• Home
  • Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Diverse crops grow in a field as part of on-farm conservation project, Ecuador. Photo by M.Bellon/Bioversity International

The CBD estimates up to US$440 billion is needed annually to meet commitments in the post-2020 UN Biodiversity Framework, yet the current annual spend budget is only US$52 billion. How do we fill this huge financial shortfall? 

Biodiversity loss has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges. We seem to have reached a point of no return, after having wiped out 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since the 1970s and half of the plants since the dawn of civilization.

Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cristiana Pasça Palmer, said just prior to the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14) , which recently took place in Egypt, we might only have two years left to set firm commitments for action on biodiversity loss if humanity is not to be “the first species to document its own extinction”.

CBD COP14 kicked off the processes that will lead to adopting a post-2020 global biodiversity framework and update to the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. The New Deal for Nature  is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020. The framework is regarded as a last call to address the underlying challenges of biodiversity and ecosystem loss. It represents an opportunity for decision-makers to join urgent efforts to transform approaches to use, safeguard, restore and invest in biodiversity.

Biodiversity losses profoundly affect agricultural productivity, food and other production-system resilience and dietary nutritional quality with negative consequences for producers, whose businesses can be profoundly affected by the poor quantity and quality of their yield. Instead, optimising and preserving agrobiodiversity represent nature-based solutions to address these challenges and translate into more reliable sourcing and stable production systems while also enhancing the nutrition of agricultural products and the sustainability of the farmers. We need a drastic change in consumers’ behaviour as well as serious government commitments to create an enabling environment and establish incentives for the many actors involved in the protection and management of ecosystems worldwide.

There is no doubt that the post-2020 framework will set new and ambitious targets to protect wild biodiversity such as insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water, carbon sequestration and more besides. However, there are multiple aspects that are critical for the success in the implementation of the framework. In fact, success in achieving the new targets might fall short if proper agreed financing mechanisms are not put in place. The CBD estimates an annual global biodiversity financing need of between US$150–440 billion, while only 52 billion is spent annually on biodiversity management leaving a huge financing gap.

Wild biodiversity provides essential services for food production. Photo by L. Sebastian/Bioversity International

Decision-makers should learn from the challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals to mobilize funding. The topic was prominent and reflected in the COP14 focus theme ‘Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet’. Since the financial sector has been recognized as a key actor in sustainable development, through investments that combine financial returns and positive social and environmental impacts, new innovative forms of financing have (re-) emerged, such as Impact Investing, under the heading of sustainable finance in order to raise capital for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. Impact Investing is not new to sector experts, as it mainly refers to financing mechanisms that would allow unlocking significant private investment capital to complement public resources and philanthropy to address pressing global challenges.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines Impact Investing as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return,” even though the definition has not yet been globally agreed, the predominant approach focuses on two minimum requirements: a viable financial return and a significant measurable non-financial impact. Still, common metrics measuring both financial performance and social impact easy for companies to measure and meaningful to investors are still lacking in many fields and leaving investments’ results subject to “impact-washing” or “green-washing” risks.

For this reason, researchers are increasingly delivering metrics to compute the impact achieved through capital invested in project or companies and to quantify the value of risks managed and costs avoided through biodiversity enhancement. Such metrics, like the Agrobiodiversity Index developed by Bioversity International, will help governments, companies and investors to assess risks and seize opportunities in food and agriculture by looking at the status of agrobiodiversity in a selected area, and assess whether their actions and commitments are contributing or not to its sustainable use.

In recent years organizations and initiatives working on solutions to combat climate change or biodiversity loss have proliferated, but with little effort to coordinate them, so the effort remains fragmented, with little impact on the ground. Indeed, all of this has not yet resulted in a major shift in finance flows toward biodiversity management. The private sector must play a more coordinated role in order to maximize its impact and ensure an effective response to society’s needs and expectations, and to help rebuild confidence in the farming and agriculture sectors. Businesses and the financial sector must align their roles with those of other actors, and the CBD needs to set key principles for investors and entry points for businesses to take action.

