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  • CATIE presents results on sentinel landscapes in Nicaragua-Honduras

CATIE presents results on sentinel landscapes in Nicaragua-Honduras

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Photo by CATIE

One of the most innovative approaches from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the establishment of a set of ‘sentinel landscapes’.

These have formed part of a global analysis of networks and helped to understand issues and processes relevant to ecosystems worldwide.

A sentinel landscape is a geographic area or set of areas bound by a common issue, in which a broad range of biophysical, social, economic and political data are monitored, collected with consistent methods and interpreted over the long term.

CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), in conjunction with FTA, has coordinated a Sentinel Landscapes initiative since 2012. The long-term data are essential for addressing development, resource sustainability and scientific challenges, such as linking biophysical processes to human reactions and understanding the impacts of those reactions on ecosystems.

CATIE – a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture, and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, and a strategic partner of FTA – recently held four workshops for 164 participants from 45 organizations representing government, academic, productive sectors and NGOs.

The workshops, held on Nov. 5, 7, 9 and 27, 2018, focused on presenting the results and advances of the Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape initiative and were held in the cities of Matagalpa and Siuna in Nicaragua and Catacamas and La Ceiba in Honduras. The Nicaragua Honduras Sentinel Landscape is characterized by a variety of land uses. Tree cover is therefore diverse, competition for land is high, and speculation and renting land are common, but these arrangements drive deforestation, hinder long-term investments and exacerbate land degradation.

Watch: Analysis and monitoring of deforestation dynamics in FTA sentinel landscapes

The gatherings aimed to provide a space for the exchange of information between decisionmakers and key actors in the sectors of environmental management, forest management, protected areas, livestock, cocoa, coffee and biodiversity.

Around 64 participants from 45 organizations representing government, academic, and production sectors as well as some NGOs updated their knowledge of the Sentinel Landscapes initiative, exchanging information on their projects and activities, which served to improve levels of coordination among participating organizations.

Photo by CATIE

Since the initiative began, CATIE students have conducted valuable thesis studies that have contributed to improving knowledge and research methodology in the sentinel landscape.

The Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape is a mosaic of forests, agricultural lands, cattle ranches and agroforestry systems, covering 68,000 square kilometers, including two biosphere reserves and 13 protected areas.

“This landscape also contains the largest forest area in Central America,” said Norvin Sepúlveda, CATIE’s representative in Nicaragua.

Watch: CIFOR’s Robert Nasi on Sentinel Landscapes

The initiative develops and implements a standardized matrix that includes a set of indicators and livelihoods to monitor landscape sustainability in a wide variety of cultural, institutional and environmental settings.

Sepulveda also indicated that socioeconomic and biophysical baselines have been developed in conjunction with universities and local organizations.

José Manuel González, CATIE representative in Honduras, mentioned that it is important to make these databases available to organizations, to continue with studies and monitoring, as well as to strengthen local and national alliances.

In this sense, Alan Bolt, coordinator of the Collaborative Management Committee for the Peñas Blancas Protected Area and director of the Center for Understanding Nature, stated that CATIE’s support, through the initiative, had been important for the institutionalization of the committee and the thesis studies carried out by students have improved research methodology.

Indeed, sentinel landscapes can provide a common observation ground where reliable data from the biophysical and social sciences can be tracked simultaneously and over time so that long-term trends can be detected, and society can make mitigation, adaptation and best-bet choices.

By Priscilla Brenes Angulo, CATIE Communication Assistant, first published by CATIE.

For more information, contact Norvin Sepúlveda, [email protected].

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  • Agricultural research and education combine for tangible results in Latin America 

Agricultural research and education combine for tangible results in Latin America 

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A body of water is surrounded by mountains. Photo by CATIE

In light of its standing as a regional research platform and a higher education institution of international recognition, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) holds an undeniably important position in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The work carried out by CATIE researchers is focused on generating and disseminating knowledge, putting it into practice and encouraging uptake. From restoration to climate change adaptation and mitigation, conservation strategies and silvopastoral systems, the center’s work spans not only numerous countries but also several decades.

To mark CATIE’s official 45th anniversary this year, Environmental Livestock Unit researchers Cristóbal Villanueva and Danilo Pezo, Forest Seed Bank head Francisco Mesén and genetic resources expert William Solano spoke about key work and achievements.

Read also: CATIE celebrates 45 years of putting knowledge into practice 

What is the history behind the development and use of research on silvopastoral systems at CATIE?

