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  • Final FTA Newsletter - Thank you for 10 incredible years together! (Vol. 5, Issue 6)

Final FTA Newsletter – Thank you for 10 incredible years together! (Vol. 5, Issue 6)

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FTA communications

Welcome to the Final FTA newsletter!

As we close FTA's 10 years as a CGIAR research program, let's look back at achievements, reflect on lessons learned and look into the future.

FTA is a research for development program, one of the most complex endeavours around. It's about generating knowledge, applying it for development, and learning from that, generating new knowledge from implementation.

Together with our partners, FTA has worked in 74 countries to provide innovative research, technical solutions, training and policy support, to leverage the role of trees and forests to enhance smallholder livelihoods, drive sustainable value chains, safeguard biodiversity, improve food security and nutrition, restore landscapes, fight climate change and help adapt to it.

FTA represented a collective research and development investment of about USD 850M over a decade. What is left after 10 years goes way beyond the close to 6000 publications (from scientific articles, technical, to policy reports, many of global importance, most open access, all searchable here. FTA has also contributed to change lives and to change the planet. How to assess this impact is trickier than counting publications. But it is by no means less important.

This is why, two years ago, FTA started a major exercise to assess its contributions and impacts on five key challenges, for our planet and for people. This process brought together the Independent Steering Committee of FTA, impact assessment experts, FTA scientists and partners to (i) design an original, workable approach and operational method to credibly assess impacts at scale for the whole FTA program, since 2011; (ii) deploy the method against five development challenges FTA was expected to address; (iii) learn lessons from the exercise.

FTA is now publishing these 5 integrative impact studies, together with a synthesis (forthcoming). They show tremendous impacts that major clusters of work FTA did achieve, over the years, and under respectively conservative to optimistic hypothesis:

  • Brought between 2–35 million ha of land under restoration.
  • Brought 26–133 million ha of forests under enhanced protection. This represents up to 125 Gt of sequestered carbon dioxide.
  • Brought 60–204 million ha of land under better management via improved policy, monitoring and management practices.
  • Provided between 5–19 million people with better means to exit poverty.
  • Provided 1–3 million people with additional means to improve food and nutritional security.

You can find out more both on the method and on the full studies on this page.

A key lesson from these studies is that, to ensure long-term impact and scalability, it is necessary to work across the research-from-development continuum, at many levels, with Theories of Change bringing technical, social and institutional innovations together with policy-oriented work. You will find the major achievements over a decade within the 18 volumes of the FTA Highlights series, which is a legacy for the future.


Providing evidence-based solutions for stakeholders, farm and forest sector actors, experts and policy makers, and co-generating these with them, was our "bread and butter". But the role of trees and forest go beyond our sectors. Forests and trees are of everybody's concern on this planet. This is why we also sought to reach the broader public though our news pieces, interviews, newsletters and communication campaigns: they are all available here. For example, check out our latest "From Tree to Fork" campaign and our just-launched partnership with Google Arts & Culture to promote the roles of trees!

As we are closing the program as a CGIAR CRP, we measure the change FTA – humbly – contributed to the world. Sometimes, development progress is slow to perceive, but it's quite striking when you look back 10 years behind. It is the same with partnership. Since 2011, a real partnership has formed, bringing together people and institutions. At the "final" event of FTA, on 9 December 2021, Anne-Marie Izac Chairperson of the Independent Steering Committee of FTA reminded us that partnerships are the very "raison-d'être" of the program. And Robert Nasi, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research and Managing Director of CIFOR-ICRAF, and Director of the first phase of FTA stated "there is a demand like never before, much more work to do […] and we have a tremendous set of partners. I see no reason why we should stop here."

As FTA partners now look into the future, they also look at widening the partnership and giving it a renewed impetus. There is so much that trees, forests and agroforestry can bring to the agenda to 2030.

On behalf of all the scientists of FTA, the Management Team and Independent Steering Committee, I thank you for your attention during all these years. We wish you, family and friends a joyful end of 2021, and all best wishes for the year to come.

Special feature

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

imagethumb.jpgForests 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 launched 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 Read more.


FTA Final Event

imagethumb.jpgThe “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. Read more.

Toward a Gender Responsive post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework!

imagethumb.jpgIn the lead up to CBD COP 15, experts from 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 and its implementation in the coming years. Read about this engaging brief and download the infographic!

More Volumes of the FTA Highlights Series available!

imagethumb.jpgAre you up to date with FTA’s Highlights publications? We recently released the volumes on Tree seed and seedling systems for resilience and productivity, Food Security and Nutrition and Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities. More to come in the next weeks! Our main page is always updated, bookmark it!

COVID-19 Hub Working Group 4, results!

imagethumb.jpgThe Working Group 4, coordinated by our Director Vincent Gitz, has worked to identify the impacts of COVID-19 on food systems’ fragility and to investigate priority options and solutions to improve resilience and build back better, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable groups and countries. In March 2021, it released the first world-level assessment on the impacts of COVID-19 on food security. In parallel 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 year’s work concluded with an open webinar where the findings from the studies have been presented. Material available on our WG4 page here!