The expectation for the coming two years is that targets of the post-2020 framework that will be agreed and adopted are underpinned by a worldwide political will to move beyond short-termism, market interest or political support, towards longer-term results. This should create a conducive environment among companies and the financial sector and hence support a system that invests in biodiversity rather than destroying it.

By Gianpiero Menza and Isabella Pochini, originally published by Bioversity International.


For more information, contact Gianpiero Menza, Private Sector Engagement Coordinator at Bioversity International.

  • Home
  • Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

Financial innovations could pave way for the New Deal for Nature

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Diverse crops grow in a field as part of on-farm conservation project, Ecuador. Photo by M.Bellon/Bioversity International

The CBD estimates up to US$440 billion is needed annually to meet commitments in the post-2020 UN Biodiversity Framework, yet the current annual spend budget is only US$52 billion. How do we fill this huge financial shortfall? 

Biodiversity loss has become one of the most pressing environmental challenges. We seem to have reached a point of no return, after having wiped out 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since the 1970s and half of the plants since the dawn of civilization.

Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Cristiana Pasça Palmer, said just prior to the Fourteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP14) , which recently took place in Egypt, we might only have two years left to set firm commitments for action on biodiversity loss if humanity is not to be “the first species to document its own extinction”.

CBD COP14 kicked off the processes that will lead to adopting a post-2020 global biodiversity framework and update to the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. The New Deal for Nature  is expected to be adopted during the fifteenth meeting in Beijing in 2020. The framework is regarded as a last call to address the underlying challenges of biodiversity and ecosystem loss. It represents an opportunity for decision-makers to join urgent efforts to transform approaches to use, safeguard, restore and invest in biodiversity.

Biodiversity losses profoundly affect agricultural productivity, food and other production-system resilience and dietary nutritional quality with negative consequences for producers, whose businesses can be profoundly affected by the poor quantity and quality of their yield. Instead, optimising and preserving agrobiodiversity represent nature-based solutions to address these challenges and translate into more reliable sourcing and stable production systems while also enhancing the nutrition of agricultural products and the sustainability of the farmers. We need a drastic change in consumers’ behaviour as well as serious government commitments to create an enabling environment and establish incentives for the many actors involved in the protection and management of ecosystems worldwide.

There is no doubt that the post-2020 framework will set new and ambitious targets to protect wild biodiversity such as insects, birds, plants and mammals that are vital for global food production, clean water, carbon sequestration and more besides. However, there are multiple aspects that are critical for the success in the implementation of the framework. In fact, success in achieving the new targets might fall short if proper agreed financing mechanisms are not put in place. The CBD estimates an annual global biodiversity financing need of between US$150–440 billion, while only 52 billion is spent annually on biodiversity management leaving a huge financing gap.

Wild biodiversity provides essential services for food production. Photo by L. Sebastian/Bioversity International

Decision-makers should learn from the challenges facing the Sustainable Development Goals to mobilize funding. The topic was prominent and reflected in the COP14 focus theme ‘Investing in Biodiversity for People and Planet’. Since the financial sector has been recognized as a key actor in sustainable development, through investments that combine financial returns and positive social and environmental impacts, new innovative forms of financing have (re-) emerged, such as Impact Investing, under the heading of sustainable finance in order to raise capital for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. Impact Investing is not new to sector experts, as it mainly refers to financing mechanisms that would allow unlocking significant private investment capital to complement public resources and philanthropy to address pressing global challenges.

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) defines Impact Investing as “investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return,” even though the definition has not yet been globally agreed, the predominant approach focuses on two minimum requirements: a viable financial return and a significant measurable non-financial impact. Still, common metrics measuring both financial performance and social impact easy for companies to measure and meaningful to investors are still lacking in many fields and leaving investments’ results subject to “impact-washing” or “green-washing” risks.

For this reason, researchers are increasingly delivering metrics to compute the impact achieved through capital invested in project or companies and to quantify the value of risks managed and costs avoided through biodiversity enhancement. Such metrics, like the Agrobiodiversity Index developed by Bioversity International, will help governments, companies and investors to assess risks and seize opportunities in food and agriculture by looking at the status of agrobiodiversity in a selected area, and assess whether their actions and commitments are contributing or not to its sustainable use.

