By G Kundhlande and BI Nyoka, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). What drives changes in the density of trees on farms in Malawi and what are the benefits?
- Landscape Restoration in Southern Africa
To stem the effects of climate change on the country and its people, Ethiopia is looking towards forestry as a key solution.
By Kerstin Reisdorf
“The contribution of trees in agriculture into the global carbon balance is still widely ignored. And if we don’t … start really blasting this message around the world, we are missing one of the biggest opportunities that this institution has had for many, many years.”
This is how Dennis Garrity, UN’s Drylands Ambassador and former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), addressed his colleagues at the annual Science Week held in Nairobi at the beginning of September.
He said that there is a huge carbon storage potential of over four tons of carbon per ha per year on average. “So the main question is: How do we dramatically increase carbon stocks in agriculture?”
Garrity suggested leveraging countries Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions for the African Forest and Landscape Restoration Initiative AFR100. It’s neither “too late nor too early” because 22 African countries have made commitments of a total of 59 million hectares they want to restore. According to Garrity, these countries will realize that the dominant way they are going to meet their commitments is through agroforestry. Land restoration will also happen in croplands and pasture lands. “In many countries, agroforestry has already been seen as the major vehicle for land restoration,” he affirmed.
Kenya’s land restoration commitments, for example, amount to 5.1 million ha and “farmers in Kenya are planting trees like mad.”
Rwanda has committed to restoring two million ha, 80 percent of which is farmland, so agroforestry is going to be the vehicle by which they are actually going to accomplish it.
Garrity challenged his colleagues to “stretch their goals” and aim to double the speed of increasing tree biomass by 2030. “We just simply double the rate at which carbon is being stored in agriculture through agroforestry globally. By 2040, let’s double it again. And by the time we reach the target year 2050 for the world to reach carbon neutrality, why don’t we produce 1600 metric tons of carbon annually through agroforestry. ” And trees also provide the environment in which carbon storage in soils can be increased.
Garrity’s presentation was complemented by data from a recent study on tree cover on agricultural land and carbon sequestration. In the journal Nature, ICRAF’s Robert Zomer and colleagues state that the amount of carbon stored on farms is underestimated. Through remote sensing, Zomer calculated that 43% of all agricultural land globally has at least 10% tree cover and that this figure has been steadily rising over the last decade.
ICRAF’s Deputy Director General Research, Ravi Prabhu, suggested to use the vast datasets generated in the Sentinel Landscapes under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry to validate the new tree cover findings.
Garrity and Zomer proposed to overlay the new farming systems classification for Africa with the most recent map of tree cover and carbon storage to look at the potential of each farming system to store carbon.
The next steps according to Garitty are
Garrity encouraged ICRAF to go beyond agroforestry and take leadership in “reviving” REDD+, developing global partnerships and mobilizing scientists to develop estimates for carbon sequestration “stretch goals” by farming system, country and region.
By Kerstin Reisdorf
With massive commitments to land restoration such as the Bonn Challenge and the AFR100, there is a buzz in the restoration community that is difficult to equal with actual success stories. One of these rare beasts is the Shinyanga restoration in northern Tanzania. Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) have been engaged in restoration efforts in Shinyanga from the start and show-cased the project during ICRAF’s annual Science Week at the beginning of September in Nairobi. Shinyanga counts among the successful models of mosaic landscape restoration because of the strong local ownership and the commitment of the Tanzanian government. Since 2012, ICRAF scientists have been looking at the project as a model for climate change adaptation and mitigation under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, and as a case study site for multifunctional landscapes.
After the spike in land restoration commitments of the past years, the overwhelming feeling among scientists is that it is now time to move to action. This leads to very practical questions of “how do we do it?” says Lalisa Duguma, an ICRAF scientist whose focus is on sustainable landscapes and integrated climate actions i.e. synergies between climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Therefore practitioners are now looking for past models of restoration from a time before today’s commitments were even made. This is why the Shinyanga case became relevant.
For successful land restoration, Duguma is convinced, “we need to understand the history and what the drivers of degradation are. This is a reconstruction of the dynamics that have happened in that landscape. It is also necessary to understand how the identified drivers could be relevant in the intended restoration ambitions. ”
The ‘desert of Tanzania’
In the 1980s, Shinyanga was known as the “desert of Tanzania” with about 600-800 mm rainfall annually and severe loss of vegetation. Agro-pastoralists have dominated the semi-arid landscape.
“We traced the history of the region and the drivers of land degradation since the 1920s,” Duguma explained.
