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  • Local tree knowledge can fast-track agroforestry recommendations for coffee smallholders along a climate gradient in Mount Elgon, Uganda

Local tree knowledge can fast-track agroforestry recommendations for coffee smallholders along a climate gradient in Mount Elgon, Uganda

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Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) is economically important for many smallholder farmers in the Mount Elgon region of East Uganda, but its production is increasingly threatened by climate change. However, ecosystem services (ES) provided by companion trees in coffee agroforestry systems (AFS) can help farmers adapt to climate change.

The objectives of this research were to develop agroforestry species recommendations and tailor these to the farmers’ needs and local context, taking into consideration gender. Local knowledge of agroforestry species and ES preferences was collected through farmer interviews and rankings. Using the Bradley-Terry approach, analysis was done along an altitudinal gradient in order to study different climate change scenarios for coffee suitability. Farmers had different needs in terms of ES and tree species at different altitudes, e.g. at low altitude they need a relatively larger set of ES to sustain their coffee production and livelihood. Local knowledge is found to be gender blind as no differences were observed in the rankings of species and ES by men and women.

Ranking species by ES and ranking ES by preference is a useful method to help scientists and extension agents to use local knowledge for the development of recommendations on companion trees in AFS for smallholder farmers.

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  • Farm-scale greenhouse gas balances, hotspots and uncertainties in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Central Kenya

Farm-scale greenhouse gas balances, hotspots and uncertainties in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Central Kenya

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  • Whole-farm GHG balances are needed to identify climate-smart options.
  • Coffee-dairy farms are mostly net sources of GHG at farm-scale.
  • Poor manure management can be a determining factor in the farm GHG balance.
  • Emissions are smoothed by zero grazing and larger soil and biomass C sequestration.
  • Improving GHG estimations requires developing EFs and site calibrations.
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  • Managing degraded forests, a new priority in the Brazilian Amazon

Managing degraded forests, a new priority in the Brazilian Amazon

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Overview 

By taking drastic steps, Brazil has succeeded in reducing the annual deforestation rate for Amazonia from 27 770 km2 in 2005 to 5 830 km2 in 2015. However, those steps have not had any effect on forest degradation, notably the partial destruction of the canopy.

In the Brazilian Amazon, degraded forests dominate the landscape along pioneer fronts. The region now faces a major challenge: stopping degradation and managing its forests sustainably. In this issue of Perspective, researchers highlight four priorities for research: developing degraded forest characterization and monitoring methods, drafting specific management plans, understanding the role played by all social players, and supporting policies on a territorial level.

Nowadays, degraded forests are a forest category in their own right. They could play a major role in mitigating climate change. They could also contribute to better ecological functioning on a territorial level. Drafting policies with the dual aim of reducing degradation and optimizing these forests requires strong support from research.

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  • Amazonia's best and worst areas for carbon recovery revealed

Amazonia’s best and worst areas for carbon recovery revealed

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10050176886_1a7ca4748d_zThe first mapping of carbon recovery in Amazonian forests following emissions released by commercial logging activities has been published in the journal eLife.

The findings suggest that, in some of the forests disturbed by logging, surviving trees may be more reliable for storing carbon emissions than newly ‘recruited’ trees (juveniles that naturally regenerate in the logged forests).

Amazonia, the largest tropical forest globally, holds 30% of the carbon stored in the earth’s forests. Logging releases a significant amount of this carbon — a key component of climate change – into the atmosphere, which is then recovered by surviving trees and new recruits.

The Tropical managed Forest Observatory is a product of partnerships within FTA. Click on image to see more.
The Tropical managed Forest Observatory is a product of partnerships within FTA. Click on image to see more.

No investigations of post-logging carbon dynamics have previously been carried out Amazon-wide. Now, researchers from the Tropical managed Forest Observatory, which forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, have created a unique modelling approach to estimate accurately how the different forest environments impact carbon changes in surviving and newly recruited trees during post-logging carbon recovery.

“We studied long-term data from 133 permanent forest plots from 13 experimentally disturbed sites across Amazonia to model the changes in the aboveground carbon stocks in the first decades after logging,” says first author and PhD student Camille Piponiot from UMR Écologie des Forêts de Guyane in Kourou, French Guiana.

“We looked at regional differences in climate, soils, and initial aboveground biomass within the forests and linked these with the changes in carbon stocks caused by both newly recruited and surviving trees to predict the carbon recovery potential Amazon-wide.”

Their model reveals that carbon recovery is highest in the Guiana Shield in northeastern South America, and also in the western regions of the Amazonian forests, due mainly to the high carbon gain of trees that survived logging activity. In contrast, recovery is lower in the south.