In recent years organizations and initiatives working on solutions to combat climate change or biodiversity loss have proliferated, but with little effort to coordinate them, so the effort remains fragmented, with little impact on the ground. Indeed, all of this has not yet resulted in a major shift in finance flows toward biodiversity management. The private sector must play a more coordinated role in order to maximize its impact and ensure an effective response to society’s needs and expectations, and to help rebuild confidence in the farming and agriculture sectors. Businesses and the financial sector must align their roles with those of other actors, and the CBD needs to set key principles for investors and entry points for businesses to take action.

The expectation for the coming two years is that targets of the post-2020 framework that will be agreed and adopted are underpinned by a worldwide political will to move beyond short-termism, market interest or political support, towards longer-term results. This should create a conducive environment among companies and the financial sector and hence support a system that invests in biodiversity rather than destroying it.

By Gianpiero Menza and Isabella Pochini, originally published by Bioversity International.


For more information, contact Gianpiero Menza, Private Sector Engagement Coordinator at Bioversity International.

  • Home
  • Women’s hidden harvest: the AmaXhosa women and traditional culture survival practices 

Women’s hidden harvest: the AmaXhosa women and traditional culture survival practices 

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Imifino expert Mama Nonethile Fosanda examines a leaf in Cwebe Forest, South Africa. Photo by R. Vernooy

On the occasion of International Day of Rural Women, Dr. Katie Tavenner takes us on a visual journey to Hobeni village with the photobook Women’s hidden harvest: Indigenous vegetables and amaXhosa cultural survival in Hobeni Village, South Africa.

Published by Bioversity International, the book is based on Tavenner’s research on rural women’s struggles to protect their traditional knowledge and harvesting, culinary and spiritual practices attached to imifino, known locally as “women’s vegetables”, in a protected area near the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve.

Could you tell us how the idea for a photobook was born?

Ever since publishing my dissertation in 2016, I’ve wanted to tell the story of the AmaXhosa women’s struggle for cultural survival in a creative way, so that their experiences in protecting imifino could be more accessible. My research used a participatory photography approach, so telling the story through photographs that could bring the people and places of Hobeni to life seemed like a natural fit.

Read more: Women’s hidden harvest: Indigenous vegetables and amaXhosa cultural survival in Hobeni Village, South Africa

What is imifino, and what does it mean for the women you met?

Imifino is the IsiXhosa word used to describe green leafy vegetables that grow wild in forests, and in fallowed and cultivated fields. Considered weeds in many parts of the world, in Hobeni village imifino play an important nutritional role as a free and healthy food source. Imifino are special to women, who guard the traditional knowledge on plant identification, harvesting, and use in culinary traditions.

These plants also have importance in female cultural rites of passage. When young girls can independently collect imifino from the forest, they become women. Imifino knowledge and traditions came under threat when colonial and then apartheid authorities imposed a ban on harvesting natural resources from the nearby forest. Anyone caught harvesting inside the forest under the ban could be charged fines, taken to jail, and abused and harassed by park rangers. Remarkably, traditional imifino knowledge has endured through the stories, actions, and resistance of local women. 

You mention comanagement. Is it possible to protect these forest areas while acknowledging women’s traditions?

For more than a century, colonial and apartheid-era governments forcibly removed Hobeni residents from the forest in the name of ‘environmental protection’. The communities won a land claim battle over the forest in 2001 and a comanagement forestry agreement was signed. It has, however, not been implemented and recent attempts by the parks board and local community to enter into a comanagement agreement have not been successful due to disagreements and delays. A wire fence still surrounds the forest, and local people do not have secure access rights to resources, including a variety of forest foods. 

