on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees Agroforestry

Tree seedling distribution in Ethiopia: Germplasm research is one of the key areas of FTA. Photo ICRAF
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Photo: ICRAF
Photo: ICRAF

Before the start of the second phase of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) gave us his take on the achievements of the program, some challenges and why partnerships are key to success. Read more stories on partnerships here.

Looking back at the first phase of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), how would you assess its success?

You can fund research in three ways, at project, program or at an institutional level. In the past, donors had been focused on organizations, so there was core funding to centers, to legal entities. And then people got a bit nervous about that and they jumped to projects.

So when we started FTA the world was very focused on projects. But one of the problems of jumping to projects is that you end up with a very fragmented agenda, very dispersed, hard to connect. So the programmatic approach that straddles the project and institutional one was seen as a next stage in that evolution. And I think that was largely a good approach.


Also read: Diversity, commitment, challenges and shared goals: How CIRAD looks at FTA


When ICRAF started constructing the program in 2010, together with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and others, we decided to put about two thirds of our research into that one CGIAR Research Program. CIFOR put 100 percent of its effort into FTA, and we wanted to match them financially so that it became a true partnership.

I think that the evolution of the program, of the contents, of the priorities has gone very smoothly. While identifying what those priorities are there wasn’t a lot of arm-wrestling about what was really important.

Because forestry and agroforestry and the perennial landscape issues that we address are long term, you can’t keep chopping and changing. It has to be a longer-term program. That has been really good.

Click to watch: Tony Simons and Peter Holmgren discuss FTA
Click to watch: Tony Simons and Peter Holmgren discuss FTA

CIFOR’s Deputy Director General Robert Nasi has done a fantastic job as FTA Director in the first phase. He’s been very sensitive to institutional issues, he has been very open with sharing information, he has been very careful to not overpromote CIFOR. And it’s good that we now have a website that no longer starts with www.cifor…, but is dedicated to FTA exclusively.

We’re enthusiastic about the next phase of FTA research. We are committed to it. And we want to make it a success. We will continue with our high-profile work on Livelihood Systems, (now called Flagship 1, in the next phase running as Flagship 2), which is already 85 percent funded from bilateral sources. Bilateral funding partners strongly support the work and want to see it happen.

So what was really important in research on forests, trees and agroforestry, what stands out for you from the past five years?

If we look at the global Gross Domestic Product, four percent is agriculture, one percent is forestry. And yet the investment in forestry is very low.

The UN Forum on Forests indicated that we need between 100 and 200 billion dollars a year to achieve sustainable forest management in all its forms, natural forests, plantations, trees on farms and savannah tree cover. So that’s a huge gap.


Also read: Robert Nasi: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work


FTA is the world’s largest research program on forests, trees and agroforestry, with the largest expertise, with the greatest legacy of publications, with the widest network of partners in the developing world. This is a fantastic opportunity to work towards global goals.

The incremental investments in our research program have not been overwhelming but they’ve been a useful trigger to change behaviour, to change attitudes, to leverage a lot of the previously fragmented work.

I think being part of this large research program has also given people another way of describing their work, articulating their work. And although we could do a better job in branding ourselves as FTA, the researchers within the program are actually very proud of it.

In a way it’s like scientists without borders, without being constrained by institutional issues.

Farmer group training: The AgFor project in, Sulawesi, Indonesia, is recognized as one of the most successful partnerships of FTA. Photo: Enggar Paramita/ICRAF
Farmer group training: The AgFor project in, Sulawesi, Indonesia, is recognized as one of the most successful partnerships of FTA. Photo: Enggar Paramita/ICRAF

What were the challenges in the partnership?

We’ve faced challenges when it comes to the allocation of discretionary funding. So the Steering Committee were very wise when they empowered the Flagship leaders. A relatively small amount of the budget is used for management support and other central issues. Most of the discretionary funding is put into the hands of the middle managers and the decisions are made at that level. This is how we could overcome this challenge.

We were a little slow in developing performance matrices, asking what does success actually look like? How do we reward those who are over-performing and assist those who are under-performing? Often turning off the supply of money is not the best way of raising performance.

There has been an asymmetry between partners’ contribution. The big ones, CIFOR and ICRAF have put in 10 to 20 times more than the smaller partners, around 90 percent of the total resources. This means additional bilateral resources, and projects and teams and staff and facilities and datasets that people are bringing into the program.

