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  • Drivers of CO2 along a mangrove-seagrass transect in a tropical bay: Delayed groundwater seepage and seagrass uptake

Drivers of CO2 along a mangrove-seagrass transect in a tropical bay: Delayed groundwater seepage and seagrass uptake

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Water-to-air carbon dioxide fluxes from tropical coastal waters are an important but understudied component of the marine carbon budget. Here, we investigate drivers of carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2) in a relatively pristine mangrove-seagrass embayment on a tropical island (Bali, Indonesia). Observations were performed over eight underway seasonal surveys and a fixed location time series for 55 h. There was a large spatial variability of pCO2 across the continuum of mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and the coastal ocean. Overall, the embayment waters surrounded by mangroves released CO2 to the atmosphere with a net flux rate of 18.1 ± 5.8 mmol m-2 d-1. Seagrass beds produced an overall CO2 net flux rate of 2.5 ± 3.4 mmol m-2 d-1, although 2 out of 8 surveys revealed a sink of CO2 in the seagrass area. The mouth of the bay where coral calcification occurs was a minor source of CO2 (0.3 ± 0.4 mmol m-2 d-1). The overall average CO2 flux to the atmosphere along the transect was 9.8 ± 6.0 mmol m-2 d-1, or 3.6 × 103 mol d-1 CO2 when upscaled to the entire embayment area. There were no clear seasonal patterns in contrast to better studied temperate systems. pCO2 significantly correlated with antecedent rainfall and the natural groundwater tracer radon (222Rn) during each survey. We suggest that the CO2 source in the mangrove dominated upper bay was associated with delayed groundwater inputs, and a shifting CO2 source-sink in the lower bay was driven by the uptake of CO2 by seagrass and mixing with oceanic waters. This differs from modified landscapes where potential uptake of CO2 is weakened due to the degradation of seagrass beds, or emissions are increased due to drainage of coastal wetlands.

View publication here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csr.2018.10.008

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  • Top of the tree: FTA in 2018

Top of the tree: FTA in 2018

A variety of mango grows on a farm in Machakos County, Kenya. Photo by ICRAF
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The year 2018 saw the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) chalk up some notable achievements in the worlds of sustainable development, food security and addressing climate change.

A variety of mango grows on a farm in Machakos County, Kenya. Photo by ICRAF

A number of the program’s research findings reverberated throughout the scientific community, impacting discussions at major events and informing work on the ground.

Read on to find out which news articles, research publications, presentations and videos were most-viewed on the FTA website throughout the year.

Gender, agroforestry and combating deforestation were strong points of interest among news articles, topped off by research on orphan crops – underutilized crops that are being brought out of the shadows by plant breeding – which was also covered by The Economist and the Financial Times. The 10 most-viewed news articles on the FTA website in 2018 are as follows.

  1. Orphan crops for improving diets
  2. The power of science to halt deforestation
  3. Climate change atlas presents suitability maps for agroforestry species in Central America
  4. Halting deforestation is ‘everyone’s fight’
  5. FTA’s research domain on livelihood systems receives strong rating
  6. Picks and spades can triple farmers’ yields in Kenyan drylands
  7. Good investments in agriculture and forestry can benefit smallholders and landscapes
  8. Innovation and excellence from chocolate producers
  9. Agroforestry offers pathways to sustainable landscape restoration
  10. Woman on a mission: Pushing for rights and a seat at the decision-making table
Findings have shed new light on the role of forests and trees in the climate debate. Photo by Eko Prianto/CIFOR

Research publications are of course not only viewed via the FTA website but also via the websites of partner institutions or scientific journals.

