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

Integrating tenure and governance into assessments of forest landscape restoration opportunities

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

Multi-level governance and power in climate change policy networks

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This article proposes an innovative theoretical framework that combines institutional and policy network approaches to study multi-level governance. The framework is used to derive a number of propositions on how cross-level power imbalances shape communication and collaboration across multiple levels of governance. The framework is then applied to examine the nature of cross-level interactions in climate change mitigation and adaptation policy processes in the land use sectors of Brazil and Indonesia. The paper identifies major barriers to cross-level communication and collaboration between national and sub-national levels. These are due to power imbalances across governance levels that reflect broader institutional differences between federal and decentralized systems of government. In addition, powerful communities operating predominantly at the national level hamper cross-level interactions. The analysis also reveals that engagement of national level actors is more extensive in the mitigation and that of local actors in the adaptation policy domain, and specialisation in one of the climate change responses at the national level hampers effective climate policy integration in the land use sector.

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  • Connecting the policy dots: linking adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development for climate-resilient land use planning

Connecting the policy dots: linking adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development for climate-resilient land use planning

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In the land use sector mitigation, adaptation and development policies are all closely linked and can impact each other in positive and negative ways. It is therefore essential that these relationships are taken into account in order to enhance synergies and avoid or reduce trade-offs. This can be achieved through a specific form of Climate Policy Integration (CPI), which integrates first mitigation and adaptation policy processes and subsequently mainstreams climate policies into development processes. We have explored these processes through case studies in the land use sectors of Brazil and Indonesia. CPI in the land use sector presents a number of challenges related to cross-sectoral and cross-level integration. Unless a governmental CPI authority mandates that sectoral ministries integrate their efforts, sectoral competition over control of decision-making processes may prevail, hampering CPI. Cross-level integration is weakened by differences in understanding, priorities and power across levels of governance.

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  • What’s holding back biodiesel industry growth in Indonesia?

What’s holding back biodiesel industry growth in Indonesia?

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A woman shows freshly collected oil palm fruit in Indonesia. Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

Despite Indonesia’s reputation as the largest producer of palm oil in the world, its bioenergy production remains relatively low. Recently, a study has found that a range of policy and technical obstacles are preventing the sector’s growth.

A team from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) interviewed key informants from central and regional Indonesian governments and the business sector during research on the opportunities and challenges presented by policies relating to the development of palm oil–based biodiesel, leading to the release of a working paper.

“We found a number of policies and technical challenges that still hinder the development of biodiesel production in Indonesia,” says CIFOR Scientist Ahmad Dermawan.

Among the constraints identified in the study is the fact that biodiesel production cannot grow consistently due to policies that do not support one another.

“Existing policy frameworks give a mandate to biodiesel blending targets. However, in practice, this has not been optimal because, first, they are still focused on the transport sector, and second, they still emphasize public service obligations [PSOs],” says Dermawan.

He also said that within the country’s new and renewable energy development sector, there is a belief that biodiesel development still lies with the central government, causing a lack of understanding about the role of subnational government. Though small, the role that regional governments play in developing policies supporting biodiesel use in the region is rarely in focus.

“In the National Energy Policy, the central government is required to put together a National Energy Plan [RUEN], and the provincial government is required to have a Regional Energy Plan [RUED]. Currently, many provinces have yet to develop their RUED.”

Read more: The long and winding road to sustainable palm oil

A couple collects oil palm fruit in Indonesia. Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR


Indonesia is the world’s largest producer and consumer of palm oil, producing more than 38 million tons of crude palm oil (CPO) in 2017. With around 75% of its total production exported, the commodity contributed USD 23 billion in export revenue in 2017.

Despite global contention around palm oil (earlier this year, the European Parliament voted to end the use of palm oil in biofuel by 2030) it is by far the most efficient vegetable oil when compared to other oil-producing commodity crops, meaning it requires relatively less land to produce the same amount of product.

Oil palm also remains one of the most important agricultural commodities in Indonesia for the production of bioenergy, with at least two potential forms of energy produced from the crop: biodiesel and biopower. The former is produced through refining palm oil, while the latter is produced by further processing bunches of fresh oil palm fruit to generate electricity.

Bioenergy for electricity is also being developed from wood biomass, but oil palm still prevails. “The source of biodiesel production varies quite a lot,” says Dermawan. “At one point, Jatropha and Nyamplung were developed as raw materials for biodiesel,” he added, referring to a flowering plant and an evergreen tree, respectively. “However, Indonesia’s large production of palm oil makes it the most commercially ready for development.”