To protect the sociocultural heritage around imifino, there needs to be a shift in the conservationist thinking of authorities and equitable relations between them and the communities who use local natural resources must be established. Management should respect the AmaXhosa system of resource use and integrate women’s indigenous knowledge into forest management plans, because allowing forest harvesting can restore the full cycle of plant knowledge and use. The park rangers and local management I spoke with are ready and helpful, but leadership is needed at the national-level management system to legally uphold the prioritization of sociocultural traditions in environmental protection.  

What would you like for the readers of this book to be the most important take-away message?

Two imifino experts and lifelong friends, Nonethile Fosanda and Nothintsile Nyalambisa, walk alongside the Mbashe River in Hobeni village. Photo by K. Tavenner

Imifino are an important forest food resource for the Hobeni community that provides special connections between young and old women and their traditional AmaXhosa culture – connections that are in grave danger of being broken forever if access rights are not secured long-term.

Denied access to natural resources at the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve means grave cultural, economic, and spiritual losses for the Hobeni community. The erosion of women’s local ecological knowledge of forest foods has resulted in lower rates of consumption and availability for rituals and cultural practices.

As a cultural symbol of a girl’s journey to womanhood, a traditional culinary dish, and a nutritional resource, the continued use of imifino is critical to maintaining the system of indigenous knowledge bound to the resource. Now is the time to recognize women’s knowledge in the management of plant biodiversity to ensure this cycle endures. 

Read also: Restoration initiatives must consider how gender relations shape control over land

Are you hopeful for positive change for the women and girls in Hobeni village?

The cultural survival of the traditions surrounding imifino is now in the hands of a few dedicated and resilient elderly experts. However, there is not much time left: Immediate interventions supported by national-level conservation bodies and local NGOs are needed to ensure these cultural traditions and the associated knowledge system will not disappear forever. This book is a testament to Hobeni women’s and girls’ strength in keeping their traditions alive despite considerable challenges. These women will continue to actively protest and resist current management policies at great personal risk and fight laws that deny their cultural rights and responsibilities. It is my hope that this book spreads their message to a wider audience, and that their message is received and heeded by those in power. 

By Giulia Micheletti, Bioversity International.


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund. 

  • Home
  • Restoration initiatives must consider how gender relations shape control over land

Restoration initiatives must consider how gender relations shape control over land

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A woman applies manure to a field to restore soil fertility in Nepal. Photo by M. Elias/Bioversity International

Marking International Day of Rural Women, Giulia Micheletti and Marlène Elias of Bioversity International discuss a framework for understanding how forest landscape restoration can promote gender equality.

It does so by safeguarding and advancing women’s land rights, encouraging their meaningful participation, and recognizing their expertise and priorities in restoration activities.

For many rural women, fulfilling everyday responsibilities such as agricultural production and home gardening, as well as collection of fodder, fuelwood, water and forest products have become more difficult due to environmental degradation. This adds to women’s heavy labor burdens, for example as they have to venture farther from home to gather these products.

Read more: Gender matters in Forest Landscape Restoration: A framework for design and evaluation

Yet, while the need to restore degraded lands and landscapes is pressing and gaining global attention, restoration initiatives often overlook rural women. As rural men typically have more public authority than women and are considered heads of their households, interventions that work with rural communities tend to favor them when it comes to choosing the areas and species to restore. In fact, gender inequality is an important but under-appreciated factor hindering restoration and the fair distribution of benefits from the process.   

A new framework to promote socially just and equitable interventions in forest landscape restoration has been published by gender researchers from Bioversity International, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF). Developed within the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), the framework explains that restoration initiatives must consider how gender relations shape access to and control over land and its use, and how changes in land use that may result from restoration can disadvantage women if their rights to resources, priorities, and contributions of labour and knowledge are overlooked. 

Read also: What do gender norms, innovation and trees have to do with each other?

Forest landscape restoration

Forest landscape restoration aims to regain the ecological integrity of deforested and degraded lands while simultaneously improving the wellbeing of forest-dependent communities. A critical issue in forest landscape restoration is safeguarding communities’ rights and access to their lands. On the one hand, community members with informal or insecure land rights can lose access to lands claimed under restoration initiatives. Adequate safeguards, grievance mechanisms and fair compensation must be in place to mitigate against such risks. 