CIRAD puts in a lot in kind, i.e. fully paid staff in the projects, but this doesn’t flow through the budget.

This has to do with the fact that the original four partners took different approaches when the 15 CGIAR Research Programs were created in 2011. ICRAF signed up for six of them, with FTA as the largest.

Other centers signed up for many more programs, which means that they had to spread out their money over this larger number. So they are much more reliant on the discretionary resources from FTA but were not able, understandably, to deliver at the same level as the bigger partners. Of course, with a smaller contribution, how much attention do you pay to the program?

Tree seedling distribution in Ethiopia: Germplasm research is one of the key areas of FTA. Photo ICRAF
Tree seedling distribution in West Shewa, Ethiopia: Germplasm research is one of the key areas of FTA. Photo ICRAF

Which partnerships within FTA worked best and why so?

Partnerships work best when they are among equals. That is quite different from just subcontracting someone to do some work for you. So partnerships are about long-term relationships, about recognizing the strength of others, about respecting them, valuing them.

The partnerships that have worked well within FTA are the ones where people have voluntarily brought in resources to join efforts and enthusiastically worked together. The Agroforestry and Forestry in Sulawesi: Linking Knowledge with Action (AgFor) project is a good example.

It all comes down to scientists voting with their time. If they see the benefit of working together they will collaborate, it doesn’t have to do with how many emails senior leadership sends. But if they’re not convinced of the logic of it, it doesn’t matter how much you try and coerce them: it’s not going to happen.

The partnerships were good that have been able to bring in people from outside the CGIAR, because the Research Programs are not just about the CG system. Bringing CIRAD and CATIE into the Steering Committee has helped to open up the program.

I also want to mention the collaboration with the University of Copenhagen on germplasm research, because that was based on 40 years of support from DANIDA, so we’re harvesting that legacy.

What kind of partnerships do you want to put more emphasis on in the next phase?

It is always important to bring in new partners. All partnerships are equally valuable, because we need all of them, researchers, implementers, governments, and more and more the private sector. CIFOR and ICRAF are about to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Asia Pulp and Paper on bringing agroforestry into forest concession areas.

ICRAF works a lot with the private sector, one third of the private money that comes into the CGIAR goes directly to ICRAF. There’s a growing awareness within the CG, and among the scientists, of how one can combine public goods with private interests in a beneficial way.

There could be policies that FTA adopts as well. FTA is not a legal entity, but it still could have policies on environmental safeguards, social safeguards, private sector engagement. ICRAF was the first CG center to have a private sector engagement policy.

Let’s look ahead 20, 30, 40 years, we want people to say that the changes that took place in the early 2000s triggered a greater recognition and impact of the work on forestry and agroforestry. This is why we need strong partnerships.

More blogs on partnerships:

Robert Nasi: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work

Long-term relationships and mutual trust—partnerships and research on climate change

The best science is nothing without local voices: Partnerships and landscapes

Influence flows both ways: Partnerships are key to research on Livelihood systems

Alignment is key to make partnerships work

Long-term partnerships benefit research on tree genetic resources

Partnership increases number of academically trained foresters in DR Congo from 6 to 160 in just ten years

Bringing in the development expertise: INBAR to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Connecting with countries: Tropenbos International to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

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  • “Influence flows both ways”: Partnerships are key to research on Livelihood systems

“Influence flows both ways”: Partnerships are key to research on Livelihood systems

In Vietnam, ACIAR is a funding partner for FTA research on market-based agroforestry for livelihood enhancement. Photo: Alba Saray Perez/ICRAF
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fergusBy Fergus Sinclair, Systems Science Leader, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Flagship Coordinator Livelihood systems, CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

We have three main types of partnerships in the livelihood systems flagship – those with donors, those with upstream research providers and those with the users of our research outputs – the organizations that implement development, including national systems and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Partnerships with the private sector cut across these types as they may involve funding, collaboration in cutting-edge science and the use of research outputs.

Funding partners

Let’s start by looking at our long-term funding relationships, where we work in tandem with donors to develop and implement strategic research. Good examples of this are with IFAD (United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development) and ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research). They fund a number of our activities.

ACIAR, for example, fund FTA work on trees for food security in East Africa, value chain innovation platforms in Southern Africa and market-based agroforestry for livelihood enhancement in both Vietnam and Indonesia. There is a lot of cross-fertilization among these projects including sharing of experience, methods and tools.


