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  • Unlocking The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) at XV World Forestry Congress

Unlocking The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) at XV World Forestry Congress

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Acacia trees being planted in Yangambi - DRC. Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: and
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Daniella Silva

Standardized data is key to increasing investment in global restoration initiatives!

There is growing global support for ecosystem restoration. However, investment is often limited by lack of information on costs and benefits of specific projects across different countries and biomes. The data that is available is fragmented and does not allow cross-comparison.

The Economics for Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) initiative aims to address this gap and to facilitate public and private investment for restoration by using a common framework for collecting data on the costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration, constituting a database and providing the information to users.

This initiative took the spotlight on 2 May 2022 when the Center for International Forestry Research, World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) co-hosted a hybrid event at XV World Forestry Congress (WFC) to raise awareness about TEER and share important updates.

“[Because restoration finance remains insufficient], we need data to demonstrate to investors the benefits provided by restoration,” said Cristophe Besacier, Coordinator for the Forest Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) of FAO. “We need to show investors — both public and private — that the benefits are higher than the costs and that it is important and interesting to invest in this kind of activity.”


The end goal of the TEER is to develop a database that serves as a reference point for governments, international donors, private investors, project managers, scientists and other stakeholders, “helping them prioritize restoration investments in a world of constrained resources,” according to the complementary short paper that was published during the WFC.

Every single dollar invested in restoration can generate USD 7-30 of return, said Alexandre Meybeck, Senior Advisor at CIFOR-ICRAF and FTA. Echoing Besacier, he noted that access to financing is dependent on whether scientists and communities can show their work will have lasting benefits and that their results are replicable.

To do this, FAO, FLRM, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Forest Ecosystem Restoration initiative (FERI) launched TEER together in 2018. From there, the tasks were divided into three working groups: i) FAO developed standardized tools to measure restoration costs, ii) CIFOR-ICRAF developed the module to characterize baseline and context of projects and iii) the World Resources Institute (WRI) developed the module to assess restoration benefits.

TEER is currently working at the project level to collect data from as many initiatives and partners as possible, according to Besacier. The team is providing standardized tools and templates that managers can use to easily record their various costs and benefits. These records are then stored in a global database that tracks trends across different countries and biomes. These data are also linked to an online dashboard designed for project managers to review their current costs and make short and long-term projections about restoration initiatives.

The more data is collected, the more managers will be able to make accurate projections about future initiatives “A typical restoration project might last five years,” said Meybeck, “but the real impact of the project and its benefits could go on increasing 10, 15, 20 years after the end of the project. This is why it is also important to be able to project what’s happening after the end of the project.”

TEER has already completed one phase of this data collection, and these results were presented by Valentina Garavaglia, a research consultant at FAO.  Ninety projects implemented by 61 organizations in 51 countries were selected to test the new framework. Most of these projects were affiliated with UN agencies in Latin America and Africa, but the team is working to include more case studies from the Asia-Pacific region as well. Vincent Gitz, Director of Programs and Platforms and Director of Latin America at CIFOR-ICRAF, emphasized the importance of enlarging TEER’s data collection. He will promote the initiative through the new Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) Partnership, which was launched at WFC. “All restoration projects should collect data on costs and benefits,” he said.

The template for data collection, is now available in Chinese, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish on the FAO website.

Following the background presentations and a lively Q&A with the audience, Fred Stolle, Deputy Director of Forests at WRI, presented on how foundations such as TerraFund could benefit enormously from a global database on the economics of restoration projects. Because there is so much competition for land use, he noted, managers and funding organizations need to really think about where to place trees so that all human and planetary needs are met. “This is where TEER comes in,” he said. “We need to know if results can be replicated and where different approaches work best…this is so important for scalability on the ground.”

TEER can also help make the business case for restoration initiatives, said Benjamin Singer, Senior Forest and Land-Use Specialist at the Green Climate Fund (GCF). As part of their mandate, “GCF can help to de-risk ecosystem initiatives through grants, loans, equity and guarantees that tilt the economics in favour of restoration and away from land conversion,” he said.  However, if project managers are unable to show the costs, benefits and track-record of investments over time, their work is unlikely to attract investors nor to receive funding from carbon credits for instance.

At present, there is a lot of potential for ecosystem restoration initiatives to fetch high prices on the voluntary carbon markets, Singer emphasized, because these projects deliver many other co-benefits that buyers are interested in (e.g. biodiversity, food security and livelihood provision). “If TEER can go that extra step and make the business case, then GCF would be happy to finance some initiatives,” he said.

To capitalize on these opportunities, the developers of TEER hope to see even more partners join in the data collection, noted Garavaglia. A brief poll with the in-person and online audience showed that 94 percent were interested in collaborating with TEER in some capacity. Most attendees were from either government or academic institutions in Asia, while eight percent were from the private sector. “We have already received a lot of interest [in the TEER], and any collaboration with more partners at the global level is very welcome,” she said.



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  • FTA at the World Forestry Congres XV - Join our Side Events!

FTA at the World Forestry Congres XV – Join our Side Events!

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FTA communications

New R4D partnership to launch at XV World Forestry Congress

We are pleased to announce that FTA is launching as a new partnership during XV World Forestry Congress (WFC)!

After a series of high-level talks, a new set of partners is signing a charter document to propel toward the SDGs and further a research agenda on forests, trees and agroforestry. Alongside with the official launch of the new FTA, we are also going to be present with a number of very intersting side events.

Come and join us! Here below are the descriptions of sessions and links to register!

Building a green, healthy and resilient future with forests: the role of forestry research for sustainable development

Tuesday May 3rd / 18:30–20:00 KST / Register here!

Updated agenda and speaker list

Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future with Forests requires strong knowledge to anticipate future changes and shocks and their impacts on ecosystems, economies and livelihoods. Such knowledge also provides a basis for the development of strong systemic and better coordinated policies to prepare for and address these changes. The purpose of this session is to discuss the role of “forest and tree research for development” in building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future. Forests and trees, like never before, are called to play an important role towards many different objectives. It will focus on key insights from a decade of research within former FTA, as well as key insights by IUFRO on current major forest research frontiers.

The session will look into emerging issues, as well as main research and implementation gaps lying ahead of us along the forestry research-to-development spectrum. Specific attention will be devoted to what it takes for science to make an impact, focusing on science for decision processes and the means by which knowledge is constructed with and appropriated by the various categories of actors.

It will be the occasion for partners to launch and present together the new FTA partnership, as a follow-up of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (2011-2021).


The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) initiative

Monday, 2 May 2022 / 18:00–19:30 KST / Register here!

Updated agenda and speaker list

The lack of consistent measurable information on the costs and benefits of ecosystem restoration projects and initiatives hinders local implementation (unclear local costs and local returns) and investments on restoration activities (unclear global goods and ecosystem returns) and therefore restoration is hardly  reaching its potential to contribute to  many of the SDGs and UNFCCC goals. To fill this gap FAO initiated the Economics of Ecosystem Restoration (TEER) initiative with the CGIAR Research program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) led by CIFOR, the World Resource Institute (WRI), and other member organizations of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), including the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD)/ Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI), Bioversity International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Tropenbos International, and WeForest.

The TEER initiative has developed a common protocol to collect standardized data on local and other costs and benefits of restoration projects across countries and biomes. The ultimate objective of the TEER initiative is to constitute a global database that could serve as a reference point for governments, international donors, private investors, project managers, scientists and other stakeholders, for the ex-ante estimation of costs and benefits of future restoration projects in all major biomes and across a wide range of contexts worldwide, based on information from comparable projects on which data has been collected through a standardized framework. The purpose of the event is to present the initiative, and to discuss with potential data providers and users how to foster data collection and the type of TEER products that could be generated by this initiative.

Youth proposals for innovative technologies in the Asia-Pacific forestry sector

Tuesday, 3 May 2022 / 12:30–14:00 KST / Register here!

Updated agenda and speaker list

Young people have shown their capacity to generate and spearhead trans-national mobilization to address environmental challenges such as climate change and advance sustainable development. They are instrumental in shaping a sustainable future including: by taking leadership roles and generating momentum through collaboration and social media, by transforming rigid institutions from within and participating to the uptake and upscale of innovative technologies in the forest sector. This is why FAO and FTA, through an open call for contributions, invited students and young professionals to contribute actively to the roadmap being developed on the use of innovative technologies in forestry and forest management in the Asia-Pacific region, with key recommendations (policy and concrete actions) for their application in sustainable forest management. This exercise resulted in a FAO / FTA co-publication, accessible online, which gathers the best youth contributions.


Promoting green economy growth in natural rubber systems and beyond

Wednesday, 4 May 2022 / 12:30–14:00 KST / Register here!

Updated agenda and speaker list

Natural rubber is a strategic commodity predominantly produced by millions of small farmers that sustains around 40 million people around the globe, with a supply chain worth generating more than 300 billion dollars. Natural rubber is emblematic of the opportunities offered by renewable materials for green economy growth and the benefits they provide for sustainable development. Natural rubber has a key role to play for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change as an important land user, a producer of renewable materials, and as a major economic activity. Growing global demand can cause resource scarcity problems, price volatility and potential to cause instability in many regions. Major business, economic, and societal shifts towards sustainable production and consumption, embracing the circular economy would underlie transition to 1.5 degree pathway. Global production can be safeguarded and sustainably increased on a lasting basis by strengthening climate resilience and can successfully contribute to climate mitigation goals. Widening value addition of natural rubber which goes into more than 5000 end-products will improve livelihoods of small farmers. Adoption of sustainable practices together with the implementation of an efficient traceability system will boost sustainable rubber economy.

