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A picture paints a thousand words for Smart Tree-Invest project

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Getting behind the camera enables farmers to express their perspectives and assess their land in a creative and engaging way. 

The Climate-smart, Tree-based Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project focused on improving the livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers through the promotion of climate-smart, tree-based agriculture in three countries by reducing their vulnerability to climate change.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) project, supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), recently completed its three-year journey.

Among the most innovative aspects of the project was Photovoice, a participatory research method that saw cameras provided to farmers in the project’s field sites.

Read more: Smart use of trees: Co-investment scheme improves livelihoods, maintains ecosystem services

“The main objective was to help in identifying and understanding the vulnerability and adaptive capacities of smallholder farmers to climate change and variability in Ho Ho-subwatershed as a project site, through photos that reflect local perceptions and knowledge on vulnerability,” said Tran Ha My, communications staff member for Smart Tree-Invest in Vietnam.

“Photovoice is also a different approach to share farmers’ insights and experiences, which helped the project and local stakeholders to develop more appropriate solutions for enhancing livelihood and environmental resilience in the subwatershed,” she added.

The benefits of the approach were twofold. The farmers had a creative way to express their perspectives, could better understand their vulnerabilities and capacities and more actively participated in discussing issues related to their land. Meanwhile, the researchers also collected baseline photographs of the landscape in the process.

See the baseline photographs for Buol in Indonesia, Huong Lam in Vietnam and three sites in the Philippines

“Using photos in focus groups and a video baseline survey puts faces to the once-anonymous ‘stakeholders’ of a project. They give a more personal dimension to all the figures and statistics and help show what farmers really need and how researchers can help,” Amy Cruz, communications staff member for ICRAF in the Philippines, wrote early in the life of the project.

The personal dimension was clear in the results, which showed smallholders’ land through their own eyes. Later, impact photos displayed improvements in the farmers’ livelihoods through knowledge gained from the project.

“Photovoice is a process that allows more nuanced capturing of the important elements in a landscape by letting farmers themselves decide specific areas to photograph. We asked them to capture two of their areas that were most vulnerable to climate change, two of their resources and two of their coping strategies. Aside from documentation of the landscape and the farmers’ perspectives, the photos were used in discussion groups to further draw out opinions of the landscapes in their respective villages,” Cruz explained.

“Nearly all the farmers identified sloping areas on their farms as the most vulnerable — they were usually flooded during rains — and the crops as their resources. There was, however, a variety of coping strategies mentioned by the farmers when discussing the photographs.

“Some said they did not do anything when the land flooded; they just waited for the waters to recede. Others said that they did, or planned to, use contouring on their fields to counter erosion. Quite a few also used trees as boundaries and windbreaks,” she added.

See the impact photos from Indonesia and Vietnam

The photographic results were used in focus group discussions with participants and with other farmers who did not take photos themselves. Through conversations over the results, the farmers were all able to agree on common issues that they faced.

“Photovoice provides an initial glimpse of the vulnerabilities of the farmers,” Cruz said in a separate blog. “While it is not enough to give a complete measure of vulnerability, it is an effective way to start the discussion. The farmers analyze and express their perceptions, while the researchers draw evidence from the photos and discussions with the farmers. Literature review and quantitative methods of vulnerability assessment could then be used to validate these findings.”

By looking at the bigger picture, smallholders and researchers worked creatively and more effectively toward climate-smart farming systems.

Read more:

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund. This project was  supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

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  • Smart use of trees: Co-investment scheme improves livelihoods, maintains ecosystem services

Smart use of trees: Co-investment scheme improves livelihoods, maintains ecosystem services

A woman inspects buds on a tree as part of the Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia project. Photo by ICRAF
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A woman inspects buds on a tree as part of the Smart Tree-Invest project in Indonesia. Photo by ICRAF

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) recently marked the end of its Climate-smart, Tree-based Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project with a closing event in Jakarta. 

Smart Tree-Invest, supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), worked in watersheds in Buol, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia; Lantapan municipality, Bukidnon province, the Philippines; as well as Ha Thinh and Quang Binh provinces in Vietnam.