Also read our first partnerships blog: From competition to collaboration: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work


We work in discussion with the donors to develop a research agenda that meets their needs. Influence flows both ways – we suggest key innovations that we think can address the development challenges that they want to tackle and accumulate experience as innovation proceeds, while they evaluate our ideas, how their projects are performing and the impacts that they make once they are underway.

Working closely with donors is key; it helps to ensure that our research is making the sort of impact on food security and poverty reduction that donors want to see. With IFAD, the relationship goes further, because they want their research funding complementing their loans to governments in the countries where we work.

So, for example, we have a research project on land restoration with sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali and Niger. The research funding for Kenya is about USD 1 million but it supports the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Program (KCEP) loan and a grant program to the Kenyan Government, which represents an investment of USD 118 million to increase productivity and climate resilience amongst smallholder farmers across eight semiarid counties.

In Vietnam, ACIAR is a funding partner for FTA research on market-based agroforestry for livelihood enhancement. Photo: Alba Saray Perez/ICRAF
In Vietnam, ACIAR is a funding partner for FTA research on market-based agroforestry for livelihood enhancement. Photo: Alba Saray Perez/ICRAF

This allows us to embed our research in development, making it possible to research how options to increase land productivity need to be locally adapted to the fine-scale variation in context. This co-learning with development partners, about what options work where and for whom, accelerates development impact while increasing our fundamental understanding of how contextual variables condition the suitability of options – creating international public goods in terms of knowledge that can applied beyond the contexts it was created in.

Many donors are incentivizing centers working together through the FTA partnership by requiring projects to justify their contribution to the CGIAR research programs. GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), IFAD and ACIAR all require this and they often favor proposals that involve more than one of the core partners in FTA.

Our latest IFAD-funded project, for example, is a joint research project with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), where we team up with Tree Aid to investigate how to improve the management of the forest-farm interface in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

Implementing partners

We also have important partnerships with development NGOs who take up FTA research outputs and use them in practice. A key issue over the last few years has been developing methods and tools that development partners can use to promote tree diversity.

Often, tree planting programs have promoted a few exotic tree species in prescriptive management regimes, such as woodlots but there is potential to use a much broader range of species in many different field, farm and landscape niches that are more inclusive in terms of benefit flows to different groups of people.

We have worked closely with WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature) in both the Lake Tanganyika catchment area and around Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to do just this – and it has worked, because we have not only got the science right, but also delivered it to practitioners in ways that they can readily use it. The result is that livelihoods and landscapes become more resilient through combining high-end science (e.g. image analysis of erosion hotspots) with local knowledge (e.g. about compatibility of different tree species with agricultural practice).

It is a common fallacy that getting closer to farmers and the reality of implementing development leads to more applied science rather than fundamental research. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many funding partners encourage research partnerships: In Burkina Faso, FTA partners work on the forest-farm interface. Photo: ICRAF
Many funding partners encourage research partnerships: In Burkina Faso, FTA partners work on the forest-farm interface. Photo: ICRAF

Research partnerships

Working with development partners and farmers often throws up fundamental research challenges and we have important upstream research partnerships to tackle them. We have selected upstream partners who have key expertise in strategic areas where we need to make fundamental advances.

We work with Bangor University in the UK because of their gene sequencing research on soil biota. This is helping us to develop approaches to understanding the functional profiles of soil organisms so that we can see how trees can be used to maintain soil health on agricultural land.

This is a huge issue in Africa where it has been estimated that around 30% of soils are now non-responsive – i.e. crop yield does not increase even if fertilizer is applied because the soil function is impaired.

Trees are associated with a higher abundance and more activity of beneficial soil organisms but we need to know more about what tree species and management practices are required to restore function in different soils.

With the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), we have a strategic partnership on the development of the agricultural production systems simulator (APSIM) to handle tree-crop interactions. APSIM is a family of globally calibrated crop models, so once we are able to add trees to the mix we can predict the impacts of changing tree cover on food security globally – including looking at the implications of agroforestry using the International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI)’s IMPACT model (The International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade).

Currently, agroforestry doesn’t get any kind of evaluation in these global studies because they can’t incorporate it into the framework. So by developing APSIM to include trees we can give agroforestry much greater prominence through producing credible predictions of the impacts of trees on food security and compare it with other interventions.