Cristóbal Villanueva and Danilo Pezo: CATIE’s work on silvopastoral systems started in the late 1980s, but initially the emphasis was on the use of tree fodder as a source of feed for ruminants.

Initially, most of the efforts were on native trees such as Erythrina species, Gliricidia sepium, Leucaena leucocephala and Calliandra calothyrsus, as well as the introduced Morus alba. All these were managed under different silvopastoral options, mostly the traditional live fences, and intensive fodder banks and alley farming with pastures systems.

Later, emphasis was put on other woody perennial species as well as on the role of different silvopastoral options — such as the most commonly practiced scattered trees in pastures — as a means to diversify production and improve animal welfare in livestock systems, as well as providers of timber and environmental services such as biodiversity, soil and water conservation in livestock dominated landscapes.

More recently, the role of woody perennials as part of adaptation and mitigation strategies on livestock farms has been part of CATIE’s research agenda.

Team members plant seedlings. Photo by CATIE

Over the years, CATIE has been the leader in post-graduate education and training in silvopastoral systems in Latin America, contributing to strengthening the research and development capability of many education and research institutions, as well as NGOs, technical assistance providers and farmer organizations, mostly in Latin American and the Caribbean.

CATIE research findings have also been used as inputs for the design of policies tackling the livestock and environmental interphase in the region. At a global level, CATIE has shared its learnings through several publications, as well as presentations at international congresses, conferences and seminars.

Watch: CATIE: el destino para una educación superior de excelencia

How is CATIE’s Forest Seed Bank used, and who benefits from this valuable resource? 

Francisco Mesén: The CATIE Forest Seed Bank (BSF), which has existed for 51 years, is a self-sustainable commercial unit that distributes the seeds of 50 forest species as well as coffee clones of high genetic quality.

Each year BSF seeds reach more than 170 clients in 20 countries in America, Asia and Africa, supplying private companies to national reforestation programs. The BSF maintains commercial agreements with partners in Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru for seed distribution and promotion.

The seeds that we distribute come either from our own sources, from selected third-party sources, or from other seed banks in the region. In addition to strict internal quality control, we are also under the supervision of the Costa Rican Seed Certification Office, which certifies both the physical and genetic quality of our seeds.

In our training, marketing and promotion efforts, we develop our agenda in conjunction with our partners in member countries. We provide continuous advice to our clients as required, and we receive an average of 300 visitors per year to our headquarters, including politicians, producers, businessmen, technicians and students.

Read also: CATIE continues to improve people’s wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

What is the story of CATIE’s germplasm collection, and which stakeholders now benefit from its use?

William Solano: CATIE’s germplasm collections date back to the 1940s. In 1976, the germplasm bank was formally established as a center for the conservation and use of the plant genetic resources of Mesoamerica.

The collections were placed under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2004 and two years later were under the jurisdiction of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The germplasm that CATIE conserves has worldwide relevance due to its quantity and diversity.

Different types of cacao varieties can be found in CATIE’s International Cacao Collection. Photo by CATIE

The most representative field collections are coffee, cacao, peach palm and sapotaceae fruits, while the most important seed collections are those of cucurbits, tomato and pepper. Many of the accessions are unique and not represented in collections elsewhere. The collections include accessions of wild relatives of crops, a valuable resource for future genetic improvement.

There are several examples of CATIE’s germplasm distribution to users who have promoted the economic development of new crops and helped tackle new diseases in crops of high economic value. CATIE highlighted the distribution of selected seven cocoa clones resulting from its Cocoa Breeding Program — known for their high yield, resistance to moniliasis and excellent chocolate quality (two of them were in the top 10 at the Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris in 2009) — to smallholders throughout Central America.

These clones were fundamental for a key initiative of the Central American Cacao Project aimed at modernizing cocoa plantations in an integrated manner in order to improve the income and living conditions of families in the region.

The distribution throughout the region of hybrids F1 with resistance to coffee rust, which were derived from introductions in the CATIE collection, is also of great value to the coffee sector. These materials are characterized by 30 to 50 percent higher productivity than traditional varieties and have an exceptional cup quality – one of them won the Cup of Excellence competition in 2016 – as well as tolerance to adverse weather conditions such as drought, flooded soil and frost.