Of those collated on the FTA website, however, the top 10 most-viewed encompassed ecosystem services, value chains and climate, along with the relationship between trees and water – a popular topic that was the subject of a two-day symposium in 2017 and a follow-up discussion forum in 2018:

  1. Co-investment in ecosystem services: global lessons from payment and incentive schemes
  2. Analysis of gender research on forest, tree and agroforestry value chains in Latin America
  3. Decision support tools for forest landscape restoration: Current status and future outlook
  4. Certifying Environmental Social Responsibility: Special Issue
  5. Suitability of key Central American agroforestry species under future climates: an atlas
  6. Landscape Restoration in Kenya: Addressing gender equality
  7. Forest ecosystem services and the pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness
  8. Tropical forest-transition landscapes: a portfolio for studying people, tree crops and agro-ecological change in context
  9. Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world
  10. Bridging molecular genetics and participatory research: how access and benefit-sharing stimulate interdisciplinary research for tropical biology and conservation
Strengthening women’s tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making.

As always, FTA scientists presented their work to colleagues and to broader audiences at workshops and events around the world. The top 10 most-viewed presentations of those collected on the FTA website looked at governance, REDD+ and tenure.

  1. Comparing governance reforms to restore the forest commons in Nepal, China and Ethiopia
  2. A personal take on forest landscapes restoration in Africa
  3. Strengthening women’s tenure and rights to forests and trees and their participation in decision making
  4. Are there differences between men and women in REDD+ benefit sharing schemes?
  5. Conflict in collective land and forest formalization: a preliminary analysis
  6. Implications of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) for trans-boundary agricultural commodities, forests and smallholder farmers
  7. Reconciling policy and practice in the co-management of forests in indigenous territories
  8. Informing gender-responsive climate policy and action
  9. Assessing REDD+ readiness to maximize climate finance impact
  10. Forest policy reform to enhance smallholder participation in landscape restoration: The Peruvian case
Drone technology for science.

FTA’s partner institutions produced compelling video content in 2018, drawing in viewers interested in drones, nutrition, landscapes and more. The top 10 most-viewed videos posted on the FTA website are as follows.

  1. Agroforestry in landscape restoration for livelihoods, climate and ecosystem services
  2. Drone technology for science
  3. Daniel Murdiyarso talks about the interaction between land and oceans
  4. Expansion of oil palm plantations into forests appears to be changing local diets in Indonesia
  5. Lessons learned from REDD+: progress in 8 countries and the way forward
  6. Restoring landscapes, respecting rights
  7. Creating a movement on sustainable landscapes
  8. Developing and applying an approach for the sustainable management of landscapes
  9. Social inclusion, equity and rights in the context of restoration – lessons from the ground
  10. Integrated landscapes approaches: From theory to practice

Finally, a special mention goes to a well-received infographic from FTA’s gender team: Gender matters in forest landscape restoration.

As the program forges ahead into 2019, it expects to see a continued presence at high-level events and even wider dissemination of its work, in line with its innovative research projects ongoing around the world to further the contributions of forests, trees and agroforestry to sustainable development.

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  • Forests are key to combating world's looming water crisis, says new GFEP report

Forests are key to combating world’s looming water crisis, says new GFEP report

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Rain clouds hover over a forest in Yen Bai, Vietnam. Photo by Rob Finlayson/ICRAF

The world is facing a growing water crisis: already, 40 percent of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity, and climate change threatens to increase the frequency of both floods and droughts in vulnerable areas around the world.

A new report released recently at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York suggests that successfully managing the world’s forests will be key to mitigating these risks and ensuring safe and sustainable water supplies for all.

Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities presents a comprehensive global assessment of available scientific information about the interactions between forests and water, and was prepared by the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Water, an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests led by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

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

“In the assessment, we focused on the following key questions: Do forests matter? Who is responsible and what should be done? How can progress be made and measured?” said panel cochair and Meine van Noordwijk of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) – a member of IUFRO – and Wageningen University, Netherlands. Van Noordwijk is also a former research leader at the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

The role of forests in the water cycle is at least as important as their role in the carbon cycle in the face of climate change. In addition to being the lungs of the planet, they also act as kidneys.

Xu Jianchu of ICRAF noted that, “while public attention has tended to focus on forests’ potential as carbon sinks, from a local perspective water is often a greater priority.”

Read more: Bridging research and development to generate science and solutions

An agroforestry area is pictured in Sierra Leone. Photo by ICRAF

Carbon-centered forestation strategies could have significant consequences on water resources; in some cases, efforts to increase carbon storage using fast-growing trees have had a negative impact on local water supplies.