Read more: Governments’ oil palm strategies too focused on expanding plantations, scientist says


The paper also studied the financial cost of producing biodiesel and compared it with that of diesel fuel, which still receives government subsidies.

“Production cost for biodiesel is higher because there are additional production steps to be done before buyers – in this case, Pertamina and other PSO companies – will accept the biodiesel,” Dermawan explains.

In mid-2015, the government formed a unit under the Ministry of Finance to manage funds collected from levies paid by the exporters of CPO and its derivatives. This unit, the Oil Palm Plantation Fund Management Body (BPDPKS), uses the funds to develop human resources as well as promote, research and develop palm oil as a commodity.

“The BPDPKS provides incentives by covering the gap between the price of subsidized diesel fuel and the production cost of biodiesel,” says Dermawan.

Aside from sheer cost, biodiesel production is complicated on other fronts too. From the management side, production is often contingent on fluctuating supply and quality control.

“Some biodiesel companies get their raw materials from palm oil mills that receive oil palm kernels from farmers,” says Dermawan. “The mills do not always receive their fresh fruit bunches consistently in regards to quality and quantity. Low fruit quality will impact the quality of the palm oil and, in the end, impact the quality of the resulting biodiesel.”

Getting deeper into the technicalities of production, Spent Bleaching Earth (SBE), a residue from biodiesel production, is regulated as a hazardous and toxic material, known in Indonesia as B3. As such, it should be handled with extra care, which results in additional costs for biodiesel producers.

However, studies have shown that SBE contains oil that can be further processed into something useful, and more research is needed to explore its potential. Despite challenges, Dermawan says opportunities remain to optimize biodiesel production.

By Nabiha Shahab, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News.

For more information on this topic, please contact Ahmad Dermawan at [email protected]

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

This research was supported by the “Forest in Global Bioeconomy: Developing Multi-Scale Policy Scenarios” program funded by the German Ministry of Economic and Development Cooperation (BMZ).

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  • Informing gender-responsive climate policy and action

Informing gender-responsive climate policy and action

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  • Gender integration and gender-responsive research

Gender integration and gender-responsive research

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The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has been furthering gender integration and gender-responsive research by deepening conceptual and methodological capabilities to undertake nuanced and relevant gender analyses, and by synthesizing and disseminating current gender research, distilling lessons and disseminating them to a carefully targeted group of policy actors at national, regional and global policy levels.

Scroll down for a summary and compilation of CIFOR’s knowledge products and engagement activities, carried out as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), highlighting key achievements thanks to the support of UK aid’s Knowledge for Forestry (Knowfor) program.


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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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  • Reconciling policy and practice in the co-management of forests in indigenous territories

Reconciling policy and practice in the co-management of forests in indigenous territories

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  • Gender and Forests: Climate Change, Tenure, Value Chains and Emerging Issues

Gender and Forests: Climate Change, Tenure, Value Chains and Emerging Issues

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This enlightening book brings together the work of gender and forestry specialists from various backgrounds and fields of research and action to analyse global gender conditions as related to forests. Using a variety of methods and approaches, they build on a spectrum of theoretical perspectives to bring depth and breadth to the relevant issues and address timely and under-studied themes.

Focusing particularly on tropical forests, the book presents both local case studies and global comparative studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, as well as the US and Europe. The studies range from personal histories of elderly American women’s attitudes toward conservation, to a combined qualitative / quantitative international comparative study on REDD+, to a longitudinal examination of oil palm and gender roles over time in Kalimantan. Issues are examined across scales, from the household to the nation state and the global arena; and reach back to the past to inform present and future considerations.

The collection will be of relevance to academics, researchers, policy makers and advocates with different levels of familiarity with gender issues in the field of forestry.

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  • Why should China include a gender perspective in its climate change policies?

Why should China include a gender perspective in its climate change policies?

A Tibetan woman waters barley and vegetables. Photo by ICRAF
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A Tibetan woman waters barley and vegetables. Photo by ICRAF

Women are playing a leading role in coping with and adapting to climate change in the mountainous rural areas of China’s Yunnan province, where disruptions in weather patterns and increasingly extreme events are expected to impact agricultural livelihoods.

However, while women are assuming more responsibility than men, their voices are mostly excluded from the policy-making processes that affect their daily lives.

A study on adaptation to water related hazards and climate change conducted in this southwestern province by researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences demonstrates the importance of gender inclusion in responses to climate change in the region and warns that the lack of a gender perspective in Chinese policy-making could undermine climate adaptation efforts. The study was part of an international research project under the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP).