This side event aims for an exchange of views on low-carbon green growth for promoting sustainable production and consumption of natural rubber through collaborative partnerships with the involvement of governments, the private sector and international organizations.

Asia-Pacific Forest Sector Outlook: Roadmaps for primary forest conservation and innovative forest technologies

Friday, 6 May 2022 / 12:00–13:30 KST / Register here!

The ‘Third Asia-Pacific Forest Sector Outlook Study’ (APFSOS-III),1 launched in June 2019 at the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week in South Korea, highlighted two important areas of concern for the forest sector in the region: primary forests and forest technologies.

First, of the region’s 723 million hectares of forest, only 19 percent (140 million hectares) is primary, which is much lower than the global average (32 percent), and this share is still declining. The conservation of primary forests and the sustainable management of other naturally regenerated forests are urgently needed to safeguard biodiversity, ecosystem services and the quality and health of the physical environment in the Asia-Pacific region.

Second, it is critical to improve our understanding of the opportunities and challenges for sustainable forest management associated with the application of innovative technologies in the forest sector, including Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), processing technologies, and new wood-based products.

As a follow-up of APFSOS-III, and under the impetus of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC), FAO and CIFOR, lead center of the CGIAR research programme on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), worked two inter-related roadmaps2 for the Asia-Pacific region on: (i) primary forest conservation and (ii) innovative forest technologies, including key recommendations on policy and concrete actions. These roadmaps, informed by science, have been developed through a participative process involving key regional stakeholders and technical experts and include a substantial participation of students and young professionals.

This side-event will present the main findings of these two roadmaps and aim at discussing with stakeholders the key recommendations emerging from this work and how to move forward with implementation.

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  • FTA Highlight No. 14 – Governing Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Delivering on the SDGs

FTA Highlight No. 14 – Governing Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Delivering on the SDGs

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FTA communications

FTA has supported and contributed to positive and constructive changes in the governance of forests, trees and agroforestry in many ways, ranging from informing and orienting discourses at the global level to supporting decision making at the national, subnational and landscape levels.

FTA’s vision is that multifunctional landscapes with trees, agroforestry and forests — managed at the interface of public- and private-sector actors — can support progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and help achieve the aspirations of landscape inhabitants and external stakeholders.

Download the volume! [PDF]
Governance is a dynamic process, and governance decisions in tropical landscapes are about how stakeholders take common decisions on forest, agroforestry, and agricultural land management, on the production of tradable commodities, taking into account environmental services such as water, nutrients and carbon cycle and biodiversity conservation. It is also about how policies are elaborated to improve the enabling environment to enable positive change.

As part of “FTA’s highlights of a decade,” a new series focusing on its main results since being established in 2011, the FTA program is now publishing the volume on Governing forests, trees and agroforestry for delivering on the SDGs.

FTA efforts supported good governance in landscapes through five principles: legitimacy, strategic direction, performance, accountability and fairness.

Contributions to research and innovation and actual impact on good governance have been achieved by FTA at the landscape, subnational, national and supra-national levels.

The elaboration of national policies is a key aspect of governance-related work. FTA has worked to increase understanding of governance issues to effectively interact with and have an impact on policy domains around forests, trees and agroforestry issues. This needs to be drawn on a sound basis of evidence. FTA has heavily contributed to this. For instance, drawing on lessons from ICRAF’s 40 years of agroforestry, a book . A decade of FTA work has contributed to the development of national agroforestry policies in a number of countries, including India, which brought in the world’s first national agroforestry policy.

Landscapes are multistakeholder spaces, characterized by diverse perspectives, interests and goals. More often than not, these interests and goals conflict. Dealing with this requires participatory decision-making processes. This is why FTA’s looked into “landscape democracy” — the operationalization of democratic and good-governance principles in multistakeholder processes at the landscape level.

Constraints to the functioning of landscapes can be addressed only partially at that scale only and often require policy reform at the national and international levels.

Photo Gallery

Good governance needs to operate on top of shared, evidence-based background. This requires specific approaches, methods and tools. Land-use planning is one key domain where it is specially important. FTA’s Land-Use Planning for Multiple Environmental Services (LUMENS) tool started as a method of estimating opportunity costs for REDD+, and is now expanded into a  support tool for  informed and inclusive negotiation over land use.

Green growth policy documents approved and published by provincial governments in Indonesia, facilitated by FTA scientists

Green growth policy documents approved and published by provincial governments in Indonesia, facilitated by FTA scientists

Another example is the ¿Cómo vamos? assessment tool in Peru. Now an official government document, it will be implemented in all management committees of protected areas in the country. FTA also supported the process for establishing agroforestry concessions in Peru, which grant legal title to farmers on the condition that they commit to zero deforestation and engage in agroforestry.

Furthermore, FTA research showed that improving the effectiveness of community-based forest management cannot be achieved by top-down models, and how inclusive, people-centred governance was essential for change on the ground.

Various forest management models

The arrows indicate the direction along which the attribute continues to change. Note that participatory forest management captures both joint management and community management. Source: Duguma et al. 2018a.

In globally traded commodities, global trade, market and value-chain governance play a key role in driving good local governance and practices. For example, for timber, FTA examined the relationship between illegal logging and governance in Africa and Asia. A study of the effect of FLEGT’s Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) on forest governance and community livelihoods underscored the need for measures that reach the actors on the ground; e.g. small-scale timber loggers. Also, FTA examined how the use of Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) has increased trust in interactions between governments and local communities, in the certification of commodities such as palm oil.

Download the publication to find out how future initiatives can build on FTA results to contribute to improved governance and enabling institutional, policy and socioeconomic environments for more effective and efficient natural resource management, more inclusive value chains and landscapes, and to positively affect livelihoods.

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  • Final harvest for the 2021 From Tree to Fork campaign

Final harvest for the 2021 From Tree to Fork campaign

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FTA communications

The From Tree to Fork campaign is wrapping up for the season, and it’s been a fruitful harvest so far. The 18 fruits and vegetables released up until now bring more visibility to the important contributions of tree foods to livelihoods, cultural traditions, food security, nutrition and more.

For example, did you know that Camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) contains 30-60x more vitamin C than the same serving of oranges? Each fruit in the campaign collected trivia like this with engaging infographics and scientist-reviewed facts about some of the most unknown and underutilized fruits and vegetables from trees. Much of this information came from CIFOR-ICRAF databases including the Priority Food Tree and Crop Food Composition Database, the Tree Functional Attributes and Ecological Database and the AgroforesTree Database.

Launched earlier this year, From Tree to Fork is aligned with other important initiatives on the global agenda including the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) — a time to raise awareness for how trees can help make food systems more sustainable and resilient worldwide. This year (2021) also marks the start of the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which has direct links to food trees and agroforestry because people are more likely to restore landscapes with trees that have multiple benefits for human health and well-being.


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A few of the scientists who worked on the campaign also shared their personal experiences with these valuable tree foods.

“As a huge lover of chocolate, I was delighted to discover that ‘chocolate’ could also be made out of a whole different species [Copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum)!” said FTA scientist, Elisabeth Lagneaux. “Try it if you can.”

Michael Brady, a CIFOR principal scientist and leader of FTA’s Flagship 3, has a similarly positive experience associated with Sago, a starch made from the trunk of the Sago palm tree (Metroxylon sagu):

“I did my graduate research in Sumatra and met my wife there,” he said. “During that time, I have many happy memories of eating Pempek, a famous dish made by mixing Sago flour and fish that is eaten throughout the island.”

These colourful images and key messages are also featured as part of a virtual exhibit on FTA’s new Google Arts & Culture page. This display, along with seven other stories on the page, champion the importance of forests, trees and agroforestry to respond to environmental crises. Also, check out the recently released FTA Highlights Volume No. 5 on Food Security and Nutrition to learn more about the work scientists have done on tree foods over the last 10 years.



In 2021 we brought you 18 infographics and more than 50 eCards and key messages on particular tree foods. There are many more underutilized fruits and vegetables that the campaign was not able to cover this year, and we hope to bring you more in 2022. Here’s a taste of what we could serve you…

  1. Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes)
  2. Ungurahui (Oenocarpus bataua)
  3. Monkey orange (Strychnos cocculoids)
  4. Safou (Dacryodes edulis)
  5. Marula (Sclerocarya birrea)
  6. Kiawe (Prosopis pallida)
  7. Wild plumb (Ximenia americana)
  8. Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa)
  9. Cherimoya (Annona cherimola)
  10. Bengal quince (Aegle marmelos)
  11. Abiu (Pouteria caimito)


Enjoy your holidays and make sure you treat yourselves a different fruit every day!


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  • New Open Access E-Learning Course: Gender and Inclusion in Forest Landscape Restoration

New Open Access E-Learning Course: Gender and Inclusion in Forest Landscape Restoration

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FTA communications

The world has set itself important objectives in terms of land restoration, under the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. But restoration should be as much about people as about ecosystems. There is today a growing recognition of the importance of adopting a people-centered approach to restoration, as promoted by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

People-centered approaches mean giving priority to gender and social inclusion in the implementation of global ecological restoration to avoid perpetuating marginalization, inequalities, and environmental degradation. Yet, despite international agreements and national and local commitments, barriers to enhancing equality and inclusion remain and continue to limit the opportunities and wellbeing of women and girls, as well as groups marginalized by ethnicity, socio-economic status, or other factors of discrimination. This also hinders reaching the restoration objectives themselves, and their sustainability.