According to Xu, who contributed to several chapters in the report, looking at the climate-forests-water-people system as a whole could help formulate policies that address both local priorities and global targets such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, water-sensitive land management policies in the Hindu Kush and Himalayas have successfully revived natural springs which are a critical source of water for local communities.

As noted by panel co-chair Irena Creed of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, “natural forests, in particular, contribute to sustainable water supplies for people in the face of growing risks. And it is also possible to actively manage forests for water resilience.”

The report also calls for nuance in both scientific assessments of forests and policy-making. Rather than simply classifying land cover as ‘forest’ or ‘non-forest’, for example, the publication emphasizes the need to pay attention to forest quality and how trees are arranged within a watershed.

Read more: Trees, water and climate: Cool scientific insights, hot implications for research and policy

In Vietnam’s Huong River Basin, the intensification of traditional swidden-fallow systems from 1989 to 2008 was not an explicit change in land use but it still had major consequences for water flows. Over that same period of time, forests in the headwaters of the basin recovered and expanded, which would ordinarily be expected to mitigate the risk of floods. Yet intensification of the swidden systems overwhelmed these effects and in fact exacerbated flooding.

The report concludes by identifying a clear policy gap in climate-forest-water relations and calls for a series of regional or continental studies to complement and extend the current global assessment.

Filling this gap will not be a simple process, and the authors highlight the fact that any process for managing the trade-offs inherent in forest management must fully consider the wellbeing of local, indigenous and other vulnerable communities. To that end, social and environmental justice must be integrated into climate-forest-water policies, and stronger participatory approaches are needed to ensure that policy goals are sustainable and equitable.

By Andrew Stevenson, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


The IUFRO-led Global Forest Expert Panel initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests established the Expert Panel on Forests and Water to provide policy makers with a stronger scientific basis for their decisions and to specifically inform international policy processes and discussions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is the only world-wide organization devoted to forest research and related sciences. Its members are research institutions, universities and individual scientists as well as decision-making authorities and others with a focus on forests and trees. 

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  • Forests are key to combating world's looming water crisis, says new GFEP report

Forests are key to combating world’s looming water crisis, says new GFEP report

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Rain clouds hover over a forest in Yen Bai, Vietnam. Photo by Rob Finlayson/ICRAF

The world is facing a growing water crisis: already, 40 percent of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity, and climate change threatens to increase the frequency of both floods and droughts in vulnerable areas around the world.

A new report released recently at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York suggests that successfully managing the world’s forests will be key to mitigating these risks and ensuring safe and sustainable water supplies for all.

Forest and Water on a Changing Planet: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Governance Opportunities presents a comprehensive global assessment of available scientific information about the interactions between forests and water, and was prepared by the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Water, an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests led by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

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

“In the assessment, we focused on the following key questions: Do forests matter? Who is responsible and what should be done? How can progress be made and measured?” said panel cochair and Meine van Noordwijk of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) – a member of IUFRO – and Wageningen University, Netherlands. Van Noordwijk is also a former research leader at the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

The role of forests in the water cycle is at least as important as their role in the carbon cycle in the face of climate change. In addition to being the lungs of the planet, they also act as kidneys.

Xu Jianchu of ICRAF noted that, “while public attention has tended to focus on forests’ potential as carbon sinks, from a local perspective water is often a greater priority.”

Read more: Bridging research and development to generate science and solutions

An agroforestry area is pictured in Sierra Leone. Photo by ICRAF

Carbon-centered forestation strategies could have significant consequences on water resources; in some cases, efforts to increase carbon storage using fast-growing trees have had a negative impact on local water supplies.

According to Xu, who contributed to several chapters in the report, looking at the climate-forests-water-people system as a whole could help formulate policies that address both local priorities and global targets such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, water-sensitive land management policies in the Hindu Kush and Himalayas have successfully revived natural springs which are a critical source of water for local communities.

