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  • FTA researchers set to highlight seeds, REDD+ and inclusive finance at landscapes forum

FTA researchers set to highlight seeds, REDD+ and inclusive finance at landscapes forum

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Clouds pass over Ribangkadeng village in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and its partner institutions are set to make a strong showing at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn on Dec. 1-2, 2018.

This year’s GLF Bonn will be key in drawing out the next steps toward hitting global sustainability targets, with many participants expected at the World Conference Center in Germany, in addition to a worldwide audience online.

Of numerous discussion forums, FTA is hosting a session on the delivery of quality and diverse planting material as a major constraint for restoration, organized by Bioversity International in collaboration with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

FTA Director Vincent Gitz will provide the opening to the session, ahead of a range of speakers including FTA Flagship 1 leader Ramni Jamnadass, as well as FTA’s Christopher Kettle, Marius Ekeu and Lars Graudal, and representatives of numerous key organizations. Additional details are available in the session flyer.

The program is also cohosting a session from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) titled REDD+ at 10: What we’ve learned and where we go next. Looking back at 10 years of REDD+ research, the session will ask how REDD+ has evolved, and where it stands now.

FTA Flagship 5 leader Christopher Martius, who is also team leader of climate change, energy and low-carbon development at CIFOR, will moderate the session, in which CIFOR’s Anne Larson and Arild Angelsen will speak. The GLF will also see the launch of a related book, Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions, in the Landscapes Action Pavilion Networking Area.

Another discussion forum of note is Looking at the past to shape the Landscape Approach of the future, organized by CIFOR, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and FTA, which will bring together a diverse set of panelists experienced in implementing integrated landscape approaches in various contexts.

A major feature of GLF is its schedule of side events, including Territorial development – managing landscapes for the rural future cohosted by Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), and Bamboo for restoration and economic development organized by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR).

The program will have a presence at the event’s pavilions, including the Inclusive Finance and Business Engagement Pavilion where a highlight session titled Making responsible investments work: Bridging the gap between global investors and local end users is set to take place, looking at success factors for inclusive and responsible businesses, which are at the core of both climate finance and responsible investments, as well as financial mechanisms that can adequately address the needs of such businesses.

Visit the Tropenbos International (TBI) and CIFOR booths to find FTA resources and to speak with FTA experts.


For the full details of FTA’s involvement in GLF, please check the event webpage.

Tune into the GLF livestream on Dec. 1-2, from 9am-7.30pm in Bonn, Germany.

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  • Restoration and sustainable management of forests form line of defense against global warming

Restoration and sustainable management of forests form line of defense against global warming

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A recent statement released by the Climate and Land Use Alliance – a coalition that promotes the role of forests and landscapes in climate change mitigation – was published to coincide with the IPCC special report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The statement, signed by 40 prominent environmental scientists, argues that the preservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests is the world’s best hope for limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

It suggests that benefits would be immediate and estimates that reforestation and improved forest management could provide 18 percent of cost-effective mitigation by 2030. The reasons why are fivefold:

  • The world’s forests contain more carbon than exploitable oil, gas, and coal deposits, hence avoiding forest carbon emissions is just as urgent as halting fossil fuel use.
  • Forests currently remove around a quarter of the CO2 humans add to the atmosphere, keeping climate change from getting even worse.
  • Achieving the 1.5°C goal also requires massive forest restoration to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Bioenergy has technical constraints and is therefore not the primary solution.
  • Tropical forests cool the air locally and for the entire planet, as well as creating the rainfall essential for growing food in their regions and beyond.

A view of Way Bulak river in Lampung, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) works on enhancing all possible contributions of forests, trees and agroforestry to sustainable development and, in this context, climate change is a major focus of FTA’s work.

TECH-SAVVY BY NATURE

Forests provide a form of ‘natural technology’ that is practical and more cost-effective than alternative carbon removal technologies, which are not yet mature enough for wide application, says Dr. Louis Verchot, a land restoration expert at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and a signatory of the statement.

