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  • Greater inclusion of women is needed to optimally intensify cocoa value chains, researchers find

Greater inclusion of women is needed to optimally intensify cocoa value chains, researchers find

A woman carries a basket in Peru. Photo by ICRAF
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Researchers interview smallholder cocoa farmers in Peru. Photo by Trent Blare/ICRAF

Working with smallholders in the valley of the rivers Apurimac, Ene and Montaro (VRAEM), a region of Peru, is a challenging task.

The region produces approximately 70 percent of the country’s illicit coca and is home to the last remnants of the Shining Path, an armed group that fought against the state between the 1980s and early 2000s.

But the area is now also of importance to cocoa production in the country as governmental agencies, cocoa buyers and development programs have been seeking to help expand and intensify cocoa production. Smallholders who had abandoned their farms after many years of conflict have now returned and are seeking alternatives to coca production.

Researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) have supported one of the alternative initiatives, a cocoa value-chain development project sponsored by Lutheran World Relief and Sumaqao, a Peruvian cocoa buyer. Sumaqao has a long history of purchasing cocoa in the VRAEM and working with smallholders throughout Peru on fair trade and sustainable production. ICRAF was asked to evaluate how the project could have a larger impact on smallholders’ livelihoods and what steps should be taken to ensure that value-chain development is gender inclusive.

It was an opportunity to examine how gender inequalities — including access to services, participation in cooperatives and decision-making in households — hindered value-chain development, as well as the implications of gender relations for development strategies in the Peruvian Amazon, an area that has received little attention.

The ICRAF team conducted four structured interviews within each of the sampled households — aimed at reducing the potential of bias and inaccuracies — to explore gender-based differences in cocoa participation.

The first set of interviews included female and male household heads together. Following the interviews, the team discussed the answers and considered any discrepancies pertinent to the next interviews. The second set was conducted separately with each household’s primary male and female, covering their productive activities, perceptions of their involvement in cocoa production and the project. Finally, women were interviewed on their use of time the day before, as well as their interest in, and barriers to, their participation in the cocoa value chain. Key informant interviews were also carried out with non-governmental organizations, cocoa buyers and governmental officials to verify and clarify the findings.

A woman carries a basket in Peru. Photo by ICRAF

The results revealed that cocoa intensification programs have greatly enhanced productivity and households’ incomes. Women played an important role in the transformation. They often carried out the same tasks as men, especially harvest and post-harvest activities, and were involved in making decisions on how the earnings from cocoa production were spent. However, women were excluded from making decisions about the marketing of cocoa and the purchase and sale of land and farm equipment.

Importantly, women’s increased participation in cocoa production had not been supported by a corresponding decrease in domestic work. About 30 percent of the interviewed women said that they were constrained by a lack of time to participate in training and cooperative meetings, even though they were interested in cocoa production. Women often felt uninformed about meetings, the provision of technical assistance and market conditions.

By looking at the impact of gender relations on intensification, relevant but nuanced and often neglected aspects of production and marketing that might determine the potential for value-chain development started to become more visible. One of them was the tension between women’s interest in participation in cocoa production and the time they had available for it. The gender dynamics around decision-making were also considered to be possibly related to their constraints in accessing information about markets, buyers and technical support.

Work to enhance cocoa production has had, and will likely continue to have, important impact on household incomes and wellbeing, suggesting that exploration should continue of gender dynamics, focusing on the gender responsiveness of value chains at various levels.

Recommendations for the development of a gender-inclusive value chain included sensitizing technicians to respond to the needs of women interested in cocoa production, testing diverse extension approaches that encouraged learning and exchange between men and women of different ages, as well as the use of alternative forms of communication technology that have a wider reach among different groups with varying literacy levels.

The results also suggested a need to move beyond the promotion of only cocoa to a “livelihoods approach”, which would include other economic activities that are also important for women and their household finances in the VRAEM.

Further, policies and programs promoting the intensification of cocoa production should also explore opportunities to transform gender relations that constrain women’s time, mobility and access to information instead of focusing on static or traditional gender roles that may already be changing because of male out-migration. The role of intersecting disadvantaging factors in creating barriers to deeper cocoa engagement also needs more examination. Further research will be needed to look at how factors like age and marital status influence these barriers at different stages of the value chain.

By Ana Maria Paez-Valencia and Trent Blare, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World.


This study forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), which are supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Creating an appropriate tenure foundation for REDD+: The record to date and prospects for the future

Creating an appropriate tenure foundation for REDD+: The record to date and prospects for the future

