• Home
  • Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

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

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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.

  • Home
  • FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored  

FTA at GLF Nairobi: Faith in trees restored  

Posted by

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.

  • Home
  • Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration

Trees for Seeds, a foundation for resilient restoration

subject
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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.

  • Home
  • 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

enable_in_flagship_1
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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

  • Home
  • Local communities a driving force behind recovering Africa’s landscapes

Local communities a driving force behind recovering Africa’s landscapes

description
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The “Voices of the Landscape” panel presents at the Global Landscapes Forum conference in Nairobi. Photo by GLF

Every year, Africa loses 2.8 million hectares of forest, which is an area roughly the size of Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, two-thirds of its land is degraded. 

However, as countries mobilize to restore 100 million hectares by 2030 in the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), local communities are emerging as a driving force behind the movement to recover the continent’s landscapes.

Communities and collaborators across sectors and governance levels have taken center stage at the Global Landscapes Forum – Prospects and Opportunities for Restoration in Africa (GLF). The two-day event, in which several CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) scientists participated, ran from Aug. 29-30 and attracted 800 delegates to UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as 30,000 people online.

“If landscape degradation brings huge costs to society and restoration brings impressive returns, why we are not implementing it?” queried Robert Nasi, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), at the opening plenary.

Land degradation is estimated to cost the global economy up to $4.5 trillion a year, while economic benefits of restoration are an estimated $84 billion a year. In Africa, soil and nutrient depletion on cropland costs 3 percent of gross domestic product.

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

These factors combined lead Nasi to believe it is time for a paradigm change: “from seeing restoration as a high-cost activity with no financial returns to landowners and with 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.”

PEOPLE AND PLANET

UN Environment head Erik Solheim pointed out the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) boil down to delivering benefits for both people and the planet. “To meet the SDGs we need policies that are good for the jobs, the climate, and nature at the same time. Landscape restoration does just this,” he said.

Solheim reaffirmed his commitment to El Salvador’s proposal for a UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. “The process must be led by member states, so please support El Salvador in this great endeavor,” he urged. The same period might also be devoted to rangelands and pastoralism, further increasing momentum to reclaim healthy landscapes.

Restoration can bring back ecosystem services and landscape functionality, boost agricultural productivity and enhance resilience to climate change – but it can also have even greater benefits, said Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, country manager for Zambia at the World Bank.

A person pots a seed near Mau Forest in Kenya. Photo by P. Shepherd/CIFOR

“The sustainable use of natural resources leads to improved livelihoods, greener economies and food security, while bringing peace, security and stability. Restoring landscapes contributes to preventing natural resource-related conflicts,” Ruthenberg said.

Stefan Schmitz, from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), urged stronger political commitment and better rural governance to unlock the potential for restoration.

“Good governance is a prerequisite for sustainable rural development,” said Schmitz, who is deputy director-general and commissioner of the BMZ One World – No Hunger Initiative.

“People will only use resources sustainably provided they do not live in extreme poverty. If they have no choice, they will continue engaging in land degradation and deforestation.”

Read more: FTA at GLF Bonn 2017: From rainfall recycling to landscape restoration

VOICES OF THE LANDSCAPE

For the first time in the five-year history of the GLF, local community representatives constituted a plenary session to discuss key achievements and how they could be brought to scale.

The panelists included Haidar El Ali, who has led the world’s largest mangrove restoration project, and Daniel Kobei, who has contributed to securing the indigenous Ogiek people’s rights to Kenya’s Mau forest as their ancestral home.

Another panelist, Zipporah Matumbi, has rallied thousands of rural women around forest restoration in Mount Kenya, significantly improving their livelihoods, while Lassane Zorome (represented by Serge Zoubga) has led fellow farmers to turn 200 hectares of barren land into productive fields in Burkina Faso.

For communities, restoring landscapes is, first of all, about improving their own livelihoods. Forests in Mount Kenya were very much degraded and we, rural women, had a hard time accessing water and fuelwood,” said Matumbi, representative of Voices from the Landscape. “We are eager to engage in restoration because, otherwise, we suffer.”

“Restoring forest landscapes is even a matter of survival to prevent an escalation of conflicts related to use of land and resources,” added Zoubga, program officer at Tiipaalga Association in Burkina Faso.

Local initiatives offer lessons that can help replicate success stories across the continent. For founder of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program Daniel Kobei, for example, “restoration can only succeed by involving communities and giving them the chance to use their traditional knowledge.”

“We cannot restore land in the place of populations,” agreed Zoubga from Burkina Faso. “We must build their capacities, so they can act against land degradation.”

A mixed-use landscape is seen in South West and West Mau Forest. Photo by S. Murunga/CIFOR

For restoration to be successful, “we must also get communities to understand the benefits it brings, from increased agricultural yields to regulation of soil salinity,” said president of Oceanium and former fisheries minister of Senegal, Haidar El Ali.

Concepta Mukasa, program manager of Forestry and the Environment at AUPWAE, concluded that “scale-up can only happen if national and subnational governments make restoration a priority and involve communities and women in the process.”