They identified four main drivers of land degradation:
The consequences were droughts, ecosystem degradation, and scarcity of wood and food.
Presentation: The Restoration Agenda: Some Practical Issues
In 1986, the government came up with a program called the Shinyanga Soil Conservation Initiative (HASHI), which relied on the traditional local practice of Ngitili (dry-season fodder reserves), an enclosure system where farmers conserve or plant trees in the grazing lands which then provide livestock feed and wood for energy and construction. In the beginning of the program, only about 611 hectares such schemes existed. In 2005, there were about 378,000 ha under Ngitili blended with other agroforestry practices such as woodlots.
Duguma stresses that this could only be achieved because the government and the local community were committed to change. This commitment was coupled with long-term donor support and technical support from ICRAF.
For over fifteen years, the Norwegian government funded the implementation of the HASHI program which promoted the restoration scheme.
Putting money where the mouth is
Despite cases like Shinyanga, ICRAF scientists are concerned about sustainable financing. Some raised the issue of how trade-offs between land users should be managed when not everyone wins, and how the results will be monitored and evaluated (see quotes).
Duguma himself thinks that ensuring the commitment of the population in areas that are to be restored might be just as big a challenge.
The answers to these questions remain elusive. There seems to be consensus that local and national ownership is a prerequisite, but the Tanzanian example shows that even with the dedication of government and citizens, without external donor money the restoration would not have happened at that scale.
So, especially in Latin America for the 20×20 initiative, private investors are sought out (11 impact investors), but also for the AFR100, where more than $540 million in private sector impact investment are factored in. As both commitments are only a couple of years old, tracing money flows to restoration is not yet easy, says Duguma.
Besides the local and national ownership of land restoration projects, sustainable financing is key. In the case of Shinyanga, the Norwegian government supported the project for over fifteen years. After their funding ran out in 2004 and the restoration efforts had proven effective, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program started to come in and now even the smallholders themselves are re-investing in the land, Duguma explains.
The REDD+ project is making a good progress in introducing community forest management practices into the Ngitili land management systems and organizing owners into formal learning groups to ensure sustainability of the system.
A blend of interventions
So, despite all, can the land restoration community take heart from Shinyanga? Duguma says yes and keeps coming back to the importance of giving priority to the role of the local people, local institutions and local practices. “Before even starting restoration efforts, all parties involved need to have a shared vision of what kind of landscape they want,” he says. The right approach would be: “We help you move forward, we’re here to complement your efforts in restoring your area.”
The communities in Shinyanga were empowered because people were aware of the problem. The solution was not brought to them from outside, but it was developed jointly. “Planning together, implementing together and devising the strategy together,” Duguma explains.
The benefits of the initiative go beyond land restoration and include economic and livelihood benefits. “In the place that was once known as the desert of Tanzania: now they are piloting REDD+ in that region,” Duguma says.
But he concedes that there is no universal solution of how to engage the population in land restoration, at which hinges the successful implementation of global commitments. And this directly relates to the sustainability of restoration projects.
Only with initiatives on the ground like Shinyanga will the Bonn Challenge and the AFR100 move from the vision stage to visibly changed landscapes.
Quotes by ICRAF scientists:
Jonathan Cornelius: Restoration is not simply planting trees, and is not necessarily about bringing back pristine or nearly pristine nature. But restoration is about recuperating specific ecosystem services, which respond to specific objectives for land use or land-use trajectories. Agroforestry has a central role to play because of the intimate connection between trees, forests and environmental services.
Ramni Jamnadass: I like to call it productive restoration. It’s not just restoration for the sake of it, hence I feel we should focus a little bit more on the tree functions, besides the environmental services.
Christine Lamanna: It’s easy to talk about restoration when it’s win-win, when we’re restoring ecosystem functionality, but what happens when it might not be a win-win? How do you manage the trade-off between restored landscape functionality that may also have some negative consequences?
Fergus Sinclair: I have a concern that at ICRAF we talk about forest restoration, landscape restoration, but we very rarely talk about land restoration, when a massive element of the agroforestry agenda is perhaps about restoring agricultural productivity on agricultural land.
Lalisa Duguma: The biggest opportunity for ICRAF as an institution is in the mosaic restoration area where we have agroforestry coming up as a strong agenda in many of the countries. The best example is Rwanda where they have 1.5 million hectares of land to be restored through agroforestry.