Also worth noting is a germplasm transfer in the 1960s, from the CATIE coffee collection to Panama, of the Geisha variety, which led to the production of a high-quality specialty coffee with a very high market value, reaching US$601 per pound. Another product of CATIE’s coffee germplasm collection is the “Nemaya” rootstock variety, which is resistant to major nematodes affecting the Central American coffee sector.

Small-scale farmers, including indigenous communities, have also benefited from native germplasm of important food crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and squash, presenting valuable agronomic traits such as nutritional quality, better taste, good adaptation to different climatic conditions and resistance to diseases and pests. CATIE makes this germplasm available to all users, in a continuing contribution to meeting the current challenges of agriculture.

Read also: Celebrating and rewarding excellence in producing high-quality cocoa: The 2017 International Cocoa Award winners

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator, and Karla Salazar, CATIE Communicator.

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  • CATIE marks 45 years of putting knowledge into practice 

CATIE marks 45 years of putting knowledge into practice 

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Flower buds grow on a coffee plant. Photo by CATIE

As CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) marks its 45th year, it is continuing to build its reputation as a renowned research platform and internationally recognized education institution.

So, what is CATIE’s vision for the future of its unique combination of education, research and innovation?

Remarking on the anniversary milestone, CATIE’s Director General Muhammad Ibrahim said CATIE’s vision over the coming years would focus on offering leadership in the generation of ‘agents of change’ and in search of solutions to challenges facing the region and the world that have been emphasized in the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“CATIE has become an ally to countries across Latin America and the Caribbean as it constantly generates new knowledge and makes it available,” he said.

Read also: CATIE continues to improve people’s wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

In line with FTA’s role in enhancing the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security, and addressing climate change, CATIE has two very important programs, which link perfectly,” said Eduardo Somarriba, leader of CATIE’s Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program (PRAGA).

“One very important part of CATIE’s work in FTA has been the development of the Nicaragua-Honduras sentinel landscape [NHSL], where CATIE has introduced a climate smart territories methodology, carried out research initiatives and supported more than 20 master’s theses,” he added.

The sentinel landscapes initiative has made rapid progress toward understanding important metrics of ecosystem health, as well as drivers of land degradation across a range of ecosystems in the global tropics. An important part of the initiative is the integration of socioeconomic surveys and ecosystem health metrics.

Meanwhile, the CATIE-MAP project has produced a range of tools and farmer resources on alternative agricultural practices related to a range of crops and livestock.

“These include coffee, cocoa, livestock, silvopastoral systems, backyard gardening and staple cereals,” said Somarriba, “and their distribution has focused on farmers and agricultural extension services.”

Cows are pictured in a agrosilvopastoral system at CATIE’s farm. Photo by CATIE

CATIE’s work in the following areas links closely with FTA’s efforts to progress sustainable development and food security and to address climate change:

  • Forest restoration of degraded land
  • Mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the forestry sector and in the framework of conservation efforts and management of ecosystem services
  • Policy and governance of multiscale management of forests, biodiversity and hydrological ecosystem services
  • Conservation strategies for forests, biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Productive efficiency and resilience of livestock based on silvopastoral systems
  • Productive efficiency and resilience of agroforestry systems with perennial crops (coffee and cocoa)
  • Carbon stocks and greenhouse gas flows in agroforestry systems and silvopastoral areas

Read also: Nicaragua-Honduras sentinel landscape on FTA

CATIE is dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, introducing the knowledge generated by its research programs. This allows students, technical staff and professionals to be exposed to the knowledge and to be able to adapt it for use in their countries,” Somarriba explained.

Indeed, CATIE ensures that the knowledge it generates is put into practice and adopted on the ground across Latin America and the Caribbean. The center’s projects implement farmer field schools as the main capacity building mechanisms to influence farmers and their families.

CATIE’s graduate school has educated over 40 professionals at master’s and PhD levels using the NHSL as a research platform. These graduates then return to their home countries where they can apply their knowledge to their work in national development and education programs.

In terms of higher education overall, CATIE has seen 2,530 professionals graduate with master’s and doctoral degrees, and has trained more than 70,000 people in various fields related to sustainable agriculture development and natural resource conservation. CATIE publications are also regularly used by academic institutions in Latin America in their educational programs.

“The center also works closely with policymakers and the governance platforms of many private subsectors — such as livestock, coffee, cocoa and forestry. CATIE’s research results support the development of public policies and private development programs through these platforms. For instance, CATIE’s research has supported the development of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) interventions in the livestock sector in all Central American countries,” Somarriba said.