The project, which ran from 2014 to 2017, aimed to improve the livelihoods and resilience of smallholder farmers through the promotion of climate-smart, tree-based agriculture in the three countries, aimed at reducing their vulnerability to climate change.

It did so by developing co-investment models that involve smallholders as ecosystem service providers while local governments and the private sector invest as ecosystem service beneficiaries.

Based on diagnostic studies of needs and opportunities in each country, the project introduced novel tree-planting schemes to improve the quality of home gardens, smallholders’ plantations, riparian and sloping land — and ultimately the quality of the environment and local livelihoods.

The process of identifying opportunities as well as new schemes for using resources available locally have been adopted by local governments in the three countries, overcoming their initial skepticism based on past ‘project’ experience. Moreover, toward the end of the project, private sectors were eager to join in initially monitoring ecosystem services in their sites in Indonesia, supporting market access for smallholders in Vietnam, and starting the initial incentive flow in the Philippines.

FTA researcher Beria Leimona speaks at the Smart Tree-Invest project’s closing event. Photo by Sidiq Pambudi/ICRAF

Smart Tree-Invest was the first project to explicitly pilot the development of Co-investment in Ecosystem Services (CIS) schemes, a concept that emerged from earlier Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) ideas. More than 600 farmers from the three countries were involved in co-investment activities.

Watch: An introduction to the Smart Tree-Invest project

FTA researcher and ICRAF ecosystem services specialist Beria Leimona, who was the overall leader of Smart Tree-Invest, noted the similarities between the three countries.

“We chose these sites because we work closely with the International Fund for Agricultural Development or IFAD [which had established a presence in the areas through previous projects] and all of the sites are remote, and they are more or less the ‘poorest of the poor’,” she said.

The Lantapan watershed had previously hosted an investment in environmental services project. There was also investor interest in the areas in terms of the private sector, including a major hydropower company in the downstream. It was the first time co-investment had been implemented on the ground.

The area “had been degraded to some extent,” Leimona said. ICRAF has had a presence in Lantapan for quite some time, she explained, beginning with the Landcare initiative in the 1990s.

“With Landcare, we saw the potential: we gave the awareness [about tree planting], but what sort of incentives would make them want to sustain the pilot?”

Following that was the Rewarding Upland Poor for Environmental Services (RUPES) project with its incentive system for farmers.

Researchers subsequently “added information about what type of ecosystem services farmers and outside beneficiaries could get if they planted trees on their farms, which was in this case the watershed functions — increasing water quality for the company and also reducing erosion from farmland.”

“Through Smart Tree-Invest, we wanted to get more stakeholders involved in linking development programs with well-measured conservation objectives to result in green-growth scheme in their jurisdictions, including IFAD as the development agency and particularly the district and provincial government,” Leimona said.

Read also: 

A farmer shows off cacao pods growing on a tree as part of the project. Photo by ICRAF

Buol in Indonesia and Ha Tinh in Vietnam were more remote than the Philippines site. There was “almost no private sector,” Leimona said, adding that there was also less interest from business and infrastructure was less supportive.

She put this down to the area not being “sexy” or high-profile like locations such as Kalimantan, leading to almost no projects occurring there.

The silver lining was that “the enthusiasm of the local government was very high because they were quite eager to see what happened.”

Among the other notable differences between the sites were that in terms of the landscape structure, Vietnam did not have a mixed system or agroforestry. That stemmed from land-use policy, said Leimona, whereby farmers must follow government requirements on what to plant on their land.

In Buol, agroforestry existed with crops such as cacao, coconut and candlenut, Leimona explained. However, it had not been commercialized and was not well managed. “People didn’t think it could be a source of future profits,” she said, adding that farmers previously concentrated more on their patchouli or paddy fields.