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Unamat forest, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo: Marco Simola/CIFOR

Piponiot explains: “Forests of the Guiana Shield are generally dense and grow on nutrient-poor soils, where wood productivity is constrained by competition for key nutrients. Short pulses of nutrients released from readily decomposed stems, twigs, and leaves of trees damaged and killed by logging explain the substantial but limited-duration increase in the growth of surviving trees.

“In the southern Amazon, on the other hand, high seasonal water stress is the main constraint on carbon recovery. Stress-tolerant trees are generally poor competitors and this may explain the slower carbon accumulation in survivors in this region.”

Principal Investigator and senior author of the study, Bruno Hérault, from Cirad, adds: “As climate change continues, we can also expect to see increases in droughts and fires that will further disturb the Amazonian forests. Betting on newly recruited trees to store carbon in some of the forests disturbed by logging might be a risky gamble, as most of them are pioneer trees highly vulnerable to water stress. Trees that survive logging activities may therefore be more reliable in accumulating carbon in these disturbed forests.”

Hérault concludes: “While our study focuses mainly on carbon recovery after logging, our findings may also give useful clues to predict the forests’ responses to carbon loss from fires and other events brought on by climate change, which is ironically caused in part by mass disturbance and deforestation.”


The paper ‘Carbon recovery dynamics following disturbance by selective logging in Amazonian forests‘ can be freely accessed online. Contents, including text, figures, and data, are free to reuse under a CC BY 4.0 license.

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

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

It is estimated that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Photo by TmFO
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Plinio Sist is the Director of the Research Unit Forests and Societies at the French Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), one of the core partner institutions of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). In this interview, he talks about CIRAD’s involvement in the program, key achievements and expectations for the new phase of the research partnership starting next year. Read more blogs on partnerships here.

Why did CIRAD become involved in FTA?

CIRAD and CGIAR centers, particularly the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International, had a long collaborative history with the research unit Forests and Societies, which was formerly part of CIRAD-Forêt. This research unit had, for example, seconded between four and six researchers to CIFOR in Bogor, Lima, Yaoundé, Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. The implication of CIRAD in FTA therefore came naturally, in order to strengthen our collaboration framework within a big challenging research program.

How did the partnership develop?

In phase 1 of FTA, the research unit Forests and Societies collaborated in Flagship 2 Management and conservation of forest and tree resources, coordinated by Bioversity. Forests and Societies brought in two projects dealing with Central African forest management and future Dynamique des Forets d’Afrique Centrale (DYNAFOR) and CoForTips for the Congo Basin.

Later, we participated in the Sentinel Landscapes research, launched in mid-2012, developing the Tropical managed Forest Observatory (TmFO), which now includes 17 different institutions.

Many landscapes in the tropics are now covered by forests that have been disturbed by logging. Photo: TmFO
Many landscapes in the tropics are now covered by forests that have been disturbed by logging. Photo by: Ervan Rutishauser

Forests and Societies also participated–with CIRAD’s research units Green and Selmet–in another pantropical Sentinel Landscapes project on the expansion of oil palm in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Overall CIRAD researchers of five different units collaborated in all the five Flagships of FTA from 2011-2016. Because of its engagement, CIRAD became a member of the FTA management group and sits in the steering committee, and is involved in strategic decision making.

What was most valuable for you in working within FTA?

FTA showed to be an outstanding opportunity to work in groups of scientists from different disciplines and cultures, dealing with different research topics, but with common main objectives like poverty alleviation through sustainable management of forests and trees for the benefit of local populations and the society in general.

Could you give an example of a particularly good collaboration?

In 2012, we initiated the Tropical managed Forest Observatory. This network of 17 different forest research institutions and universities aims to assess the resilience of logged tropical forests in the context of climate change and high pressure of human activities towards the conversion of tropical forests to agricultural lands.

Although it is obvious that efforts are needed to preserve undisturbed primary forests by creating conservation units, these units alone will not be able to ensure the conservation of all species on a pan-tropical scale, due to economic and political reasons.

Plantation forest. It is estimated today that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Photo: TmFO
Plantation forest. It is estimated today that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Photo by: Ervan Rutishauser

It is estimated today that only a quarter of tropical forests are pristine. Therefore, it has to be accepted that the conservation of biodiversity and of the forest ecosystems of tomorrow will mostly take place within logged, domesticated forests, but only if they are well managed.

Currently, about 400 million hectares of tropical rainforests worldwide are designated as production forests, about a quarter of which is managed by rural communities and indigenous people.

However, there remains an important gap in the current knowledge: Are product harvesting and related ecosystem services in these tropical production forests sustainable in the long term?

Indeed, it is essential to assess forest regeneration capacities on a regional scale following logging, in terms of wood volume, biodiversity and carbon, and to make silvicultural recommendations that are adapted to the different types of forests encountered in a given region.