A common challenge in enhancing gender and social inclusion in the field of forest and landscape restoration (FLR) is the lack of easily accessible, practical learning tools.

To address this FTA has developed an
open access E-learning course for stakeholders
engaged in forest and landscape restoration efforts

The Gender and Inclusion in Forest Landscape Restoration course aims to strengthen the skills and knowledge of FLR stakeholders about policies, approaches, and practices that strengthen integration of gender and social considerations in FLR. The goal is to help course participants find inspiration and practical guidance to contribute towards more gender-responsive FLR to generate equitable and sustainable restoration outcomes.

The e-learning course addresses the needs and priorities, as well as capacity and knowledge gaps, that emerged from an extensive consultation process with multiple restoration stakeholders including NGOs, national governments, research organisations and universities, and grassroots organisations. The course structure, design and functionality address these identified needs and priorities.

The course consists of five modules featuring relevant evidence, case studies, tools and good practices developed by FTA and partners, packaged in an accessible and interactive online learning format.

Each module is a certified training in and of itself, and therefore interested learners have the choice to complete one or more modules. The course is designed to be easily accessible to all: learners have the option to complete it online, off-line or on their mobile phone. Learners will have access to an extensive resource centre to assist with further learning. Each of the modules, which include videos, interactive exercises, and a guide, takes approximately 40 minutes to complete, with the five-module course requiring approximately 3 hours. The learning platform the course is hosted on, which requires participants to register and log in, allows learners to pick up the course where they left off, for a self-paced journey. A certificate of completion is delivered at the end of the full course and of individual modules.

It is hoped that the course will strengthen the capacity and knowledge of a range of actors to achieve more inclusive and equitable restoration initiatives.

Access the Gender and Inclusion in Forest and Landscape Restoration e-Learning course now!

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  • FTA celebrates 10 years of achievements and sets ambitions for the future

FTA celebrates 10 years of achievements and sets ambitions for the future

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FTA communications

The “final” FTA event on Dec. 9 culminated 10 impactful years of research for development; it brought together 338 attendees from over 50 countries to hear about the partnership’s top accomplishments and lessons learned. These successes light the collective path forward into a new decade of continued research and impact.

“This is a springboard,” said Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) Director General, and Director of the first phase of FTA, Robert Nasi. “…We don’t want to stop here, as there is much more work to do in light of the recent COP26, the CBD and the news you see every day. We have a good team; we have a good set of partners. I see no reason why we should stop here.”

To begin the event, lead scientists from FTA’s Flagship programs and managing-partner organizations presented chapters from the FTA Highlights series, which showcases a decade of results, findings and achievements. More than 200 scientists were involved as authors in the highlights series’ 18 volumes. The event was organized around four sections which represent a partition of the highlights volumes.

The full event can be replayed in EN (ES and FR to follow). Download the agenda of the event.


Session #1: Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Biodiversity and Food Systems

The first session was moderated by Linda Collette, member of the Independent Steering Committee of FTA, and showcased volumes two through six of the highlights series. Each of these chapters emphasize research and impactful projects related to tree genetic resources, biodiversity, landscape restoration, food systems and wildlife.

Leading the way, Ramni Jamnadass, FTA’s Flagship 1 Leader and senior scientist at ICRAF, presented on seeds and seedlings (Vol.2). She highlighted the need for diverse, high-quality seeds to sprout successful landscape restoration initiatives that are good for business and for ecosystems. “We have seen soaring tree-planting pledges over the past few years,” she said, “so this is an opportune time to bring up the seeds and to ask where they are coming from. …remember: garbage in, garbage out. Quality in, quality out.”

Read volume 2

Senior researcher at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Barbara Vinceti, similarly reflected the need for diversity in her presentation on conservation of tree biodiversity and forest management (Vol. 3). In light of the ongoing environmental challenges facing the planet, “genetic diversity is a dimension still overlooked, so we need to include it explicitly in forest conservation and management,” she said.

Read volume 3

However, restoring ecosystem services is a difficult topic from a development perspective because it is multi-dimensional and multi-scalar, according to senior CIFOR scientist, Manuel Guariguata. Presenting on forest and landscape restoration (Vol. 4), he summarized FTA’s contributions to research and policy governance. He also celebrated the partnership’s on-the-ground implementation of FLR initiatives, “The restoration agenda is the bread and butter of FTA partners, and we have contributed a lot in this regard” he said. “We also learned a lot. For instance, we learned it is critical to implement FLR through landscape approaches.”

Read volume 4

Next, senior CIFOR scientist Amy Ickowitz showcased tree and agroforestry contributions to food security and nutrition. Ten years of research across Africa, Asia and South America has increasingly proved the links between trees and micro-nutrient-rich diets. “A lot more still needs to be done to have these contributions [from food trees] both better understood and, more importantly, better integrated in national discourses and policy,” said Ickowitz.

Read volume 5

Wild meat is another important, albeit controversial, source of nutrition that comes from forests. World expert and CIFOR senior associate, Julia Fa, has worked with the Bushmeat Research Initiative (BRI) to study how wild meat consumption impacts the environment, contributes to food security and impacts human health through its association with zoonotic diseases. She and her team have worked in more than 40 countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia. “We’re very proud of what we’ve done in the last 10 years, and based on this, there is now an agenda to translate research to action, to link implementation and further learning and to ensure that wild meat is sustainably sourced and harvested,” said Fa.

Read volume 6

Session #2 – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Livelihoods

The second session was moderated by René Boot, member of the FTA ISC and Director of Tropenbos International; it centred on the highlights’ volumes seven through nine plus 15. These chapters reveal how FTA and its partners have worked to improve well-being and generate income through trees for people in developing areas.

For example, FTA Management Team member and CATIE senior scientist, Eduardo Somarriba, discussed how Trees on Farms (ToF), can generate income for farmers while also providing valuable ecosystem services. He especially focused on a case from Honduras where trees have been planted as “live fences” to facilitate rotational livestock grazing. “It is possible to increase innovation with trees on farms, but we need solid science to convince farmers, land-use planners and policymakers,” he said. “You need a lot of communication, facilitation and to show good financial performance.”

Read volume 7 (COMING SOON)

Sustainable timber harvesting for bioenergy is another way that trees can act as engines for sustainable development. INBAR representative, Li Yanxia, discussed how a wood-based circular bioeconomy could benefit local communities and global economies while reducing the ecological footprint of deforestation. “Efforts should not only invest in building natural capital,” she said. “Attention should also be directed towards building human capacity and understanding the social dimensions of the wood value chains through forest tenure systems, etc.”

Read volume 8 (COMING SOON)

Transitioning to a circular bioeconomy will require context-specific approaches that work at scale. In his presentation, CIFOR-ICRAF chief scientist and FTA Flagship 2 Leader Fergus Sinclair specifically promoted FTA’s work on Options by Context (OxC), a set of performance metrics that allow farmers and researchers to identify the best options for agricultural development and land restoration in their local areas. He also spotlighted the recent launch of the Agroecology Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) that FTA incubated, and which brings together people from around the world to discuss sustainable food systems transitions. “There are multiple transition pathways depending on local contexts and partnerships; this is what allows us to scale up sustainably.”

Read volume 9 (COMING SOON)

None of this work is possible without financial support and increased investment in sustainable forest and tree-based commodities. Presenting the FTA Highlight Volume 10 on sustainable value chains, finance and investment in forestry & tree commodities, Michael Brady, FTA’s Flagship 3 Leader, outlined three core research areas for sustainable value chains: institutional arrangements, business models for smallholders and SMEs and responsible finance among financial service providers. He noted that research this decade has especially focused on sustainable certification systems for agro-commodities such as timber, rubber, shea, oil palm and cocoa. “This particular topic very much requires a systems approach looking at institutional, environmental and socioeconomic elements,” he said. “None of these can be really ignored when you consider value chains, finance and investment.”

Read volume 10

Cross-cutting all of FTA’s work on livelihoods is the need to advance gender equality and social inclusion. FTA’s Gender coordinator and senior researcher at The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Marlène Elias outlined FTA’s Theory of Change, which places inclusion at the heart of the organization’s structure and encourages research done specifically with a gender and social inclusion lens. The goal is for women and other marginalized groups to share equal rights, access and tenure to forest and tree-based landscapes. “What we’ve shown in this work is not only that gender inequality can hinder efforts to achieve positive environmental outcomes but also how policies and interventions that focus on the environment can advance gender equality,” she said.

Read volume 15

Session #3 – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Climate change and the SDGs

The third session of the event focused on how FTA’s research aligns with the SDGs and contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moderated by Florencia Montagnini, member of FTA’s ISC, the presenters spoke on volumes 11-14 of the highlights series.

Starting off, Christopher Martius, CIFOR senior scientist and Flagship 5 Leader, offered several examples from FTA’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+. This work has helped governments set target emissions levels and to implement monitoring systems to track progress. While celebrating the work that was achieved over the past 10 years, Martius reminded the audience that long-term changes take time: “Oftentimes projects have a lot of high expectations,” he said. “In a 10-year program such as this, you will start seeing results, but it takes a lot of time to effectuate these changes in really complex policy environments.”