In fact, restoration activities are already shifting gender relations in some areas, meaning that women are now allowed to plant trees freely, “something crucial for scale up,” said CIFOR senior scientist and session moderator, Esther Mwangi, whose work is also a part of FTA.

Read more: FTA seeks to influence debate at GLF Peatlands Matter in 2017

JOINT DESTINY

Over 70 percent of people living in sub-Saharan Africa depend on forests and woodlands for their livelihoods, but desertification touches 45 percent of the land on the continent and 65 percent of croplands are affected by land degradation.

Yet, Africa has 600 million hectares of both agricultural and forested landscapes with potential for restoration, and countries have committed to restoring 100 million hectares by 2030 through AFR100.

“It’s great to see — today we have already 26 countries that have committed to bringing 91 million hectares of forests under restoration,” Schmitz said, adding that competing sectors create challenges.

“There is, on the one hand, the sphere of landscapes, of natural resources, of restoration,” he said. “On the other, there is the agriculture and food system, and the challenge is to really bring those two universes together.”

Restoration work can support agriculture by providing jobs and other economic benefits, Schmitz said. “The more we succeed in providing employment and income for local communities, the more it is likely that we’ll be able to succeed in our restoration efforts. It will require a mix of national, international private and public funding.”

A delegation from Kenya’s Forest Service described the successes of a major restoration project underway in the Mau Forest, which contributes to the country’s 5.1 million hectare AFR100 target.

“In a very short time we saw results from this intervention,” said Jerome Mwanzia, explaining how livelihood benefits were introduced through tree planting, agroforestry, livestock and beekeeping initiatives to incorporate income generating activities. “We had small animals colonizing the area,” he said. “The animals were coming back — this ecosystem was regenerated.”

Despite successes in the massive catchment area, hurdles remain for meeting the full AFR100 pledge.

“Financing is going to be a major determinant as to whether we achieve targets — and the issue of community buy in,” said Alfred Gichu, who manages a broad portfolio at the Kenya Forest Service, including the climate change program, the landscape restoration initiative and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program.

Summing up, Solheim said he believes regional global goals can only be achieved through collaboration. From his perspective, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said it best: “More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny; we can only master it if we face it together.”

By Gloria Pallares, originally published at the Global Landscapes Forum’s Landscape News.

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

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

ICRAF’s Tony Simons talks transformational change in land management

tree_genetic_resources
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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

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

ICRAF’s Tony Simons talks transformational change in land management

Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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

  • Home
  • Gender Research Fellowship's second round kicks off in Kenya

Gender Research Fellowship’s second round kicks off in Kenya

The workshop participants pose for a photo in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by C.Magaju/ICRAF
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The workshop participants pose for a photo in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by C.Magaju/ICRAF

Building on a successful first phase, the Gender Research Fellowship Programme is back for round two.

This unique program has been designed to strengthen the capacity of researchers and partners working within the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) to conduct research that can support gender equality and other desired project outcomes, such as the sustainable management and conservation of tree genetic resources.

The Gender Research Fellowship Programme is funded by FTA and is coordinated by two of FTA’s partners, Bioversity International and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Partner institutes actively involved in the Gender Research Fellowship Programme include Association tipaalga, Centre National de Semences Forestières (CNSF – Burkina Faso), Feed the Children, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), and Université de Ouagadougou.

Read also: Building on past success for better quality science: FTA gender research in 2017

The four gender fellows. Photo by M. Elias/Bioversity International

The program’s specific objectives are to:

  • Strengthen the knowledge base regarding gender and the sustainable management and delivery of tree genetic resources
  • Build FTA staff and partner skills in gender analysis and methodologies that support gender-transformative research
  • Develop a community of practice around engaged gender research

From Aug. 28 Sept. 1, 2017, the new Gender Fellows came together in Nairobi, Kenya, to launch the second edition of the Gender Research Fellowship Programme. The four Fellows — two women scientists from Kenya and two from Burkina Faso — developed plans to conduct research on gender and restoration in West and East African countries.

Read also: Listening to different voices – revealing local knowledge through research

Three days of the inception workshop were open to other FTA participants who wished to learn approaches to move “Beyond gender-disaggregated data: Towards engaged research to exert change,” as the title of the workshop indicated. The other two days were reserved for the Gender Fellows to discuss — despite language barriers — how to work together to implement some of those engaged research approaches in their respective projects.

Over the coming year and a half, the Fellows will share their experiences using different approaches for social and gender analysis. They will test the usefulness of scalable, participatory and mixed method approaches to promote gender equity and sustainable natural resource management.

The Fellows will be tasked with producing blogs, reports and scientific papers based on their research. Stayed tuned for more from them!

To learn more about the launch of the second phase of the Gender Fellowship, check out the presentation on intersectionality delivered at the workshop by the Center for International Forestry Research’s (CIFOR) Markus Ihalainen.

By Marlene Elias and Manon Koningstein, FTA Gender Integration Team. Originally published on the website of Bioversity International


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


Back to top

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Connect with us