“We have built all this work jointly with key local partners, national and international, who we thank today for their cooperation and for joining in sustainable, rural and inclusive development alongside CATIE,” Ibrahim concluded.

Read also: CATIE aims to strengthen its work in environmental livestock, agroforestry, agrobiodiversity and family farming

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator, and Karla Salazar, CATIE Communicator.

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  • Spilling the beans: FTA scientists contribute to new book about sustainable cocoa 

Spilling the beans: FTA scientists contribute to new book about sustainable cocoa 

Cacao produced in Cameroon. Photo by O. Girard/CIFOR
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With a distinguished editor and a variety of international experts as authors, including a number from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing recently launched the book Achieving sustainable cultivation of cocoa, considered a new standard reference for scientists and producers of cocoa.

Eduardo Somarriba from the Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program (PRAGA) at CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) appears as a chapter author, while CATIE’s Rolando Cerda and Wilbert Phillips are coauthors.

Bioversity International’s Stephan Weise, Brigitte Laliberté and Jan Engels also contributed to the book. Meanwhile, the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) saw a number of contributors across various chapters, namely Philippe Lachenaud, Didier Snoeck, Bernard Dubos, Leïla Bagny Beilhe, Régis Babin, Martijn ten Hoopen, Christian Cilas and Olivier Sounigo.

Read also: Achieving sustainable cultivation of cocoa

According to Francis Dodds, editorial director of Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, the book discusses the existing challenges standing in the way of making cocoa crops more efficient and sustainable, in order to supply increasing demand, while taking into account the increasing age of plantations, decreasing performance and greater vulnerability to illnesses. At the same time, the authors heed increasing concerns about the environmental impact of cocoa on soil health and biodiversity.

The first part of the book looks at genetic resources and developments in production technologies. The second part discusses the optimization of crop techniques to take maximum advantage of the new varieties, while the third part summarizes recent research about the understanding of and fight against major viral and fungal diseases affecting cocoa. The fourth part covers security and quality issues, and finally the last part of the book analyzes ways to improve sustainability, including the role of agroforestry, organic crops, and ways to support small producers.

Achieving sustainable cultivation of cocoa

Notably, Somarriba and Philips contributed to the first and fifth sections of the book, with Somarriba addressing the issue of the analysis and design of the shade canopy of cocoa in agroforestry systems, and Phillips looking at the main challenges of conservation and exploiting cocoa genetic resources.

Read also: CATIE continues to improve people’s wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

The book was edited by the recognized and cocoa expert, Pathmanathan Umahran, director of the Research Centre for Cocoa and professor of genetic at the University of the Occidental Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago.

Martin Gilmour, Director of Research and Sustainability Development of Cocoa at Mars Global Chocolate, stated in a press release from Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing that the book would be of great interest for researchers, development agencies, governments, specialists in the industry and non-government organizations, as well as anyone interested in improving cocoa crop sustainability.

Adapted from the article by CATIE communicator Karla Salazar Leiva, originally published by CATIE.

For more information, contact Karla Salazar Leiva at [email protected] or Eduardo Somarriba, Leader of CATIE’s Agriculture, Livestock and Agroforestry Program, at [email protected].

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  • CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) Annual Report 2017

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) Annual Report 2017

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The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) contributes to 9 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to all CGIAR Intermediate Development Outcomes (IDOs) and to 31 sub-IDOs with different levels of investment. With efforts targeted respectively at 29%, 33%, 38% across System Level Outcomes (SLOs) 1, 2 and 3, FTA balanced its work across four main production systems (natural forests, plantations, pastures and cropping systems with trees) dealing with a number of globally traded and/or locally important tree-crop commodities (timber, oil palm, rubber, coffee, cocoa, coconut, wood fuel, fruits, etc.), that form the basis for the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of smallholders. These commodities also represent an important share of the land area, including 13 million km2 of forests and 9.5 million km2 of agricultural lands (45% of the total agricultural area with >10% tree cover). Progress towards IDOs in 2017 resulted from FTA work on technical innovations and tools, as well as on value chains, and institutional and policy processes. These innovations were taken up and diffused by different actors and along value chains, and all were suited to their particular context. As 2017 is the first year of FTA’s six-year program, progress towards SLOs was aimed at the upstream level; in some cases there was already progress towards downstream uptake.