Read volume 11 

It is well-known that forests and trees act as carbon sinks and ecosystem service providers. The mitigation agenda has often hidden a crucial adaptation agenda for forests and trees. FTA has worked to shift paradigms towards the key role of forests and trees for adaptation of various sectors.  FTA’s approach also looks at how social and ecological systems can work together and adapt to climate change, according to senior CIFOR scientist Alexandre Meybeck. “You need to have research embedded in implementation,” he said. “We need normal interactions between actors on the ground and scientists to support them in creating the new systems for the future.”

Read volume 12 (COMING SOON)

In order to facilitate mutually-beneficial relationships between humans and ecosystems, FTA promotes a multifunctional landscapes approach that uses careful resource planning and implementation to generate more sustainable futures. Scientist at ICRAF, Lalisa Duguma, presented on how the organization has begun implementing these approaches in the humid tropics, managing trade-offs and synergies across multiple project sites. “We can’t solve all the problems at once, but they all need to be confronted in a way” he said. “There is a need for multiple projects to complement one another to achieve multi-functional landscapes. …for this, we need an articulated portfolio of research and action on the ground.”

Read volume 13 (COMING SOON)

Beyond on-the-ground approaches, FTA works with governments to build policies that harmonize human development with nature. Senior ICRAF scientist Beria Leimona spoke about how this work has involved advocating for multi-stakeholder forums (MSFs), supporting community forestry initiatives and lobbying for fair government policies. “The rich portfolios of local, national and international work, and the theories of change that FTA has developed, can support good governance principles being synergised across scales,” she said.

Session #4 – Results and impact

During the fourth session of presentations, led by Management Team member and CIRAD senior scientist Plinio Sist, scientists gave more details about how FTA measures its results and impact across scales.

Andrew Wardell began with a presentation on how FTA facilitates long-term capacity development. For example, his team collated data from the decade to track impacts and found there have been almost 80,000 downloads of the climate change tools that have been developed by FTA Flagship 5. Another example of capacity development includes the work done with the University of Kisangani, DRC, to train graduate students in forestry science and development. Already, the program has over 200 local students and graduates who will hopefully continue to work in the tropical rainforests of DRC. In the future, Wardell believes “there is a need to strengthen education systems and capacities in the global south, rather than relying on masters and PhD students from the global north. …This needs to be accompanied by monitoring and evaluation systems that look at the capacity development functions, including through ex post impact studies.”

Read volume 16 (COMING SOON)

In addition to capacity development, research for impact requires monitoring, evaluation, learning and impact assessment (MELIA). “Evolving research for development approaches require evolution in how we conceptualize and assess research,” said Brian Belcher, senior researcher at Royal Roads University. “How do we know that we’re doing the right thing? How do we know that we’re being effective?” To answer these questions, FTA has developed and applied an innovative approach based on integrative, challenge-driven Theories of Change and an organizing framework. These tools allow FTA to conduct qualitative assessments of some of the impacts of the program at scale and on key development objectives. Impact of FTA research overall has been substantial, it is estimated that FTA’s work has:

  • Brought between 1.8–34.4 million ha of land under
  • Provided between 5.1–19 million people with better means to exit poverty.
  • Brought 25.7–133.4 million ha of forests under enhanced protection. This represents up to 125.4 Gt of sequestered carbon dioxide.
  • Brought 59.5–204 million ha of land under better management via improved policy, monitoring and management practices.
  • Provided 1.12–3.43 million people with additional means to improve food and nutritional security.

Read volume 17

Following each set of presentations, the audience was asked through a poll whether they thought more implementation or more research was needed going forward. Although there was some debate, it is interesting that most poll respondents chose “more implementation.” The scientists agreed that implementation is now urgent, however, the relationship between research and implementation cannot be easily divided. “Do we need more research or implementation?,” said Meybeck. “We need a greater understanding of the relations between the two. We need more implementation of research and more research on implementation.”

Final discussion on the future of FTA

The closing panel brought together five distinguished speakers to discuss partnerships and new directions going forward. When moderator and FTA Director, Vincent Gitz, asked how organizations like FTA should work with actors in the global south going forward, Chairperson of the Independent Steering Committee of FTA, Anne-Marie Izac said, “Great focus on the role of partnerships is the very raison-d’être of FTA. …We have a relatively clear path ahead of us in terms of scaling up to build on local partneships… and I’m extremely hopeful.”

Sist (CIRAD) agreed that after 10 years and looking forward to a new FTA, we should put emphasis on strengthening our connection with society and with other actors in the field: “Our resources must breach the broader society if we want to catalyse large-scale changes that address climate change and other global challenges” he said.

Bas Louman from Tropenbos International, an organization that joined the set of FTA managing partners in 2017, also spoke on the value of an integrated, research-for-development approach for the new FTA, from upstream research to downstream, and back. “In spite of so much money being dedicated to climate, very little of that money is dedicated to research,” he said. “People just spend money and start implementing without really taking the time to think about what they’re doing. We need to help the word correct for that, to continue learning at the same time action is being made on the ground.”

To combat this trend, Li Xuejiao Deputy Director of the Division of International Cooperation at the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) upheld the importance of ongoing South-South collaboration in the coming decade. “Research plays a very important role in terms of putting items on the agenda in the first place,” she said. Li pointed to ongoing networking opportunities for Chinese organizations through the FTA network.

Similarly, Erich Schaitza, Director General of Brazil’s Embrapa Florestas, praised the networking potential of FTA: “We have to have innovation to promote wealth sustainably,” he said. “Initiatives like FTA are incredibly important to us.”

In closing, Vincent Gitz, Director of FTA, called on the audience to remain hopeful about future progress and to work together to achieve goals. He said, “Often it is difficult to see the magnitude, increment and annual changes in the work we live in. But when we look back 10 years, we see the huge magnitude on how some things have changed and evolved, on the progress made for our planetary environment and people. Not all is solved of course, but it gives us hope that we can be effective for the future… And as the famous proverb says, ‘if we want to go far, we have to go together.’”

Stay tuned for the next decade of FTA, and a special thanks to all the scientists and partners who have made these past 10 years possible.

All the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations are now available below


This article was written by Daniella Silva.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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 ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • Toward a gender-responsive post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

Toward a gender-responsive post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

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As we progress towards establishing a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and approach the halfway mark to the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the social and developmental aspects related to global biodiversity and climate challenges are ever more apparent. Gender dimensions are central to understanding and effectively responding to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. With a draft Gender Plan of Action proposed for consideration by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) alongside the post-2020 framework, it is an opportune time to bring attention and resources to ensuring a gender responsive approach to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the utilization of genetic resources.

In the lead up to COP 15, experts from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, have prepared some guidance on gender and inclusion to support the finalization of the Gender Plan of Action by COP 15, and its implementation in the coming years.  An infographic and accompanying brief have been developed to assist Parties and stakeholders engaged in natural resource management, providing an overview of linkages and practical strategies to address pervasive gender inequalities related to the use and conservation of biodiversity.

Informed by the knowledge and experience of diverse stakeholders, the work harnesses ideas and action plans detailed in Addressing Gender Issues and Actions in Biodiversity Objectives – a prominent CBD guide aimed at policymakers and other biodiversity stakeholders – as well as the report Towards a Gender-Responsive Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, published by the CBD Secretariat in advance of COP14, and to which FTA also contributed. These documents emphasise how resolving the challenge of social exclusion is critical for meeting local and global commitments related to restoration, biodiversity and climate change.

Download the Brief!

Highlighting the link between social identities and discrimination, the infographic and brief demonstrate how multiple intersecting identities (such as age, ethnicity, gender, marital status) have both a direct and indirect influence on the way individuals and groups are recognised, governed and, often, marginalised and discriminated against. Critically, these pieces also demonstrate how intersecting identities define roles, responsibilities and relationships with regard to natural resources and biodiversity restoration and conservation. They highlight the undervalued yet critical role that rural women and girls, Indigenous peoples, and other groups that experience systemic discrimination, play in biodiversity and natural resource management. Accelerating progress towards gender equality and CBD objectives thus requires the recognition of women and Indigenous groups as legitimate players in the use, management, restoration and conservation of biodiversity. It also requires recognizing women, girls and Indigenous peoples as agents of change, and honouring their priorities and capacities.

Enhancing gender equality and social inclusion cannot be achieved without addressing the barriers that exclude social groups, including women and girls, from accessing and controlling land and natural resources, as well as services, such as formal education, finance and information systems, that allow them to manage these resources sustainably and equitably. It further necessitates a fair distribution of biodiversity benefits and costs; the development of safeguards protecting the claims and decision-making powers of rightsholders; the integration of gender-specific knowledge; and the promotion of gender parity and an inclusive environment in national decision-making processes.

Download the Infographics!

As the infographic and brief demonstrate, transforming deep-rooted gender inequalities can support the sustainable use, management, and conservation of biodiversity, and contribute to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use. COP15 provides a critical opportunity to integrate these considerations into the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and ensure that clear directions are put forward for progress in the new Gender Plan of Action. As we move into the implementation of the Framework, concrete actions to address gender inequalities are needed on multiple fronts to contribute to real gains for all people and for the planet.

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  • Gender inequality hindering progress towards Rio Convention goals

Gender inequality hindering progress towards Rio Convention goals

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Nature-based solutions can play a crucial role in solving the interconnected crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation – but their full potential will only be fulfilled if they are designed to address gender inequality.

That was the main takeaway from a new paper published by the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), one of FTA’s managing partners.

Land use decisions can generate synergies to address issues such as climate and biodiversity at the same time, the paper finds, and these decisions are influenced by social dynamics such as gender relations, which affect how the benefits of nature-based solutions are distributed within and across households, communities, and beyond.