On the other hand, if carried out in an inclusive way, forest landscape restoration can be a vehicle for strengthening the rights of marginalized groups. In this way, it can help reduce inequalities based on gender or other factors of social differentiation.

A woman walks toward the village of Gangarampur, Khulna, Bangladesh. Photo by D. Chandrabalan/Bioversity International

Everyone’s needs count

Different members of communities inhabiting the areas to be restored often have different views on degradation, priorities for the type of vegetation or density to be restored, approaches used to restore them and the kinds of benefits they want to gain from the restored lands. For example, women and men from different socioeconomic, generational and ethnic groups may have distinct preferences for plants with medicinal or nutritional properties, or for those that provide mulch, food, fodder or income.

The local ecological knowledge and expertise of these different community members needs to be recognized, and their active participation in decisions fostered to ensure that they benefit equally from restoration initiatives.

Read also: Improving livelihoods, equity and forests through sustainable management of NTFPs

As women and men have different capacities (assets, time, knowledge and so on) to participate in these initiatives, different measures are needed to encourage their participation. For example, community meetings should be scheduled at times and in places that are easy for women to reach and allow them to complete their chores and take care of the children, and participate. Strengthening women’s capacities to voice their interests in public forums and challenging norms that limit their influence in community affairs are also required to foster their active participation.

Benefits from forest landscape restoration can range from income-generating opportunities, improved ecosystem services, enhanced knowledge and skills on farming or resource management techniques to security of tenure. Forest landscape restoration initiatives must recognize how gender differences affect the capacities of both women and men to access these benefits and place both genders on an equal playing field to improve the livelihoods of all. 

By Giulia Micheletti and Marlène Elias, originally published at Bioversity International


References

Basnett, B.S., Elias, M., Ihalainen, M. and Paez Valencia, A.M. 2017. Gender matters in Forest Landscape Restoration: A framework for design and evaluation, CIFOR Report, Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor.

Vira, B., Wildburger, C. and Mansourian, S. (Eds.) 2015. Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition. A Global Assessment Report, IUFRO World Series 33, IUFRO, Vienna.


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund. 

  • Home
  • Women's hidden harvest: Indigenous vegetables and amaXhosa cultural survival in Hobeni Village, South Africa

Women’s hidden harvest: Indigenous vegetables and amaXhosa cultural survival in Hobeni Village, South Africa

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

This book is about the people of Hobeni Village and the protected area that neighbors them, the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve. For over 100 years, the communities next to the Dwesa and Cwebe Forests have been caught in a conflict over natural resources. Residents were forcibly removed for decades by colonial and apartheid-era governments. After being declared a protected area in 1978, local people lost access to natural resources in the forest. Although the communities won a land claim battle in 2001, local people were prohibited from harvesting natural resources until 2016, including a variety of forest foods. Remarkably, the indigenous knowledge associated with these foods endured through the stories, actions, and resistance of local women.

This book aims to capture the experiences of these women, and to provide an accessible text documenting their stories of cultural and physical survival.

  • Home
  • Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

Forest landscape restoration in Ethiopia. Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Photo by Alfredo Camacho/Bioversity International

Bioversity International launched the “Trees for Seeds: Resilient forest restoration” initiative at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in late August in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Pardon the pun but hedging our bets with global land restoration is exactly what we need to be doing if we don’t want to bury billions of dollars in a failed investment. 

On the last two days of August I participated in the GLF in Nairobi. This was an exciting meeting, not least because of the buzz around the African commitment to restoration through the African Forest Landscape Initiative (AFR100), and the very clear political will and private sector appetite for restoration – AFR100 is a country-led effort to bring 100 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes across Africa into restoration by 2030.

The rhetoric behind delivering large-scale restoration is compelling. Globally, degraded land costs about 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP) per year, while the benefits estimated in the billions of US dollars per year through improved ecosystem services, climate mitigation and improved productivity of degraded land.

