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  • FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored  

FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored  

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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 forestry impacts local livelihoods in Indonesia

Social forestry impacts local livelihoods in Indonesia

Women cross the Way Bulak River in Lampung, Indonesia, as they carry resin from damar tree areas to their village. Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

In a two-part series, the Center for International Forestry Research’s (CIFOR) Forests News examines ongoing research from Lampung province, Indonesia, as part of the Global Comparative Study on Forest Tenure Reform (GCS-Tenure).

The first article, Why social forestry: Keeping the coffee, looks at the village of Tri Budi Syukur in Lampung, Sumatra, which developed from a destroyed landscape to profitable plantations, showing the benefits of social forestry schemes.

Having implemented versions of social forestry schemes for nearly two decades, Lampung is the pioneer province for social forestry in Indonesia, and Tri Budi Syukur has been its flagship village.

Between 2014 and 2017, the GCS-Tenure team measured the impact of social forestry on local livelihoods, using three indicators: income from coffee bean harvest, family food security, and initiative to invest in land recovery. Livelihoods and the landscape were found to be thriving hand-in-hand, largely due to the institution of social forestry.

Watch: Why social forestry: Keeping the coffee

One of the key lessons learned in Tri Budi Syukur was that despite local capabilities, outside support is still needed. Whereas once the government and villagers were pitted against one another, success has grown since they began working together.

The second article, Why social forestry: Securing the sap, addresses how tenure security from forestry schemes can help communities stabilize their economies and reduce conflict.

In Pahmungan village, Lampung, people have used damar trees and the sap they produce as their main source of income for more than a century. However, the land has been a place of contention, as governmental changes to land status have clashed against customary tenure practices.

Watch: Why social forestry: Securing the sap

Without proper land rights, the community lacks bargaining power to set the price of damar sap and keep it from fluctuating, putting not only local livelihoods but also the forest at risk, as it can lead to the felling of trees for extra cash.

Outside help is beginning to step in. Local environmental NGO Watala Lampung not only helps the community manage repong damar sustainably, but it helps educate villagers on the benefits of social forestry and provides platforms for government engagement, to promote the importance of repong damar.

In looking at these tenure insecurity issues, scientists found that implementation of social forestry schemes could be the answer to the latent challenges.

Read more: FTA at the Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit 2018

These articles were written by Nabiha Shahab and first appeared on CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on the topic, please contact Tuti Herawati at [email protected] or Esther Mwangi at [email protected].


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

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  • Land tenure and forest rights of rural and indigenous women in Latin America: Empirical evidence

Land tenure and forest rights of rural and indigenous women in Latin America: Empirical evidence

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Latin America’s land-use and communal forests needs a better understanding through a lens of women. This research article aims to examine Latin America’s secured individual land tenure legal reforms and communal rights in indigenous territories. Two empirical case studies are presented to assess the current dynamics of rural women’s land title rights in coffee agroforestry under Colombia’s new Formalización Propiedad Rural program, and indigenous Quechua women’s communal forest land rights for indigenous foods like kañawa and quinoa farming in highland Bolivia. In doing so, it also gives an introduction to the five empirical research papers that are part of this Special Section edited by the author. The specific case studies are from the Brazilian Amazon, Bolivia’s Gran Chaco area, Nicaragua’s indigenous territories and two studies from Mexico – one from Oaxaca’s central valley and the other is based on smallholder farming in Calakmul rural area. In conclusion, the author discusses the need to prioritise women’s role in individual land rights and communal forest tenure in Latin American countries.

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  • Long road ahead to indigenous land and forest rights in Peru

Long road ahead to indigenous land and forest rights in Peru

Children from the La Roya community, in the Peruvian Amazon, pose for a photograph. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

An indigenous woman harvests goods in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Regulatory reforms are encountering both progress and setbacks in Peru. 

Over the past half-century, more than 1,300 indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon have obtained title to more than 12 million hectares of land — about 17 percent of the country’s forest area.

The gains have come through a series of regulatory reforms that have resulted in both progress and setbacks for indigenous communities, says Iliana Monterroso, a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and one of the authors of a new study that forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) on land and forest tenure reforms in Peru.

“Understanding the history of the tenure reforms in Peru is important for identifying the challenges that remain and the opportunities that exist for addressing them,” Monterroso says.

The struggle for tenure has led to the rise of local, national and pan-Amazonian indigenous organizations, which have played an increasingly active role in advocating for policies that respect their territorial rights.

Read also: Obstacles to forest tenure reform deeply rooted in the past

Fifty indigenous peoples inhabit the Peruvian Amazon, depending on the forests for their livelihoods. Despite regulatory reforms, however, it remains difficult for them to obtain legal rights to full use of those resources.

Since the first modern laws governing indigenous peoples and land rights were passed more than a century ago, most legislation has promoted colonization, agriculture or private development in the Peruvian Amazon, with a mindset that views forests as possessing less economic value than farming or ranching.

Even now, property rights are granted only for agricultural land, while the state retains ownership of sub-soil resources such as minerals, and of the forests above-ground — granting concessions or usufruct rights for use of those resources, but not relinquishing ownership.

Government officials have often viewed indigenous peoples and their claims to territory as blocking progress by making it difficult to “put the forest to use,” says Monterroso.

Indigenous communities, however, increasingly call for control over all resources- both on and under their lands. Meanwhile, programs linked to Peru’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) offer support by including funds for titling indigenous lands.