Verchot points to the disadvantages of both Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which captures emissions from the air or energy production and stores it, often underground, and Bio-energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS), which combines CCS with the further use of biomass for energy production, holding that the carbon-capture of biomass growth further offsets emissions.

“CCS expends a significant amount of energy, which raises the cost substantially,” he says. “And although BECCS may be more cost-effective, there are concerns related to the safe and permanent storage of carbon dioxide.”

In particular, there are questions related to seismic vulnerability and leakage in BECCS technologies. The production of biomass feedstocks that support BECCS could also be problematic: increasing demand for land, water, and nutrients to produce the feedstocks could increase competition for land, encourage land grabs and potentially increase deforestation as well.

A view of agroforestry in a GCS-Tenure Project area in Lampung, Indonesia. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR

PROTECTING, RESTORING, COLLABORATING

The efforts needed to protect and restore the world’s forests can be informed by the progress of several large-scale restoration initiatives.

First and foremost, the country-led Bonn Challenge, launched in 2011, is resulting in global action to restore and sustainably manage deforested and degraded land.

Other regional initiatives have developed as part of the umbrella challenge, including Initiative 20×20 in Latin America and the Caribbean and AFR100 in Arica. These initiatives depend in part on rural communities and farmers investing in the restoration and long-term sustainability of their land, in turn improving their land rights.

Countries are using technological advancements and satellite imagery to closely monitor land and respond to land encroachment, and the private sector is increasingly focusing on how to turn profits with better sustainability and benefits for both landscapes and local land users.

By tying so many sectors and communities together, these initiatives are now tributaries feeding into the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Biodiversity Convention.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature takes stock of the Bonn Challenge annually and, as of December last year, 47 governments, private associations and other organizations had pledged 160 million hectares to the target of bringing 350 million hectares under restoration by 2030. Stakeholders will meet in Bonn this December to assess how these pledges are translating into action on the ground.

But ultimately, these initiatives – of all scales – must keep forests at the fore, and the scientists argue that forest restoration and conservation efforts must now accelerate. The natural technology that forests provide underpins society’s wellbeing, but the level of degradation in these landscapes across the world are threatening our long-term economic prospects. In the absence of CCS technologies that can realistically work at scale, healthy forests may offer our best chance of limiting global temperature rises and avoiding dangerous climate change.

FTA will be participating in discussions on climate and other topics at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn on Dec. 1-2, including a discussion forum on REDD+ at 10: What we’ve learned and where we go nextFind out more on FTA’s event page.

By Jack Durrell, originally published at the Global Landscapes Forum’s (GLF) Landscape News.

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  • Gender equality and forest landscape restoration infobriefs

Gender equality and forest landscape restoration infobriefs

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Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) aims to achieve ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or degraded landscapes. Evidence shows that addressing gender equality and women’s rights is critical for addressing this dual objective. Against this backdrop, CIFOR and a number of partners hosted a Global Landscapes Forum workshop on FLR and gender equality in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2017. The objective of the workshop was to identify and discuss experiences, opportunities and challenges to advancing gender-responsive FLR in East African countries, as well as to join together various stakeholders working at the interface of gender and FLR as a community of practice. This brief set is a tangible outcome of this collaboration, featuring a number of useful lessons and recommendations rooted in the experience and expertise of partners in civil society, multilateral organizations, research community and private sector – all working in different ways to enhance the gender-responsiveness of restoration efforts.