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  • CATIE continues to improve people's wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

CATIE continues to improve people’s wellbeing across Latin America and Caribbean through education and research

A family poses with their agricultural produce. Photo by CATIE
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CATIE provides families with information about climate-smart agriculture. Photo by CATIE

Ever since its inception in 1973, CATIE (the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) has supported countries to enrich their rural populations’ quality of life, as well as addressing agricultural issues and improving natural resources management.

Celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, CATIE continues to remain focused on generating and disseminating knowledge, putting it into practice and encouraging the adoption of relevant ideas, which has led to it being known as a regional research platform and an internationally recognized higher education institution.

As a CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) partner institution, CATIE provides the program with a solid science-based approach across the diverse communities in which it engages, as well as the applicability and transference of knowledge to countries and communities through the development of projects and pilot programs.

CATIE works in food security, forest management, gender, agroforestry, value chain and agribusiness, sustainable livestock production, environmental economics, and territorial approaches. Providing solutions for development, sustainable agriculture and natural resources management in Latin American and Caribbean territories, and improving human wellbeing, have been the driving force behind CATIE’s work in the region over the past 45 years, in coordination with key national, regional, and international partners, combining post graduate education, research and innovation.

“CATIE has become an ally to the region’s countries as it constantly generates new knowledge, making it available, with the finality of facing existing challenges and achieving acquired commitments at an environmental, economic and social level,” said CATIE Director General Muhammad Ibrahim.

In terms of higher education, CATIE has seen 2,530 professionals graduate with master’s and doctoral degrees, and has trained more than 70,000 people in various fields related to sustainable agriculture development and natural resources conservation.

Through our students’ thesis and graduation projects, we make important contributions to countries of the region, giving an answer to problems and real necessities; additionally, once they have graduated and become professionals, they go back to their countries willing to work for the most vulnerable populations,” said Isabel Gutiérrez, Dean of the Postgraduate School of CATIE.

CATIE has supported cocoa producers with training. Photo by CATIE

The research itself has also had important results, positively affecting the quality of life of thousands of rural families. CATIE is seen as a pioneer institution in terms of encouraging agricultural production that at the same time allows for the conservation of ecosystem services through agroforestry systems.

CATIE has spread sustainable forest management throughout Latin American countries generated knowledge for the establishment of forest plantations, worked to simplify national policies to encourage the forest sector and provided the region with high quality forest seeds.

It has also promoted water management and conservation, working on the governance of water basins. Knowledge generated on the subject of silvopastoral systems is being used in the region as a base for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and livestock policies for lower greenhouse gas emissions.

CATIE has conserved thousands of genetic resources for coffee, cocoa and other crops that are great importance for food security in its germplasm collections. In the case of coffee and cocoa, some of the resources have been used to generate new varieties that are more tolerant to disease, more productive and of higher quality.

CATIE has supported the elaboration of policies for countries in the region on issues related to REDD+, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and agriculture and sustainable livestock. It has generated tools and knowledge related to the environmental economy that promote policies and incentives to conserve natural resources and capture carbon.

Francisco Alpízar, Director of the Research Directorate for Green and Inclusive Development, said the role CATIE plays had been developed jointly with local and international partners in a participative and interdisciplinary way.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim noted that CATIE’s vision over the coming years would focus on offering leadership in the generation of ‘agents of change’ and in search of answers to multiple challenges facing region and the world, which have been emphasized in the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

For more information, contact CATIE communicator Karla Salazar Leiva at [email protected].

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  • Climate change atlas presents suitability maps for agroforestry species in Central America

Climate change atlas presents suitability maps for agroforestry species in Central America

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Trees surround the perimeter of a rice paddy in South East Asia. Photo by ICRAF

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in collaboration with Bioversity International and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) recently published an atlas titled Suitability of key Central American agroforestry species under future climates

The atlas presents current and future suitability maps for 54 species that are commonly used as shade in agroforestry systems in Central America. The 54 species that were selected include 24 species of fruit trees, 24 timber trees and six species used to improve soil conditions.

The work was made possible through the financial support of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), which are supported by CGIAR Fund Donors, and of HIVOS.

Read more: Suitability of key Central American agroforestry species under future climates: an atlas

“The main objective of the atlas is to address a current knowledge gap in detailed information about suitable areas for key agroforestry species in Central America,” said Kauê de Sousa of Bioversity International, who is the main author of the study.

