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Beyond restoration pledges and climate commitments (Vol. 2, Issue 8)

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As 2018 draws to a close, we are pleased to round out this volume of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s (FTA) newsletters, and to thank you for your continued readership.

In climate change and land restoration, and many other domains related to sustainable development, political pledges are important. But they are only the first step. What matters is action and impact, and how to go beyond these commitments? For this, farmers, foresters, practitioners, value-chain actors and policy-makers need practical solutions. This is what has guided the work of FTA throughout 2018: to build and promote a range of evidence-based, effective options for stakeholders.

In our November highlights, FTA supported the launch of the International Tropical Peatlands Center in Indonesia and organized with CATIE stock-take workshops on the “sentinel landscapes” initiative in Nicaragua-Honduras.

In December, FTA participated in the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn and the COP24 climate conference. Read below to find out about FTA’s contributions to these – from seed and seedling systems to bamboo for restoration and gender equality in climate initiatives.

All the best for the new year.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director

Special feature

Getting landscapes on a fast track to sustainability

imagethumb.jpg The recent GLF in Bonn assembled 1,000 participants on site and thousands more online, to go beyond pledges and commitments and spur collective action on securing a more sustainable future. Participants reiterated that business-as-usual will not get landscapes on the track of sustainability, nor do it broadly and quickly enough to meet critical biodiversity, climate and development goals. Addressing this, delegates from governments, academia, NGOs, the private sector and civil society presented practical strategies and solutions over the two-day event.


Seed diversity vital to achieve landscape restoration pledges

imagethumb.jpgWith countries making significant pledges under the Bonn Challenge to restore degraded land, achieving these objectives at scale requires diverse, adapted and high-quality native tree seeds and planting material – however, as shown by FTA research, the quality and quantity of tree germplasm is not always adequately addressed in restoration projects. Research is now generating solutions to help the global community move from pledges to impact when it comes to tree seeds and seedlings, with a discussion at GLF Bonn bringing these issues to the fore.

Standing tall: Bamboo from restoration to economic development

imagethumb.jpgBamboo provides a durable building material and strong fiber for paper and textiles. Bamboo grows back quickly after being harvested – making it a highly sustainable product to work with. A side event at GLF Bonn addressed how bamboo fits into conversations about land management, land restoration, erosion control and nature-based solutions for development challenges. Strong participation of private sector actors from China showed how restoration and development of value chains go hand in hand with sustainable development.

Gender-blind climate action risks jeopardizing efficiency and long-term sustainability

imagethumb.jpgForested landscapes play a key role in all 1.5 degree pathways modelled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its recent report and also provide many functions critical to adaptation. Failing to address gender equality in forest- and tree-based climate initiatives can have negative implications for gender equity, while also potentially undermining the efficiency and sustainability of climate efforts, according to the COP24 climate talks held recently in Katowice, Poland.

Workshop on social and gender dynamics aims to improve resilience and livelihoods in Ghana

imagethumb.jpgRaising awareness of gender equity and equality is critical for Africa’s future, with workshops like the one held recently in Ghana making an important contribution. The participants expressed a strong interest in learning more about gender equity and equality so that they could integrate the concepts into agricultural and natural resource management. Among other themes, participants engaged in extensive discussions about different perceptions on gender, processes of gender transformation and, thus, societal change.

CATIE presents results on sentinel landscapes in Nicaragua-Honduras

imagethumb.jpgsentinel landscape is a geographic area or set of areas bound by a common issue, in which a broad range of biophysical, social, economic and political data are monitored, collected with consistent methods and interpreted over the long term. As part of the FTA Sentinel Landscapes initiative, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) has coordinated the Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape initiative since 2012, and recently held four workshops for participants from government, academic, productive sectors and NGOs, to present results and advances.