In FTA phase one we have developed the capacity to model a few tree species and crops in APSIM; in phase two we will extend this to embrace tree diversity for a wide range of cropping options.

Video: Emilie Smith Dumont, scientist World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), on her work around Virunga National in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, with the CIFOR project “Forests and Climate Change in the Congo”, funded by the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).
Video: Emilie Smith Dumont, scientist World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), on her work around Virunga National in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, with the CIFOR project “Forests and Climate Change in the Congo”, funded by the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA).

Our partnerships with universities across Africa, Asia and Latin America are very enriching. For example we have a network of African universities with whom we work to develop a curriculum of modern agroforestry programs, associated with the trees for food security program in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda.

We also have a strong relationship with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya, including a long-term agroforestry trial, which they set up with our assistance.

We’ve had a lot of success in our research on cocoa productivity, funded through the Mars Vision for Change initiative in Cote d’Ivoire – that produces 40% of world supply. Research collating scientific understanding and acquiring farmers’ knowledge and perceptions about companion trees in cocoa has shifted. What was initially a concentration on full sun systems has led to the development of a national agroforestry strategy that focuses on sustainable intensification by incorporating trees in cocoa fields.

This has involved changes in attitudes in both government and the private sector; it is an ongoing process with people in the same institutions often pulling in different directions, which create challenges for maintaining effective partnerships.

Lessons learned

Designing effective partnerships is not always straightforward. Our cooperation with CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center for example began with small subcontracts between us for specific work.

So in FTA we subcontracted CIMMYT to do specific research on productivity of crops under trees in Ethiopia and Rwanda, as part of our ACIAR-funded trees for food security initiative. Although they produced exciting results showing higher wheat yields under trees, we realized that a series of small contracts with high transaction costs was not the best way to advance our understanding of tree-crop interactions – what we needed was large, genuinely joint funding to facilitate development of joined-up research combining expertise across the forest and agricultural divide.

In the second phase of FTA, we will seek to obtain major joint funding on tree-crop interactions with CIMMYT rather than operating through small, piecemeal subcontracts from grants focusing on either the tree or the crop.

In our flagship proposal for Phase II we have a section on managing partnerships, which deals with the risks of partnerships failing and the strategies we have in place in order to mitigate those risks. We engage in partnerships that we think will work; we make sure we have a range of partners, so that we do not have all our eggs in one basket; and we use various means such as reflection cycles, coupled with flexibility to adjust partnership modalities, to try and sustain and strengthen partnerships as our research agenda unfolds.

 

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  • Local knowledge on the role of trees to enhance livelihoods and ecosystem services in Ho Ho Sub-watershed, north-central Viet Nam

Local knowledge on the role of trees to enhance livelihoods and ecosystem services in Ho Ho Sub-watershed, north-central Viet Nam

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Authors:Bac Viet Dam, Rachmat Mulia and Delia Catacutan

Understanding how local people view and value the role of trees in enhancing livelihoods and environmental quality is the key to increasing resilience in agricultural landscapes through tree planting. In the Ho Ho sub-watershed, north-central Viet Nam, which is highly exposed to climate change and variability, we investigated local knowledge on the role of trees that involved people upstream and downstream in the sub-watershed. The respondents were requested to identify the different roles of tree-based and annual crop systems in their landscape to livelihood and the environment, and then to rank these roles to reveal the primary function of each landuse system. We found that local knowledge on the roles of each landuse type, both in upstream and downstream communes, was influenced by the household land holding size and the actual contribution to household income as well. This, for example, explains the higher appreciation of acacia than agarwood in terms of livelihood and environmental functions. In the sub-watershed, the average land holding size per household for acacia plantation was 1.3 ha, while agarwood trees were planted in homegardens with a delayed harvesting time (15 years after planting compared to 7 years for acacia). Different responsibilities in agricultural activities between males and females in the family, contributed to contrasting responses between the male and female groups on the role of tree-based and annual crop systems in household income. Men regarded annual crops as a more important source of income than trees, whereas women asserted the opposite. In the sampled households, financial management and private consumption provision were two tasks mostly handled by women, and this likely explains the gender sensitivity. We conclude that local people in the upstream and downstream communes of the sub-watershed recognised well the important roles of trees to livelihood and environmental quality, but in actual implementation, they always prioritised livelihood over environmental issues, especially in relation to tree planting on their own land. Environmental issues were only an option considered for unallocated areas such as protection forest, or for allocated lands not suitable for planting due to physical barriers such as high elevation or steep slopes.
Published 2015 by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Southeast Asia Regional Program in Hanoi, Vietnam
Working paper 218