The TmFO aims to assess the impact of logging on forest dynamics, carbon storage and tree species composition at regional level in the Amazon basin, Congo basin and South East Asia. TmFO is unique as it is the only international network looking at logged tropical forests.

Another good example is the collaboration for a Forests special issue on global research questions such as forest landscape governance.

What do you expect from the next phase ?

The first phase of FTA was an exciting period. We worked with hundreds of colleagues in a new framework of cooperation that brought together different centers and addressed new global challenges.

The second phase must be considered as an opportunity to develop big projects with challenging objectives. One of them may be forest degradation, which is just as dramatic as deforestation in some regions like the Amazon and South East Asia.

Many landscapes in the tropics are now covered by forests that have been disturbed at different gradients by illegal and predatory logging, planned logging, and fire among others. In many of these regions, people are willing to stop deforestation and develop programs to restore forests.

But there are some challenging questions to ask that I hope FTA will help us to answer: How will these degraded forests be considered in such programs? What will be their role in providing both goods and environmental services and their contribution to restoration programs?

To make progress in finding the answers, we need to work together more closely and with more interactions between the clusters of activities within a research theme, but also with more interactions between the five Flagships themselves.

More on partnerships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • CIRAD 2015 Annual Report: stocktake and prospects (in French)

CIRAD 2015 Annual Report: stocktake and prospects (in French)

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A look back at 2015 with the publication of the French version of the CIRAD Annual Report, containing the institutional highlights and a selection of almost forty research results. The report also contains a focus on climate change, which – for obvious reasons – was the topic chosen for the year. Through a series of major events – Paris International Agricultural Show, Climate-Smart Agriculture conference, and Under our Common Future conference, culminating in COP21 – but also the launch of the 4 per 1000 initiative, CIRAD proved its commitment to the topic. The report also contains indicators, an organizational chart, maps and addresses for CIRAD facilities worldwide as of 1 June 2016.

The English version will be out later in the year.

Also at CIRAD

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  • Discussion on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Discussion on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

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To mark International Day of Forests 2016, Peter Holmgren, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for forests and for our planet.

Below is a transcript of Part 3 in our special three-part TV interview series.

This final segment discusses the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which was started in 2011 and will be entering its second phase in 2017.

The program is being supported by six research centers: CIFOR, ICRAF,Bioversity International, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). With over 230 researchers working in more than 35 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, the FTA program responds to the urgent need for a strong and sustained research focus on the management of forests and trees.

Trees on farms and in forests play a crucial role in confronting some of the most important challenges of our time: reducing poverty, improving food security and nutrition, and protecting our environment. They are also important in sustaining ecosystem services like clean water and biodiversity conservation.


A conversation with the Directors General of two CGIAR centers
Part 3: The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

CIFOR and ICRAF are two of the 15 research centers that comprise CGIAR – the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and environmental degradation.

Adinda Hasan, Communications Specialist for Asia, CIFOR

Why did the CGIAR see the need to add a focus on natural resources in the 1980s?

Tony Simons, Director-General, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)

The CGIAR was very successful since its establishment in 1971 following a Bellagio meeting around the need to boost the world’s food’s production. We saw through that Green Revolution a lot of emphasis on improved varieties and improved cropping systems, but that was not the full solution. There was a lot of draw-down on natural capital.

So we recorded the revenue from increased cereal production, but not the negative cost to the environment. And that was why it was very important to bring in that environmental dimension and ecosystems services. Probably the biggest win for the world was the establishment of CIFOR in 1993 to help strengthen that within the CGIAR.

Peter Holmgren, Director-General, CIFOR

We live in a transition of times. In the 1970s, food production was the main agenda item for the CGIAR. Since then, we’ve seen the development of the political arena, development of the objectives on all levels. We see a lot more of the social and environmental aspects coming in, just as it does as it does with sustainable development.

Hasan:

So both your centers have played key roles in the program on Trees, Forests and Agroforestry. You’ve just finished your first phase. How did that go? Can you tell us about the key challenges and the main achievements?

Holmgren:

Well, this year is the final year of the first phase. We haven’t quite finished it yet, but CIFOR and ICRAF are the largest contributors to the program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

We’re now moving into a second phase. We are currently working on the planning of that. The new phase of the Forests, Trees and Agroforestry program will start in 2017. We will add new partners. We will develop our work, our agenda, our objectives further. We will streamline and focus on our theory of change to make a difference along the lines that we’ve discussed here today. It’s really about the partnership. It’s really about the interests of stakeholders around the world to invest in this program.

Simons:

It’s a fascinatingly exciting program because it’s been operational for six years. And we’ve achieved more as two centers working together than we have probably in the previous decade.

That has brought excitement to the scientists; it brought operational realities on the ground. It was about co-location, co-design, co-investment and co-attribution and recognition of the outputs of that. To do what? To accelerate impact in those environments in which we work.

