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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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  • Integrating tenure and governance into assessments of forest landscape restoration opportunities

Integrating tenure and governance into assessments of forest landscape restoration opportunities

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  • Many countries have adopted the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) to guide the development of national and subnational restoration strategies.
  • This study analyzes ROAM reports for eight countries to determine the extent to which tenure and related governance considerations were incorporated.
  • Although all of the reports found that lack of rights or weak rights impeded efforts to scale up forest landscape restoration (FLR), none provided robust descriptions of the rights and responsibilities of individuals or communities to trees, forests or land under statutory or customary law.
  • We propose a rights actualization framework as a diagnostic that can provide a solid foundation to identify policy reforms needed to address rights-related barriers to FLR implementation.
  • FLR initiatives informed by a robust tenure rights assessment will enhance the likelihood of achieving their twin goals of improving ecological functionality and human well-being.
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  • ICRAF’s Tony Simons talks transformational change in land management

ICRAF’s Tony Simons talks transformational change in land management

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ICRAF’s Tony Simons speaks at the GLF Investment Case Symposium 2018 in Washington, D.C. Photo by L. Vogel/GLF

The second of three Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in 2018 is being held at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 29 to 30, with a focus on forest and landscape restoration.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), one of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s (FTA) partner institutions, is based in Nairobi, and its Director General Tony Simons is set to have some of the last words at this current GLF.

Simons is speaking in the Policy Plenary just before the conference finale, which will explore how to create enabling environments for transformational change in landscape management in the region.

Originally from New Zealand, Simons has an impressive track record working on issues at the interface of tropical agriculture and forestry in more than 40 developing countries. GLF’s Landscape News spoke with him about the potential he sees for policy change to help make forest landscape restoration work for ecosystems, people and profit across the African continent.

What are some of the issues for enabling sustainable landscapes in Africa at the moment?

Africa has tremendous opportunities, but it’s also got a lot of issues and difficulties. It’s the second largest continent in the world; the second most highly populated; the most rural; the poorest; and the most reliant on agriculture. It has the least forest cover; the highest use of wood energy; and it’s got one of the youngest populations in the world. There are very low levels of mechanization in agriculture: 95 percent of crops are rain-fed, and only 5 percent are irrigated.

Staggeringly, Africa imports 35 billion dollars a year of food. That’s going to be 110 billion by the year 2030. Of that 35 billion, 95 percent of that is brought in from other continents. So while there is plenty of land available – and people to work it – food production is not yet happening at the scale that it should be.

Food trees grow on a farm in Kenya. Photo by A. Mamo/ICRAF

What policies need to change to help make landscapes more sustainable?

Back in 2009, the African Union [AU] heads of state passed a resolution on land use and management across the continent. It was at a time where there was a huge amount of attention on land grabbing. So the policy instruments put into place were about keeping the resource under sovereign control.

So that’s one of the issues in Africa now: about 75 percent of the land – even if it’s under customary control – is formally owned by the government. And the governments don’t really know what to do with it.

I think we’ve got to put land stewardship back in the hands of people. You’ve got the land; you’ve got a young population; you’ve got growing prosperity; better education; literacy and numeracy is growing; but there needs to be a kind of revolution in land management. It’s not going to be by individuals; it’s going to be by groups, collectives, communities and watersheds. We’ve got to leverage the agenda of that wise stewardship down to the level of the people.

Sustainable management costs money. How can we make it worth people’s while?

If you travelled to the world’s second largest rainforest, which is the Congo, and I sold you an acre of rainforest, it would cost about $10,000. But the government gets less than $100 of revenue from that per year: a 1 percent return. That’s the biggest problem with forests and wetlands: they’re not remunerative.

And that’s because we don’t count the value of all of the fantastic biodiversity, carbon provisioning, precipitation enhancement and other ecosystem services that these places provide. In a continent where 95 percent of crops are rainfed, forests are very important for agriculture. But protecting and restoring them is not remunerative because of the partial accounting. So that needs to change.