Duguma, L. A., and Minang, P. A., 2015. Leveraging landscapes: A systems approach to drivers of change. In Minang et al (Eds.). Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Nairobi, Kenya. pp.135-149. DOI: 10.13140/2.1.1880.2242
Duguma, L. A., Minang, P. A., Mpanda, M., Kimaro, A., & Alemagi, D. 2015. Landscape restoration from a social-ecological system perspective? In Minang et al (Eds.). Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, 63-73. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).
Duguma, L.A., Minang, P.A. and Van Noordwijk, M., 2014. Climate change mitigation and adaptation in the land use sector: from complementarity to synergy. Environmental management, 54(3), pp.420-432.
Duguma, L.A., Minang, P.A., Kimaro, A., Otsyina, R. and Mpanda, M., 2013. Climate smart landscapes: Integrating mitigation, adaptation and development in Shinyanga region, Tanzania. ASB Policy Brief, (40).
This interview is Part 1 of a three-part series on forest landscape restoration to coincide with the IUCN World Conservation Congress, held from 1-10 September in Hawai’i, USA.
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) will be represented in various panels and sessions at the event as part of the KNOWFOR partnership with the World Bank Program on Forests (PROFOR) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
Louis Putzel, CIFOR Senior Scientist, spoke with Forests News ahead of the event:
What is forest landscape restoration?
I would say forest landscape restoration is a large-scale planning process that involves improving the ecological functions of landscapes by replacing or increasing the amount of tree cover. It’s a very flexible concept and includes practices ranging from setting land aside for natural regeneration to plantation forestry.
Restoring rainforests in the Asia-Pacific
The basic principle is that increasing biomass in landscapes – and that can be trees, shrubs or even grasses, like bamboo – generates multiple environmental benefits such as carbon capture, water purification and flood control.
What aspects of FLR are your team interested in researching?
The KNOWFOR project team I work with is mostly looking at government FLR programs in hilly and mountainous landscapes populated by farming communities. There’s a lot of work to do on the human dimensions of FLR, because a lot of the land identified as important to restore for environmental reasons is currently occupied by people. Some of it is very densely populated and has been used for agriculture or grazing for hundreds if not thousands of years. So restoration in such spaces involves trade-offs with food production, at least at the local level and in the short term. In areas that are economically challenged anyway, that’s a major consideration.
Under the Bonn Challenge [a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030] – Ethiopia has committed 15 million hectares, the Democratic Republic of Congo has committed 8 million hectares, Rwanda has committed 2 million hectares.
So in such places there are major issues to work out: who owns the land, who has rights to the land, what is the land being used for, what are the economic benefits of agriculture, what are the food needs of the people? All those things need to be compensated for if that land is to be converted to forest.
Who is really bearing the cost?
These questions are now looming, and there’s a need for a huge amount of research. Because as with REDD+, a lot of the restoration is going to be happening where people are already living on the margins.
This is for a number of reasons. A lot of the areas that are degraded are likely to be poorer areas in the first place. Another reason is that it’s cheaper to compensate poorer people. So the lands identified for restoration are likely to be those where opportunity costs are low – so by definition, where people are poor.
We can learn a lot by studying the experience of countries with a long track record in landscape-level restoration. So in addition to reviewing literature, visiting smallholder restoration areas and analyzing data, we at CIFOR are doing a lot of knowledge exchange with our partners, bringing together people from international organizations like IUCN, INBAR, and others to exchange with government forestry people all over, from China and Africa to the US.
Reversing deforestation, restoring landscapes
You are based in China and have been analyzing forest landscape restoration practices there. What lessons can be drawn from China’s experience?
For several years we’ve been working with the Forest Economics and Development Research Center, a think-tank attached to China’s State Forestry Administration.
FLR as a field has a lot to learn from China. Because China is so big and diverse, and has suffered such serious consequences from deforestation in the past, they’ve had to implement a huge range of strategies to get trees back into the landscape, from conservation and protection or ‘exclosure’ of ecologically fragile slopes, to actual conversion of agricultural land to forest. One such program, the Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program, pays farmers to plant trees in their fields, and allocates degraded lands to families to restore.
Just under that one program, they’ve so far converted nearly 30 million hectares of farmland and land classified as barren or degraded.
Socioeconomic and environmental effects of China’s Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program after 15 years: a systematic review protocol
There are some important lessons about subsidies. The government has been subsidizing restoration on this large scale since 1999, and the idea has always been to reduce the subsidies, and eventually wean the people off them. But it’s important to consider how the landscape serves people’s economic needs in the long run, once the subsidies have ended. How will cycles of dependency affect sustainability?