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Attention to tenure is a fundamental step in preparation for REDD+ implementation. Unclear and conflicting tenure has been the main challenge faced by the proponents of subnational REDD+ initiatives, and accordingly, they have expended much effort to remedy the problem. This article assesses how well REDD+ has performed in laying an appropriate tenure foundation. Field research was carried out in two phases (2010-2012 and 2013-2014) in five countries (Brazil, Peru, Cameroon, Tanzania, Indonesia) at 21 subnational initiatives, 141 villages (half targeted for REDD+ interventions), and 3,754 households. Three questions are posed: 1) What was the effect of REDD+ on perceived tenure insecurity of village residents?; 2) What are the main reasons for change in the level of tenure insecurity and security from Phase 1 to Phase 2 perceived by village residents in control and intervention villages?; and 3) How do intervention village residents evaluate the impact of tenure-related interventions on community well-being? Among the notable findings are that: 1) tenure insecurity decreases slightly across the whole sample of villages, but we only find that REDD+ significantly reduces tenure insecurity in Cameroon, while actually increasing insecurity of smallholder agricultural land tenure in Brazil at the household level; 2) among the main reported reasons for increasing tenure insecurity (where it occurs) are problems with outside companies, lack of title, and competition from neighboring villagers; and 3) views on the effect of REDD+ tenure-related interventions on community well-being lean towards the positive, including for interventions that restrain access to forest. Thus, while there is little evidence that REDD+ interventions have worsened smallholder tenure insecurity (as feared by critics), there is also little evidence that the proponents’ efforts to address tenure insecurity have produced results. Work on tenure remains an urgent priority for safeguarding local livelihoods as well as for reducing deforestation. This will require increased attention to participatory engagement, improved reward systems, tenure policy reform, integration of national and local efforts, and “business-as-usual” interests.

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  • REDD+ findings from Tanzania, Indonesia and Peru show gender divide

REDD+ findings from Tanzania, Indonesia and Peru show gender divide

A woman picks tea leaves in Tanzania. Photo by Nkumi Mtimgwa/CIFOR
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A woman picks tea leaves in Tanzania. Photo by Nkumi Mtimgwa/CIFOR

Men and women differ in their preferences when it comes to REDD+ benefits. Men prefer cash incentives while women lean toward non-cash benefits, according to the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s (FTA) Esther Mwangi, a Principal Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Mwangi and an international team of researchers conducted in-depth intra-household interviews in Tanzania, Indonesia and Peru as part of a work package comprising a larger project on REDD+ and tenure.

Across all three countries, in addition to the benefit preference of men and women, researchers found a correlation between increased women’s participation and more equitable distribution of benefits. But they also found male dominance in different decision-making stages, and that people (mostly men) involved in decisions regarding REDD+ were more likely to be satisfied with the distribution of benefits.

More than benefit preferences, there was a bigger gender difference when it came to having REDD+ information and being involved in the decision-making process on which benefits would be distributed and how, with men much more active. Mwangi presented some of her findings late last year at the IUFRO 125th World Congress. Here she talks about her work and findings in detail.

Read more: Are there differences between men and women in REDD+ benefit sharing schemes?

When you talk about non-cash benefits, what does that include?

Non-cash benefits are material awards other than direct monetary payments. These include construction of classrooms for primary school children, provisions of farming implements, provision of potable water, or even capacity-building in conservation farming.

In Peru, it was interesting to find that even these non-monetary benefits were differentiated by gender. Men preferred construction materials, technical assistance and training, legal assistance and seedlings of non-timber species. Women, on the other hand, preferred objects or utensils for the home, organic gardens, animals to raise, timber tree saplings, textiles and handicrafts. Therefore, even the preferred types of non-cash benefits are differentiated according to gender.

During a community feedback workshop in Tanzania, we asked men and women to tell us what they would want to see done differently if the REDD+ project were to resume in their village. While women wanted non-cash benefits prioritized, they also indicated that these non-cash benefits “touch women’s problems”.

What are some factors keeping women out of REDD+ decision-making?

Children play in the indigenous community of Callería in Peru. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

We found that twice as many men as women were involved in REDD+ decision-making in Tanzania, four times as many men as women in Peru, and about equal proportions of men and women were involved in Indonesia.

Our definition of REDD+ decision-making covered issues such as whether they were involved in the initial decision on whether or not REDD+ should be implemented in their village, and whether they were involved in the design and implementation of REDD+ activities. Most women indicated that they did not know about these matters. For those who did know, they said they were not invited to meetings when those decisions were made.

The asymmetry between men’s and women’s participation in forestry decision-making is often rooted in two inter-related issues. First, forestry institutions and forest resources are generally male-dominated and second, village-level decision-making takes place in the public sphere. Women are traditionally associated with the private sphere of home and family life.

Was it surprising to find that when there was increased women’s participation, there was a more equitable distribution of benefits?

I personally wasn’t surprised, but still I thought it was an interesting result that probably jibes well with other results.

Work in India and Nepal shows that an increased number of women in decision-making roles has good outcomes for forest conditions. Even in the corporate world, research is starting to show that increasing the presence of women in boardrooms is correlated with greater corporate social responsibility and concern for equitable outcomes of investments.

Read more: ACM levels the playing field for women and men in forest-adjacent communities

Regardless of gender, there were pretty low rates of knowledge of REDD+ and involvement in related decisions. Can you tell us more about that?

Women prepare for a local culinary course in Kapuas Hulu, Indonesia. Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

This is an interesting observation and speaks to the entry point chosen by NGOs, which, in most of the cases, happened to be village leaders. Village leaders are crucial and should always be approached when setting up projects and interventions in rural areas. However, more effort should be made to ensure greater inclusion, especially if women and others (including men) are frequently marginalized in decision-making. This extra effort should be made even if village leadership is widely respected and legitimate.

When asked what should happen differently if the REDD+ pilots were to be repeated, both men and women in Tanzania made clear that REDD+ education should be provided on a door-to-door basis. This would help raise awareness and widely disseminate information.