However, we’re not going to get anywhere if we spend all this money restoring the land to how it was in the past, because it will still be under pressure for exploitation. So we’ve got to make a viable business case for restoring that land. And that’s going to be about connecting and linking financial capital, natural capital, human capital and social capital.

This is also at a time when we’re seeing pressures on financing. So how do we get all of these new approaches and opportunities out to people? NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have stepped up in quite a large way, but the private sector needs to step up much more. And for that to happen, there are a number of things that we need to look at. The first one is the opportunities: where are the business cases, the viable enterprises to piggyback on?

The second thing to look at is investment return. What returns will the governments, the small-scale farmer, the community and the foreign investor get from investing in landscape restoration? And what are the risks associated with this, and how can we de-risk? Many people perceive agriculture as complicated, as confused, as risky, as having a low rate of return, as not really investment material. Investors need to see that yes, this is a viable enterprise, and when we start thinking about bringing that financial return to social dividends, to environmental dividends, that’s when it all starts to come together.

Rubus Pinnatus grows on Nyambene Mountain, Kenya. Photo by A. Mamo/ICRAF

Beyond opportunity, risk and return, next comes leverage. We have been relying in Africa on external Overseas Development Assistance (ODA); but ODA is currently drying up and being reallocated. Now for every single dollar of ODA, there’s $3 of remittances, there’s $6 of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), there’s $24 of domestic private sector spend, there’s $55 of national government spend, and there’s $1,000 of private capital.

So let’s use that $1 of ODA to leverage all those other sources. That’s going to be the real opportunity to bring change in landscapes.

What’s significant about having the GLF in Nairobi this year? 

Africa is innovative and unique. Practitioners can take things that worked in Latin America and Asia and adapt them, but Africa also has some fantastic indigenous ways of understanding and transforming landscapes. For example, we’re already seeing in Ethiopia how social capital is driving land use change.

The GLF provides an important opportunity to showcase that it’s not just doom and gloom, and that things are progressing. Let’s make a business case for restoration. Let’s connect with people; let’s think about gender, land ownership and tenure, and about motivating the youth. We candrive confidence to investors to bring financing to restoration. It’s not just about ecosystem services; it’s all of humanity that stands to benefit from this.

To hear more from Tony Simons and other policy experts, tune into the Policy Plenary live stream on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 5.45pm Nairobi time (GMT+3).

By Monica Evans, first published at GLF’s Landscape News

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  • ICRAF’s Tony Simons talks transformational change in land management

ICRAF’s Tony Simons talks transformational change in land management

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ICRAF’s Tony Simons speaks at the GLF Investment Case Symposium 2018 in Washington, D.C. Photo by L. Vogel/GLF

The second of three Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in 2018 is being held at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 29 to 30, with a focus on forest and landscape restoration.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), one of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s (FTA) partner institutions, is based in Nairobi, and its Director General Tony Simons is set to have some of the last words at this current GLF.

Simons is speaking in the Policy Plenary just before the conference finale, which will explore how to create enabling environments for transformational change in landscape management in the region.

Originally from New Zealand, Simons has an impressive track record working on issues at the interface of tropical agriculture and forestry in more than 40 developing countries. GLF’s Landscape News spoke with him about the potential he sees for policy change to help make forest landscape restoration work for ecosystems, people and profit across the African continent.

What are some of the issues for enabling sustainable landscapes in Africa at the moment?

Africa has tremendous opportunities, but it’s also got a lot of issues and difficulties. It’s the second largest continent in the world; the second most highly populated; the most rural; the poorest; and the most reliant on agriculture. It has the least forest cover; the highest use of wood energy; and it’s got one of the youngest populations in the world. There are very low levels of mechanization in agriculture: 95 percent of crops are rain-fed, and only 5 percent are irrigated.

Staggeringly, Africa imports 35 billion dollars a year of food. That’s going to be 110 billion by the year 2030. Of that 35 billion, 95 percent of that is brought in from other continents. So while there is plenty of land available – and people to work it – food production is not yet happening at the scale that it should be.