To maximize these synergies and an equitable distribution of benefits, the paper calls for gender-responsive approaches that address the priorities and concerns of women and other marginalized groups, enhance their capacities, and facilitate their involvement in land use decision-making.

Three steps toward more equitable land use

“If we ignore power relations around who captures the benefits and plan interventions without thinking carefully about how resources are allocated and who participates, we run the risk of elite capture,” says Marlène Elias, the lead author of the paper. “It’s important to carry out a careful analysis of tenure and power relations among community members to prevent this elite capture.”

The first step toward addressing these inequities is to recognize the legitimate stakes, claims, and rights that different groups, such as rural women and men of different ages, socio-economic status, ethnicity, etc., have in/to restoration.

Once these groups have been recognized, it follows that they should have a voice in key decisions that affect them through their effective representation and participation in environmental management initiatives. Initiatives should safeguard their rights through measures such as grievance mechanisms and free, prior and informed consent.

Finally, practitioners must ensure that the costs and benefits of an initiative are equitably distributed. Costs may include labor, management and transaction costs, while benefits may be either direct, such as payments for planting trees, or indirect, such as those derived from ecosystem services.

“For example, if you’re not looking carefully at how labor is allocated within households, then women with land management and agricultural responsibilities could end up putting in labor without benefiting from it,” Elias explains.

“The benefits might instead be directed to heads of household, who tend to be predominantly men in most of the contexts we work in.”

Designing equitable nature-based solutions

Nature-based approaches are not inherently equitable – and they must be intentionally designed with gender and inclusion issues in mind, the authors emphasize.

For instance, collaborative forest management (CFM) can promote synergies by promoting forest conservation and restoration, combating biodiversity loss, deforestation and land degradation, and sequestering carbon at the same time. However, CFM can create these synergies even more effectively if it also enhances gender equality, such as by increasing women’s influence over forest management decisions and improving their access to forest resources. The paper cites several studies showing that women’s participation in forest management can be positively linked with both forest growth and carbon sequestration, with mixed-gender groups being linked with greater community compliance with rules on resource use.

Existing social hierarchies and norms often prevent marginalized groups from participating in and benefiting from CFM. Hence, approaches such as Adaptive Collaborative Management – a collective problem-solving approach – have been developed to address these exclusions by recognizing women and other marginalized groups as key stakeholders in forest management. Practitioners can improve the representation and participation of these groups in CFM by harnessing their unique knowledge and expertise, the authors suggest.

Another notable example is the U.N.’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative, which aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon through forest restoration and reforestation. REDD+, which FTA has covered extensively as part of its flagship research on climate mitigation and adaptation, rewards individuals financially for conserving and sustainably using forests based on verified emissions reductions, and creates synergies by simultaneously combating climate change, deforestation, forest degradation and biodiversity loss, while also contributing to socioeconomic development.

Gender-responsive REDD+ can further improve these outcomes by incentivizing women and other marginalized groups to support, conservation, restoration and reforestation efforts. It must recognize that such groups will be disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change on the one hand, but that they are also valuable agents of change in climate action on the other hand.

Yet recognition is not enough to ensure that the benefits of REDD+ are equitably distributed. Formal measures such as secure land tenure rights are crucial to enabling women to benefit from these scheme, as women’s rights to land and other natural resources are often mediated by male relatives.

Download the publication [PDF]
There may also be trade-offs between climate mitigation and gender equality goals. The authors cite an example in Burkina Faso where parklands dominated by indigenous trees can significantly benefit women’s livelihoods but are not as effective at sequestering carbon as exotic tree monocultures, which are usually cultivated by men. Practitioners must assess the potential impacts of REDD+ on men’s and women’s livelihoods to determine how best to reconcile these trade-offs, the paper finds.

“The cases demonstrate that we should not assume that women’s representation in environmental initiatives alone will result in more equitable decision making and benefits,” the paper concludes.

“Gender-responsive policy will need to safeguard the rights of women and marginalized groups, strengthen their capacities to exercise leadership and influence environmental agendas, and ensure that they reap the benefits, and not only the costs and burdens, of environmental change.”


Sign up for the newly released eLearning course on Gender and Inclusion in Forest and Landscape Restoration

Read more on FTA’s research on gender:

This article was written by Ming Chun Tang.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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 ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • FTA seminar on 6 Sept 2021 to assess the pandemic’s impacts on ecosystems, forests and agroforestry-based livelihoods

FTA seminar on 6 Sept 2021 to assess the pandemic’s impacts on ecosystems, forests and agroforestry-based livelihoods

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FTA initiative “COVID-19 Rapid Research Response” reveals range of consequences

In March 2020, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) launched a “COVID-19 Rapid Research Response” to better understand and assess the main impacts of COVID-19 and of pandemic response measures across the board, aiming at developing ways to build new resilience to the unprecedented. Detailed results of these studies were presented in a special seminar on the 6th of September.

This first set of FTA studies (some published, others yet to be released) looked at diverse forests, trees and agroforestry sectors and value chains across three continents. They focused on diverse value chains (from shea, to wood fuel), passing by wild animal farms, small community forest enterprises, agroforestry in central America, and on ley landscapes (India, Indonesia Papua …).

Undoubtedly, with all the restrictions being imposed as health measures, COVID-19 disrupted agricultural value chains with obvious negative consequences for farmers. However, during the seminar lead FTA scientists indicated that findings defied a unilateral narrative. Whilst limited mobility reduced trade and created shortages within the value chains, it also induced a lower demand for products (e.g. charcoal) as households shifted habits to adapt to the new conditions. Researchers noted that in the areas where sustainable forestry and agroforestry systems were in place, households had greater opportunities to build resilience.

Still, as the pandemic restrictions extended over time, significant lower incomes have been hard to cope with. Livelihoods of farmers heavily dependent on the shea nut farming value chain, were among those hit hard by the pandemic. Despite former gains, poverty increased, especially among the millions of women who generate income from the shea oil, which is used in cooking, cosmetics and chocolate, reported Andrew Wardell, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), an expert on the shea trade.

“Pandemic restrictions on movement caused a reduction in global demand due to delayed shipping,” Wardell said. “Women’s groups recorded increased levels of indebtedness as others ended up abandoning the sector.”

Historically central to all aspects of the shea nut industry, some 16 to 18 million women across sub-Saharan Africa not only tend the trees that can be hundreds of years old, but they gather the nuts, shelling and grinding them into butter before selling them at market.

“During the pandemic, collection areas were burned by charcoal sellers who culled the trees, destroying natural vegetation and eliminating the source of income upon which women depended,” Wardell said. “On the other hand, increasing international demand for shea butter in cosmetics and chocolate led to higher sales, as new markets and value chains for non-timber products emerged,” he added.

In Cameroon, the pandemic disrupted businesses reliant on non-timber forest products when movement restrictions cut opportunities to meet new clients through marketing, a situation that drove many business entities to reduce their workforce, said Serge Mandiefe Piabuo, a junior scientist at CIFOR-ICRAF. Unemployment triggered a trend in urban-to-rural migration as life became tougher in cities.

To some extent, these disruptions were mirrored in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the wood fuel value chain was affected, leading to a mixed impact on forest ecosystems, according to researchers studying the charcoal trade around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve.

The team led by Jolien Schure, a CIFOR-ICRAF associate scientist, found that the charcoal trade was curtailed due to reduced transportation capacity around the Congo River. This led to some sellers abandoning the charcoal trade and increased costs, which were exacerbated by a drop in charcoal production.

The main charcoal clientele, which is based in the city of Kisangani, cut down on cooking, with potential negative nutritional effects, she said. The negative effects on charcoal producers were unfortunately not mitigated by financial support through government subsidies due to the informal nature of the sector.

“In some areas, idle school children who were locked out of school as part of the containment measures joined the charcoal production with ad-hoc production disrupting sustainable practices which include taking note of future tree stocks,” she said.


In the Central American countries of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, vegetable producers were also affected by limits placed on transportation. Local agro-food supply chains were largely disrupted, with reduced market availability leading to higher prices and lower sales. Farmers diversified their produce to meet changing demand, said Adriana Escobedo, a scientist with CIFOR-ICRAF, who researched the impact of the pandemic on agroforestry in the two countries. The study indicated an increased preference of consumers to buy from the local fresh food markets, a critical market opportunity that created an unexpected opportunity for local dealers.

The introduction of face coverings to stop the spread of the virus – particularly single use, disposable masks — added to environmental pollution, according to Lalisa Duguma, CIFOR -ICRAF scientist on Sustainable Landscapes who recently published a review of 327 papers on the effects of Covid 19 pandemic on agroecosystems. The study maps the findings and potential consequences across multiple sectors (e.g. agriculture, forestry, wildlife, fisheries, water resources, etc.) and the related socio-economic services (e.g. food, energy, health, income, etc.)

Often conditions worsened; for example, due to fewer conservation staff, forest ecosystems in various cases were more exposed to illegal exploitation.

“Forest ecosystems were made more vulnerable as many encroachers operated at will due to a reduction in the number of forest guards and rangers, allowing poachers to take advantage, Duguma said.

On the other hand, some natural areas flourished, because of limited human movement with fewer visits to parklands.


In India and Indonesia, household farming income was hard hit, particularly in urban areas where the second wave of the virus was extremely disruptive. Villages proved more resilient, mainly aided by the immediate availability of food from trees, according to Karl Hughes, an impact evaluation specialist at ICRAF.