This is a reasonable demand and probably good for interventions, because if people don’t know what exactly REDD+ is and why it’s being implemented, (that is, make the connection between REDD+ benefits and forest conservation) it’s unlikely that these schemes will achieve their goals. Moreover, lack of involvement in decision-making weakens the legitimacy and sustainability of the schemes.

What are the next steps for work on this topic? 

Benefit-sharing arrangements should be designed with gendered differences in mind. This cannot be overemphasized, because these benefits constitute an important incentive for sustainable management and even conservation.

In previous work, we demonstrated that greater gender equity is possible in the forestry sector both in participation in decision-making and in the distribution of forestry benefits. Lessons from this work would be invaluable in informing the design and implementation of benefit-sharing arrangements.

Read more: Strengthening women’s tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making

By Christi Hang, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News


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

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  • Forest policy reform to enhance smallholder participation in landscape restoration: The Peruvian case

Forest policy reform to enhance smallholder participation in landscape restoration: The Peruvian case

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  • Tree plantations could help Peru meet forest restoration goal

Tree plantations could help Peru meet forest restoration goal

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

Peru has set a goal of restoring forest on some 3 million hectares of degraded land, but the country still lags behind its neighbors when it comes to scaling up tree plantations to meet both environmental and societal needs.

Although tree plantations could provide ecosystem services, as well as income for communities and businesses, there is a need for more research, training, financial and fiscal incentives, and secure land tenure, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) that was also supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

“At present, it is estimated that about one-third of the global demand for sawn timber is satisfied by commercial tree plantations, and this proportion is expected to increase over time,” says Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR principal scientist and leader on forest management and restoration, and the lead author of the study.

Many countries have begun promoting plantation forestry rather than timber from natural forests, and Peru is taking initial steps in the same direction. Some progress has been made in recent years, with simpler regulations for tree plantations and several model projects, but the country still needs a long-range roadmap for realizing the potential of forest plantations in the coming decades, Guariguata says.

Peru’s forestry legislation has historically emphasized timber production from government-sanctioned concessions across its Amazonian natural forests, rather than plantations. But well-managed plantations could yield a greater return than production in natural forests, says Héctor Cisneros, coordinator of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s forestry program in Peru.

“Peru has a very rich tropical forest, but it is complicated from the standpoint of forestry production,” he says. “Plantations should be a tool for helping to protect  the natural forest. If the industry is more closely tied to tree plantations, that will reduce pressure on natural forests.”

Plantations can produce a greater volume of timber per hectare because managers can ensure uniformity in growth, diameter at harvest, and timber quality, Cisneros says. But that requires access to high-quality genetic material, adequate soils, and managers and workers trained to manage the entire value chain, from plantation to consumer.

Read also: Farm-forestry in the Peruvian Amazon and the feasibility of its regulation through forest policy reform

RESEARCH NEEDED TO BOOST GROWTH

Although 15 Peruvian universities offer forestry majors, none has a specialty in tree plantation management, and the few courses that are offered are insufficient to meet the need for trained personnel, says Carlos Llerena, dean of the School of Forestry Sciences at La Molina National Agrarian University in Lima.

The limited area under tree plantations in Peru, estimated at just a few tens of thousands of hectares, means there are few jobs for specialists, he says. At the same time, the lack of specialists also slows development of additional plantations.

A forest trail in the Unamat forest, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Marco Simola/CIFOR

Universities could help break that vicious circle by providing more detailed information about species, helping students obtain fellowships to study with experts abroad and return to Peru to apply their knowledge, and working with sub-national governments that seek to promote tree plantations, Llerena said during a panel discussion at the presentation of the CIFOR study in Lima in June 2017.

Universities can also contribute to improving the quality of timber from plantations, through research to improve both genetic material and timber management techniques. Peru’s National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) also plays a role, with experimental plots in different types of ecosystems around the country, Eloy Cuellar, who heads INIA’s Agrarian Technological Development Office, said during the panel discussion.

Peru’s varied ecosystems — from the dry desert coast to the Andes Mountains to the Amazonian — offer possibilities for different types of plantations, using both native and introduced species, says Leoncio Ugarte, director of forest studies and research at Peru’s National Forest Service (SERFOR).

While some plantations could produce timber for industrial use, others could meet different needs. In the Andean highlands, where only relicts of native forests remain, plantations of native species could help protect the upper parts of watersheds, providing ecosystem services for water users downstream.

Instead of harvesting the timber, communities or other landowners in those areas could receive payment for the ecosystem services their plantations provide, Ugarte says.

Read also: Reclaiming collective rights: land and forest tenure reforms in Peru (1960-2016)

TENURE, ZONING ARE CRUCIAL

Although Peru has millions of hectares of degraded land that could be used for plantations, some regulatory hurdles hamper the sector’s expansion.

First is the lack of a clear definition of “degraded”, Ugarte says.

SERFOR is currently conducting a detailed calculation of the area suitable for tree plantations. Because different species have different needs and some are better adapted than others to different soil types and climate niches, planners must consider which species are best suited for various areas of the country, Ugarte says.