Read also: FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored

The huge potential for AFR100 to contribute to a healthier, greener and more sustainable planet, are reasons to be happy. At the same time the growing pledges now at 100 million hectares for Africa, in the next 12 years, leaves one thinking “great, so how are we going to do this?” That’s a lot of land, a lot of trees and a lot of seeds.

Of course, the counting of hectares to be restored is pretty easy to do on paper. Delivering the sustainable development objectives from this restoration, on the other hand, requires planning, financing, and a clear idea of what this landscape restoration will look like on the ground.

On Aug. 28, the journal Nature also published an open access news article titled How to plant a trillion trees. That’s about one-third of the trees on our planet, or approximately 130 trees per person!

One of the critical barriers to restoration is having access to the seeds, and seedlings of the right tree species, of the right quality, that will be able to deliver multiple societal benefits, and contribute to multiple ecosystem services. This is the focus of the Trees for Seeds initiative (#Trees4Seeds) at Bioversity International, which was launched at the GLF. Watch the video of the launch, where distinguished panelists from Ghana and Cameroon joined us to discuss the significance of this topic for meeting their pledges under AFR100.

Watch: Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration

What is the best way to plant trees? Well, Mother Nature is certainly among the best restoration practitioners. Natural regeneration of trees to fallow land is likely to be an important first port-of-call for many countries to meet the Bonn Challenge pledges. 

Natural regeneration represents the least costly method of restoring degraded land. But, this does not automatically mean that regenerating forests or the trees on fallow lands will deliver the most pressing sustainable development needs such as poverty alleviation (SGD1) food security (SDG2), improved human health (SDG3), gender equality (SDG5), climate mitigation (SDG13) and biodiversity conservation (SDG15). 

In degraded tropical landscapes, many of the most useful tree species may not be present in sufficient numbers, or may be growing far from the site designated for restoration for seed dispersal to deliver seeds naturally. Let’s remember many tropical tree species seeds are dispersed by animals (birds, bats or monkeys), often hunted out of these landscapes. This short video interview highlights the problems and approaches of the Trees4Seeds initiative.

In reality, nature is going to need a little help in many situations. This might be through planting trees as part of enrichment restoration, or through seeding degraded lands from drones, or planes. Whichever the delivery method, at the very basis is the need for seeds, seeds from a diverse range of species, and seeds of good quality. If we fail to address this as the foundation of resilient restoration, then I am afraid that our restoration efforts will be wasted. These landscapes will not be resilient to climate change, will not be resilient to novel pests and disease, and will not deliver SDGs.

There is a huge opportunity out there. Nowhere on earth is the diversity of native trees greater than in tropical and sub-tropical countries (home to the vast majority of more than 60,000 species of tree), where the returns on investment in restoration will be greatest. We have the chance to develop diversified restoration portfolios, using diverse species, which deliver multiple benefits, and can be resilient. This diversity offers novel business opportunities, where global food systems are currently lacking. Trees can be some of the most nutritionally important parts of our diet. 

As shown by a recent paper by colleagues working on nutrition at Bioversity International, the more species you eat the greater your health. Also, some tropical trees are much better at locking up carbon than others, species that produce heavy dense wood might be slower growing but pack more carbon per hectare of land. Such species also offer opportunities to lock up carbon for longer, rather than just being used to generate fiber for waste paper.

Let’s not miss this opportunity. We have an urgent need to conserve the diversity of tropical trees so that we can use their genetic resources (seeds) for restoration. But we also need to invest in countries’ capacity to sustainably use this huge and valuable biological diversity to its full potential.

Join us at the next GLF in Bonn, Germany, on Dec. 1-2 to take the next steps in the Trees for Seeds initiative.

By Christopher Kettle, Science Domain Leader, Forest Genetic Resources and Restoration, Bioversity International. Originally published by Bioversity International. 


This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and is supported by CGIAR Trust Fund Donors.