Among other approaches, the project used the Capacity Strengthening Approach to Vulnerability Assessment (CaSAVA) framework, which ICRAF developed. The participatory approach of CaSAVA helped the collection of local ecological knowledge from smallholders in Lantapan, according to researcher Kharmina Anit in the Philippines, and increased their awareness of the issues in their landscapes, encouraging practical adaptation solutions at the community level.

The project also provided best practices in support of the implementation of policies in each country.

In Buol, the local administration has committed to replicating Smart Tree-Invest activities including farmers’ learning groups and watershed and tree-planting monitoring. The project was implemented in two subdistricts in the Buol watershed, and the district administration is set to expand activities to the Mulat-Lantika Digo watershed, using its own funding.

FTA scientist Meine van Noordwijk (left) poses for a photograph with members of the Smart Tree-Invest Vietnam team. Photo by Sidiq Pambudi/ICRAF

The administration has requested ICRAF’s support through continued technical assistance as it replicates the project activities after the project’s end.

Watch: Impacts of Smart-Tree Invest project after 3 years

In summing up the project’s impacts and its relation to greater goals at the closing event in Jakarta, FTA scientist Meine van Noordwijk said it was “not only about healthy food but also healthy farmers and healthy forests […] in the frame of climate change.”

Unlike management systems that require results to be outlined beforehand and achieved, Van Noordwijk added, Smart Tree-Invest made a commitment and then awaited the impacts. The “open-ended” learning approach fit into existing structures of regulations and funding mechanisms, as well as working within local contexts.

“[This] provided food for thought on how we may see one object from different perspectives, and end up with different results,” said ICRAF ecosystem services specialist Sacha Amaruzaman. “Professor van Noordwijk reflected on the different characteristics of three country sites; how the similar start in each site through the application of the CaSAVA framework ended up with different co-investment schemes.”

“Clarification of the issues, weighting the trade-off between options and considering context are the three actions required to achieve development goals,” he added.

The partnerships formed with governments and other stakeholders stand as testament to this, as does the continued commitment in the sustainability of the project.

By Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator. 


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund. This project was  supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

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  • Impacts of Smart-Tree Invest project after 3 years

Impacts of Smart-Tree Invest project after 3 years

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The Climate-smart, Tree-based Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), introduced novel tree planting schemes in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, based on a co-investment mechanism, to improve the quality of home gardens and sloping land — and ultimately the quality of the environment and local livelihoods. The new schemes have already been widely adopted and appreciated by local people and government officials.

Originally published at worldagroforestry.org.


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

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  • Smart Tree-Invest spurs local administration to begin farmers’ learning groups

Smart Tree-Invest spurs local administration to begin farmers’ learning groups

Farmers and agricultural extension officers build a tree nursery shade house together. Photo by Firman/ICRAF
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Farmers and agricultural extension officers build a tree nursery shade house together. Photo by Firman/ICRAF

The success of the Smart Tree-Invest project’s farmers’ learning groups has caught the eye of Indonesia’s Buol District Agricultural Office. It has now begun to fund and replicate the approach itself.

In early March 2017, the Buol district administration in Central Sulawesi province, Indonesia, began to replicate a farmers’ learning group approach in Bukal subdistrict, with funding from the district’s own development budget. Bukal is located next to the important and degraded Lantika Digo-Mulat watershed.

A survey conducted in February 2017 determined which villages in Bukal had the best potential for agroforestry development, a proven approach for improving farmers’ incomes and farm productivity while also protecting the environment.

The survey team, consisting of representatives of Buol District Agricultural Office and the Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project (supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development), decided the criteria for potential villages. These included that local farmers were interested in agroforestry; there were suitable locations for planting trees; water was available for tree nurseries; and there was a low risk of flooding.

Watch: An introduction to the Smart Tree-Invest project

Three villages — Rante Marannu, Bukal and Potangoan — were chosen because they met all the criteria. Moreover, the three villages’ agricultural extension officers were thrilled at the prospect of taking part in the program, which runs from March to December 2017 under the Extension Unit of the Agricultural Office led by Nurhayati Mentemas.