That implies land-use planning on a broad scale — designating certain areas for agriculture, forestry concessions, protective forest and plantations, for example — as well as more local zoning, to determine which species are most suitable based on soil type, precipitation and other factors.

Most of the area suitable for tree plantations is likely to consist of relatively small fragments, rather than large, continuous expanses suitable for large plantations, he says. Some may be in the hands of smallholders, while others may be located in indigenous communities. In many cases, land ownership may not be clear, which is a disincentive to private investors interested in the tree plantation business.

Ensuring clear tenure is crucial for plantations, where producers require long-range investment over two to four decades, Ugarte says. Lack of clarity about land tenure can lead to social conflicts over plantations. Once tenure is clear, however, financial incentives can be designed for different types of plantations at different scales.

“People who invest in tree plantations seek to diversify their portfolio and make a profit, but they are also committed to climate change mitigation,” says Robert Hereña, general manager of Reforestadora Bánati Bosque S.A.C., a company growing teak in central Peru.

“They also know this can result in social benefits, because tree plantations are often installed in areas where a large percentage of the population lives in poverty or extreme poverty,” Hereña said during the panel discussion.

Small-scale tree producers can also play an important role across the value chain, but they need technical assistance, financing schemes appropriate for local conditions and needs, and access to markets. Private investors could also partner with indigenous communities in the Andean highlands or the Amazon region to develop plantations, although that will require building trust between the private sector and communities, which often distrust each other, the FAO’s Cisneros says.

Read also: Long road ahead to indigenous land and forest rights in Peru

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

TARGETING FUTURE MARKET NEEDS

In planning industrial tree plantations at a small or medium scale, investors and operators must consider future market needs, says Jessica Moscoso, executive director of CITE Madera, a government-sponsored technological innovation center that focuses on sustainable timber products and assistance to furniture makers in a Lima industrial park.

Too often, plantation operators focus on the species they could grow, rather than on the species required to manufacture specific products that the market demands—or which it may need in 15 to 30 years, when the trees are ready for harvest, Moscoso said during the panel discussion.

“Plantations allow us to tailor supply to demand,” she says, adding that they also enable growers to project future needs and scale up timber volumes. “It is extremely important that we define what we want to plant, focusing on future demand.”

That implies developing — and training personnel for — the entire market chain, Cisneros says. Most plantations currently produce sawn wood, but Peru could emulate neighboring Brazil and Chile, where the industry also produces wood chips, pulp and even paper, he says.

The CIFOR study concludes that Peru still lacks a clear road map for developing the tree plantation sector so it can contribute to the country’s restoration and climate change mitigation commitments.

Planning must include not just the National Forest Service and Ministry of Agriculture, but also ministries with responsibility for economy and finance, production and trade. And it needs a long-range vision that continues from one government administration to the next.

The country should establish varied pilot initiatives in different ecoregions, which can serve as models, allowing planners to choose the ones with potential for scaling up at the subnational or national levels, Cisneros says.

All of those steps will contribute to the road map, which he says will be constructed “little by little.”

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

For more information on this topic, please contact Manuel R. Guariguata at [email protected].


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

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  • Tree plantations could help Peru meet forest restoration goal

Tree plantations could help Peru meet forest restoration goal

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

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

Peru has set a goal of restoring forest on some 3 million hectares of degraded land, but the country still lags behind its neighbors when it comes to scaling up tree plantations to meet both environmental and societal needs.

Although tree plantations could provide ecosystem services, as well as income for communities and businesses, there is a need for more research, training, financial and fiscal incentives, and secure land tenure, according to a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) that was also supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

“At present, it is estimated that about one-third of the global demand for sawn timber is satisfied by commercial tree plantations, and this proportion is expected to increase over time,” says Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR principal scientist and leader on forest management and restoration, and the lead author of the study.

Many countries have begun promoting plantation forestry rather than timber from natural forests, and Peru is taking initial steps in the same direction. Some progress has been made in recent years, with simpler regulations for tree plantations and several model projects, but the country still needs a long-range roadmap for realizing the potential of forest plantations in the coming decades, Guariguata says.

Peru’s forestry legislation has historically emphasized timber production from government-sanctioned concessions across its Amazonian natural forests, rather than plantations. But well-managed plantations could yield a greater return than production in natural forests, says Héctor Cisneros, coordinator of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s forestry program in Peru.

“Peru has a very rich tropical forest, but it is complicated from the standpoint of forestry production,” he says. “Plantations should be a tool for helping to protect  the natural forest. If the industry is more closely tied to tree plantations, that will reduce pressure on natural forests.”

Plantations can produce a greater volume of timber per hectare because managers can ensure uniformity in growth, diameter at harvest, and timber quality, Cisneros says. But that requires access to high-quality genetic material, adequate soils, and managers and workers trained to manage the entire value chain, from plantation to consumer.

Read also: Farm-forestry in the Peruvian Amazon and the feasibility of its regulation through forest policy reform

RESEARCH NEEDED TO BOOST GROWTH

Although 15 Peruvian universities offer forestry majors, none has a specialty in tree plantation management, and the few courses that are offered are insufficient to meet the need for trained personnel, says Carlos Llerena, dean of the School of Forestry Sciences at La Molina National Agrarian University in Lima.