Brief 1: Enhancing effectiveness of forest landscape programs through gender-responsive actions

Brief 2: Role of capital in enhancing participation of women in commercial forestry: A case study of the Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) project in Uganda

Brief 3: The impacts of gender-conscious payment models on the status of women engaged in micro-forestry on the Kenyan coast

Brief 4: Mobilizing indigenous and local knowledge for successful restoration

Brief 5: Gender-responsive Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM): Engendering national forest landscape restoration assessments 

Brief 6: Enhancing Women’s Participation in Forestry Management Using Adaptive Collaborative Management: The Case of Mbazzi Farmers Association, Mpigi District Uganda

Brief 7: What women and men want: Considering gender for successful, sustainable land management programs: Lessons learned from the Nairobi Water Fund

Brief 8: Understanding landscape restoration options in Kenya: Risks and opportunities for advancing gender equality

Brief 9: Building farmer organisations’ capacity to collectively adopt agroforestry and sustainable agriculture land management practices in Lake Victoria Basin

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  • Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

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

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  • Landscape Restoration in Kenya: Addressing gender equality

Landscape Restoration in Kenya: Addressing gender equality

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Unlocking the potential of forest landscape restoration (FLR) to achieve both social and environmental outcomes rests critically on the support, contributions and cooperation of a wide range of stakeholders at all levels, including women and men. In Kenya, the government has committed to restoring 5.1 million hectares of land by 2030. At the same time, Kenya’s commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment is enshrined in its Constitution, various national laws and policies as well as international conventions, including the Sustainable Development Goal framework. The purpose of this study was to provide empirically grounded lessons on opportunities and challenges for addressing gender in landscape restoration in Kenya, as well as to share recommendations for making sure Kenya’s ambitious restoration efforts do not repeat the mistakes of past gender-blind restoration initiatives, but make sure both women and men are able to enjoy the opportunities and benefits generated through landscape restoration.

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  • Robert Nasi's opening remarks at GLF Nairobi 2018

Robert Nasi’s opening remarks at GLF Nairobi 2018

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  • FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored  

FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored  

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A plenary takes place at the Global Landscapes Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by GLF

The most recent Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) conference, focusing on restoration in Africa, was attended by 800 people from the worlds of research, natural resource management and the private sector, and watched by thousands more online. 

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) played key roles in the event, which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 29-30, including as a funding partner. With restoration a major priority of FTA’s work, the program hosted or cohosted two Discussion Forums and a side event, while its partner institutions hosted two Launchpads.

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Director General Robert Nasi gave a keynote speech during the Opening Plenary in which he queried why the massive cost to society of landscape degradation is not recognized when restoration brings impressive returns. The cost of inaction is at least three times the cost of active ecosystem restoration, and on average the benefits of restoration are 10 times higher, leading to increased employment, increased business spending, improved gender equity, increased local investment in education and improved livelihoods.

Ecosystem restoration can generate tangible benefits, which will increase food and water security, contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and contribute to addressing associated risks such as conflict and migration. Short-term gains from unsustainable land management often turn into long-term losses, making the initial avoidance of land degradation an optimal and cost-effective strategy.

We need a paradigm change: from seeing landscape restoration as a high-cost activity with no financial returns to land owners and only environmental benefits, to one which provides increased incomes to landowners, creates jobs, and results in ecosystem goods and services for society as a whole, Nasi said.

Watch: Robert Nasi’s opening remarks at GLF Nairobi 2018

Following the opening remarks, the afternoon of the event’s first day saw Social inclusion, equity and rights in the context of restoration – lessons from the ground, a discussion addressing restoration initiatives in different environmental and sociopolitical landscapes. Safeguarding the rights of local communities and promoting the voice and influence of their members in an equitable manner must be central in restoration to avoid perpetuating inequalities, to incentivize women and men to contribute to restoration efforts, and to provide greater opportunities and enhanced wellbeing for women and men alike, the session found.

The discussion aimed to extract, share and discuss concrete actions and conditions that have hindered or facilitated success in terms of rights, equality and wellbeing of local and indigenous women and men. It featured three different restoration initiatives from East Africa, as well as providing guidance on how to integrate robust socioeconomic targets and indicators in national and global restoration efforts.