Yunartisari from the Buol Agricultural Office leads a focus group. Photo by Dienda CP Hendrawan/ICRAF

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), which led the Smart Tree-Invest project that forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), had earlier committed to help the government in technical preparation and staff support until the end of the project in April 2017. This included training trainers of agricultural extension staff, budgeting for activities, and sharing information about sources of seeds and other supplies.

The farmers’ learning group approach involved holding focus groups in each of the three villages, which led to the establishment of new groups that aimed to share knowledge of best-practice agroforestry farming techniques. The groups in the three villages selected the commodities they wanted to cultivate through playing ‘button games’ facilitated by the extension officers.

Cocoa, durian, clove, nutmeg and pepper were the commodities chosen, which correlated with those earlier identified in the project’s original learning groups in Tiloan and Gadung subdistricts in Buol. The new learning groups’ members from the three villages were eager to participate and welcomed the program.

“It is a new kind of approach,” said Nursal, one of the farmers. “We’re very excited to learn new things and be in contact with the government.”

Read also: Indonesian district government funds replication of ICRAF approaches 

By the second week of April, three nurseries associated with the learning groups had been established. Cocoa and pepper had also been planted and the next step was to cultivate durian, clove and nutmeg seedlings.

Mansur, a government agricultural extension officer, said the program was new and exciting, mainly because of its participatory approach. “For the past few years, maize has been the main commodity that has had government support which was always decided through the policies of the district government,” he said.

“However, lately many farmers have been thinking that other commodities, such as pepper, might also have potential. So it is very exciting to cultivate pepper together with the farmers. It turned out that most of them were interested all along but weren’t sure where to start.”

The Buol administration’s aim is to ensure that the activities started under the Smart Tree-Invest project will be sustainable despite ICRAF’s departure from the site.

“We’re very happy that the learning group members are excited about the program,” added Mentemas of the Extension Unit. “We’ll do our best to support them.”

By Rob Finlayson and Dienda CP Hendrawan, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World.


This work was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. We thank all donors who support research in development through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund

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  • Indonesian district government takes over FTA approach Smart Tree-Invest

Indonesian district government takes over FTA approach Smart Tree-Invest

Lisa Tanika (second from left), of ICRAF working with district environmental officers to help build their capacity in monitoring watersheds. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Sacha Amurazaman
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Lisa Tanika (second from left), of ICRAF working with district environmental officers to help build their capacity in monitoring watersheds. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Sacha Amurazaman

By Sacha Amaruzaman, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World Blog

The Government of Buol District, Indonesia, has committed to replicate three activities of the Smart Tree-Invest project run by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The activities include farmers’ learning groups that run under the Agriculture Office and watershed and tree-replanting monitoring under the Environmental Office. About IDR 350 million (≈ USD 26,000) has been allocated in the district’s 2017 annual development budget or APBD (Anggaran Pendapatan dan Belanja Daerah) to fund the replication.

The development is the result of close collaboration between ICRAF and Buol district government through the Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project. ICRAF has been running the project since 2014 in Buol, Central Sulawesi Province. The action-research project has been implemented in two sub-districts within Buol Watershed, the biggest in the district. With their own funding, the district government will expand the project’s activities into Mulat-Lantika Digo Watershed, the next largest.

Smart Tree-Invest aims to improve farmers’ livelihoods and maintain environmental quality by promoting co-investment in ecosystem services. The initial findings indicated that any co-investment scheme in Buol would need to meet several conditions, particularly, strengthening the capacity of the local government and farmers in order to create the enabling environment for co-investment in ecosystem services.

The project has already helped build capacity in managing agriculture and ecosystem services, particularly, with the local government, NGOs, farmers and businesses in the district. Smart Tree-Invest implemented pilot activities to improve farmers’ livelihoods through farmers’ learning groups and has developed a participatory model to monitor watershed conditions.

Smart Tree-Invest has also made significant progress in strengthening the multi-sectoral coordination body (the district’s watershed working group) to improve coordination of local development. The farmers’ groups have succeeded in producing good-quality seedlings and completed the first planting in January 2017.