The limited area under tree plantations in Peru, estimated at just a few tens of thousands of hectares, means there are few jobs for specialists, he says. At the same time, the lack of specialists also slows development of additional plantations.

A forest trail in the Unamat forest, Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by Marco Simola/CIFOR

Universities could help break that vicious circle by providing more detailed information about species, helping students obtain fellowships to study with experts abroad and return to Peru to apply their knowledge, and working with sub-national governments that seek to promote tree plantations, Llerena said during a panel discussion at the presentation of the CIFOR study in Lima in June 2017.

Universities can also contribute to improving the quality of timber from plantations, through research to improve both genetic material and timber management techniques. Peru’s National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) also plays a role, with experimental plots in different types of ecosystems around the country, Eloy Cuellar, who heads INIA’s Agrarian Technological Development Office, said during the panel discussion.

Peru’s varied ecosystems — from the dry desert coast to the Andes Mountains to the Amazonian — offer possibilities for different types of plantations, using both native and introduced species, says Leoncio Ugarte, director of forest studies and research at Peru’s National Forest Service (SERFOR).

While some plantations could produce timber for industrial use, others could meet different needs. In the Andean highlands, where only relicts of native forests remain, plantations of native species could help protect the upper parts of watersheds, providing ecosystem services for water users downstream.

Instead of harvesting the timber, communities or other landowners in those areas could receive payment for the ecosystem services their plantations provide, Ugarte says.

Read also: Reclaiming collective rights: land and forest tenure reforms in Peru (1960-2016)

TENURE, ZONING ARE CRUCIAL

Although Peru has millions of hectares of degraded land that could be used for plantations, some regulatory hurdles hamper the sector’s expansion.

First is the lack of a clear definition of “degraded”, Ugarte says.

SERFOR is currently conducting a detailed calculation of the area suitable for tree plantations. Because different species have different needs and some are better adapted than others to different soil types and climate niches, planners must consider which species are best suited for various areas of the country, Ugarte says.

That implies land-use planning on a broad scale — designating certain areas for agriculture, forestry concessions, protective forest and plantations, for example — as well as more local zoning, to determine which species are most suitable based on soil type, precipitation and other factors.

Most of the area suitable for tree plantations is likely to consist of relatively small fragments, rather than large, continuous expanses suitable for large plantations, he says. Some may be in the hands of smallholders, while others may be located in indigenous communities. In many cases, land ownership may not be clear, which is a disincentive to private investors interested in the tree plantation business.

Ensuring clear tenure is crucial for plantations, where producers require long-range investment over two to four decades, Ugarte says. Lack of clarity about land tenure can lead to social conflicts over plantations. Once tenure is clear, however, financial incentives can be designed for different types of plantations at different scales.

“People who invest in tree plantations seek to diversify their portfolio and make a profit, but they are also committed to climate change mitigation,” says Robert Hereña, general manager of Reforestadora Bánati Bosque S.A.C., a company growing teak in central Peru.

“They also know this can result in social benefits, because tree plantations are often installed in areas where a large percentage of the population lives in poverty or extreme poverty,” Hereña said during the panel discussion.

Small-scale tree producers can also play an important role across the value chain, but they need technical assistance, financing schemes appropriate for local conditions and needs, and access to markets. Private investors could also partner with indigenous communities in the Andean highlands or the Amazon region to develop plantations, although that will require building trust between the private sector and communities, which often distrust each other, the FAO’s Cisneros says.

Read also: Long road ahead to indigenous land and forest rights in Peru

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

TARGETING FUTURE MARKET NEEDS

In planning industrial tree plantations at a small or medium scale, investors and operators must consider future market needs, says Jessica Moscoso, executive director of CITE Madera, a government-sponsored technological innovation center that focuses on sustainable timber products and assistance to furniture makers in a Lima industrial park.

Too often, plantation operators focus on the species they could grow, rather than on the species required to manufacture specific products that the market demands—or which it may need in 15 to 30 years, when the trees are ready for harvest, Moscoso said during the panel discussion.

“Plantations allow us to tailor supply to demand,” she says, adding that they also enable growers to project future needs and scale up timber volumes. “It is extremely important that we define what we want to plant, focusing on future demand.”

That implies developing — and training personnel for — the entire market chain, Cisneros says. Most plantations currently produce sawn wood, but Peru could emulate neighboring Brazil and Chile, where the industry also produces wood chips, pulp and even paper, he says.

The CIFOR study concludes that Peru still lacks a clear road map for developing the tree plantation sector so it can contribute to the country’s restoration and climate change mitigation commitments.

Planning must include not just the National Forest Service and Ministry of Agriculture, but also ministries with responsibility for economy and finance, production and trade. And it needs a long-range vision that continues from one government administration to the next.

The country should establish varied pilot initiatives in different ecoregions, which can serve as models, allowing planners to choose the ones with potential for scaling up at the subnational or national levels, Cisneros says.

All of those steps will contribute to the road map, which he says will be constructed “little by little.”

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

For more information on this topic, please contact Manuel R. Guariguata at [email protected].