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

Watch: Discussion Forum 5: Social inclusion, equity and rights in the context of restoration

The session was hosted by CIFOR with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Bioversity International, FTA, the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), World Resources Institute (WRI), UN Environment, Program on Forests (PROFOR), Komaza and Vi Agroforestry.

Among the panel of notable speakers were FTA gender coordinator Marlène Elias of Bioversity International, and Cecile Ndjebet, president of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF).

Read also: Woman on a mission: Pushing for rights and a seat at the decision-making table

During the same timeslot, a Launchpad session presented the key products and outcomes of a prototype of the Eastern Africa Forest Observatory (OFESA) to policymakers, practitioners and the general public.

Hosted by CIFOR, Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), speakers presented products including the observatory’s website and capabilities, a State of Forests report for the region covering Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique, as well as recommendations for the longer term sustainability of the observatory.

OFESA was developed in response to the significant loss of forests experienced in the region with negative impacts on forest goods and services and local livelihoods. Many factors driving forest cover loss are transboundary in nature, resulting in the need to monitor at a regional scale to ensure sustainable forest management and conservation.

However, the existing forest monitoring systems and initiatives are divergent, varying in scale, frequency and the type of data gathered, thus challenging forest monitoring at a regional scale. The regional forest observatory therefore provides member countries with a platform for sharing, exchanging and accessing data and information related to forests and REDD+ in support of decision-making processes by governments and other actors.

The observatory has data and information on forest cover trends and drivers that countries can use to track progress towards achieving restoration targets under the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) and other initiatives such as Forests 2020.

Read more: The Current State of Eastern Africa’s Forests

A figure overlooks an agricultural landscape in Eastern Uganda. Photo by M. Lohbeck/ICRAF

Directly afterwards, in the early evening, was Rights, access and values: Trees in shifting economic and political contexts – new insights from sub-Saharan Africa, hosted by FTA and the CGIAR Research Program on People, Institutions and Markets (PIM).

This session, with four cases from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Uganda, initiated a discussion on the dynamics of securing rights to trees by harnessing the values of trees through changing access to technologies, markets and finance in Sub-Saharan Africa, aiming to improve knowledge of tree tenure dynamics and increase recognition of the value of trees on farms to different users.

Improved recognition of the values of, and rights to, trees in land use decision-making and related policies and programs may provide an innovative pathway to sustain forested landscapes without recourse to costly restoration activities, but suboptimal tenure rules may jeopardize this, the session concluded.

Read more: GLF session acknowledges difference between tree and land tenure, aims to enhance landscapes

Held simultaneously was Sustainable woodfuel value chains in sub-Saharan Africa – policies, practices and solutions contributing to the continent’s restoration agenda, a side event organized by CIFOR with ICRAF, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – GIZ, UN Environment, Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), FTA and the European Union.

Woodfuel is the main cooking fuel for over 60 percent of households in Africa, which is expected to increase in coming decades, due to a lack of alternative household energy and growing charcoal demand in urban centers. The commercialization of woodfuel provides income to millions of people but is increasingly associated with detrimental impacts on the environment as supply basins in many countries are becoming severely degraded.

The side event explored how woodfuel value chains can be made sustainable and ultimately contribute to landscape restoration, livelihoods improvement and broader national climate change commitments, while balancing short-term socioeconomic and long-term ecological benefits.

The discussions focused on good practices and innovations for sustainable woodfuel value chains that can help to mitigate against deforestation and landscape degradation whilst enhancing livelihoods of producers and traders, with a specific emphasis on the important role of women in the value chain and how to increase gender equity.

The lineup of speakers included CIFOR’s Director General Robert Nasi on woodfuel as a sustainable energy source or driver of degradation, and ICRAF’s Phosiso Sola on the realities of woodfuel governance in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more: Small flame but no fire: Wood fuel in the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

FTA was represented a final time on the second day of the event with a second Launchpad, Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration, hosted by Bioversity International. With around 12 percent, or 2 billion hectares, of the earth’s land surface currently degraded, the annual cost of degraded lands reaches 10 percent of global gross domestic product. The potential societal benefits of restoring degraded land are in the order of US$84 billion per year, a comparison that the session drew upon.

