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  • Enhancing tenure security and gender equality in the context of forest landscape restoration

Enhancing tenure security and gender equality in the context of forest landscape restoration

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

The Enhancing tenure security and gender equality in the context of forest landscape restoration Discussion Forum was held at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn on Dec. 19, 2017.

The breadth and ambition of international commitments to restore the environment often hide the failure to consult – and directly benefit – the communities who rely on the targeted landscapes. Furthermore, past initiatives have occasionally exacerbated existing social inequities. Therefore, involving local communities, institutions and interests is necessary for a sustainable environmental agenda.

By drawing on a broad range of stakeholders in an open discussion, the forest landscape restoration (FLR) agenda aims to fully incorporate gender awareness and residents’ concerns. As a general theme, the panel sought to identify conflicts and synergies between forest restoration, tenure security and gender equality.

The session was hosted by the World Bank, with Program on Forests (PROFOR), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

This video was originally published by the GLF.

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  • Visualizing gender in Tanzanian sugarcane production: The use of community screening and documentary filming

Visualizing gender in Tanzanian sugarcane production: The use of community screening and documentary filming

A Tanzanian family stands together for a photograph. Photo by Carol J. Pierce Colfer/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

A child plays beside her mother in Tanzania. Photo by M. Koningstein/CIAT

Including the voices of both male and female farmers in the larger decision-making process at a national level sounds logical, but how can it be done in practice? 

“Usually these farmers don’t have a chance to talk directly to the large companies,” said Principal Investigator Emily Gallagher of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “It is for this reason that we have decided to include documentary filming and community screening as an essential part of the research process, to give these farmers a voice.”

A project led by CIFOR, under a cross-CGIAR Research Program collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), uses an innovative methodology including documentary filming, community screening and local and national level workshops to do just that.

Visualization of research

Gallagher and her team are currently undertaking field visits, with a focus on sugarcane farmers, done in collaboration with enumerators and partners from the University of Dar es Salaam.

“What I am really interested in is the visual communication aspect and the visualization of the research. This is what we are trying to reach through the use of the documentary film. For now, we have interviewed and filmed three people per community [six in total for the sugarcane farmers]. Two of them are outgrowers and one of them is a non-outgrower. Then, I want to use the issues that come out of the filming workshop as a guide to structure the dialogue and capture the communities, using a dialogical process with a strong facilitation, together with the investors,” she explained.

This involved exercises with various communities, including both men and women, and outgrowers and non-outgrowers, to understand what guided their decisions to say yes or no to becoming members of sugarcane associations.

Men collect water in Tanzania. Photo by Tim Cronin/CIFOR

“Another approach we take is using scenarios. We try to understand what, for example, an increase or decrease of the sugar price would mean for them: Would they leave or join associations? What would this mean for the adjoining forest? What would it mean for water scarcity or water quality?” Gallagher added.

The project then went a step further, by filming the interviews and creating a documentary, along with other footage. This film was screened at the beginning of September to two communities. The screenings were open to the whole community, and were also attended by the researchers and an invited district officer. The following day a workshop was held with village representatives. Furthermore, the movie was shared in the same week with the investor.

“We engage them all together in a local workshop, in which the video will serve as a means of facilitation. Here we will film their feedback, their reactions, their ideas and any other topics that might surge,” she said.

After this, the team will make a second version of the movie, which will be shown during a national workshop, to which national decision-makers will be invited.

“This way, again, the video will serve as a way to show the voices from the field, as a guide in the facilitation of the national workshop and as a tool to gain empathy and understanding of national decision-makers [about] what it is like to be a smallholder sugarcane farmer.”

Find out more: Gendered dimensions of large-scale and smallholder-inclusive agricultural investments in Tanzania

Gendered or generational restricted access?

In regards to the gender approach in the project, the results have been interesting thus far: In the community of Kitete, farmers tend to have very little land and therefore the whole household works together on the same plot. Therefore, the division between food crops and cash crops is not so clear, nor is the gender division of tasks.

A Tanzanian family stands together for a photograph. Photo by Carol J. Pierce Colfer/CIFOR

Female farmers who were not part of the association were asked whether they felt there was gender-restricted access. However, they said there was more of a youth restriction: Most young farmers do not have land because they have not inherited any. This land scarcity is also the cause of a lot of internal household conflicts in which various children fight for a very small piece of land, and why only very few farmers can buy land, because no one is selling it.

The only valid reason, as the interviewed farmers mentioned, for moving away from sugarcane production would be if prices dropped and thus the return on investment did not make production worth it anymore.

Field visits to suspicious sugarcane farmers

But it has not been as easy as it sounds, according to Gallagher. As always, field visits begin with traditional village introductions, done together with government officials based in the village, the village chairperson and subvillage leaders, partners from the University of Dar es Salaam, and later with a professional filmmaker. Reactions to their presence and the documentary filmmaking proposal have been quite diverse.