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

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  • Farm-forestry in the Peruvian Amazon and the feasibility of its regulation through forest policy reform

Farm-forestry in the Peruvian Amazon and the feasibility of its regulation through forest policy reform

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In 2015 the Peruvian government launched a new set of regulations associated with the forest law aimed to increase competiveness of the timber sector, ensure the conservation and sustainable production of timber on public and private forestlands, and improve rural livelihoods. Small-scale timber producers have been marginalized in the sector in the past, and the new regulations claim to provide pathways to formalization for these actors. We draw on policy analysis and field research in the central Amazon region of Peru using mixed methods to characterize smallholder on-farm timber production and evaluate the feasibility of the new regulatory mechanisms for formalizing small-scale timber producers. Through examining a case study on the production and sale of the fast-growing pioneer timber species Guazuma crinita, locally known as bolaina, we found a diversity of management practices, with the strongest reliance on natural regeneration in agricultural fallows, an informal supply chain, and no case of formal documentation at time of sale. We assessed that none of the new regulatory mechanisms will accommodate the sale of timber produced in agricultural fallow stands. We recommend the inclusion of fallow timber in the new forest plantation registry, which could result in the formalization of the supply chain and create an incentive to increase production by small-scale producers.

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  • Gender-responsive methodology for value chain development

Gender-responsive methodology for value chain development

Testing the 5Capitals-G methodology in India. Photo by Shrinivas Hegde
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Testing the 5Capitals-G methodology in India. Photo by Shrinivas Hegde

Over the past decade, value chain development has been widely promoted as a catalyst for rural economic growth.

As smallholder farmers become increasingly integrated into value chains, how can scholars and development practitioners ensure that the benefits of participation accrue equitably to both women and men? This was the topic of a workshop hosted by Bioversity International and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at the recent Tropentag 2017 conference.

The workshop centered around insights resulting from the testing of 5Capitals-G, a gender-responsive methodology building on the 5Capitals toolkit for assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development. It addresses the principal gaps identified in existing guides for gender-equitable value chain development. These gaps include limited coverage of the way norms influence gender relations, gender-equitable opportunities in collective enterprises, and how value chain development can effectively transform inequitable gender relations.

For this reason, 5Capitals-G examines gender-differentiated asset endowments at the level of both smallholder households and the collective enterprises they are often linked with, and by identifying gender-based constraints shaped by cultural norms and values.

Read more: Piloting gender-responsive research tool 5Capitals-G in three countries

“We started with an overview of strengths and weaknesses of common guides for gender-equitable value chain development designed by international organizations” said Dietmar Stoian, Senior Scientist for Value Chains and Private Sector Engagement at Bioversity, and a coorganizer of the workshop.

“With these in mind, we presented findings from our recent validation of 5Capitals-G as to how women and men have access to, control, and build assets at household and collective enterprise level. Based on this, we can determine the extent to which asset endowments and asset building are gender equitable and adjust value chain interventions accordingly.”

Assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development

Addressing the principal gaps identified in existing guides for gender-equitable value chain development, Bioversity International and ICRAF have joined forces to strengthen the gender dimension of 5Capitals. This new version of the methodology allows for the establishment of gender-responsive baselines and the assessment of gender-differentiated impacts of value chain development among smallholders and other resource-poor groups involved in value chains.

“Two interrelated ideas underpin the design of 5Capitals-G: the poor’s access to assets is a critical entry point for their effective participation in value chains, and the poor’s capacity to build assets through value chain engagement can provide a viable pathway out of poverty,” explained Jason Donovan, Leader for Value Chains and Transformational Change at ICRAF.

5Capitals-G provides insight into what assets are available in households and collective enterprises, which of these are more controlled by men or women, and which are managed jointly. We are particularly interested in understanding positive feedback loops between asset building at household and asset building at enterprise level.”

Insights from Asia and Latin America

5Capitals-G has been tested across diverse settings in Guatemala, India and Peru, providing valuable insights for improving the design of the tool and guidance for the interpretation of results. These adjustments ensure that practioners will be able to count on a validated methodology for enhancing the design, implementation and assessment of gender-equitable value chain development initiatives.

Panelists at the workshop on gender equitable value chains held at Tropentag 2017 included Ana Maria Paez-Valencia (left to right), Trent Blare, Jason Donovan, Dietmar Stoian, Gennifer Meldrum and Hugo Lamers. Photo by Susan Onyango/ICRAF

Hugo Lamers, Associate Scientist in Socioeconomics and Marketing at Bioversity International, used the methodology in the value chains of non-timber forest products such as mango, murugulu (Garcinia indica) and uppage (Garcinia gummigatta) in Karnataka, India.

“Besides taking care of domestic activities, women contributed substantially to income generation through wage labour, farming and collection of forest products,” said Lamers. “We learned that the major bottleneck for women’s participation in local cooperatives is the rule of ‘one member per household’, resulting in a largely male-dominated member base of most cooperatives.”

Gennifer Meldrum, Research Fellow in Nutrition, Marketing and Diversity at Bioversity International, tested the methodology with local partners in millet value chains in Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, India.

“The collective enterprise we studied has contributed to asset building across all the five capitals. Women’s participation in cooperative leadership and millet value chain activities are strongly encouraged by the Federation,” she said. “However, a male bias remains due to women’s limitations in terms of time and mobility. Physical assets households have acquired through value chain participation are very rarely controlled by women alone, but often benefit the household as a whole.”