Watch: Launchpad: Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration

Restoration of degraded tropical forest landscapes offer some of the greatest returns on investment, to address climate change, reduce poverty and food insecurity and support biodiversity. To deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), optimal restoration approaches are vital and the link between knowledge of native tree diversity and appropriate use to address SDGs in currently lacking. This represents a significant gap in capacity to enable scaling up forest landscape restoration (FLR) pledges from the Bonn Challenges to deliver multiple SDGs through restoration of degraded lands.

The Launchpad presented Bioversity International’s Trees for Seeds initiative, with Marius Ekue examining the current gaps in capacity and knowledge on delivery of native tree species relevant to AFR100 and introducing how Trees for Seeds can support resilient restoration in the region, Barbara Vinceti covering nutrition-sensitive restoration in Burkina Faso and Marlène Elias with gender-responsive FLR and novel approaches to ensure equality in FLR decision-making, before a panel discussion.

Rounding out the event, ICRAF Director General Tony Simons spoke during the Policy Plenary, before CIFOR’s Nasi spoke during the Closing Plenary. Highlighting its success, Nasi emphasized the number of people in attendance in person at the event, as well as a significant reach online.

“We have discussed about restoration, […] social innovation, rights, tenure, gender, monitoring, what is success, how to finance success, what we need to do in terms of policy. We had a very inspirational contribution by young people, the youth. We have done a lot of networking,” he said, adding that there was a “dynamism” evident throughout the event.

Over its two days of talks, GLF Nairobi helped to build and align international, national and private sector support for forest and landscape restoration, paving the way for turning support into action. Bringing together actors from all backgrounds and sectors, the conference has sparked a global conversation around Africa’s landscapes.

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  • Social inclusion, equity and rights in the context of restoration – lessons from the ground

Social inclusion, equity and rights in the context of restoration – lessons from the ground

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Restoration initiatives come in many sizes and shapes and take place in different environmental and socio-political landscapes. Evidence and experiences have shown that safeguarding the rights of local communities and promoting the voice and influence of their members in an equitable manner must be central in restoration to avoid perpetuating inequalities, to incentivize women and men to contribute to restoration efforts and to provide greater opportunities and enhanced wellbeing for women and men alike.

The objective of this interactive discussion forum is to extract, share and discuss concrete actions and conditions that have hindered or facilitated success in terms of rights, equality and wellbeing of local and indigenous women and men. The forum will feature three different restoration initiatives from East Africa, each presented by a restoration expert with practical experience from the field, followed by interaction with participants. The discussion will also sow the seeds for building an empirically grounded framework for understanding progress – or regression – in terms of equality and inclusion in the context of forest and landscape restoration, and provide guidance on how to integrate robust socioeconomic targets and indicators in national and global restoration efforts.

This video was originally published by the Global Landscapes Forum.

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  • Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration

Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration

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Around 12 percent (two billion hectares) of the Earth’s land surface is degraded. Degraded lands cost 10% of global GDP annually. The potential societal benefits of restoring degraded land is in the order of US$84 billion per year. Restoration of degraded tropical forest landscapes offer some of the greatest returns on investment, to address climate change, reduce poverty and food insecurity and support biodiversity.

To deliver sustainable development goals (SDGs) optimal restoration approaches are vital and the link between knowledge of native tree diversity and appropriate use to address SDGs in currently lacking. This represents a significant gap in capacity to enable scaling up FLR pledges from the Bonn Challenges to deliver multiple SDGs through restoration of degraded lands.

This video was first published by the Global Landscapes Forum.