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  • Setting the stage for agroforestry expansion in Eastern Congo

Setting the stage for agroforestry expansion in Eastern Congo

Entrance to the Virunga National Park, Rutshuru, North-Kivu, DRC. Photo by E. Smith Dumont
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Entrance to the Virunga National Park, Rutshuru, North-Kivu, DRC. Photo by E. Smith Dumont
Entrance to the Virunga National Park, Rutshuru, North-Kivu, DRC. Photo by E. Smith Dumont

By Joan Baxter, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World Blog

It’s a tall order solving the myriad developmental challenges in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where years of conflict have caused so much human suffering and environmental upheaval. Today the province is plagued by rampant deforestation and land degradation and hence low agricultural production, while also having to cope with high population densities and urbanization rates.

These can all be tackled, according to the provincial Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Rural Development, Christophe Ndibeshe Byemero, if agroforestry forms the basis for a strategy for sustainable agricultural development.

The Minister was speaking at a workshop held earlier this year in the provincial capital, Goma, to examine ways to develop and expand agroforestry in the area. Organized by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The workshop brought together 46 participants from a wide array of local, national and international organizations, with strong representation from civil society groups from many parts of the Province. It marked the culmination of three years of agroforestry research in development in the region that aimed to develop a socially inclusive strategy for scaling up agroforestry and tree diversity.

According to Thierry Lusenge of WWF in the DRC, the time is now ripe to recognize the importance of agroforestry in helping populations adapt to and mitigate climate change, reduce deforestation and improve food security.

Looking back and learning…

Smallholder farmers in Lubero Territory in North-Kivu Province, DRC, cultivate steep and heavily degraded slopes resulting in low agricultural productivity. Photo by E. Smith Dumont/ICRAF
Smallholder farmers in Lubero Territory in North-Kivu Province, DRC, cultivate steep and heavily degraded slopes resulting in low agricultural productivity. Photo by E. Smith Dumont/ICRAF

The workshop was the last of three held in the region as part of the project, Forests and Climate Change in the Congo (FCCC), funded by the European Union and led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The agroforestry component of the FCCC project, led by ICRAF, was a part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

It built on the knowledge gleaned from previous workshops and acquired through interviews with diverse groups in the area, bringing together participants from four territories in North Kivu. Participants looked back at their agroforestry accomplishments over the past three years and at lessons learned from the diverse projects they’d been part of.

Deogratias Mumberi Kyalwahi of the women’s conservation group, Femmes Actives pour la Conservation de la Faune et de la Flore (FACF), presented findings from a project to establish agroforestry and improve agricultural production around the city of Beni, as a way of reducing human encroachment in the neighbouring Virunga National Park.

Virunga is a World Heritage site that boasts 2,000 plant species as well as endangered animal species including the iconic mountain gorilla.

Fataki Baloti, representing the youth conservation group Jeunes pour des Ecosystèmes décents et l’Assainissement de la Nature (JEAN), spoke of their work to achieve food security and combat malnutrition, by integrating livestock production and agroforestry, which improved relations between local people and the Congolese wildlife authority, Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), which is responsible for the national park.

Farmers working with youth conservation group JEAN experiment with passion fruit and Grevillea robusta in, Musienene, Lubero, North-Kivu. Photo by E. Smith Dumont
Farmers working with youth conservation group JEAN experiment with passion fruit and Grevillea robusta in, Musienene, Lubero, North-Kivu. Photo by E. Smith Dumont

Improved human welfare around the park, with more – and more diverse – tree cover that provides income, environmental services and contributes to food security, is critical for preserving the park and for peaceful, constructive interactions between nature conservationists and local people.

Other participants highlighted peri-urban agroforestry projects around Goma to combat poverty and malnutrition – introducing shade trees in coffee systems in the Beni territory, trees for improving soils in Rutshuru territory, and promoting raising and selling tree seedlings in Lubero and Kirumba towns.