Read more: Gender and forestry gain increasing attention worldwide

Further testing of 5Capitals-G was done in the cocoa value chain in Peru. “In addition to the important role women play in the production of cocoa, we were surprised to discover the strong influence they had in production and marketing decisions,” said Trent Blair, Markets and Value Chain Specialist at ICRAF.

“We realized that a stronger role of women in cocoa and other value chains in Peru is hampered by their limited access to information, technical assistance and training. This requires specific efforts for targeted value chain development interventions to ensure equitable capacity development.”

Interviewing smallholder households in Peru. Photo by Trent Blare/ICRAF

Stoian, together with local partners in Petén, Guatemala, tested 5Capitals-G in value chains of valuable woods including mahogany and tropical walnut, and non-timber forest products such as Chamaedorea palm and Maya nut (Brosimum alicastrum).

“We found evidence that under given conditions income derived from forest products can help people move out of poverty. In terms of reinvestment of forest-based income we learned that decision making at household level was rather equitable with regard to building human and social capitals, while investment decisions on natural, physical and financial capitals were more skewed toward men,” he shared.

“At the level of community forest enterprises, women have recently assumed stronger roles in production and decision making, particularly as regards non-timber forest products, but timber activities and related decisions continue to be largely a male domain.”

Implications for gender-equitable value chain development

“Gender dimensions of access to and control over assets and other resources have an important impact on the opportunities and constraints that women and men face when participating in value chain development initiatives,” said Ana María Paez Valencia, Gender Social Scientist at ICRAF, who moderated the workshop.

In synthesizing the discussion, she pointed out that differential access and control over assets has implications on women’s bargaining position within households to make strategic household and life decisions, as well as their ability to assume new roles or opportunities resulting from value chain initiatives.

“Looking forward, it would be interesting to use 5Capitals-G for insights into the impact of the gender asset gap on household livelihood outcomes in the context of value chain development; and to better understand the trade-offs between increased value chain engagement of women and the time they invest in other activities including those related to household care,” she added.

Outlook 

Participants at the workshop expressed interest in 5Capitals-G, which will be available in early 2018, along with the documented findings of the case studies. As Stoian and Donovan summarized at the end of the workshop: “5Capitals-G will be a key methodology for all practitioners interested in asset-based approaches to value chain development with a gender lens.”

By Susan Onyango, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


This work was supported by the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and CGIAR Research Programs Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which are supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

Bioversity International and ICRAF thank Lutheran World Relief, Rainforest Alliance and USAID for funding this work. 

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  • Revisiting the ‘cornerstone of Amazonian conservation’: a socioecological assessment of Brazil nut exploitation

Revisiting the ‘cornerstone of Amazonian conservation’: a socioecological assessment of Brazil nut exploitation

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The Brazil nut (the seeds of the rainforest tree Bertholletia excelsa) is the only globally traded seed collected from the wild by forest-based harvesters across the Amazon basin.

The large geographic scale of Brazil nut exploitation and the significant contributions to local livelihoods, national economies, and forest-based development over the last decades, merit a review of the “conservation-through-use” paradigm. We use Elinor Ostrom’s framework for assessing sustainability in socioecological systems: (1) resource unit, (2) users, (3) governance system, and (4) resource system, to determine how different contexts and external developments generate specific conservation and development outcomes.

We find that the resource unit reacts robustly to the type and level of extraction currently practiced; that resource users have built on a self-organized system that had defined boundaries and access to the resource; that linked production chains, market networks and informal financing work to supply global markets; and that local harvesters have used supporting alliances with NGOs and conservationists to formalize and secure their endogenous governance system and make it more equitable.

As a result, the Brazil nut model represents a socioecological system that may not require major changes to sustain productivity. Yet since long-term Brazil nut production seems inextricably tied to a continuous forest cover, and because planted Brazil nut trees currently provide a minimal contribution to total nut production basin-wide, we call to preserve, diversify and intensify production in Brazil nut-rich forests that will inevitably become ever more integrated within human-modified landscapes over time.

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  • Challenges and opportunities for the restoration of Andean forests

Challenges and opportunities for the restoration of Andean forests

In some parts of Ecuador, communities have started to change the landscape by clearing small patches of forest for crops and to feed their animals. Photo by T. Munita/CIFOR
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The Andes mountain range as viewed from Ecuador. Restoration efforts are underway in Andean forests across the region. Photo by T. Munita/CIFOR

Views on ecological restoration in the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

The tropical forests of the Andes in Latin America are key global ecosystems that make an extraordinary contribution to the world’s biodiversity and livelihoods. Andean forests are the source of huge rivers, and have more varied and unique species than the Amazon. But they are now are threatened by increasing demographic pressures, and by harvesting and production practices.

In the past decade, ecological restoration has become a vital strategy to recover the integrity and functionality of degraded ecosystems, to promote sustainable development, and to mitigate climate change.

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia — the countries hosting tropical Andean ecosystems — have each set quantitative restoration targets. But what has been the real progress in these countries? And what is happening to their Andean forests?

To understand developments in tropical Andean forest restoration, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Andean Forests Program — a regional initiative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), facilitated by a partnership between Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and Condesan — undertook a comparative analysis to look at the progress, challenges and future prospects of Andean forest restoration in these four countries.