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  • GLF session acknowledges difference between tree and land tenure, aims to enhance landscapes

GLF session acknowledges difference between tree and land tenure, aims to enhance landscapes

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A woman roasts shea nuts, before grinding them into a fine paste, in Burkina Faso. Photo by O. Girard/CIFOR

Tenure rights to trees are entangled with, but different from, those to land, meaning both must be acknowledged to incentivize stewardship of the landscape by local communities, said delegates at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Nairobi on Aug. 29-30.

Thus, land tenure rights, which are widely recognized as being central to advancing sustainable development goals, are only one part of the picture.

This was one of the main takeaways from the panel Rights, access, and values: trees in shifting economic and political contexts – new insights from sub-Saharan Africa, cohosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the CGIAR Research Program on People, Institutions and Markets (PIM) at the forum. The panel was chaired by Frank Place, PIM Director.

“We need to do more work to differentiate tree tenure from land tenure,” said Andrew Wardell, senior research associate at the Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR) and coauthor of a study exploring shifts in shea tenure in Burkina Faso.

ACCESS TO SHEA

Claiming tenure over the trees one has planted is a widespread convention across Africa, but shea trees grow wild, so farmers have historically selected and protected them on their lands.

Researchers questioned whether a shea tree belongs to the family that first selected and saved the tree, the family that protected and managed it afterwards. Considerations also included determining whether shea belongs to the wild tree category, in which case, access to the tree is closely linked to access to land.

How these concerns are addressed determines who stands to gain access to, and reap benefits from, a natural resource. Particularly, since customary institutions that formerly regulated access to land and trees are being weakened by new, and rapidly-changing social and economic contexts.

Shea nuts dry after being freed from their pulp and washed in Burkina Faso. Photo by O. Girard/CIFOR

“Internal migration driven by climate change, and a boom in the shea trade are two of the key issues playing out in Burkina Faso as a key shea producer country,” explained Wardell. Traditionally, the kernels were seen as an abundant communal resource, which women collected to derive a reliable year-round source of income.

Yet, customary rules are now failing to keep pace with the new, highly competitive context, noted Wardell. In southwestern Burkina Faso, men increasingly claim ownership of the trees growing in their fields; there are fewer communal areas where access to shea is open to all; and access to an increasingly scarce and marketable resource is pitting first-settlers against new-comers, internal migrants that flee desertification in northern regions of the country.

Researchers observed that “first-comers” try to link access to shea with access to land, which they control. In response, “late-comers” claim access to the trees they protect and manage, or argue shea’s wild nature makes it a communal resource as part of their strategies to re-negotiate their rights of access.

NEW POWER RELATIONSHIPS

Women’s access to trees is also changing in Uganda. “Youth are cutting shea to obtain timber and fuelwood regardless of customary rules and a government ban,” said Concepta Mukasa, representative of the Association of Uganda Professional Women in Agriculture and the Environment.

“The more marketable shea becomes, the bigger the threat to the trees and to women’s livelihoods, so we are helping them come together to advocate for their access rights,” Mukasa explained.

On the bright side, women from the Baganda community in central Uganda are now starting to gain access to Natal fig or “Mutuba” (Ficus natalensis). “The tree used to signal chief-tenancy, so they were not allowed from to plant it or even harvest its fruits; women in that area are not supposed to climb trees,” she pointed out.

Panelists from Ghana (Alberg Katako representing Civic Response) and Kenya (Ben Chikamai representing the Network for Natural Gums and Resins in Africa) echoed similar challenges at the intersection of tenure rights to land and to trees – a tension which increases with the commoditization of natural resources and population pressure. Additional welcome comments on the panel discussion were provided by Ruth Meinzen-Dick from PIM who has a long history of working on land tenure rights and collective action.

Over 70 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa depend on forests and woodlands for their livelihoods, but two thirds of the continental land-mass are degraded. In this context, a more nuanced approach to tenure rights will have to be part of the equation to build resilient landscapes and livelihoods, agreed the panelists.

By Gloria Palleres, originally published at GLF’s Landscape News


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