  • Home
  • Fine-scale processes shape ecosystem service provision by an Amazonian hyperdominant tree species

Fine-scale processes shape ecosystem service provision by an Amazonian hyperdominant tree species

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Conspecific distance and density-dependence is a key driver of tree diversity in natural forests, but the extent to which this process may influence ecosystem service provision is largely unknown. Drawing on a dataset of >135,000 trees from the Peruvian Amazon, we assessed its manifestation in biomass accumulation and seed production of Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa) which plays a keystone role in carbon sequestration and NTFP harvesting in Amazonia. For the first time, we find both negative and positive effects of conspecific proximity on seed production and above ground biomass at small and large nearest neighbour distances, respectively. Plausible explanations for negative effects at small distances are fine-scale genetic structuring and competition for shared resources, whereas positive effects at large distances are likely due to increasing pollen limitation and suboptimal growth conditions. Finally, findings suggest that most field plots in Amazonia used for estimating carbon storage are too small to account for distance and density-dependent effects and hence may be inadequate for measuring species-centric ecosystem services.

  • Home
  • Genetic diversity of Ceiba pentandra in Colombian seasonally dry tropical forest: implications for conservation and management

Genetic diversity of Ceiba pentandra in Colombian seasonally dry tropical forest: implications for conservation and management

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Seasonally dry tropical forests (SDTFs) are one of the most degraded vegetation types worldwide and in Colombia<10% of the original cover remains. This calls for urgent conservation measures and restoration efforts. Understanding the genetic diversity and structure of tree species is crucial to inform not only conservation measures, but also sourcing of planting materials to ensure the long-term success of tree planting efforts, particularly in light of climate change. We assessed the genetic diversity distribution and structure of Ceiba pentandra from twelve representative locations of SDTF in Colombia, and how they may have been shaped by past climatic changes and human influence. We found three different genetic groups which may be the result of differentiation due to isolation of the Caribbean region, the Upper Cauca River Valley and the Patía River Valley in pre-glacial times. Range expansion of SDTF during the last glacial period, followed by more recent range contraction during the Holocene can explain the current distribution and mixture of genetic groups across contemporary STDF fragments. Most of the sampled localities showed heterozygosity scores close to Hardy–Weinberg expectations. Only two sites, among which the Patía River valley, an area with high conservation value, displayed significantly positive values of inbreeding coefficient, potentially affecting their survival and use as seed sources. While the effects of climate change might threaten C. pentandra populations across their current distribution ranges, opportunities remain for the in situ persistence of the most genetically diverse and unique ones. Based on our findings we identify priority areas for the in situ conservation of C. pentandra in Colombian SDTF and propose a pragmatic approach to guide the selection of appropriate planting material for use in restoration.

  • Home
  • Community concessions bring newfound hope for forest conservation and socioeconomic development

Community concessions bring newfound hope for forest conservation and socioeconomic development

Men in a community forest enterprise in Petén, Guatemala, involved in milling precious woods. Photo by D.Stoian/Bioversity International
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Men in a community forest enterprise in Petén, Guatemala, involved in milling precious woods. Photo by D. Stoian/Bioversity International

Recent findings evidenced that when forests are in the hands of local communities, governance, conservation and livelihoods improve.

Reform advocates claim that local communities are better stewards of forests than the state, particularly in settings where understaffing and other limitations do not allow government agencies to live up to their mandate.

There is increasing evidence that the devolution of rights to forest communities leads to a decrease in deforestation rates, better protection of biodiversity, and significant livelihood benefits of community members, especially if linked to the development of community forest enterprises.

Bioversity International and partners are contributing to this evidence base through large-scale socioeconomic surveys in the Petén region of Guatemala where 25-year forest concessions have been granted to the communities in the late 1990s.

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) scientist Dietmar Stoian of Bioversity International, who has led this research since 2014 says: “For the first time there is a complete socioeconomic data set across the nine active concessions, which show that, if carefully managed, the community concessions allow local people to move out of poverty while conserving the forest and its inherent biodiversity.”

“While we observe significant variation across and within the concessions, community stewardship of the forest resources has proven to be a viable model for forest conservation and livelihoods development,” he adds.