Emilie Smith Dumont of ICRAF explained that agroforestry “while not a panacea, can contribute to making livelihoods and landscapes more sustainable”. She emphasized that it involves many different practices suitable for different people and places, such as planting trees on contour slopes, establishing windbreaks for pastures or fodder banks, fruit trees in orchards and homegardens.  These include diverse tree species adapted to different environments and to specific needs of the farmers themselves.

Removing barriers to adoption

The local NGO, PACOPAD, works with schools to promote planting of passion fruit and tree tomatoes, aiming to grow vitamin-rich fruit and improve nutrition. Photo by Subira Bonhomme.
The local NGO, PACOPAD, works with schools to promote planting of passion fruit and tree tomatoes, aiming to grow vitamin-rich fruit and improve nutrition. Photo by Subira Bonhomme.

Participants agreed that while significant progress has been made in collecting information on promising native tree species for agroforestry in the region, and in developing practical tools, including a technical agroforestry guide that helps people to put agroforestry knowledge into practice, some key changes in policy and practise are needed for further agroforestry expansion and development in the region.

They identified seven major issues that need to be addressed in an integrated way – gender, markets and commercialization, governance, availability of and access to quality tree planting material, improving agroforestry know-how given low literacy rates, threats such as fire and pests, and, cultural realities.

Gender and tenure at the fore

Women farmers trade at the evening market in Kitchanga, Masisi, North-Kivu, after a day in the field. Many members of the community are internally displaced and farming marginal land with no tenure security.. Photo by E Smith Dumont.

Two issues – tenure and gender – emerged as perhaps the most pressing constraints.  On theissue of gender, Vea Kaghoma of the league of women’s smallholder organizations in DRC, Ligue des Organisations des Femmes Paysannes du Congo, was adamant and unequivocal. Speaking at the closing of the workshop, she said women, who constitute the majority of farmers and traders, should be at the heart of all agroforestry efforts in North Kivu and that the participation of women’s organizations is indispensable if these efforts are going to succeed.

Women farmers trade at the evening market in Kitchanga, Masisi, North-Kivu, after a day in the field. Many members of the community are internally displaced and farming marginal land with no tenure security. Photo by E Smith Dumont.
Women farmers trade at the evening market in Kitchanga, Masisi, North-Kivu, after a day in the field. Many members of the community are internally displaced and farming marginal land with no tenure security. Photo by E Smith Dumont.

Emilie Smith Dumont of ICRAF concurs. “Without secure land tenure, especially for women, it is difficult to progress to the next step of really scaling up agroforestry in DRC,” she says. Farmers cannot begin to envisage making long-term investments in their land health or in tree planting if they do not have secure access to land.

Spreading the word

Dumont Smith is greatly encouraged by the momentum that emerged from the workshops, and at on-going work by participants to put into practise what they have learned over the past three years.

Wilson Kasereka Kabwana, president of a group to support and consolidate peace and development in North Kivu (Programme d’Appui à la Consolidation de la Paix et le Développement or PACOPAD), reports that his group has now developed a nursery for several agroforestry species. They work with local communities and schools to spread the word on their value for nutrition, as medicine or for the environmental services they provide.

Mone Van Geit, Project Manager International Programs, WWF Belgium, says the idea is to continue to cultivate the strong partnerships that were forged during the FCCC project, with strategies that will permit WWF to support local communities in diversifying species and practices to address a broader range of stakeholder needs. When it comes to energy woodlots, which she says remain a key priority for WWF around the park, diversification and inclusion of native species will be high on the agenda. This will require innovative approaches to test mechanisms for incentives and trials for species carefully designed and evaluated.

Fergus Sinclair who leads the systems domain at ICRAF said he hopes that ICRAF, WWF, their partners in DRC, and new ones with an interest in tenure, gender and markets, will be able to secure support for multidisciplinary projects that will build on the foundation laid by FCCC and act as the launch pad for agroforestry development in the region.

In the words of the provincial minister, Christophe Ndibeshe Byemero, in ten years, if partners continue to work together, North Kivu could become a veritable “model of agroforestry”.

For more information on this work, please contact Emilie Smith Dumont:  [email protected]

Workshop report: http://www.worldagroforestry.org/output/north-kivu-report-workshop-drc

More about ICRAF’s “research in development” approach can be found in these two blogs: One small change of words – a giant leap in effectiveness! and For every tree a reason — research “in” rather than “for” agroforestry development

More about the FCCC project can be found in this blog: Outside a national park, agroforestry helping to save forests inside the park.