Holmgren:

As I see it, and I know we share this view, research capacity development and engagement is integrated in development and our efforts. CIFOR envisions a more equitable world where forests and trees contribute to the livelihoods, to the well-being and to a sustainable environment for all.

Simons:

A great focus in the second round is going to be capitalizing on the gains we made on gender. The Forests, Trees and Agroforestry program had one of the most progressive not only gender strategies, but gender action plans. It was rewarding also to see the high level of attribution of budget towards increasing the role of gender into our programs.

When you ask the question, ‘Are we optimistic’? I think Peter and I share a lot of hope, joy and opportunity around raising the profile of forests and trees in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, in the framework of the Paris Climate Agreement and also in the new CGIAR Forests, Trees and Agroforestry program.Because if these two premier research and development organizations on forests and trees- if we can’t do it, no one else is going to be able to.

This is the final episode of our special three-part video interview series for the International Day of Forests 2016.

Watch Part 1 and Part 2

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  • Managing and restoring natural tropical forests: discussion forum at GLF 2015

Managing and restoring natural tropical forests: discussion forum at GLF 2015

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Originally published at Global Landscapes Forum 2015

CIRAD’s Plinio Sist is an advocate of “tropical managed forests“. The Director of CIRAD’s Research unit BSEF made the case for the concept of tropical managed forests for example at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum, with the discussion forum Managing and restoring natural tropical forests: Ensuring a sustainable flow of benefits for people in the context of global change

The obvious reasons to study tropical forests come from the sheer facts: they make up half of the earth’s forests, are home to half of the species on land, and they gather nearly a third of the terrestrial carbon stocks. At the same time, deforestation is concentrated in the tropics. The FAO estimated forest loss from 2010 to 2015 at close to nine million hectares (i.e. 90,000 km2) per year. That is nearly the size of Portugal or Hungary in forest cover lost every year.

Plinio Sist countered the view that deforestation equals logging and argued for Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) which disturbs the forest, but doesn’t destroy it. The main actors whose interests have to be balanced are forest companies, smallholder farmers and forest communities.

The discussion forum revolved around the challenges of

  • forest degradation, management and restoration (also in the context of landscape management)
  • tropical forests versus plantations
  • food production versus environmental services

Presentations focused on

  • FSC certification in the Brazilian Amazon,
  • concessions 2.0 in Central Africa, which suggests land-sharing through a hybrid of a company and a territorial institution
  • managing tropical forests in an era of change in South East Asia, in which FTA Director Robert Nasi and his co-presenter Michael Galante make the case for new approaches to managing logged-over forests and benefits
  • forest restoration as key component to tackle climate change, which argues that the underlying factors of deforestation have to do with governance

Also see the presentation here

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  • Why managing and restoring tropical forests matters

Why managing and restoring tropical forests matters

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FTA

CIRAD’s Plinio Sist is an advocate of “tropical managed forests“. The Director of CIRAD’s Research unit BSEF made the case for tropical managed forests for example at the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum, with the discussion forum Managing and restoring natural tropical forests: Ensuring a sustainable flow of benefits for people in the context of global change

The obvious reasons to study tropical forests come from the sheer facts: they make up half of the earth’s forests, are home to half of the species on land, and they gather nearly a third of the terrestrial carbon stocks. At the same time, deforestation is concentrated in the tropics. The FAO estimated forest loss from 2010 to 2015 at close to nine million hectares (i.e. 90,000 km2) per year. That is nearly the size of Portugal or Hungary in forest cover lost every year.

Plinio Sist countered the view that deforestation equals logging and argued for Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) which disturbs the forest, but doesn’t destroy it. The main actors whose interests have to be balanced are forest companies, smallholder farmers and forest communities.

The discussion forum revolved around the challenges of

  • forest degradation, management and restoration (also in the context of landscape management)
  • tropical forests versus plantations
  • food production versus environmental services

Presentations focused on

  • FSC certification in the Brazilian Amazon (slide 7-12),
  • concessions 2.0 in Central Africa, which suggests land-sharing through a hybrid of a company and a territorial institution (slide 13-25)
  • managing tropical forests in an era of change in South East Asia, in which FTA Director Robert Nasi and his co-presenter make the case for new approaches to managing logged-over forests and benefits (slide 26-34)
  • forest restoration as key component to tackle climate change, which argues that the underlying factors of deforestation have to do with governance (slides 35-47)

The presentation was originally published at Global Landscapes Forum 2015

Please contact us at [email protected] if you need individual versions for each of the presentations.

 

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  • A new global network to measure the resilience of managed forests

A new global network to measure the resilience of managed forests

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A global network of institutions – the Tropical managed Forests Observatory – is looking for the first time, on a regional and pan-tropical scale, at the resilience of these forests after selective logging.

Source: Cirad


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