Approaching the close of the project in March 2017, the Smart Tree-Invest team will continue to work on synthesizing the best practices into recommendations for the government’s Village Development Fund, particularly, in providing models for allocating village budgets towards conservation and livelihoods’ activities.

The district government has requested ICRAF to continue its technical assistance for the replication activities in Buol for 2017, supported by the government’s own funds.

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  • An introduction to the Smart Tree-Invest project

An introduction to the Smart Tree-Invest project

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This is an introductory video for the Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project led by the World Agroforestry Centre and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. It was produced for the Asian Development Bank’s Food Security Forum 2016.

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  • Building trust to smartly invest in trees in the Philippines: A visit to the Tala-andig tribe

Building trust to smartly invest in trees in the Philippines: A visit to the Tala-andig tribe

Explaining Smart Tree-Invest somewhere else in Lantapan. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre
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By Amy Cruz, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World Blog

Datu Migketay of the Tala-andig was critical of some aspects of development and research projects. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Amy Cruz
Datu Migketay of the Tala-andig was critical of some aspects of development and research projects. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Amy Cruz

Research and development aim to benefit local communities but how should researchers and indigenous people work together in projects? Four researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) met with members of the Tala-andig tribe in Indonesia to discuss solutions. Amy Cruz watched and learned.

The Smart Tree-Invest project under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry has been generally well-received in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Yet, team members in the Philippines wanted to know what local communities think of the project. They met representatives from the Tala-andig tribe in Songco, Lantapan in Bukidnon Province in the southern Philippines.

ICRAF’s work in Lantapan is part of the Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project, which aims to help communities create local solutions to cope with climate-change risks.

ICRAF had identified the Tala-andig as important custodians of a critical watershed that was increasingly threatened by the impact of climate change. Smart Tree-Invest is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development. IFAD stresses the importance of participation of marginalized groups, including women, youth and indigenous peoples; and the empowerment of smallholding farmers.

For the Tala-andig, the possibility of a ‘co-investment scheme’—in which all people interested in a watershed work together to ensure its benefits are sustainable—would not only mean an additional source of financial support but is also seen as way of strengthening their culture and introducing it to others.

Map of Lantapan in Bukidnon province, Philippines. Source: Wikipedia
Map of Lantapan in Bukidnon province, Philippines. Source: Wikipedia

According to Victorino Saway, known to the Tala-andig as Datu Migketay, ‘The project could be seen as co-investment in the culture of our tribe because it is part of our culture to preserve the environment’.

If a co-investment scheme can preserve the tribe’s culture then the people can in turn contribute to improving environmental conservation.

Yet, the elders remained cautious. Datu Migketay talked about the importance of first building trust between the project team and the tribe. He emphasized how respecting their culture was important for the sustainability of any project.

Different understanding of development

There was often a disjunction, he explained, between some developers and his people because, for example, the tribe’s definition of development differed from the definition used by some of the organizations implementing projects in their area.

He gave the example of cementing roads in their village, which could be considered as a welcome development providing faster access all year round but these same roads also contributed to the fragmentation of their tribe by allowing individuals and families to disperse far from the central group.

Datu Migketay says of such development: “To be honest, I am tired. Tired of projects that only benefit those implementing them: projects that do not have any positive impacts for our people.”

Explaining Smart Tree-Invest somewhere else in Lantapan. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre
Explaining the benefits Smart Tree-Invest somewhere else in Lantapan. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre

This was not meant to altogether discourage development projects or to say that research in development would not achieve anything. However, if institutions involved in development and research in development, such as ICRAF, wanted to truly improve people’s lives then an open, respectful approach was needed.

Researchers, in particular, should be ready to challenge standardized ways of thinking—even their own—and change inappropriate practices. Putting this to the test, researchers took the first step in growing mutual respect with the Tala-andig by obeying the directive to undergo the ritual.

Building trust

As a result, the elders allowed researchers to return and conduct a participatory cultural impact assessment with the whole tribe to ensure that everyone, including women and young people, can identify their roles in the project. All members of the tribe shall also further discuss potential benefits and disadvantages of Smart Tree-Invest and decide as a group if they want to continue or not.