China’s case is complex because the restoration is happening at the same time as mass migration from rural to urban areas and major changes in employment structures, as well as comprehensive tenure reform, which all have effects on land use, tending to reduce pressure in rural areas and increase it around cities.
From our systematic review of the Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program (CCFP) [in press] it’s pretty clear that CCFP subsidies give a bit of a push to people to do less farming and to plant trees before leaving their land to go take work in towns nearby or in other provinces.
Measuring impact a challenge as China reclaims farmlands for forests
Another lesson from China is that FLR doesn’t always work as expected. From an ecological perspective, restoration of degraded areas is a science that requires very specific knowledge of local ecology, good matching of species and practices to sites. There have been areas where the species chosen for planting required more water than was available, reducing survival and requiring replanting.
The CCFP has increased China’s forest area by something like 3 percent in just 15 years, which is very impressive. Some of the new forest cover isn’t very diverse, but of course, forests change over time, so more species could potentially migrate into areas that have more trees.
China’s Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program for Household Delivery of Ecosystem Services: How Important is a Local Implementation Regime to Survival Rate Outcomes?
But these are things to consider in FLR around the world. As governments look to restoring forest in mosaic agricultural lands, for example, are they going to increase or decrease biodiversity, or economic benefits, or water ecosystem services? How does the restored forest compare to mosaic agricultural lands that are already diverse in structure and function?
In a rush to restore forest area, we sometimes see an expansion of fast-growing tree monocultures – plantations of eucalyptus, pine, poplar or rubber. These may restore economic benefits, and if the land was severely degraded before, may increase environmental services somewhat, and they certainly can store carbon if managed for that.
FLR is not just what the landscape looks like today, it’s about imagining what it will look like in the future, long after the restoration activities have occurred.
Louis Putzel, CIFOR Senior Scientist
Finally, restoration depends on tremendous financial resources. We are talking about billions of dollars, not millions, to restore landscapes on the scale of the Bonn Challenge. Big countries like China, and the United States as well, can give us a sense of the magnitude of funding needed to compensate millions of farmers for increasing landscape ecosystem services through restoration.
What is your message to those meeting at the IUCN World Congress about FLR?
FLR is not just what the landscape looks like today, it’s about imagining what it will look like in the future, long after the restoration activities have occurred. It’s about understanding ecological processes over the long term at the landscape level. This is something that’s challenging for a big and diverse group of government and conservation organizations to do, because ecological and social conditions vary tremendously from place to place.
FLR requires tremendous capacity for planning, for delineating space, for communicating with the populations living in the restoration areas, for creating the systems whereby they will adopt restoration programs. Personally, I think national governments still have to play a key role in balancing between uses, taking responsibility for trade-offs, and deploying funds on the scale required. And also in being there for the long term – international development project cycles are too short, and private investment requires a return before too long.
FLR at IUCN World Congress: Highlights from China and the US
The Bonn Challenge is definitely doable, but it is a major endeavor that requires a lot of research and smart policy. And the social angle requires a huge amount of attention – to a large degree that has been overlooked or given short shrift so far.
In the end, we need to ask who will inherit or benefit from restored landscapes, and how can we ensure people living in the most remote target areas end up better off than before? If more trees and forests benefit them enough to make FLR work, we all win.
VIDEO: Laporan dari Pasifik: ‘Perubahan iklim itu nyata’
VIDEO: Restorasi hutan hujan di Asia Pasifik
La inversión en plantaciones forestales sostenibles: hay herramientas, pero urgen mejoras
Source: Forests News English
Ethiopia – Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is the ongoing process of regaining ecological functionality and enhancing human well-being across deforested or degraded areas.
CIFOR’s FLR research work is funded by the International Forestry Knowledge (KNOWFOR) Program. KNOWFOR aims to provide policymakers and practitioners in developing countries with useful evidence, tools and analysis on forests, trees and climate change.
KNOWFOR’s ongoing work will be presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, held from 1-10 September in Hawai’i, USA.
Q&A: Lessons from China for forest landscape restoration
Source: Forests News English
Watch this Discussion Forum from the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France, the most important event of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).
Restoration represents an incredible opportunity to restore productivity to degraded lands, enhance livelihoods, and mitigate climate change. Initiative 20×20 is a country-led effort to bring 20 million hectares of degraded lands into the process of restoration in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2020.
The Discussion Forum highlighted the results achieved on the ground by seven projects that were developed by countries and organizations under the auspices of the 20×20 Initiative. Deborah Bossio, Director of Soil Research of FTA partner CIAT, was one of speakers, together with many business leaders.
For more information visit Global Landscapes Forum