“The agroforestry practice of integrating trees within cocoa or coffee, silvopastoral or smallholder timber systems is key to the development of strategies for climate-smart agriculture in the region. It is important to know where a species remains suitable under future climatic conditions to be able to give practical advice to farmers and tree growers.”

The atlas addresses this knowledge gap by providing detailed suitability maps for each species. Detailed mapping was possible by substantially expanding previously available data sets of known presence locations (locations where a species was documented to be suitable in Latin America and the Caribbean) and by applying powerful species distribution modelling methods.

An agroforestry site is pictured in Vietnam. Photo by ICRAF

The future climates correspond to Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 for the 2050s. Four RCPs (2.6, 4.5, 6.0 and 8.5) were introduced in the latest assessment report of the IPCC. These scenarios describe possible future climates that depend on potential changes in greenhouse gas emissions. RCP 4.5 represents an intermediate emissions scenario, whereas RCP 8.5 is a high emissions scenario.

Ensemble suitability methods were applied using the BiodiversityR package, an open-source software package developed by Roeland Kindt, a senior ecologist at ICRAF and one of the coauthors of the atlas. The software modelled species distributions with bioclimatic variables obtained from WorldClim for the baseline climate (1960–1990). Distribution maps for the middle of the 21st century were obtained via future climate data generated by 17 global climate change models.

Ensemble future distribution maps for each RCP are based on consensus among 17 future distribution maps generated for each species. Maps projecting future distribution were compared with the current distribution maps to evaluate the potential changes in the distribution of each species.

Read also: Agroforestry to meet the Paris Agreement

Reflecting on the results, Maarten van Zonneveld of Bioversity International, a scientist in diversity analysis for conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, said the results indicated that the modelled distribution for 30 species reduces under both climate change scenarios.

The most threatened species include N-fixing ice-cream bean trees (Inga spp.), the delicious cherimoya (Annona cherimola), the economically important avocado (Persea americana), and the solid timber species Handroanthus ochraceus. Ten species are expected to increase their distribution under both climate change scenarios including the underutilized fruit species Averrhoa bilimbi, coconut (Cocos nucifera), cocoplum (Chrysobalanus icaco), Spanish lime (Melicoccus bijugatus) and the majestic rain-tree (Albizia saman).

Jenny Ordonez of ICRAF and a specialist in agroforestry systems and functional ecology emphasized that “the atlas provides a first approximation of this kind in the region, to assess which species might be vulnerable or tolerant to expected climate change. Agroforestry practices are one of the main strategies for developing climate smart agriculture and as such are widely advocated by research and development organizations alike in this region. The results of the atlas are therefore an important tool to support the design of agroforestry practices taking into account potential impacts of climate change. The maps provided should be used in combination with other information sources from technicians and farmers to fine-tune the selection of species for designing climate proof agroforestry systems.”

Jonathan Cornelius, regional coordinator from ICRAF, concluded that “many of the trees that farmers are planting and managing now will need to remain productive up to and beyond 2050. This important publication provides a firm foundation for building the climate-smart agroforestry that farmers need, based on the best currently available information about future climates and species’ requirements.”

Originally published by ICRAF


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

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  • FTA Gender Research Updates – June 2017

FTA Gender Research Updates – June 2017

Coffee grows in the shade in the highlands of Nicaragua. Over half of the farmland in Central America has more than 30% tree cover. Photo by ICRAF
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Coffee grows under a canopy of shade in Nicaragua. Photo by ICRAF

Gender, access to information and trees on farms: Considerations for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

This project analyzes the conditions under which women’s participation in community-level groups may influence their capacities to access and implement information on the use of trees on farms, in a territory distinguished by high climatic risk in north-central Nicaragua.

The research, which forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), is carried out through collaboration between CATIE and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) researchers based in Costa Rica and in Nicaragua.

The field site coincides with the Climate Smart Village of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in Tuma la Dalia and the FTA Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape.

Read also: Going deep on gender: research on climate-smart agroforestry in Nicaragua

The Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape is characterized by a variety of land uses. Tree cover is therefore diverse, competition for land is high, and speculation and renting land are common, but these arrangements drive deforestation, hinder long term investments and exacerbate land degradation.