Restoration and sustainable management of forests form a line of defense against global warming

Forests provide a form of ‘natural technology’ that is practical and more cost-effective than alternative carbon removal technologies, which are not yet mature enough for wide application. A recent statement released by the Climate and Land Use Alliance that coincided with the IPCC special report on limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and was signed by 40 prominent environmental scientists, argues that the preservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests is the world’s best hope for limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Peatlands: From marginal lands to essential ecosystem

imagethumb.jpgPeatlands, natural areas of accumulated decayed plant material known as peat, have huge value as carbon sinks, making them key in limiting global warming. Given the importance of peatlands in achieving climate mitigation objectives, preserving them intact and restoring degraded areas is increasingly being recognized as an international issue. The new International Tropical Peatland Center (ITPC) is aiming to become a one-stop shop for countries that encompass tropical peatlands, providing research and knowledge to enable informed decisions on their sustainable management.

Nyamplung’s biofuel potential could support landscape restoration in Indonesia

imagethumb.jpgBiofuel plantations could be central to meeting landscape restoration targets in Indonesia, while also helping the country to meet growing energy demand. Scientists are currently conducting research through a collaborative research project to identify the most promising and productive bioenergy crops suited to degraded and underutilized lands. The research is aiming to demonstrate methods of bioenergy production that do not compete with food production and environmental conservation, but contribute to them.

Special issue looks at forest governance interventions to promote sustainability

imagethumb.jpgIt is widely agreed that effective governance is key to building and securing sustainability in forested areas, but the jury is still out over what that actually looks like. A new special issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (COSUST) contains 19 reviews that aim to assess the degree of effectiveness of the environmental governance strategy that they focus on, including REDD+, protected areas, community forests, concessions, tree plantation, forests under certification, private acquisition of land for conservation, and sustainable intensification.

Does soybean certification help to reduce deforestation?

imagethumb.jpgMuch of the world’s soybean crop is produced in the Amazon and Cerrado ecosystems of Brazil, which each lose between 5 to 10,000 square kilometers of forest each year. Today, 2 to 4 percent of global soy production is certified as responsible, representing a niche market of concerned consumers who are willing to pay more for products guaranteed to be emissions and deforestation-free. Recent research compared seven soy certification schemes in Brazil to assess whether such guarantees actually reduce deforestation.

Interactive map provides tools for corporate accountability and land-use planning in Papua

imagethumb.jpgDue to its remote location and sparse population, Papua, Indonesia, harbors one of the Pacific’s last remaining expanses of pristine tropical forest. However, recent spikes in deforestation rates, accompanied by the expansion of industrial oil palm plantations, are signs that rapid change is on the horizon. Scientists hope the new Papua Atlas, a platform that is due to be launched mid-2019, will show where forest is being cleared on the island and who is responsible for the deforestation.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: P. Valbuena/GLF; M. Edliadi/CIFOR; International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR); M. Edliadi/CIFOR; J. Baxter/ICRAF; CATIE; U. Ifansasti/CIFOR; S. Deni Sasmito/CIFOR; C. Croft-Cusworth/CIFOR; Y. Gutierrez/CIFOR; N. Palmer/CIAT; A. Andrianto/CIFOR.

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Recent publications


Forecasting cocoa yields for 2050


Governing sustainable palm oil supply: Disconnects, complementarities, and antagonisms between state regulations and private standards


Implementing sustainability commitments for palm oil in Indonesia: Governance arrangements of sustainability initiatives involving public and private actors


Does the monitoring of local governance improve transparency? Lessons from three approaches in subnational jurisdictions


Integrating bioenergy and food production on degraded landscapes in Indonesia


Impacts of forestation on water and soils in the Andes: What do we know?


Creating blue carbon opportunities in the maritime archipelago Indonesia


Migration and Forests: People in Motion – Landscapes in Transition


A personal take on forest landscapes restoration in Africa


Ten years of the Global Comparative Study on REDD+

Bamboo for restoration and economic development

Looking at the past to shape the Landscape Approach of the future

Delivery of quality and diverse planting material

Expansion of oil palm plantations into forests appears to be changing local diets in Indonesia


Seeds of Change Conference
April 2-4, 2019
Canberra, Australia

Asia-Pacific Forestry Week
June 17-21, 2019
Incheon, Republic of Korea

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, ICRAF, INBAR and TBI.

FTA thanks all donors who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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