In the first village, a longer follow-up explanation was needed to clarify that CIFOR’s intention was not to convince farmers to join big cooperatives, as they had seen done in the past, but purely to understand the context and reasons for day-to-day decisions that the sugarcane farmers make.

“Basically, the context in which we are working here in Tanzania is one of quite some suspicion and mistrust. Farmers have no means to talk directly to large agribusiness and a lot of misinformation is going around. I think if companies had more open communication pathways about their management practices and market strategies, much of the distrust would dissipate,” said Gallagher.

It can be said that the sugarcane market works through associations. “Overall, outside of the associations, there is no market for sugarcane. So unless it is a food crop, farmers need to somehow become a member of an association to sell their product. However, it seems that farmers are trusting the associations more than the government-backed cooperatives, which they have called corrupt and misguiding,” Gallagher added.

Gallagher will be in the field in coming months, shifting her focus toward rice and tea farmers in Tanzania. Gender dimensions in these communities are expected to bring different outcomes.

By Manon Koningstein, FTA Gender Integration Team.  


This project is part of a larger study to examine the local impacts of commercialization across the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). The initiative aims to improve national food security, reduce poverty and support climate-resilient livelihoods through sustainable agricultural growth. In practice, SAGCOT will grow through public-private partnerships to finance agricultural infrastructure, value chain development and various smallholder outgrower schemes in Tanzania. 

The government of Tanzania, private investors and civil society organizations have outlined a commitment to social inclusion and climate-smart development through the SAGCOT Investment Blueprint (2011) and the Green Growth Investment Framework (2013).

However, some consider that these instrumental investment frameworks have overlooked the ways in which they could also serve as an example of the pathways that safeguard women’s access and household food security, while at the same time promoting gender-inclusive green growth. 

Thus the next new phase was entered the research process. This phase, led by Emily Gallagher, aims to contribute to the dialogue by analyzing the social, economic and institutional factors that affect gendered access to these agro-investments and to propose pathways for the government of Tanzania’s socially inclusive vision for SAGCOT. 

It does so through a set of methods and communication instruments for documenting the gender baseline in the initial stages of SAGCOT development. The gender baseline measures the relative level of women’s participation in SACGOT outgrower schemes and how this impacts household food security and gendered distribution of benefits. Furthermore, it aims to provide an opportunity to operationalize the government of Tanzania’s gender inclusive policies through innovative practice.


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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  • FTA cohosts meeting on soil carbon and climate change agenda

FTA cohosts meeting on soil carbon and climate change agenda

Land is cleared for agriculture In the Nebbou area, Burkina Faso. Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Land is cleared for agriculture In the Nebbou area, Burkina Faso. Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) recently cohosted a fruitful meeting along with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) on the topic of soil carbon.

“Soil carbon — the ‘carbon beneath our feet’ — could help mitigate significant greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting food production and adaptation to climate change,” Lini Wollenberg (CCAFS), Christopher Martius (FTA), Keith Shepherd and Rolf Sommer (WLE) emphasized following the webinar.

“As such, soil carbon could be crucial to meeting the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to below 2 degrees and Sustainable Development Goals related to food security and climate. However, we still lack the knowledge needed to sustainably manage soil,” they added, taking into account that carbon sequestration is an important cobenefit to other productive and ecological functions of healthy soils. 

Soil organic carbon (SOC) is a key component of many essential soil functions, including food production, habitats and biodiversity, carbon storage, as well as water storage and filtration. Climate change is also altering the picture.

The global 4p1000 Initiative and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Global Soil Partnership are among current efforts to overcome this knowledge gap.

The webinar aimed to build a common understanding of CGIAR’s current soil carbon research and inform a vision and coordinated agenda. Thirty CGIAR scientists, representing seven CGIAR Centers and six CGIAR Research Programs, exchanged research findings and identified priorities for a future research agenda on soil carbon and climate change.

FTA scientist Tor-Gunnar Vågen presented on soil organic carbon during the recent webinar.

As outlined in CCAFS’ blog following the webinar, future research priorities on soil carbon and climate change can be grouped into five general themes:

  • Quantifying soil carbon sequestration potential,
  • Understanding soil carbon processes,
  • Evaluating the impact of land use and new technical practices,
  • Methods for improved assessment, and
  • Policy and action.

In particular, scientists discussed the role of SOC in landscapes, and the need to estimate SOC across landscapes, while traditional work is by essence based on plot-level measurements.

FTA scientist Tor-Gunnar Vågen of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) cited the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF), which was developed by ICRAF following years of research on land degradation and ecosystem services, as well as CGIAR and FTA’s sentinel landscapes, before highlighting the vital important of context in assessing SOC.

Watch the presentation: On the critical role of SOC in landscapes 

“The scientists will take steps to support coordination of [soil carbon] research across CGIAR Research Programs in ways that make use of our extensive network of field sites and large knowledge base on sustainable agricultural practices, while also recognizing the broader ecosystem functions of soil carbon and seeking to improve understanding of the benefits and trade-offs of soil carbon sequestration,” confirmed Wollenberg, Martius, Shepherd and Sommer.