This Sentinel Landscape hopes to address some of the following questions:

  • What conditions underlie the recuperation of tree cover?
  • What is the current land uses on the landscape and the different models to re-introduce trees?
  • Do current legal frameworks favor sustainable management or practices for the recuperation of trees?
  • What are the implications of the different models of tree re-introduction (in terms of quantity, functional and taxonomic, for mitigation of climate change, hydrological network and connectivity within the landscape)?
  • What are the changes to human welfare related to the different models of tree re-introduction?
  • Where are areas of conflicts within the landscape?
  • What are the trade-offs between social-ecological vulnerability and efficiency of the system under different models of tree re-introduction?
  • What opportunities and limitations are therefore the different models of tree re-introduction?
  • How to support initiatives for the re-introduction of trees in farms and landscapes to secure ecosystem restoration
Coffee grows in the shade in the highlands of Nicaragua. Over half of the farmland in Central America has more than 30% tree cover. Photo by ICRAF

Correspondingly, the research bases itself on data from the CCAFS gender household survey carried out in the territory in 2015 as well as on research insights from the NHSL project. Through funding from the Independent Science and Partnership Council, meetings with local stakeholders were recently carried out in order to share results and solicit feedback and inputs on research development.

The visits included the following organizations: the Research and Development Institute (NITLAPAN) of the Central American University (UCA) of Nicaragua; Christian Medical Action (AMC); the Organization for Rural and Urban Area Social and Economic Development (ODESAR); the Knowledge Management Network for Rural Development in Matagalpa and Jinotega (Red Gescon); and the Augusto Cesar Sandino Union of Farming Cooperatives (UCA San Ramón).

The sessions with local partners served to promote knowledge sharing on local gender dynamics and agricultural and agroforestry trends, with a focus on socially inclusive rural development and gender-sensitive climate change strategies.

For more on this project, visit the Sentinel Landscape page or click here for information in Spanish.

By Tatiana Gumucio, Gender Social Scientist, FTA Gender Integration Team. 


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

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

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

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FTA

Robert Nasi. Photo: CIFOR
Robert Nasi. Photo: CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is entering its next phase in 2017; this is an opportunity to take stock of the partnerships that made this research program a success and to look at the new partners who will come on board. In several upcoming blog posts and interviews, we are showcasing partnerships that can serve as examples, in the knowledge that it took hundreds of partners to make it work: donor agencies, research institutes and universities, government bodies, nongovernmental organizations and farmers on the ground. For our first blog, we asked the previous FTA Director Robert Nasi about the FTA partnership model and what worked well. You can find more stories on partnerships here.

Partnerships are key to the delivery pathways of FTA; also we have many different levels and types of partnerships within the program, spanning research, capacity development, outreach, implementation, and more.

The core management partnership is between the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), Bioversity InternationalTropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center [Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza], (CATIE), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

This partnership has been effective although we had a rather difficult starting point in 2011 when centers were essentially competing for leadership of the different Research Programs.


Also read: CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry has new Director


Developing and implementing FTA research gave us the opportunity to sit and plan together, to exchange knowledge and ideas and to learn to value each other. And now, after five years, we can see an increased level of solidarity between partners in developing and getting over the various hurdles during the joint preparation of the proposal for the next phase.

In South Sulawesi, the two FTA partners CIFOR and ICRAF collaborate in the successful AgFor project. Photo: Tri Saputro/CIFOR
In South Sulawesi, the two FTA partners CIFOR and ICRAF collaborate in the successful AgFor project. Photo: Tri Saputro/CIFOR

We can honestly say that we have moved from a competitive to a more collaborative approach. Of course there still is and will be some level of competition because of the nature of the work and the funding context but we are becoming more and more collaborative in our fundraising efforts.

We now have a mature partnership so we can address hard issues up front and solve them together. For me, this is real success and proof of a real partnership.

New partners joining

The fact that new partners, such as Tropenbos International and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) want to join us demonstrates the value and reputation of the FTA as a partnership. They want to come on board as core partners for the new phase because they are interested in the research agenda and because FTA as a program adds value to their work. Partners are interested because of the things we do and because of the added value of being part of an integrated effort more than for the prospect of getting a huge amount of money.

Bigger than the sum of its parts

The Tropical managed Forest Observatory is a product of partnerships within FTA.
The Tropical managed Forest Observatory is a product of partnerships within FTA.

We have developed specific partnerships within FTA that are bigger than the program, for example the Tropical managed Forests Observatory (TmFO), led by CIRAD which has 22 institutions working in it. The Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB) and the Sentinel Landscapes project are other partnerships within FTA.