“Women in the region have important responsibilities as managers of natural and household resources and are therefore well positioned to contribute to adaptation strategies. But they are more vulnerable than men to climate change as they face more social, economic, and political barriers limiting their adaptive capacity,” said Su Yufang, ICRAF China’s deputy director and the lead author of the study.

“HICAP is generating knowledge of climate change impacts on natural resources, ecosystem services and the communities that depend on them, contributing to policy and practice for enhanced adaptation.”

Read also: Gendered Responses to Drought in Yunnan Province, China

Based on surveys undertaken during a record-breaking drought in 2012, the study explores how women and men in Haitang, a village in Yunnan’s Baoshan Prefecture, perceive and respond to drought and how the changing roles of women and men in the home and the community are influencing water management at the village level.

A woman and child cross a river, in an area where poverty is often caused by physical inaccessibility for mountain people. Photo by ICRAF

In Haitang, off-farm wage labor outside the community has for some years been an important income-generating strategy. As the drought continued, increasing numbers of men as well as some younger women migrated, and the remaining women assumed more responsibility for agricultural production. However, traditional social norms continue to limit women’s decision-making power in household farming enterprises and in community resource management.

Water management and gender

One of the important findings from the study was that men and women use strikingly different approaches when faced with water shortages and their consequences on agriculture. Less than half of the men in the village reported simply waiting for the rain, while less than a fifth reported transporting water to their crops.

The preferences for women, however, were reversed, with just under half reporting that they transported water to their crops, and less than one fifth claiming to simply wait for rain. In addition, the women actively pursued more immediate responses to drought than men by, for example, decreasing the cultivated area or adjusting the timing of planting. And as the drought continued, men and women showed further differences, with women being more likely to consider shifting into forestry and animal husbandry after successive low yields.

Another interesting finding related to the definition of “collecting water”. Men understood gathering water as looking for new sources of water when old sources dried up, which is their main responsibility, but the actual carrying was primarily women’s responsibility. But while the men believed they were responsible for coping with the water shortage in the household, it was actually women’s daily workload that was more significantly increased.

A Tibetan girl holds a baby yak, a animal that helps to provide energy for heating and cooking in rural areas. Photo by ICRAF

At the community level the study observed that although technically possible, no woman has ever been appointed as a water manager. The managers are selected by the village committee and approved by a meeting of the villagers’ representatives. They are responsible for water tank and pipe maintenance and for domestic water allocation at the village level.

Both men and women said that this was due to the skills and physical strength needed to repair pipes and water infrastructure, as well as a perception that it fell outside women’s traditional domestic roles. However, as water scarcity continued, conflicts over water allocation became more frequent, and both men and women acknowledged that women have become increasingly active in monitoring water allocation along with water managers in order to reduce the risk of fights among the men. Women are seen as able to solve these conflicts and ensure equal distribution through negotiation rather than physical fighting.

Read also: Update on gender research projects

A socioeconomic focus for China’s climate change adaptation policies

As the effects of climate change become more tangible, national and provincial governments have announced new policies and governance mechanisms for drought response and climate change adaptation, but none of these policies address gender issues.

The case for more attention to the gender dimensions and impacts of climate change becomes critical as agricultural production becomes increasingly feminized and women take on multiple and non-traditional roles. The study’s findings indicate that women are taking on an increasingly active role in managing water during droughts but they are still excluded from formal decision-making about water management at the community level.

Based on these findings, the study recommends the adoption of new climate change policies that:

  • Consider gendered differences in vulnerability and value women’s traditional knowledge and practical experience.
  • Provide local communities, and particularly women, with climate change information and technologies to improve their adaptive capacity.
  • Ensure women’s participation in the planning and construction of drinking water and irrigation facilities to ensure these facilities meet women’s needs.
  • Support women’s participation in community-based water management bodies, and promote the development of women’s organizations.

The lack of information and meaningful engagement with gender issues could lead to unfit government-supported adaptation responses that may not address the different priorities and needs of rural women, further marginalizing them, and will hinder the opportunity to benefit from women’s active contribution to water management.

By Ana Maria Paez-Valencia and Manon Koningstein, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World

This research is part of the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP), which is supported by the governments of Norway and Sweden and jointly implemented by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research at Oslo (CICERO) and GRID-Arendal in collaboration with local partners. Additional funding was provided by the gender cross-cutting component of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

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