As noted by panel co-chair Irena Creed of the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, “natural forests, in particular, contribute to sustainable water supplies for people in the face of growing risks. And it is also possible to actively manage forests for water resilience.”

The report also calls for nuance in both scientific assessments of forests and policy-making. Rather than simply classifying land cover as ‘forest’ or ‘non-forest’, for example, the publication emphasizes the need to pay attention to forest quality and how trees are arranged within a watershed.

Read more: Trees, water and climate: Cool scientific insights, hot implications for research and policy

In Vietnam’s Huong River Basin, the intensification of traditional swidden-fallow systems from 1989 to 2008 was not an explicit change in land use but it still had major consequences for water flows. Over that same period of time, forests in the headwaters of the basin recovered and expanded, which would ordinarily be expected to mitigate the risk of floods. Yet intensification of the swidden systems overwhelmed these effects and in fact exacerbated flooding.

The report concludes by identifying a clear policy gap in climate-forest-water relations and calls for a series of regional or continental studies to complement and extend the current global assessment.

Filling this gap will not be a simple process, and the authors highlight the fact that any process for managing the trade-offs inherent in forest management must fully consider the wellbeing of local, indigenous and other vulnerable communities. To that end, social and environmental justice must be integrated into climate-forest-water policies, and stronger participatory approaches are needed to ensure that policy goals are sustainable and equitable.

By Andrew Stevenson, originally published at ICRAF’s Agroforestry World


The IUFRO-led Global Forest Expert Panel initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests established the Expert Panel on Forests and Water to provide policy makers with a stronger scientific basis for their decisions and to specifically inform international policy processes and discussions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) is the only world-wide organization devoted to forest research and related sciences. Its members are research institutions, universities and individual scientists as well as decision-making authorities and others with a focus on forests and trees. 

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  • Citizens support data collection on water towers that help to supply their communities

Citizens support data collection on water towers that help to supply their communities

In Kenya’s Sondu Basin, local communities take water measurements to aid monitoring. Photo by P. Shepherd/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

In Kenya’s Sondu Basin, local communities take water measurements to aid monitoring. Photo by P. Shepherd/CIFOR

Montane forests in East Africa play a crucial role as water towers, holding freshwater long enough for it to recharge aquifers that supply local communities. 

On the other hand, a recent project from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Kenya that forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) has been examining what communities can do for the water towers.

“The state of forests in Kenya is really critical, so we wanted to estimate their water supply services to inform authorities and society of their value,” says Mariana Rufino, Senior Associate at CIFOR and Chair of Agricultural Systems at the UK’s Lancaster Environment Centre.

Read more: Bridging research and development to generate science and solutions

When she and fellow researchers found there were no consistent datasets on the state of water resources in the Sondu-Miriu River basin, a remote catchment in western Kenya, they decided to test an approach that is rarely used in developing countries, and even more uncommon in the field of hydrology: involving citizens in monitoring and crowdsourcing data collection.

“Collecting data for water flow and quality is expensive, so we set out to find low-cost alternatives to the sophisticated standard methods used elsewhere,” says Rufino.

The team installed 13 water-level gauges equipped with signs explaining the monitoring process, instructing passersby to send measurements via text message. They would then receive immediate feedback on their phones.

Over the course of one year, experts compared the crowdsourced data with that of automatic gauging stations installed nearby.

Watch: A technical overview: The role of citizen science in monitoring water towers in Kenya

In addition to overcoming data scarcity, the project sought to answer two key questions: first, if rural communities in a remote tropical setting would engage in citizen science; and if so, whether or not they would produce data of high enough quality to inform water resource management.

The scientists published a report on their findings, as well as producing two videos to show the benefits of citizen monitoring to local and national natural resource managers and land-use planners.

“We thought that showing our project locations and sharing the stories of people we collaborated with would also increase interest in the role of forests in the supply of water,” says Rufino.

Read more: FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

PHONING IN

In the end, 124 citizens reported 1,175 valid measurements. Less than 5 percent of the data points was invalid.