Interview to Iago Hale and Prasad Hendre

imagethumb.jpgA recent study, published in Frontiers in Plant Science, explores new methods to reverse the decline of shea tree populations by improving the species through the use of genomics.

FTA spoke with two of the paper’s authors: Iago Hale, Associate Professor in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire and the paper’s lead author, and Prasad Hendre, a genomics scientist at World Agroforestry (ICRAF). Read this incredibly informative interview!

Asia-Pacific Roadmap Progress

imagethumb.jpgOur 2-year Asia-Pacific Roadmap is progressing towards the deliverables. On Friday, 5 November 2021, FAO and FTA co-organized a session highlighting youth perspectives on innovative forest technologies, where the first deliverable from the roadmap was launched. This event attracted over 400 attendees and was part of the GLF Climate hybrid conference, “Frontiers of Change.” Stay up to date on our progress page.

Just Launched! eLearning Course on Gender and Social Inclusion in Forest and Landscape Restoration

imagethumb.jpgTo address persisting barriers to enhancing equality and inclusion 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 eCourse 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. A brochure is also available. Enroll now!

FTA Geoportal Launched!

imagethumb.jpgDiscover geospatial data resources, view mapped data maintained on web-accessible maps, combine mapped data from different live map sources from the catalogue, compare existing data and download the comparison in multiple formats (CSV, PDF or JPEG), upload your shape file data (research area), to the geoportal and review it with the existing data catalogue and baseline map… and much more! Discover the new FTA Geoportal!

2021 From Tree to Fork wrap up!

imagethumb.jpgThe 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. Learn about these incredible foods!

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR.

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Natural rubber and climate change: a policy paper


Wildlife management and conservation in Vietnam: From policy to practice


Lessons towards rights-responsive REDD+ safeguards from a literature review


Transformational change to reduce deforestation and climate change impacts – A review of definitions, concepts and drivers in scientific and grey literature


Cadenas de valor forestal en Moyobamba, San Martín: Oportunidades para pequeños productores


Rôle de la Table Filière Karité dans l'appui aux producteurs locaux au Burkina Faso


Insécurité et COVID-19 au Burkina Faso: Opportunités et vulnérabilités des femmes de la chaîne de valeurs du karité


Adaptive Collaborative Management in Forest Landscapes: Villagers, Bureaucrats and Civil Society


Shifting perceptions, preferences and practices in the African fruit trade: the case of African plum (Dacryodes edulis) in different cultural and urbanization contexts in Cameroon


Hiệu quả thực hiện chính sách và giải pháp quản lí và bảo tồn động vật hoang dã Nam trong bối cảnh COVID tại Việt Nam


The effectiveness of policies for addressing Covid-19 impacts on wildlife conservation in Vietnam


Community forest enterprises (CFEs) as Social Enterprises: Empirical evidence from Cameroon


The potential to propagate coconut clones through direct shoot organogenesis: A review


Enhancing synergies between gender equality and biodiversity, climate, and land degradation neutrality goals: Lessons from gender-responsive nature-based approaches

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


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  • Ten Years of Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Research in Partnership for Sustainable Development (Vol. 5, Issue 5)

Ten Years of Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Research in Partnership for Sustainable Development (Vol. 5, Issue 5)

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Dear FTA friends and colleagues,

Today, the whole community of FTA is particularly proud to announce the launch of a unique series of publications that spotlight the achievements from a decade of FTA research, started in 2011. Reflecting the most significant work of FTA, its influence and impact across a range of issues, the volumes of the FTA Highlights of a Decade 2011-2021 series concretely show how forests, trees and agroforestry, when effectively used, managed and governed, do improve production systems, enhance food security, support livelihoods, advance equity, and address landscapes, climate change and biodiversity challenges.

The volumes of this exclusive “decadal” series touch on a range of 16 topics. The ambition of this series is, on each issue, to show the actual contributions of FTA to research and development challenges and solutions, over a decade. It features the work undertaken as part of the FTA program, by the strategic partners of FTA (CIFOR-ICRAF, The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, Tropenbos International and INBAR), with other international and national partners. The volumes contain a wealth of data, information, on-the-ground learning and country case studies. Through the eyes of the FTA research undertaken, the series also tells the story of the issues themselves, their history and evolving narratives, in a decade that has seen many significant changes.

The full list of forthcoming volumes include:

  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
  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
  8. Biomass, Bioenergy and Biomaterials
  9. Improving Rural Livelihoods Through Supporting Local Innovation at Scale
  10. Sustainable Value Chains and Finance
  11. REDD+: Combating Climate Change with Forest Science
  12. Adaptation to Climate Change, with Forests, Trees and Agroforestry
  13. Multi-Functional Landscapes for Sustainable Development
  14. Governing Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Landscapes for Delivering on the SDGs
  15. Advancing Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
  16. Capacity Development
  17. Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment
  18. The Way Forward

The first volumes to be launched are the FTA Highlights No.1, the Introduction (see PDF, infographic), No.4 on Forest and Landscape Restoration (see PDF, infographic 1 and infographic 2) and No.11 on REDD+ (see PDF).