In West Papua New Guinea, where the pandemic disrupted the food value chain by up to 50 percent, many dealers in agriculture products were left seeking financial bailouts to sustain their businesses, reported Mulia Nurhasan, food and nutrition scientist at CIFOR.


In Peru, researchers were informed of lower harvests from coffee and potato farmers, mainly due to climate change, although they also confronted pandemic-related distribution challenges due to high costs and scarcity of transportation. Lower incomes forced many of them to sell assets, with long-term negative effects. Scientists also found that the vast majority of the farmers consulted planned to incorporate new food crops for household consumption.

The Vietnamese wildlife industry also faced significant disruptions due to lack of visitors and reduced revenues. Some wildlife park owners had to sell their operations due to financial losses, according to Pham Thu Thuy, a senior CIFOR-ICRAF scientist. Diversification was key for those businesses that survived, she added.

All presentations from the event and published articles are available here below.




  1. A Perfect Storm? Impacts of insecurity and COVID-19 on shea supply chains in Burkina Faso
    Dr. D. Andrew Wardell, Aicha Tapsoba, Mathurin Zida and Marlene Elias
  2. Effect of COVID-19 on rural community enterprises: Case of community forest enterprises in Cameroon
    Piabuo SM, Tsafack S, Minang PA, Foundjem-Tita D, Guimke G, Duguma L
  3. Study on impact of COVID-19 on woodfuel value chains in the DRC
    Jolien Schure , Lwanga Kasereka-Muvatsi, Paolo O Cerutti and Phosiso Sola
  4. Market opportunities and impacts of COVID19 on short supply chains of agroforestry products in Nicaragua and Costa Rica
    Adriana Escobedo, M.Sc. /MBA
  5. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Agroecosystems Resilience: Insights based on a review
    Lalisa A. Duguma, Meine van Noordwijk, Peter A. Minang and Kennedy Muthee
  6. Can restoration of the commons foster resilience? Comparing COVID-19 induced livelihood impacts and coping strategies among villages targeted and not targeted by a largescale common land restoration program in three Indian states
    Hughes K
  7. Impact of Covid-19 on food value chains in West Papua Province, Indonesia
    Mulia Nurhasan, Ferdinandus Hurulean, Desy Leo Ariesta, Agus Muhamad Maulana, Muhammad Hariyadi Setiawan, Charlie Danny Heatubun, Heru Komarudin and Amy Ickowitz
  8. Effects of health crises and quarantine on coffee and potato farmers in Peru: short and medium trend dynamics through a panel data base
    Ricardo Vargas & Valentina Robiglio
  9. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agri-food value chains: Fractures, responses and opportunities for building back better
    Dietmar Stoian, Paswel Marenya, Jason Donovan & Gabija Pamerneckyte
  10. COVID impacts on wildlife farms in Vietnam
    Pham Thu Thuy , Tang Thi Kim Hong, Nguyen Thi Kieu Nuong, Dang Hai Phuong, Hoang Tuan Long, Tran Ngoc My Hoa, Nguyen Thi Thuy Anh, Nguyen Thi Van Anh
  11. FTA Rapid Research Response on Covid 19Vincent Gitz, Director FTA


This article was written by Edwin Okoth.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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 ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • New partnership with Google Arts & Culture brings more visibility to trees

New partnership with Google Arts & Culture brings more visibility to trees

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Eight stunning digital exhibits to reduce humans’ “plant blindness” surrounding forests, trees and agroforestry

Forests and trees are allies in the fight to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, but it is not always easy to see their contributions to livelihoods, ecosystems, food security and nutrition. On Dec. 9, FTA launches its partnership with Google Arts & Culture to bring audiences eight visually-engaging exhibits for forests, trees and agroforestry. The prestigious collaboration makes 10 years of forest-based research and impact more accessible to global audiences.

“As scientists, we were pleased to create exhibits with Google Arts & Culture, a new way to bring our important message to global audiences: trees are drivers of sustainable development,” said FTA Director, Vincent Gitz, “they are the cornerstone of our future.”

This work forms part of a larger Google collaboration with over 60 international organizations. Together, the partners aim to reduce “plant blindness” — the tendency for people to have difficulty empathizing with plants and the environment at risk.

Explore these eight exhibits from FTA and its strategic partners, featuring compelling images, Google Streetview, videos, key messages and infographics and find out more about our research!

A Global Partnership for Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Learn more about FTA and the scope of its international work!

Access the story of FTA here!

The Forest Transition Curve

Explore the relationship between trees, humans and ecosystem services over time.

Learn about the Forest Transition Curve!

Trees on Farms

Find out how planting trees on farms (agroforestry) makes good business sense while also contributing to healthy ecosystems and food security and nutrition.

Read about the benefits of adding trees to farms!

Forest Landscape Restoration

Learn more about the 6 principles of FLR and the top 7 tree-planting misconceptions!

Did you know there are many ways to achieve FLR?

FTA Highlights of a Decade: From research to impact

This exhibit showcases FTA’s achievements over the past 10 years.

Access 10 years of research in a nutshell!

From Tree to Fork

Did you know that trees and forests are the key to the world’s future food security and nutrition? Learn more about how trees provide healthy foods, cultural traditions and jobs to people everywhere.

How many of these fruits have you tasted?

Ingenious Innovations

The tree sector is often perceived to be a low-tech world… time to change your opinions! Read up on these top 11 innovations that FTA and its partners have developed.

Innovations are at the core of forestry!

Roleplaying Agroecology

Play along as a smallholder farmer, policy maker and palm-oil plantation manager to learn more about the difficult decisions that we all need to make to protect our planet. What choices will you make?

Play along with us!


The full Google campaign with 60+ partner pages and curated exhibits will be released early next year, sensitizing more people to the vital role of trees for climate adaptation, biodiversity, food security and nutrition. Stay tuned for more!

This article was written by Daniella Silva.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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 ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • FTA Highlight No. 10 – Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities

FTA Highlight No. 10 – Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities

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Analysis shows that between 2012 and 2019 the estimated volume of global trade in key forest commodities (oil palm, soy, cocoa, rubber, coffee and timber) has grown significantly. This production growth has put increasing pressure on forests, across landscapes in the tropics and subtropics of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, leading to multiple environmental challenges linked to losses in forest cover and biodiversity.

The growth in the trade of commodities also presents social challenges, including threats to local food and nutrition security and tenure rights and to the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

For a decade FTA’s research has focused on supporting transitions to more sustainable and inclusive value chains, finance and business models for these commodities in order to meet growing global demands for food, feed and fibre from sustainable sources.

Download the volume! [PDF]
Within the context of the new series of highlights from 2011 to 2021, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is now publishing the volume on Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities.

Annually, billions of dollars flow into rural landscapes worldwide. However, many investments fail to address a number of important goals of the inhabitants of these landscapes. FTA’s research links the impacts of global trade and investments to state- and market-driven responses in order to address their socio-environmental impacts from the subnational to the global level.

FTA has worked to address these themes over 10 years, providing critical results and improvements. FTA’s Flagship Program 3 on value chains and business models addresses three main themes:

  • which policy arrangements have the most potential for enhancing sustainability and social inclusivity in the value chain?
  • what support is needed to involve smallholders and SMEs in ways that are economically viable, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable?
  • what mechanisms could promote more widespread adoption of responsible finance that improves sustainability and supports smallholders’ access to finance?

FTA’s efforts in the forestry sector and with tropical commodities such as coffee, cocoa and bananas have been at the forefront of certification and sustainability initiatives. In Indonesia extensive engagement with national and provincial authorities supported smallholders to meet the new challenge of timber legality accreditation through collective action.

Extensive FTA research has also contributed to improved policies and practices that support environmentally conscious and socially inclusive palm oil value chains. FTA researchers have also analyzed Fairtrade coffee value chains and their gendered dimensions.

Efforts increasingly aim to de-link deforestation from supply chains and to achieve zero deforestation. FTA research has shown, however, that commitments to zero deforestation should not be considered in isolation from the wider processes of forest degradation.

The growth in the trade of agricultural commodities is also linked to rising carbon emissions. FTA’s work over the past decade also helps to achieve broader objectives of low-emissions development and climate change mitigation and adaptation in production landscapes.

Private initiatives implemented at the supply chain level alone are insufficient — public and private arrangements that involve supply chains and landscape goals are needed. FTA research has used the Landscape Assessment of Financial Flows to assess how private-sector investments can contribute to income generation and resilient landscapes.

Landscape analysis of financial flows, Gunung Tarak landscape, Indonesia

The complexity of the governance of supply chains in the palm oil sector has led to multiple approaches to implement sustainability initiatives that also relate to how supply chains are structured. Numerous publications produced by FTA contributed to putting the domestic timber sector on the political agenda of many producer countries and the European Commission.

During the past decade, the emphasis of FTA analyses has shifted to embracing different types of suppliers — from smallholders to large-scale loggers and farmers. FTA research on value chains focuses on the inclusion of smallholders and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the landscape scale. Public-private initiatives are also engaging with processes for reform.

Future strategic initiatives will need to strengthen partner capacities in developing countries to co-design and deliver evidence-based solutions to address supply chain and investment constraints.

Download the report to find out how future initiatives can build on FTA results and work in ways that ensure sustainable and inclusive value chains and support climate change mitigation and adaptation in production landscapes.