“We were struck by the participation rate,” says coauthor of the paper Lutz Breuer, Chair of Landscape, Water and Biogeochemical Cycles at the Research Centre for Biosystems, Land Use and Nutrition at Justus Liebig University Giessen in Germany.

“The quality of the data was also excellent, with almost no difference against that of our sophisticated equipment,” says Rufino. “Communities were interested in the initiative, and they told us why: their livelihoods depend on water, so they want to know the state of the resource.”

Based on phone surveys on the socioeconomic background of volunteers, the study concludes: “The active participation is not depending on the actual education level, but rather induced by their personal perception of and dependency on their environment.”

“We are talking about open access data: data that belongs to the people, and that could be used by them to make decisions about resource use,” says Breuer.

“Monitoring the condition of a resource by its users is an important aspect of governance, as it is generally expected to be the basis for the design or adjustment of the use and management of the resource,” echoes CIFOR Principal Scientist Esther Mwangi.

Watch: Opinions and testimonials: The role of citizen science in monitoring water towers in Kenya

MEASURING UP

This is not to say that citizens can entirely replace scientists and authorities. Certain hydrological parameters are too complex for citizen management, and Rufino says the team is seeking to engage Kenya’s Water Resources Agency to help implement the project in two new sites.

And, there’s the issue of keeping people engaged over a long period of time.

To address this, the study paid back the transmission costs (1 US cent per text message) sent from one of the stations, twofold. This proved to increase participation rate, which there was between 2.5 and 7 times higher than at other stations.

However, Rufino believes that “true, sustained engagement will come when locals see value in the data collection and can do something with it.”

For example, if communities understand that a lack of vegetation leads to runoff and lower water tables, they may decide to increase tree cover. Likewise, if they see the links between logging and increased sediment in their drinking-water streams, they may take steps to manage the felling.

“A logical next step would be an assessment of whether and how such locally generated data can spur local actions aimed at sustainable resource management,” says Mwangi.

The scientists will also explore hydrological modeling approaches, both to fill gaps in irregular measurements taken by citizens and to model future alternatives for the region.

“By modeling the effect of land-uses on water fluxes, we can anticipate impacts on water supply, and advise people how to improve agricultural and forest management,” Breuer says.

For Rufino, the project proved that crowdsourcing is the way forward. “We are confident this data-collection model can disseminate in East Africa, and we will make ourselves available to discuss the implementation of this approach with water resource management agencies in the region.”

For low-income countries, the scientists agree that this low-cost approach can work.

By Gloria Pallares, 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.

This research was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Corporation for International Cooperation.

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  • Estimating water user demand for certification of forest watershed services

Estimating water user demand for certification of forest watershed services

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Eco-certification is one solution to the common problem of verification of delivery of services in payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes. Certification incurs costs, which may limit uptake, so it should be able to benefit users of certified services for it succeeds. In part to inform a project targeting expansion of the Forest Stewardship Council’s forest management certification to include ecosystem services, we tested market demand for a potential certification scheme for watershed services. Using choice experiments among end-users of water subject to an existing PES scheme in Lombok, Indonesia, we assessed potential business values of certification. Our results suggested that preferred business values included credible information disclosure on improved water quality, reduced flood risk, environmental safeguards, and/or social safeguards of the upstream forests. These preferences indicate potential demand for a certification of forest watershed services designed to provide such information to end users.

Access the article here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.02.042

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  • FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

FTA scientists feature in innovative series of talks on landscapes

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Landscapes Talks, which piqued the interest of audiences at the recent Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) in Bonn, Germany, aim to be a “space for leading academics and scientists to provide short talks on current landscape activities”, according to the GLF concept note.

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) scientists appeared multiple times during the series of engaging talks, making for some powerful statements and diverse insights into the program’s research.

Read more: What is FTA?

The first day of the event saw Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) principal scientist Terry Sunderland present on Integrated landscapes approaches: From theory to practice. In his talk, Sunderland highlighted key elements of the landscape approach, how it builds on previous initiatives and how to move from theory to practice.