Food trees grow on a farm in Kenya. Photo by A. Mamo/ICRAF

What policies need to change to help make landscapes more sustainable?

Back in 2009, the African Union [AU] heads of state passed a resolution on land use and management across the continent. It was at a time where there was a huge amount of attention on land grabbing. So the policy instruments put into place were about keeping the resource under sovereign control.

So that’s one of the issues in Africa now: about 75 percent of the land – even if it’s under customary control – is formally owned by the government. And the governments don’t really know what to do with it.

I think we’ve got to put land stewardship back in the hands of people. You’ve got the land; you’ve got a young population; you’ve got growing prosperity; better education; literacy and numeracy is growing; but there needs to be a kind of revolution in land management. It’s not going to be by individuals; it’s going to be by groups, collectives, communities and watersheds. We’ve got to leverage the agenda of that wise stewardship down to the level of the people.

Sustainable management costs money. How can we make it worth people’s while?

If you travelled to the world’s second largest rainforest, which is the Congo, and I sold you an acre of rainforest, it would cost about $10,000. But the government gets less than $100 of revenue from that per year: a 1 percent return. That’s the biggest problem with forests and wetlands: they’re not remunerative.

And that’s because we don’t count the value of all of the fantastic biodiversity, carbon provisioning, precipitation enhancement and other ecosystem services that these places provide. In a continent where 95 percent of crops are rainfed, forests are very important for agriculture. But protecting and restoring them is not remunerative because of the partial accounting. So that needs to change.

However, we’re not going to get anywhere if we spend all this money restoring the land to how it was in the past, because it will still be under pressure for exploitation. So we’ve got to make a viable business case for restoring that land. And that’s going to be about connecting and linking financial capital, natural capital, human capital and social capital.

This is also at a time when we’re seeing pressures on financing. So how do we get all of these new approaches and opportunities out to people? NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have stepped up in quite a large way, but the private sector needs to step up much more. And for that to happen, there are a number of things that we need to look at. The first one is the opportunities: where are the business cases, the viable enterprises to piggyback on?

The second thing to look at is investment return. What returns will the governments, the small-scale farmer, the community and the foreign investor get from investing in landscape restoration? And what are the risks associated with this, and how can we de-risk? Many people perceive agriculture as complicated, as confused, as risky, as having a low rate of return, as not really investment material. Investors need to see that yes, this is a viable enterprise, and when we start thinking about bringing that financial return to social dividends, to environmental dividends, that’s when it all starts to come together.

Rubus Pinnatus grows on Nyambene Mountain, Kenya. Photo by A. Mamo/ICRAF

Beyond opportunity, risk and return, next comes leverage. We have been relying in Africa on external Overseas Development Assistance (ODA); but ODA is currently drying up and being reallocated. Now for every single dollar of ODA, there’s $3 of remittances, there’s $6 of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), there’s $24 of domestic private sector spend, there’s $55 of national government spend, and there’s $1,000 of private capital.

So let’s use that $1 of ODA to leverage all those other sources. That’s going to be the real opportunity to bring change in landscapes.

What’s significant about having the GLF in Nairobi this year? 

Africa is innovative and unique. Practitioners can take things that worked in Latin America and Asia and adapt them, but Africa also has some fantastic indigenous ways of understanding and transforming landscapes. For example, we’re already seeing in Ethiopia how social capital is driving land use change.

The GLF provides an important opportunity to showcase that it’s not just doom and gloom, and that things are progressing. Let’s make a business case for restoration. Let’s connect with people; let’s think about gender, land ownership and tenure, and about motivating the youth. We candrive confidence to investors to bring financing to restoration. It’s not just about ecosystem services; it’s all of humanity that stands to benefit from this.

To hear more from Tony Simons and other policy experts, tune into the Policy Plenary live stream on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 5.45pm Nairobi time (GMT+3).