Published volumes until today include:

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  • FTA Highlights Series Launched at GLF Climate/COP26

FTA Highlights Series Launched at GLF Climate/COP26

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Keynote speakers presented on 6 of FTA’s core work domains and how 10 years of research have translated into concrete impact

The first year of the U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration also marks the completion of a 10-year cycle for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). To celebrate, FTA announced its new series, “FTA Highlights of a Decade, 2011-2021,” during a side event of GLF Climate: Forests, food, finance – Frontiers of Change. The webinar spotlighted FTA’s past achievements and underlined the critical importance of FTA’s research for the future.

“We are very pleased to present our results from the last 10 years, showing the impact that research can have,” said Robert Nasi, Co-Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF). “Our work shows that forests, trees and agroforestry can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, livelihoods and biodiversity.”


Scientists at the digital event on Nov. 5 presented emblematic examples from six of the 18 volumes in the highlights series, which was officially launched the week after. FTA’s work has helped frame current agenda items as outlined in the U.N. Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) and most importantly the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which was concomitant to our webinar.

The full event can be replayed here:


Now, at the close of FTA’s decadal studies, the fruits from this labour are becoming clear. Six keynote speakers opened the conference with highlights on:

  1. Seed genetic diversity: ICRAF senior scientist and FTA Flagship 1 Leader, Ramni Jamnadass, spoke on the importance of diverse seeds for effective tree planting projects and landscape restoration, reminding the audience that “a mighty tree starts from a seed. If you put garbage in, you get garbage out.” Such diversity is particularly important to fit the needs of smallholders and support adaptation to climate change.
    Volume to be released
  2. Trees on farms (TonF): Over the past decade, FTA engaged in numerous agroforestry initiatives to improve livelihoods and the environment. Eduardo Somarriba, the FTA focal point from CATIE, presented a relevant case from Honduras, where “living tree fences” are used to pen livestock and encourage rotational grazing. Scaling up these fences created with trees could improve the ecosystem and livelihoods for farmers who could use the trees’ resources for additional income generation while contributing to climate change mitigation.
    Volume to be released
  3. REDD+: FTA has conducted comparative research in more than 22 countries with the intent of providing evidence-based knowledge and tools for countries to better measure and monitor their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These programs “allow country partners to develop efficient, equitable and effective policies and practices,” said CIFOR senior scientist and FTA-Flagship-5 Leader, Christopher Martius.
    Volume 11 available here!
  4. Value chains: Scaling up sustainable value chains and certification schemes can create new problems for smallholders if they do not have equitable access to resources, noted Bas Louman, the FTA focal point from Tropenbos International (TBI). To better understand these relationships, “we propose a systems approach linking landscapes to value chains and not looking just at landscapes or value chains,” he said.
    Volume 10 available here!
  5. Gender and social inclusion: Successful landscape initiatives must also work for women, said Marlène Elias, the FTA Gender focal point from the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT. Over the last decade, FTA’s work has had incredible impact, proving that effective and sustainable landscape management can support social inclusion. “The innovations that we propose aim to lift the barriers in forestry and agroforestry landscapes,” said Elias, so that women, Indigenous Peoples and other minority groups have equitable access to resources, assets, income and decision-making power.
    Volume 15 available here!
  6. Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR): CIFOR senior scientist, Manuel Guariguata, acknowledged that FLR is about more than just tree planting. Rather than being a goal, FLR is a means to achieve many goals that optimize ecosystem functions along the forest transition curve. Landscape restoration also implies multistakeholder collaboration at every stage. These understandings are summarized in the six principles of FLR.
    Volume 4 available here!

The introduction to the series, as well as the volumes on tree biodiversity conservation, wild meat and monitoring & evaluation are also available. More will be published in the coming weeks.

Following these interventions, the audience was asked which types of forest and tree-based innovations were most important for the future. The poll results showed that 45.7% of respondents felt more should be done to improve social inclusion (including poverty eradication) through forest and tree-based initiatives.

Next, a panel of stakeholders at the national and international level discussed how FTA’s decade of research could light the way forward. The distinguished line-up included Malanding Jaiteh, advisor to the Minister of Environment of The Gambia. “Much of what we are trying to do [in The Gambia] is to raise people’s livelihood systems by promoting the development of natural-resource-based enterprises,” said Jaiteh. He explained that the Ministry needs expert knowledge about tree diversity and seed quality to implement projects that are socioeconomically feasible and sustainable. Research from FTA scientists helps fill these gaps.

Li Yanxia, FTA-management-team member from the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), further highlighted three unique benefits that INBAR has received from the organization’s partnership with FTA: its unique focus on development, its capacity-building support and its platform for knowledge exchange. The Head of Embrapa Forestry, Brazil, Erich Schaitza, similarly shared how FTA facilitates his organization’s work. “FTA’s goals match very much with ours,” he said. “Working with them is a good opportunity to have our voices heard and to learn from other countries in the network.”

Natural rubber-producing countries also stand to benefit from FTA’s knowledge. “We have worked very closely with FTA since June 2020 to study how we can adapt natural rubber plantations to climate change,” said Salvatore Pinizzotto, the Secretary General for the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG).

The partnership will also be hosting its final event, “10 Years of FTA Research for People and the Planet,” on Dec. 9. Join us!



  1. Rober Nasi opening speech
  2. Effective Tree Seed Systems – Ramni Jamnadass & Lars Gaudal
  3. Trees on Farms (TonF) for livelihoods and the environment – Eduardo Somarriba, Arlene López-Sampson, Norvin Sepúlveda, Edwin Garcia, Fergus Sinclair
  4. REDD+: fighting climate change with forest science Assessing ten years of REDD+ research – Christopher Martius (CIFOR) Amy Duchelle (CIFOR, FAO)
  5. Gender and social inclusion – Marlène Elias
  6. Forest and Landscape Restoration – Manuel R. Guariguata


Visit the main portal here

  1. Introduction: Ten Years of Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Research in Partnership for Sustainable Development
  2. Tree Seed and Seedling Systems for Resilience and Productivity (COMING SOON!)
  3. Conservation of Tree Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management
  4. Forest and Landscape Restoration
  5. Food Security and Nutrition
  6. Wild Meat
  7. Trees on Farms to Improve Livelihoods and the Environment (COMING SOON!)
  8. Biomass, Bioenergy and Biomaterials (COMING SOON!)
  9. Improving Rural Livelihoods Through Supporting Local Innovation at Scale (COMING SOON!)
  10. Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities
  11. REDD+: Combating Climate Change with Forest Science
  12. Adaptation to Climate Change, with Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (COMING SOON!)
  13. Multi-Functional Landscapes for Sustainable Development (COMING SOON!)
  14. Governing Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Landscapes for Delivering on the SDGs (COMING SOON!)
  15. Advancing Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
  16. Capacity Development (COMING SOON!)
  17. Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment
  18. The Way Forward (COMING SOON!)

This article was written by Daniella Silva.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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 ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • FTA Highlight No. 17 – Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment

FTA Highlight No. 17 – Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment

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Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA) has been a key focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) over its decade of work.

FTA’s MELIA Program has adapted, developed, tested and refined a comprehensive set of concepts and methods. These include participatory theories of change and developing and refining outcome evaluation methods.

They also include systematically reviewing, defining and assessing the quality of research that crosses disciplinary boundaries; and developing a quality assessment framework suitable for research for development (R4D).

This decadal work has generated a body of research and valuable lessons about research design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation within FTA and beyond.

Download the volume! [PDF]
As part of “FTA’s highlights of a decade,” a new series focusing on its main results since its inception in 2011, FTA is now publishing the volume on Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA).

The CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) embodied a fundamental shift in the approach to research for development (R4D). CRPs assume shared responsibility for achieving economic and human development outcomes, a shift that required new ways of monitoring and evaluating research (R4D).

When the Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) program was established in 2011 it responded to this approach with a plan to develop and use theory-based approaches for monitoring and evaluating outcomes and impacts.


Over its ten years FTA has recognized the importance of monitoring and evaluation, not only as an important management tool, but also as a field of research in its own right.

From the beginning, FTA’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA) strategy included a core research component. FTA’s impact orientation and MELIA work were strongly supported by FTA governance. More engaged, transdisciplinary approaches to research involve stakeholders in order to deal with complexity and increase potential impact.

FTA’s research approaches aim to contribute to reduced poverty, improved food security and nutrition, and improved management of natural resources and ecosystem services through technical, institutional and policy innovation. Monitoring is a key element of FTA’s adaptive, learning-oriented approach, from the project level to the program level.

Research activities operate within a program-level theory of change (ToC), and each activity has its own particular context, design and implementation, and specific ToC.

This multi-level approach creates an excellent opportunity for learning how research contributes to transformative change within complex social and environmental systems.

MELIA has focused its work on five key global challenges.

  1. accelerating rates of deforestation and forest degradation;
  2. high prevalence of degraded land and ecosystem services;
  3. unsustainable land-use practices;
  4. persistent rural poverty, with increasing levels of vulnerability;
  5. rising demand for and need for nutritious food.

FTA has developed a set of user-friendly and time-efficient monitoring tools for use at the project scale. The tools facilitate systematic collection of data on engagement with stakeholders, knowledge generation, uptake and use, and progress toward higher-level outcomes and impacts.

FTA’s MELIA team also contributed to the development of the Quality of Research for Development (QoR4D) framework. The framework guides and enhances research at all levels, and contributes to outcomes and impacts.