More about the technical agroforestry guide developed for North Kivu as part of the FCCC project: Beyond eucalyptus woodlots: what’s on the agroforestry menu for communities around Virunga? The technical guide (available in French only) is available here: Guide technique d’agroforesterie pour la selection de la gestion des arbres au Nord-Kivu

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  • Blurring the boundary between forest and farm, looking at smallholder systems in West Africa

Blurring the boundary between forest and farm, looking at smallholder systems in West Africa

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Blurring the boundary between forest and farm, looking at smallholder systems in West Africa

Smallholder systems are complex mosaics, integrating diverse land uses from forestry to agriculture.

Yet policies often draw a sharp dichotomy across landscapes – forestry on one side, agriculture on the other. The resulting mismatch between policy and actual behavior can have unintended consequences for the environment and livelihoods, or mean that opportunities are missed to better support smallholders.

A new project under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, a collaboration of CIFOR, ICRAF and Tree Aid – and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – is attempting to alleviate this discrepancy by increasing understanding of the real, ground-level integrated management systems of smallholders and facilitating dialogue between smallholders, policy makers and development practitioners.

“We are targeting the poorest smallholders and women living in mosaic landscapes that combine forestry and farm land uses in Burkina Faso and Ghana. Our research will focus on developing strategies to support adaptive processes important to households in these landscapes,” said Peter Cronkleton, CIFOR Senior Scientist and director of the project.

Smallholders living in mosaic landscapes depend on diverse environmental services and management behavior to provide food security, income and energy. They also produce large quantities of forest products that are crucial to rural populations, especially the poor and households vulnerable to climatic shocks. However, government policies that focus on specific sectors often target competing goals such as conservation or intensified production, introducing distortions or constraints that negatively impact smallholder livelihoods.

“Because conventional policy approaches do not take into account the diversity of land use and integrated production practiced by smallholders, the adaptive nature of these systems for providing resilience to rural livelihoods is underappreciated and these systems’ crucial importance for the rural poor – especially women – is missed,” Cronkleton said.

The West Africa Forest Farm Interface Project (WAFFI) project, supported by IFAD’s Agricultural Research for Development Program, will evaluate how such systems in Burkina Faso and Ghana offer livelihood options for rural people, and identify science-based strategies to strengthen the ability of those systems to supply income and secure food sources.

Cronkleton said, “The goal is to equip policy makers and practitioners with the evidence-base and practical knowledge needed to support smallholder livelihoods strategies and natural resource management systems – adapted to local mosaic landscapes.”

Property rights and access to natural resources are key issues for many smallholders, especially where state ownership overlaps with customary rights, as in Burkina Faso and Ghana. For example, women’s access to resources often depends on customary tree tenure systems that are poorly accommodated under formal property regimes. Without clear authority over important resources, the rural poor struggle to contest infringement on their land and customary rights.

And this is where informed policy becomes key.

“By facilitating greater engagement between farmers, policy makers and practitioners, the project will empower women and the rural poor to sustainably manage the forest-farm interface to improve their livelihoods and incomes,” Cronkleton said.

The project, which started in 2016 and extends to 2018, combines approaches from the biophysical and social sciences with participatory efforts to address the needs of targeted smallholders. Focusing on two multi-village sites in Burkina Faso and Ghana, the WAFFI project recognizes that landscapes that integrate cropland, forests and livestock require integrated institutions and policies.

The project will contribute to and be informed by CIFOR’s, ICRAF’s and Tree Aid’s current and previous work with smallholders in forests and on farms in West Africa, and fruitful collaborations with partners like IFAD. CIFOR is at the forefront of approaches that consider inclusive, mosaic landscapes, and the project is a component of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, allowing for scaling up to consider the contribution of trees and forests to smallholder livelihoods.

“Thanks to this collaboration with IFAD, we expect that evidence generated by this research will contribute to strategies, approaches and actions that take into account the voices of the poor and marginalized to support the livelihoods of smallholders managing the forest-farm interface for improved income, food security and equitable benefits,” Cronkleton said.

For more information about this initiative, please contact CIFOR team leaders and focal points Peter Cronkleton ([email protected]) and Mathurin Zida ([email protected]).


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