Indigenous community members in Callería, Peru, learn the art of traditional embroidery. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Stumbling blocks 

The first legal recognition of land rights for Peru’s Amazonian indigenous peoples was passed in 1974. A year later, the Forest and Wildlife Law placed forests under control of the government, which could grant the right to use them. This established the separate rules for forest and agricultural land that persist today.

Under current regulations, soil analysis determines whether land is classified as suitable for forest or agriculture — regardless of whether it is already forested. Only the area classified as agricultural land can be titled. Rights in the area classified as forests are limited to the right to use, known as usufruct, for which communities sign a contract with the government.

To commercialize forest products, a community must also apply for permits, or another type of official authorization. In many cases, they also must draw up and submit forest management plans.

Because this multi-step process is complicated and expensive, only about 10 percent of titled communities have actually obtained usufruct contracts, Monterroso says. Because of the complexity and cost, some communities are limited to using forest resources only for subsistence use, or to extracting timber and other products illegally.

Read also: The cost of oversimplification

Beginning in the 1980s, the Peruvian government passed a series of laws that promoted development, agriculture and colonization of forested land in the Amazon. Those efforts were stepped up in the 1990s, and continued into the 2000s.

At the same time, the decentralization of government administration meant that more responsibilities were transferred from the national government to regional governments.

Children from the La Roya community, in the Peruvian Amazon, pose for a photograph. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Over the next decades, different agencies were in charge of land titling, and each change meant the physical transfer of hundreds of documents. Many were lost during the transitions, slowing the titling process for communities.

In many cases, non-governmental organizations that helped indigenous organizations map their territories with geo-referenced coordinates and file paperwork had more complete records than the government

Because the government had no single national registry of land titles and concessions for use of resources, its increasingly aggressive promotion of development projects resulted in overlapping concessions for timber, mining, oil and gas, tourism and reforestation.

Many of those concessions also overlapped areas where indigenous communities were applying for titles, but they could not obtain land rights until certain overlapping claims were resolved.

Conflict fuels drive for territorial rights

Tensions over land tenure came to a head with a series of 99 legislative decrees issued after Peru signed a free trade agreement with the United States in 2006.

Government officials said the measures were needed to make Peruvian legislation comply with the trade pact, but several of the decrees weakened communal land rights and opened the way for extractive industries to operate on community lands.

In 2009, indigenous organizations staged a two-month protest against the decrees, blocking a key Amazonian highway near the town of Bagua. In June 2009, security forces attempted to clear the roadblock, resulting in a violent clash in which 34 people were killed and more than 200 injured.

The events at Bagua marked a turning point for indigenous rights. The most contentious decrees were repealed, and long negotiations led to enactment of Peru’s prior consultation law in 2011. The measure requires that indigenous people be consulted about any development project, or administrative measure, that could affect their collective rights.

The first legislation submitted to consultation was the new Forest and Wildlife Law, which re-established the exclusive rights of indigenous communities to use forest resources in their territories. That right had been revoked by a natural resources law in 1997.

By 2016, 1,365 Amazonian communities had obtained title to more than 12 million hectares of land, while 644 claims, totaling nearly 5.8 million hectares, were pending.

As an alternative to individual community titles, indigenous organizations had also won the designation of 2.8 million hectares of reserves to protect semi-nomadic groups that shun contact with the outside world, and another 2.2 million hectares in “communal reserves”, protected areas encompassing various communities.

Although Bagua put communal land rights on the policy agenda, however, titling has been slow in recent years and only a handful of usufruct contracts have been issued.

Meanwhile, promotion of development in the Amazon has persisted, and conflicts continue over the use of resources on community lands.

A regenerated forest and agroforestry system is seen in the Nueva Ahuaypa indigenous community area in Peru. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Reforms must not ignore history 

This long and complex history highlights a series of reasons why implementing land and forest tenure reform in Peru has been difficult, Monterroso says.

Lack of clarity about procedures and about which government agency is responsible slows the process. That is further complicated by an unclear and expensive procedure for classifying land use based on soil analysis, and the unclear and costly process for obtaining usufruct contracts.

Peru still lacks a single map of titles and concessions, so boundary disputes and conflicting claims continue to hamper progress on community titling.

Over the past two years, there has been a renewed effort to title indigenous communities in the Amazon, partly because of funding from climate-related programs aimed at preserving forests. That could offer an opportunity for overcoming some of the obstacles, Monterroso says.

“It’s important that there is a clear road map, so the benefits of land and forest tenure reforms reach the communities they were meant to benefit,” she says.

The responsibilities of national and regional government agencies in the titling process must be clear, they need to coordinate among themselves, and they must have the necessary staff and budget funds, she says. Indigenous communities also need allies in those agencies who can help them navigate the system.

Tenure reform can also be linked to sustainable resource management in communities. Indigenous groups in Peru have proposed an “indigenous REDD+” scheme, which uses climate-related funding to promote titling and livelihood plans.

“Opportunities for improvement are clear,” Monterroso says. “Unfortunately, if the challenges are not resolved, there is a risk of continued conflict.”

By Barbara Fraser, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Iliana Monterroso at [email protected] or Anne Larson at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

This research was supported by the European Commission, Global Environment Fund, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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  • Candido, forestopia and how (not) to title indigenous community lands

Candido, forestopia and how (not) to title indigenous community lands

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Anne Larson, a CIFOR principal scientist working under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, talks about the pitfalls of titling indigenous land.


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