And so whether the project will continue with the Tala-andig is in the hands of the tribe themselves. Researchers may be hopeful as, during the special ceremony, the tribal leaders had asked for guidance from their highest god, Magbabaya, and spirits. Afterwards these elders noted that it seemed that Smart Tree-Invest could benefit their people.

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  • Sulawesi district wants to keep FTA agroforestry project

Sulawesi district wants to keep FTA agroforestry project

Will the letter from Bupati Rauf convince IFAD to fund Smart Tree-Invest for two more years?
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Adapted from Agroforestry World Blog and IFAD

Will the letter from Bupati Rauf convince IFAD to fund Smart Tree-Invest for two more years?
Will the letter from Bupati Rauf convince IFAD to fund Smart Tree-Invest for two more years?

The District Government of Buol in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi Province wants continued international support for a project under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, led by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) that helps with sustainable agricultural development based on agroforestry. ICRAF’s Rob Finlayson knows more about this success story.

The popular Smart Tree-Invest (full name: Climate-smart, Tree-based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia) is an action-research project led by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). It has been operating at sites in Indonesia, Viet Nam and the Philippines since 2014 and is set to close next year. In Indonesia, the project’s site is in Buol, which is well-known as the biggest palm-oil producer in the province, with almost 10,000 hectares of primary and secondary forest lost to plantations between 1996 and 2014.

The main objective of Smart Tree-Invest is to improve smallholders’ livelihoods through agroforestry, which maintains or improves environmental quality. To do so, the project is collaborating with many people in developing ‘co-investment for ecosystem services’ schemes, in which everyone involved in a landscape invests, bringing their resources together to improve the supply of ecosystem services, both natural and agricultural.

Bupati Amiruddin Rauf. Photo: Sacha Amaruzaman/ICRAF
Bupati Amiruddin Rauf. Photo: Sacha Amaruzaman/ICRAF

In this final year, the team plans to increase their support to the government and smallholders, as requested by the district head, to replicate and widen ecosystem services schemes. But it may not be the final year after all because, just now, the head of Buol District, Amiruddin Rauf, has written a formal request to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) asking for the continuation of Smart Tree-Invest. In the letter, dated 23 May 2016, Rauf writes.

As the Smart Tree-Invest project will terminate in March 2017, the District Government of Buol believes that the remaining period is too short to scale up the current activities and carry out collaboration with our existing programs in Buol. Therefore, we would like to request the addition of ICRAF and the Smart Tree-Invest project for another two years in Buol.

There is now a moratorium on further oil-palm expansion and Rauf’s government had instigated both land-reform and poverty-alleviation-through-agriculture programs. Despite the success of these programs, the government wanted stronger scientific support, particularly, to evaluate the socio-economic and environmental impact. He urged the prolongation of Smart Tree-Invest beyond 2017 so that the government would have more time to synergize its work with the methodologies and findings of the project.

We are very satisfied with the initial results of Smart Tree-Invest project activities, particularly, in facilitating multi-sectoral collaboration through the establishment of the Buol Watershed Working Group and in improving knowledge and participation of farmers in agroforestry development and watershed management. In relation to this, we are interested to scale up the Smart Tree-Invest project activities beyond the initial pilot project, with ICRAF’s technical support.

Photo: ICRAF
Photo: ICRAF

In the second year of Smart Tree-Invest, the project team worked with smallholders and the government to establish the watershed working group. The team also worked with smallholders’ groups to develop their own tree nurseries and monitor the condition of the watershed. The extension methods deployed included  farm-management learning groups, which were established as a part of co-investment in ecosystem services. The decision to establish the learning groups and nurseries was based on the first year’s baseline study that showed a lack of management skills and agricultural knowledge increased smallholders’ vulnerability to changes in the environment, both natural and socio-economic.

Both the government and the Smart Tree-Invest team are optimistic that the Fund will heed Rauf’s request and find ways to continue its effective support to the district.

 


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