Over a period of 14 months, researchers examined academic, legal and policy documents and conducted more than 40 interviews. Their aim was to identify challenges and opportunities to guide the next steps in restoration policy and practice for Andean forests. The resulting analysis will prove essential in making the most of “unprecedented” levels of international attention and funds, says Manuel Guariguata, co-author of the study and leader of CIFOR’s Forest Management and Restoration Team.

“It is now essential to start the restoration process,” says Carolina Murcia, a senior researcher affiliated with the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia and lead author on the study. “We can’t afford to lose more natural capital; rather, it is time to start recovering it.”

Read more: Lessons from Latin America for forest landscape restoration

A peatland landscape is seen in Peru. Photo by R. Bhomia/CIFOR

DIFFERENT APPROACHES

A key finding of the study is heterogeneity among Andean forests. “Each of the four study countries has its own history, geography and socioeconomic situation, which determine its relationship with Andean forests and the restoration approach,” says Murcia.

Colombia is leading the movement, with 50 years’ experience in restoration and a historical focus on these forests: the Andes are home to 75% of country’s population, but are also fertile lands and a major source of its water. In addition, 70% of Colombia’s electricity is generated by water flowing through these forests.

The National Plan for Forest Restoration of Ecuador, for its part, identifies two priority criteria for fertile Andean areas: landslide prevention and water resource protection.

Meanwhile, the relationship of Peru and Bolivia to Andean forests is completely different. In Peru, these ecosystems, known as yungas, or “high rainforests”, originally covered 15% of the nation’s territory. With steep slopes and high moisture levels, they are seen as an area of passage to the Amazon. “In this region, all forests are often seen as ‘rainforests’ and are considered for harvesting purposes as a source of timber. Thus, restoration has also played a very discreet role,” says Murcia.

In Bolivia, there are large forest areas with low population density. According to the study, this “has resulted in a culture of abundance, where the notion of restoration does not even fit.” The current philosophy of the state, for example, “does not allow forest restoration outside a production scheme,” Murcia says.

Strangely, local people who have occupied the Bolivian highlands for decades are not aware of the disappearance of their forests. The study reveals that “the scarcity they may experience in periods of drought is not associated with loss or, therefore, restoration.” According to Murcia, all this shows why restoration is still in the early stages in Bolivia and Peru.

This heterogeneity in approaches to restoration is reflected in aspects such as policy frameworks, implementation mechanisms, and the links between decision-makers, biological resource managers, academia and civil society.

COMMON CHALLENGES

In spite of the differences, the four countries also face common challenges. The first is to integrate a new, holistic discipline such as ecological restoration into government policies ranging from natural resource management to development. Restoration, says Murcia, means much more than increasing forest cover and capturing carbon.

An additional challenge is to comply with international restoration commitments through national programs but with local implementation — something difficult when technical capacity, technology and information are limited.

Other challenges? One is the lack of a common definition. “What restoration means for one sector may not mean the same to another,” says Guariguata, mentioning the tasks of assessing the success or failure of programs, and meeting international targets such as the Bonn Challenge. In his view, there is also a need to develop a unified vision of the discipline, which is currently fragmented into sectors such as environment, agriculture and indigenous peoples.

Restoration is a long-term process, which can take from six to ten decades to consolidate. Success, says Murcia, cannot be achieved without community commitment, and structures for management and budgetary administration that go beyond presidential terms and “protect initiatives against political whims.”

Read more: Learning from women’s and men’s perspectives on agroforestry to enhance climate change strategies and actions in Latin America

In some parts of Ecuador, communities have started to change the landscape by clearing small patches of forest for crops and to feed their animals. Photo by T. Munita/CIFOR

NEXT STEPS

Although one of the international targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, known as Aichi #15, is to restore 15% of the ecosystems degraded by 2020, the study sets a more realistic objective: each country should start from this commitment, ensuring that in 50 years these ecosystems will be on an appropriate path of restoration for biodiversity. This means recovering the variety of species, not recovering the land for production purposes, says Murcia.

To achieve community commitment, she considers it essential to secure land tenure and to report both the effects of degradation of forest landscapes and the benefits of their recovery.

“Restoration works! What needs to be done is to guide communities and understand the social and economic drivers of degradation,” she says.

In addition, the participation of the academic sector and NGOs in program design needs to be strengthened. Verónica Gálmez, Andean Forests Program incidence coordinator, explains that “NGOs act as hinges between local and national actors and provide an overall view of territorial and sectoral levels.”

According to Gálmez, the study can help prioritize interventions and investments and determine baselines. Thus, dissemination actions are planned for the various countries.

Murcia, like Gálmez, views the future with optimism. The reason? Communities’ growing interest in recovering their forested landscapes. “In the end, restoration is much more than planting trees. It is about turning the relationship between people and nature into something positive.”

By Gloria Pallares, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News.

For more information on this topic, please contact Manuel Guariguata at [email protected] or Carolina Murcia at [email protected].


 This research was prepared by CIFOR and the Andean Forests Program, facilitated by Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and Condesan and financially supported by CIFOR through the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors, and by the Department for International Development (DFID) through the KNOWFOR program. The Andean Forests Program is part of the Global Programme on Climate Change of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


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