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  • Multi-stakeholder forums as innovation for natural resource management?

Multi-stakeholder forums as innovation for natural resource management?

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  • REDD+ policy network analysis in Ethiopia

REDD+ policy network analysis in Ethiopia

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  • Adapting land restoration to a changing climate: Embracing the knowns and unknowns

Adapting land restoration to a changing climate: Embracing the knowns and unknowns

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Key messages:

  • Land restoration will happen under climate change and different knowledge systems are needed to navigate uncertainties and plan adaptation.
  • The emergence of novel ecosystems presents a challenge for land restoration; they harbor unknown unknowns.
  • This brief presents key research linking land restoration and societal adaptation and an example of a practical framework for transformative adaptation.
  • It also proposes questions that can guide stakeholders in exploring different change narratives for adaptation and restoration planning.
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  • CIFOR and ICRAF directors general discuss merger

CIFOR and ICRAF directors general discuss merger

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The world’s leading organizations on forestry and agroforestry, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), merged on Jan. 1, 2019, in order to leverage their combined 65 years of research and experience. Directors General Robert Nasi and Tony Simons recently sat down to talk about why the two organizations were merging. They also discussed tackling food security and sustainable landscapes.

Originally published by CIFOR.

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  • Unrelenting games: Multiple negotiations and landscape transformations in the tropical peatlands of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Unrelenting games: Multiple negotiations and landscape transformations in the tropical peatlands of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

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Land use change is often a result of negotiation between different interests. Focusing on negotiation practices helps to provide a nuanced understanding of land use change processes over time. We examine negotiations within a concession model for land development in the southern tropical peatlands of Central Kalimantan province in Indonesia. This region can be described as a resource frontier, where historical landscape transformations from large development projects and oil palm plantations intersect with state models of forest conservation and recent Reducing Emissions from Degradation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects. The study drew on actor-network theory (ANT) and combined an ethnographic approach with document analysis for understanding how these landscape transformations and land allocation for large concessions has left a legacy of continuing uncertainty and conflict over land. There is considerable gaming between actors to achieve their desired outcome. Increased competition for land and contested legal arrangements mean that the negotiations are virtually never-ending. Winning at one stage of a negotiation may mean that those who feel they have lost will organise and use the system to challenge the outcomes. These findings show that attempts to implement pre-determined plans or apply global environmental goals at resource frontiers will become entangled in fluid and messy negotiations over land, rather than achieving any desired new status quo.

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  • What roles do sub-national governments play in Nationally Determined Contributions? Between rhetoric and practice in REDD+ countries

What roles do sub-national governments play in Nationally Determined Contributions? Between rhetoric and practice in REDD+ countries

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  • Research and practice place much emphasis on the transformative role that sub-national governments (SNGs) may play in climate change action.
  • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are not blueprints for implementation, but they offer some insight into potential priorities. Currently, the role of SNGs in most is limited: of 60 “REDD+ countries”, only 14 explicitly mention a role for SNGs in mitigation, and only 4 of these give SNGs a decision-making role.
  • This failure to assign more precise roles to SNGs may prove to be short-sighted as climate change is a global problem, but solutions such as REDD+ need to be implemented locally and jurisdictionally, and thus require local input.
  • The factors that will affect the realization of the roles assigned to SNGs in NDCs include: political will toward decentralization; the funds required by Parties to achieve their targets; the capacities of SNGs; and the need to align sub-national with national development priorities.
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  • Multi-level governance and power in climate change policy networks

Multi-level governance and power in climate change policy networks

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This article proposes an innovative theoretical framework that combines institutional and policy network approaches to study multi-level governance. The framework is used to derive a number of propositions on how cross-level power imbalances shape communication and collaboration across multiple levels of governance. The framework is then applied to examine the nature of cross-level interactions in climate change mitigation and adaptation policy processes in the land use sectors of Brazil and Indonesia. The paper identifies major barriers to cross-level communication and collaboration between national and sub-national levels. These are due to power imbalances across governance levels that reflect broader institutional differences between federal and decentralized systems of government. In addition, powerful communities operating predominantly at the national level hamper cross-level interactions. The analysis also reveals that engagement of national level actors is more extensive in the mitigation and that of local actors in the adaptation policy domain, and specialisation in one of the climate change responses at the national level hampers effective climate policy integration in the land use sector.

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  • Perceived Changes in Ecosystem Services in the Panchase Mountain Ecological Region, Nepal

Perceived Changes in Ecosystem Services in the Panchase Mountain Ecological Region, Nepal

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Ecosystem services (ES) are increasingly recognized as a means to facilitate adaption to environmental change. However, the provisions of ES are likely to be impacted by changes in climate and/or changes in land use. In developing countries, where people are typically dependent on these services for their livelihoods, these impacts are of concern; however, very little is known about the changes in provisioning of ES over time. In this study, we assess the perceived changes on ES in the Panchase Mountain Ecological Region of western Nepal. The study area accommodates three distinct ecoregions, ranging from lowland to upland ecosystems and communities. Focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used to collect information on how ES may have changed in the landscape over time. This approach was supported by transect walks, field observations, and secondary sources of information, such as climatic and remote sensing data. Perceived changes on ES in the study region include reduced availability of water, reduced food production, degradation of forest ecosystems, and changes in species compositions. These changes are thought to have impacted other ES, and, in turn, local livelihoods. Management actions that can help local communities foster ES are recommended.

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  • Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions

Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions

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Constructive critique. This book provides a critical, evidence-based analysis of REDD+ implementation so far, without losing sight of the urgent need to reduce forest-based emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change.

REDD+ as envisioned has not been tested at scale. Results-based payment, the novel feature of REDD+, has gone untested. International funding (both public and private) remains scarce, and demand through carbon markets is lacking.

Better national enabling conditions. Over 50 countries have included REDD+ in their NDCs and developed national REDD+ strategies. REDD+ has improved countries’ monitoring capacities and understanding of drivers, increased stakeholder involvement, and provided a platform to secure indigenous and community land rights – all key conditions for addressing deforestation and forest degradation.

Modest forest and social impacts. Local REDD+ initiatives have achieved limited but positive outcomes for forests. Well-being impacts have been modest and mixed, but have proved more likely to be positive when incentives are included.

National coordination, with a positive narrative. Forest-based mitigation strategies must now be mainstreamed across sectors and levels of government. A strong positive narrative on how forests contribute to economic development and climate goals could boost forest-based mitigation, in spite of the current political uncertainties in key emitting countries.

Evolving REDD+ and new initiatives. REDD+ has evolved, and new initiatives have emerged to support its broader objective: private sector sustainability commitments, climate-smart agriculture, forest and landscape restoration, and more holistic jurisdictional approaches working across legally defined territories.


Access each chapter via CIFOR.

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  • Creating blue carbon opportunities in the maritime archipelago Indonesia

Creating blue carbon opportunities in the maritime archipelago Indonesia

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Key messages

  • Preserving intact ecosystems is financially more effective than restoring degraded ones. We therefore propose a moratorium on further conversion of mangroves. By doing so, there is the potential to generate $3 billion (USD) in abatement costs annually.
  • A science-backed plan, including mapping, for restoring priority degraded blue carbon ecosystems will build climate change resilience and improve livelihoods.
  • Activating the existing regulatory framework and its governance at provincial level is essential to meet national low carbon development goals and align with global agenda.
  • Opportunities for funding restoration include public and private partnerships, and new innovative finance solutions. Income from the blue economy (fishing, shipping and eco-tourism) in productive zones could also contribute to restoration.

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