Members of a community forest enterprise grade leaves of the Chamaedorea palm for export. Photo by D. Stoian/Bioversity International

As the community concessions need to undergo renewal over the next few years, Bioversity International, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén (ACOFOP) — the umbrella organization of forest communities in the Petén — organized a workshop in September.

Over 40 researchers, practitioners, and policy makers, attended the workshop to take stock of existing evidence of the concessions’ environmental and socioeconomic performance and to discuss options going forward.

CIFOR scientist Steven Lawry explained in an interview with Forests News that the approach has produced positive results: “Deforestation rates within the concessions are markedly lower than in surrounding areas. Employment has increased, and community members receive dividends from timber sales.”

What is more, the resident forest communities are now able to make an income also from regulated hunting, collecting non-timber forest products, farming, and working off-farm. The diversification of their income sources contributes to their improved livelihoods by providing greater stability and food security.

“The community forest concession model has informed other ongoing processes for rights devolution in forest regions,” said Iliana Monterroso, co-organizer of the workshop on behalf of CIFOR. In fact, Indonesia, China and Colombia are looking at how the forest concession model might benefit their countries.

Originally published on the website of Bioversity International.


This research has been supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) with funding by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). It is part of the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors. We thank ADA and ADC for their funding and all donors who support PIM and FTA through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

  • Home
  • Community concessions bring newfound hope for forest conservation and socioeconomic development

Community concessions bring newfound hope for forest conservation and socioeconomic development

Men in a community forest enterprise in Petén, Guatemala, involved in milling precious woods. Photo by D.Stoian/Bioversity International
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Men in a community forest enterprise in Petén, Guatemala, involved in milling precious woods. Photo by D. Stoian/Bioversity International

Recent findings evidenced that when forests are in the hands of local communities, governance, conservation and livelihoods improve.

Reform advocates claim that local communities are better stewards of forests than the state, particularly in settings where understaffing and other limitations do not allow government agencies to live up to their mandate.

There is increasing evidence that the devolution of rights to forest communities leads to a decrease in deforestation rates, better protection of biodiversity, and significant livelihood benefits of community members, especially if linked to the development of community forest enterprises.

Bioversity International and partners are contributing to this evidence base through large-scale socioeconomic surveys in the Petén region of Guatemala where 25-year forest concessions have been granted to the communities in the late 1990s.

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) scientist Dietmar Stoian of Bioversity International, who has led this research since 2014 says: “For the first time there is a complete socioeconomic data set across the nine active concessions, which show that, if carefully managed, the community concessions allow local people to move out of poverty while conserving the forest and its inherent biodiversity.”

“While we observe significant variation across and within the concessions, community stewardship of the forest resources has proven to be a viable model for forest conservation and livelihoods development,” he adds.

Members of a community forest enterprise grade leaves of the Chamaedorea palm for export. Photo by D. Stoian/Bioversity International

As the community concessions need to undergo renewal over the next few years, Bioversity International, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Asociación de Comunidades Forestales de Petén (ACOFOP) — the umbrella organization of forest communities in the Petén — organized a workshop in September.

Over 40 researchers, practitioners, and policy makers, attended the workshop to take stock of existing evidence of the concessions’ environmental and socioeconomic performance and to discuss options going forward.

CIFOR scientist Steven Lawry explained in an interview with Forests News that the approach has produced positive results: “Deforestation rates within the concessions are markedly lower than in surrounding areas. Employment has increased, and community members receive dividends from timber sales.”

What is more, the resident forest communities are now able to make an income also from regulated hunting, collecting non-timber forest products, farming, and working off-farm. The diversification of their income sources contributes to their improved livelihoods by providing greater stability and food security.

“The community forest concession model has informed other ongoing processes for rights devolution in forest regions,” said Iliana Monterroso, co-organizer of the workshop on behalf of CIFOR. In fact, Indonesia, China and Colombia are looking at how the forest concession model might benefit their countries.

Originally published on the website of Bioversity International.


This research has been supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) with funding by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). It is part of the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors. We thank ADA and ADC for their funding and all donors who support PIM and FTA through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.


Back to top

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Connect with us