Moving forward, FTA, CCAFS and WLE will coordinate relevant research by involving different strategies for soil carbon management across all land covers and uses, from cropland to pastures, agroforestry, trees outside forests, and forests, by providing solutions on best practices, management and policy, as well as the measurement of impacts.

The programs will also consider how soil carbon preservation and enhancement objectives can provide important co-benefits to other objectives, such as conserving, rehabilitating or restoring land, and the sustainable intensification of agriculture, for which trees provide an important solution, as FTA work will inform.

By Vincent Gitz, Christopher Martius and Hannah Maddison-Harris.

Related reading: 


This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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  • On the critical role of soil organic carbon in landscapes

On the critical role of soil organic carbon in landscapes

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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Presentation by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) scientist Tor-Gunnar Vågen, who is also part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

On June 19, 30 CGIAR scientists, representing seven CGIAR Centers and six CGIAR Research Programs, exchanged recent research findings and identified priorities for a future research agenda on soil carbon and climate change. The meeting was hosted by the CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

 

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  • Four unexplored big wins in agriculture: tackling climate change through landscape restoration

Four unexplored big wins in agriculture: tackling climate change through landscape restoration

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FTA

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Photo: CIAT

By Georgina Smith, originally published at CIAT’s blog

Four solutions lie in how we farm our food and treat our landscapes: this session aims to throw light on some of the tools that can tackle climate change head-on.

During this session, we call on the audience at the on-going 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Morocco to consider these:

The first big win: trees on agricultural land could sink four times more carbon. Recent studies show that carbon sequestered by trees on agricultural land is not well accounted for. If it was, researchers argue in this study: “Global Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon on Agricultural Land: The contribution of agroforestry to global and national carbon budgets,” total carbon estimates from agricultural land could be more than four times higher than they are.

Yet while carbon stored and sequestered by forests is widely recognized and land cover changes well monitored, carbon stored by trees on agricultural land needs to be measured better. Growing more trees on farm land could be a fast and easy route to increasing carbon sequestration, above and below ground, with a myriad of other benefits.

That entails mapping landscapes to guide decision makers about where to invest in certain management practices over others, and policies that enhance carbon sequestration on agricultural land to benefit farmers and society as a whole.

image-2-trees-on-farms

The second big win is that carbon can be absorbed back into the soil. The stock of carbon in the soil is twice as high as that in the atmosphere. Small changes in soil carbon can have big impact on atmospheric carbon.

This session discusses new research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy, presenting an initiative that could offset all CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning that are not already absorbed by oceans and land.

Data and maps show the most up-to-date soil properties from World Soil Information and Food and Agriculture Organization and illustrate where carbon could be sequestered if practices to enhance soil organic matter were widely adopted.

Since agricultural soils, already managed actively, have lost significant amounts of carbon, they could also re-absorb carbon based on soil type and climate. What’s needed are site-specific tools for decision makers presenting the bigger picture on where soils are degraded, and where to invest to improve soil carbon stocks.

A third big win looks at protecting wetland and peatland ecosystems

These ecosystems contain around 20% of global soil organic carbon stocks. But tropical peat fires are a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, producing transboundary “hazes” impacting human health, regional economies and ecosystems.

Huge opportunities to mitigate climate change lie in protecting these lands. But they are often under threat from commercial and development interests. Combined with contemporary agricultural practices on peatlands – land clearance, burning, drainage and fertilization – these landscapes and the carbon they store are at risk. How can they be climate-proofed?

The fourth big win shows how improving grasslands can provide a triple-climate-win. Brachiaria grasses sequester significant amounts of soil organic carbon – conservative estimates indicate a 2-3 fold higher annual sequestration rate than in other annual cropping systems.

A growing body of research shows that some varieties of brachiaria reduce N2O emissions from soils, a phenomenon known as biological nitrification inhibition. New research also finds 40% more milk and tens of millions of dollars in revenue are possible for African farmers adopting drought resilient brachiaria varieties.

Wider adoption of brachiaria grasses to improve grasslands has a tremendous potential to mitigate climate – especially in sub-Saharan Africa. But further research is needed to investigate commercial-quality seed in Africa, and tackle climate-related challenges like new pests and diseases.

Unexplored big wins for climate change through landscape restoration,” is a side event at the Global Landscape Forum, on Wednesday November 16th, Ourika room, Kenzi Club Agdal Medina, Marrakesh, 11.00 – 12.30. The session is co-hosted by CIAT and the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems. 

For more information and next steps on action read our four briefs:

Big win 1: trees on agricultural land could sink four times more carbon.

Big win 2: Carbon can be absorbed back into the soil

Big win 3: Protecting Wetland and Peatland ecosystems 

Big win 4: improving grasslands


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