By Monica Evans, first published at GLF’s Landscape News

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  • Sustainable symbols: ‘Sasi’ taboos in Maluku, Indonesia

Sustainable symbols: ‘Sasi’ taboos in Maluku, Indonesia

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In Maluku, Indonesia, a traditional land management system known as ‘sasi’ ensures a sustainable supply of forest products like cacao, resin, coffee and fruit. By tying branches together in a certain way, or marking a tree with a crucifix, people who make ‘sasi’ let others know when forest products are off-limits, and when they are ready to be harvested.

This video was originally published by CIFOR.

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

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  • FTA and IUFRO highlight cooperation at Global Landscapes Forum 

FTA and IUFRO highlight cooperation at Global Landscapes Forum 

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Clouds pass over homes on the banks of the Belayan River in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Nanang Sujana/CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) are strengthening their collaboration to increase understanding and promote the role and value of forests and trees in landscapes. 

At the recent Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Germany, FTA, IUFRO and the Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) organized a Discussion Forum titled Rainfall Recycling as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15.

The discussion aimed to shed new light on the role of forests and trees in the climate debate, building on a scientific review paper about the relationship between forests and water titled Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world, and an online symposium organized by FTA in May 2017.

It also discussed preliminary highlights of IUFRO’s current Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Water, which is expected to issue a policy relevant global assessment report in July 2018. At the GLF, participants discussed how these research findings should be reflected in policy making.

“We are going to discuss something that might have the potential to change the narrative […] about forests and trees in landscapes in relation to climate change, land management and other issues,” IUFRO Executive Director Alexander Buck said in opening the session.

“In many parts of the world, local people, if you ask them, are convinced that forests and trees not only depend on rainfall, but they also play a critical role in actually generating it,” Buck added.

He explained that science is increasingly generating insights that confirm this perception from local people, describing rainfall recycling as “a phenomenon in which forests […] and trees influence the transport of water over distant locations.”

“Experts will also present some emerging highlights from a global scientific assessment looking at the interactions between forests and water,” Buck added, referring to the GFEP, which is coordinated by IUFRO.

Audience members respond to questions during “Rainfall Recycling as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15” at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany. Photo by Pilar Valbuena/GLF

The first section of the discussion, looking at scientific insights, was moderated by GFEP cochair Meine van Noordwijk, the lead author of Ecological rainfall infrastructure: investment in trees for sustainable development, who is also known for his work within FTA.

David Ellison, the lead author of the review article Trees, forests and water: cool insights for a hot world, spoke first on the concept of hydrological space. He addressed how water is transported across land, describing continental evapotranspiration as feeding an important share of terrestrial precipitation. Thus, increasing forest cover can lead to increased precipitation and runoff, and spatial organization also matters.

Describing water in the Blue Nile Basin, of which a large share originates in the West African rainforest, he explained why land use, forests and the large-scale water cycle are so important when it comes to rainfall.

Aster Gebrekirstos of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) then discussed tools and equipment that can be used to show how trees play a role in the water cycle.

By measuring isotopes in tree rings it is possible to understand how fast trees have grown in the past, and where the rain absorbed by trees comes from, Gebrekirstos explained. The Amazon was shown to be generating its own rainy season, while in Bolivia more than 50 percent of rain comes from evapotranspiration.

“If we plant trees in Ethiopia, it will have a positive influence in Burkina Faso,” she said, by way of example. “Trees are really contributing to the water cycle, but climate change is also influencing trees and forests.”

“Trees are history books when we are able to analyze their history of growth and isotopes,” Van Noordwijk agreed. “We can tell something about where their water has come from.”

Aida Bargues-Tobella of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, coauthor of Intermediate tree cover can maximize groundwater recharge in the seasonally dry tropics, discussed how, as an alternative to a prevailing paradigm, more trees can improve (and not diminish) groundwater recharge in seasonally dry areas.

Although there are tradeoffs in planting trees in dry areas, Bargues-Tobella showed how new theories enable the determination of an optimum level for tree cover with respect to groundwater recharge, as evidenced in Burkina Faso.