Later in the day, CIFOR Senior Scientist Daniel Murdiyarso presented Why care about peatlands? discussing the development of the Global Wetlands Map, its use, and the need for verification. Using an Indonesian case study, he demonstrated how to locate degraded peatland, and proposed criteria for successful restoration by rewetting degraded peatland.

On the second day of the GLF, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Director General Tony Simons gave a presentation titled Planet for sale, in which he discussed restoration opportunities around the world and how agroforestry can help to restore productivity and function.

Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD) scientist Bruno Locatelli also gave a thought-provoking talk called Adopting a new perspective on landscapes and water, using rubber boots and a rain jacket as props to clearly communicate new research results on forest, water and energy interactions that provide the foundations for cooling terrestrial surfaces and for distributing water resources.

Aside from the Landscapes Talks, FTA organized a Discussion Forum along with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) titled ‘Rainfall Recycling’ as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15, as well as participating in Enhancing tenure security and gender equality in the context of forest landscape restoration and Agroforestry’s role in landscape restoration: Connecting SDGs 15, 13, 1 and 3.

FTA was present at the GLF’s Restoration Pavilion and Inclusive Landscapes Finance Pavilion, at which Tropenbos International, FTA and other partners organized a well-attended panel titled Inclusive Finance and Business Models – Actions for Upscaling, contributing to the wide range of insights and knowledge shared throughout the two-day GLF.

Read more: FTA at Global Landscapes Forum Bonn


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

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  • Adopting a new perspective on landscapes and water

Adopting a new perspective on landscapes and water

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

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  • ‘Rainfall recycling’ as a landscape function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15

‘Rainfall recycling’ as a landscape function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The ‘Rainfall recycling’ as a landscape function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15 Discussion Forum was held at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn on Dec. 19, 2017.

Climate change is a reality and, for those most affected by it, it is often experienced as a change in the most basic commodity: water. Drawing on the insights of farmers and local communities, this session examines the role of forests in regulating the water cycle.

New research suggests that vegetation plays a critical role in the frequency and intensity of rainfall. This discussion forum will explore the implications on the many areas affected by these effects — land restoration, water management and climate change adaptation — toward an integrated approach for land/water and climate for the SDGs.

The discussion forum will build on a successful online symposium that took place in May 2017. The discussion will also discuss highlights of the current Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on forests and water, which is expected to issue a policy relevant global assessment report in the first half of 2018.

The session was hosted by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI).

This video was originally published by the GLF.

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  • Integrated natural resource management as pathway to poverty reduction: Innovating practices, institutions and policies

Integrated natural resource management as pathway to poverty reduction: Innovating practices, institutions and policies

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Poverty has many faces and poverty reduction many pathways in different contexts. Lack of food and income interact with lack of access to water, energy, protection from floods, voice, rights and recognition. Among the pathways by which agricultural research can increase rural prosperity, integrated natural resource management deals with a complex nexus of issues, with tradeoffs among issues that are in various stages of denial, recognition, analysis, innovation, scenario synthesis and creation of platforms for (policy) change.

Rather than on a portfolio of externally developed ‘solutions’ ready for adoption and use, the concept of sustainable development may primarily hinge on the strengths and weaknesses of local communities to observe, analyse, innovate, connect, organize collective action and become part of wider coalitions. ‘Boundary work’ supporting such efforts can help resolve issues in a polycentric governance context, especially where incomplete understanding and knowledge prevent potential win-win alternatives to current lose-lose conflicts to emerge. Integrated research-development approaches deal with context (‘theory of place’) and options (‘theory of change’) in multiple ways that vary from selecting sites for studying pre-defined issues to starting from whatever issue deserves prominence in a given location of interest.

A knowledge-to-action linkage typology recognizes three situations of increasing complexity. In Type I more knowledge can directly lead to action by a single decision maker; in Type II more knowledge can inform tradeoff decisions, while in Type III negotiation support of multiple knowledge + multiple decision maker settings deals with a higher level of complexity. Current impact quantification can deal with the first, is challenged in the second and inadequate in the third case, dealing with complex social-ecological systems. Impact-oriented funding may focus on Type I and miss the opportunities for the larger ultimate impact of Type II and III involvements.


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