Working through the difficulties

During the last 24 months, we have had some issues with commitment to our partners because of unplanned budget cuts but thanks to the maturity of the partnership we have managed to overcome these and keep people on board (even after cutting their budget by more than 50% in some cases).

There is still some room for improvement. It is not always easy for people in one institution to understand what is happening in another in terms of budget management or internal procedures. It is often challenging for non-CGIAR partners to respond to specific CGIAR requests.

This has created some practical issues, but we’ve always managed to sort it out. So, all in all, FTA in a short number of years and in a difficult budget environment, has managed to gather up six competitive organizations at the top of their field in forest, trees, agroforestry and land use research, to work together in a real collaborative way. And the decision by the CGIAR System Council to continue this vast integrated program for another six years confirms that FTA phase 1 was a real success story.

More partnerships stories:

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

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

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

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  • CATIE and CIAT, a convincing partnership - not only in forests, trees and agroforestry

CATIE and CIAT, a convincing partnership – not only in forests, trees and agroforestry

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FTA

grupo_ciat_catieBy Andrea Carvajal, originally posted at CIAT’s blog.

“It is known throughout the region that together we work well and we create synergies,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, new Director General of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE, its Spanish acronym) during his visit to CIAT headquarters near Cali, Colombia, in July, identifying collaborative research areas. According to him, CIAT and CATIE, who are both members of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry among others, should take advantage of their long-standing cooperation, which gives them credibility.

Ibrahim took office as CATIE Director General last 29 February for a period of four years and his good relationship with both Centers and the impact of his work are evidenced in concrete actions, such as the creation of CATIE’s Livestock and Environmental Management Program (GAMMA, its Spanish acronym).

“Today, the agenda on shared and complementary topics is even broader and more diverse, due to our common interest in issues such as climate-smart agriculture and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies,” said Ibrahim, who sees CIAT’s  Biotechnology Unit as a strategic partner to identify more varieties that are resistant to diseases and the effects of climate change, and that are capable of maintaining high yields, using the germplasm available in CATIE’s international coffee and cocoa collections.

“Now, as Director General, I also have in mind other issues that are key to CATIE research, as well as its role as a quality education entity. The goal is to promote a horizontal cooperation by exploring opportunities to work jointly in the development of technologies to impact livelihoods. This also means joint publications, efforts to inform policy making, project design and development, and resource mobilization plans, coupled with management indicators to reflect the changes we will have accomplished in five years time.” (Muhammad Ibrahim, General Director, CATIE)

Nicaragua as an entry point for innovation and sustainable development

Along with Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Vietnam, Nicaragua is one of the so-called site integration countries, defined by the CGIAR System as meeting points to facilitate improved coordination among the different CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) present in the region – especially now that the second phase, from 2017 to 2020, is about to start.

Among the various reasons for choosing Nicaragua is the fact that its agro-ecological and socio-economic characteristics are representative of the rest of Central American countries, which makes it possible for knowledge and innovations developed in this country to be scaled out to benefit producers from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama.

 

One of the CRPs present in Nicaragua is the program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), led by CIAT, for whom CATIE is a strategic partner with whom the Center has laid out the following vision:

For 2022, as a result of the CATIE-CCAFS collaboration, a variety of research inputs and key evidence will have been generated to enhance decision making in the Latin American agricultural sector at the local, national, and regional level, considering the effects and opportunities presented by a changing climate. Climate-Smart Territories (CST) and Climate-Smart Villages (CSV) have been scaled out to different locations within the region and are known to be hubs for the design of participatory methodologies, technology testing, and the development of community-based processes aimed to find portfolios of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices and services that contribute to enhancing resilience, reducing emissions, and increasing food security through improved productivity.

This vision will become a reality through the implementation of a short-term collaborative strategy, in which the complementarity among CSTs and CSVs regarding climate change is as essential as the inclusion of a gender perspective, production of joint research publications, and coordination to support regional, national, and local stakeholders.

Therefore, there are four especially important key points to recover the so-called Central American dry corridor; “it is an opportunity to work in the region and capitalize on the learning experiences achieved by the CSTs and CSVs,” says Isabel Gutiérrez, CATIE liaison officer for Colombia.

This is how, by means of a renewed collaborative research agenda, both centers show their strong commitment to sustainable development in the Latin American region. A commitment that is also evidenced in other long-term endeavors in which CATIE and CIAT take an active part, such as the 20×20 Initiative, aimed to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2020.


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