The discussion then progressed to implications that this new science might have for climate, land, water and related policies and actions, in a second part moderated by Paola Ovando Pol of Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, who is also a member of the GFEP on Forests and Water.

In this section, Van Noordwijk stated: “Within the world there’s a lot of debate about climate change, and the convention about climate change is, other than what people think, not a convention about climate. It’s a convention about greenhouse gases, one of the major things that changes climates.”

Panelists discuss forests, trees and the water cycle at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany. Photo by Pilar Valbuena/GLF

Greenhouse gases come from the use of fossil fuel, and also deforestation, he explained.

There is an elaborate framework on how climate change, because of increased greenhouse gases, leads to changes in ocean temperatures, which in turn leads to changes in how much moisture is around, leading to changes in rainfall, he suggested.

Van Noordwijk then explained that forests and trees outside forests also influence rainfall through several feedback loops, from local to continental levels, as evidenced in Latin America, the African continent and Southeast Asia.

With this new knowledge, the relation between climate, forests, water and people looks different, he said. It is not captured in current policy frameworks, but has important consequences.

The “missing middle — the relation between vegetation, forests and rainfall” shows there is a much more direct link between land-use change and rainfall than through the long route of climate change and ocean temperatures, he added. “Now our message to the policymakers is: we have enough evidence that it exists, we’re working on the details.”

Daniel Murdiyarso, principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), posed the question of what forests can do for water and climate. They can promote rain, transfer vapor, recharge groundwater, moderate flooding and cool air, he suggested.

The world needs a new way of governing forests, he said, citing watershed approaches, links to climate objectives such as REDD+, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), as well as sustainable forest management.

Rounding out the second part, senior researcher Holger Hoff of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) said the link to policies was the new aspect of the work. He covered how to add to existing frameworks, targeting methods to audiences, triggering action, identifying win-wins and increasing complexity.

Finally, in the third and final part of the discussion, FTA Director Vincent Gitz asked the audience “who can do what” with this knowledge, in terms of optimizing the contribution of forests and trees to the regulation of the water cycle, increasing resilience and therefore providing ways for landscapes – and the people in them – to adapt to climate change.

In a lively audience discussion, various points were raised about the respective roles of different actors. Science and research have a special responsibility in terms of being clear about domains of uncertainty, especially when quantification of effects is concerned.

Research has a role in clearly explaining science, as well as its limits, to policymakers. Science also needs to be clear about knowledge gaps. These include, for instance, whether there are different effects for different tree species (especially indigenous species), and about the range of scale of these effects.

“It is all about better understanding these ecosystem services, giving them proper value, finding ways to account for them in current incentives and regulation schemes, and creating spaces for them in policy debates,” Gitz said following the forum.

The next step for this science-policy interaction will be the release of IUFRO’s GFEP report on forests and water in July, and upcoming discussions about the Sustainable Development Goals in New York.

Read more:

By Vincent Gitz, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), and Alexander Buck, Executive Director of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). 


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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  • Host country governance and the African land rush: 7 reasons why large-scale farmland investments fail to contribute to sustainable development

Host country governance and the African land rush: 7 reasons why large-scale farmland investments fail to contribute to sustainable development

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FTA

Authors: Schoneveld, G.C.

The large social and environmental footprint of rising investor demand for Africa’s farmland has in recent years become a much-examined area of enquiry. This has produced a rich body of literature that has generated valuable insights into the underlying drivers, trends, social and environmental impacts, discursive implications, and global governance options. Host country governance dynamics have in contrast remained an unexplored theme, despite its central role in facilitating and legitimizing unsustainable farmland investments. This article contributes to this research gap by synthesizing results and lessons from 38 case studies conducted in Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia. It shows how and why large-scale farmland investments are often synonymous with displacement, dispossession, and environmental degradation and, thereby, highlights seven outcome determinants that merit more explicit treatment in academic and policy discourse.

Source: CIFOR Publications

Publication Year: 2016

ISSN: 0016-7185

Source: Geoforum

DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.12.007


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