Download the publication to learn more about FTA’s approach to monitoring, FTA’s integrated outcome evaluations, case studies, results and lessons learned. FTA’s work on MELIA sets the ground for future initiatives to build and design projects integrating theory-based evaluation towards a transdisciplinary model of research impact.

Published volumes until today include:

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  • Researchers, practitioners and community members call for greater inclusion in ecosystem restoration

Researchers, practitioners and community members call for greater inclusion in ecosystem restoration

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As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins, almost 50 authors from diverse backgrounds set out 10 rules for addressing human and social dimensions of restoration currently overlooked in ecosystem restoration

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Restoration efforts hold unique potential for improving environmental outcomes and human wellbeing. They are the focus of the recently launched UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Yet, ignoring the social dimensions of environmental initiatives is likely to fail to achieve ecological and other objectives. Neglecting social and people-centered restoration models can result in land grabs, conflict, and further marginalization of vulnerable groups, say authors of a new paper, “Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration.”

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, a shift towards restoration strategies that acknowledge complex social and cultural realities is critical. The authors challenge ‘top-down’ restoration approaches which fail to recognize the importance of humans in nature. The paper’s 47 authors represent several nationalities, backgrounds and sectors, and are connected with restoration initiatives around the globe.

“Too often, social issues get relegated to the local level, rather than considering the human dimensions required for successful restoration, including issues of voice and legitimacy, in shaping global agendas,” they say in the paper. They call for people-centered restoration efforts, pointing out that emphasis on ‘engaging stakeholders’ often fails to acknowledge underlying webs of power, as well as critical social, political and economic considerations that underpin restoration.

“Dealing with people in landscapes, each with their own interests in the resources they manage, is complex and a messy undertaking,” explains leade author Marlène Elias, Senior Scientist at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. “The complexity is overwhelming for restorationists and often shuts action down. What we are trying to do is unpack these issues without being reductionist, including important dimensions that restoration initiatives must have on the radar for equitable and sustainable results.”

The rules cover the need to recognize diversity among stakeholders; noting that building trust takes time and calls for deliberate effort and investment to actively engage communities as change agents, holding meetings in communities in local languages for example, rather than at administrative offices. They address the importance of collaboratively unpacking socio-historical trajectories to inform engagement and the need to strengthen resource tenure for marginalized groups and advance equity. The rules call for considering multiple benefits within ecosystems, including different cultural and social benefits, which are often difficult to quantify, monetize and trade.

“It’s not about box-ticking, but about engaging people properly for successful results. One of the key things we highlight is that restoration is not just about economics but ultimately about people,” said Stephanie Mansourian, a co-author and environmental consultant and Associate Researcher at the University of Geneva. “You could restore food security, or spiritual sites, or essential wood for construction. Communities can be compensated for ecosystem services like improving water quality but people will also protect trees or regenerate their ecosystem because they need the services. Restoration is about more than reductionist compensation initiatives. Typically, the social dimension is completely forgotten or limited to ‘engaging or consulting’ stakeholders in a superficial and generally inadequate manner. We examine what that means and how you do it properly.”

The seventh rule deals with equitable distribution of costs, risks and benefits across the landscape. The eighth rule considers the importance of drawing on different types of evidence and knowledge to determine ‘What qualifies as evidence?’ and: ‘Whose knowledge counts?’ The ninth rule questions dominant discourses, such as ecosystem degradation. For example, blaming ‘unsustainable’ land-use practices, such as overgrazing, reveals little about the structures and contextual factors driving these processes, including policies, subsidies and marginalization. The final rule urges inclusive and holistic monitoring, evaluation and learning, enabling local people to decide what, how, and when to measure. It calls for the need to question who does the measuring, and to collect data responding to local concerns.

Developed as actionable guidance for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers among others, the rules follow a special issue in Ecological Restoration and apply equally to the restoration of marine ecosystems, lakes, wetlands, forests and other ecosystems. “We have decades of restoration initiatives that have not been sustainable because they looked for short-cuts,” explained Ruth Meinzen-Dick, a co-author and Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. “And what we’re saying is that inclusive and holistic planning –which recognizes diversity at every level – is what it’s going to take for restoration to be sustainable in the long-term.”

The paper ‘Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration’ is a collaborative initiative that contributes to the CGIAR Research Programs on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Policies, Institutions, and Markets; and Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Originally posted on Eurekalert.

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  • At GLF Climate, youth shared 13 sustainable forestry innovations for the Asia-Pacific region

At GLF Climate, youth shared 13 sustainable forestry innovations for the Asia-Pacific region

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More than ever, forests and trees are called upon to address the great global challenges of our times, among which are: climate change, deforestation, forest degradation, biodiversity erosion, poverty and food insecurity. Innovative technologies – including digital technologies, biological technologies, technical innovations in processes and products, innovative finance and social innovations – hold a huge potential to advance sustainable forest management and help address these challenges, globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. However, technology adoption has been slow and uneven in the region. As technology enthusiasts, forest guardians and forest managers of tomorrow, young people have a leading role to play in generating momentum and revolutionizing institutions from within to support the uptake and scaling-up of innovative technologies in Asia and the Pacific.

This is why, on Friday, 5 Nov. 2021, FAO and the CGIAR Research Programme on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) co-organized a session highlighting youth perspectives on innovative forest technologies. This event attracted over 400 attendees and was part of the GLF Climate hybrid conference, “Frontiers of Change.” “Instead of another meeting to exchange on the global and pressing issues, we wanted, during this event, to focus on innovative solutions and share a note of optimism and hope” said Vincent Gitz (CIFOR), FTA Director.

On behalf of FAO, Rao Matta, Forestry Officer, highlighted the important role innovation can play to make the forest sector more attractive to young people. He invited the youth to become “innovation champions,” to play a pivotal role in scaling-up innovative technologies, and to bring their unique forward-looking and out-of-the-box thinking perspectives to the discussion table. “FAO,” he said, “is fully committed to promote the visibility of youth and of their seminal work”.

During this event, FAO and FTA gave the floor to students and young professionals involved in the forest sector in Asia and the Pacific, to hear some of their ideas to unleash the potential offered by innovative technologies to advance sustainable forest management. 13 young people, aged 18–35, from nine different countries of the Asia-Pacific region who were selected by FAO and CIFOR after an open call for contributions presented their works in 3 minutes each.

Their talks illustrated, in various contexts, the huge potential of innovative forest technologies to advance sustainable forestry and sustainable forest management. Together, the guest speakers covered a broad range of topics, showing how technologies — both new and repurposed — can improve and facilitate monitoring and reporting, strengthen citizen engagement in forest monitoring and management and support process and product innovations in the forest sector in the Asia-Pacific region. These ideas are also inspiring globally and in other contexts.


The presentations gave way to a lively session of questions and answers with the audience. The back-and-forth discussions revealed some of the barriers to uptake and scale innovative technologies. These blockages include: (i) the limited internet connection in rural or remote areas; (ii) the high level of upfront investments that may be required for technology adoption, including for equipment, infrastructure development, capacity-building and involvement of local communities. Participants also noted that restrictive or rigid policies and regulations often lag far behind the quick evolution of innovative technologies, which can hamper their use and dissemination. For instance, current policies and rules may not allow the use of data collected by remote sensing methods in official statistics or as forensic evidence. Concluding this event, Rao Matta, indicated  that intensive, follow-up actions will be organized at country level, probably next year. Young experts will once again be invited to share their experience and views on sustainable innovations for the Asia-Pacific.

To access the 13 video presentations, please follow the links below:

Session 1: How can innovative technologies improve and facilitate monitoring?

  1. Shahrukh Kamran (Pakistan): Development, testing and implementation of insect-catching drones.
  2. Kyuho Lee (Republic of Korea): Drones for planning and monitoring forest ecosystem restoration: towards a forest degradation index
  3. Angga Saputra (Indonesia): Estimating tree height, canopy cover and tree diameter using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.
  4. Cecille de Jesus (the Philippines): Follow the water: advanced technologies for demonstrating forest-water-community relationships.
  5. Thuan Sarzynski (Vietnam): Google Earth Engine, an innovative technology for forest conservation.
  6. Marie Jessica Gabriel (the Philippines): Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool (SMART).

Session 2: How can innovative technologies facilitate the engagement of civil society, local communities, smallholders and youth?

  1. Sony Lama (Nepal): Forest Watcher: employing citizen science in forest management of Nepal.
  2. Nur Bahar (Malaysia): How to effectively engage youth in satellite-based tropical forest monitoring?
  3. June Mandawali (Papua New Guinea): Community Based Tree Nurseries in Ramu/Markham Valley of Papua New Guinea.

Session 3: How can innovative technologies support optimization of processes and products for sustainable forest management?

  1. Sanjayaraj Tamang (Nepal): Invasive species management in Nepal: a pathway to sustainable forest management.
  2. Clarence Gio S. Almoite (the Philippines): Building back Philippine biodiversity through geotagging mother tree species for modernized and mechanized forest nurseries.
  3. Prachi Gupta (India): Advances in the wood anatomical studies with innovations in microscopy.
  4. Deasy Ramatia (Indonesia): Binderless particleboard: production process and self- bonding mechanisms.
Download the PDF!

All of these 3-minute presentations have been developed in detailed scientific articles and gathered in a FAO and FTA co-publication entitled, Innovative forestry for a sustainable future. Youth contributions from Asia and the Pacific.

This youth publication is part of a broader roadmap jointly developed by FAO and FTA on innovative forest technologies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here for more information on this roadmap process.


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