We are convinced that this premium product will be very useful to a wide range of stakeholders, from practitioners to scientists and policy makers. The series shows an impressive track record built over the years, and how solid the ground is, over which to build for the years to come.

Also, mark your calendars for the 9th of December 13h00-16h00 CET, to join us in a final open digital event to celebrate 10 years of FTA research for people and the planet.


I hope to see you all at our event!

Vincent Gitz
FTA Director


Introducing the FTA Highlights

FTA's Highlight No.1 introduces the series, providing background on the rationale under which the CGIAR Research Program on Forests Trees and Agroforestry was built and illustrating the topics that will be covered by the remaining 16 volumes (plus conclusion). The volume puts forests, trees and agroforestry in a global context, linking FTA's research and activities to partners and the SDGs. It underlines people-centred approaches and illustrates the Theory of Change and Theory of Induced Change underpinning FTA's impact pathways.

Find out more   Download PDF   Download infographics

FTA Highlight No.4 – Forest and Landscape Restoration

At the same time as the Introduction, FTA is releasing the Highlight volume No.4 on Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR). Led by CIFOR's scientist Manuel Guariguata and co-written with over 30 other principal scientists, the publication discusses FTA's work on FLR in the context of the restoration agenda, recalling key global milestones.

The document underlines FTA's contributions to the science of land and forest restoration, illustrates diverse aspects that are linked to these practices (e.g. monitoring, capacity building, technical guidelines, tools, software and apps, etc.) and the relevance of our partners' research and coordinated actions to positively influence global narratives, policy and governance. 2 infographics are also available, illustrating the 6 principles of FLR and mapping some key global FTA outputs (i.e. field based reports, country surveys, local and global synthesis reports).

Read more about the FLR Highlight   Download the PDF
Infographics – 6 Principles of FLR   Infographics – FTA's FLR reports

FTA Highlight No.11 – REDD+: Combating Climate Change with Forest Science

The third Highlight we are releasing this week is No.11 on REDD+. Tracing the path of the GCS REDD+ program, which was incorporated in the FTA research program, the volume written by principal scientists Christopher Martius and Amy Duchelle, discusses research, theory of change, results and global impacts of REDD+. Country case examples are provided and the way forward for achieving success scale. The fight against climate change needs everyone's involvement at all levels: deforestation and land degradation trends must be reversed.

Download PDF

SAVE THE DATE! Join us at the Final FTA Event!

Everyone invited! On the 9th of December, 13h00-16h00 CET, FTA will celebrate its incredible decadal journey with or final event 10 years of FTA research for people and the planet. The digital webinar is open and free to anyone, just fill in the registration form and join us!

Feel free to disseminate this among all your networks, we hope to see you all there!


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


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  • Advancing gender equality for rural women in treed landscapes: 10 years of FTA (Vol. 5, Issue 4)

Advancing gender equality for rural women in treed landscapes: 10 years of FTA (Vol. 5, Issue 4)

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FTA communications

Welcome to the October issue of the FTA Newsletter, on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women (IDRW). This issue is special: as CGIAR research programs are coming to an end in December, this will be the last gender newsletter of the FTA program as we know it. For this reason, we asked our Gender team members to leave us with a personal statement about their experience in this decadal journey.
On the one hand, we look back at the incredible work carried out by the FTA scientific community during these 10 years. On the other hand, we look ahead to future gender research that builds on the lessons learned and achievements of the FTA program in creating more equitable, inclusive and sustainable forest, tree and agroforestry landscapes – especially for rural women.
“Working as part of the FTA Gender team has been an incredible experience. We addressed gender challenges and concerns across different geographies, tackling a broad array of resource governance issues. The achievements and learnings stemming from FTA’s work are tremendous both in terms of conceptual and methodological development. I look forward to leveraging as we continue this collaborative work despite the formal end of FTA.”
Iliana Monterroso, Scientist and Co-coordinator of Gender and Social Inclusion Research

This year’s IDRW theme focuses on the critical role of rural women in “cultivating good for all”. Women are the custodians of household food security, on the front line in fighting extreme malnutrition, poverty and hunger. They are also a huge and underrecognized agricultural labour force worldwide. Yet, systemic barriers discriminate against them and exclude them from important natural resource management and livelihood decisions.
Concerns for gender equality and social inclusion have been carefully integrated in FTA since its very beginning. In addition to conducting research specifically on gender and on women’s and men’s empowerment, FTA has mainstreamed gender throughout its research portfolio, aiming to make transformative change at multiple scales, from local to global levels. Our researchers have worked tirelessly to lift gender-based barriers at all levels, from policies and other formal institutions to social norms and unequal intra-household power relations, to support rural women’s agency.
“The knowledge, partnerships and learning gathered throughout the life of the FTA program confirm that achieving gender equality requires challenging power relations, at the household level, at the community level and within ourselves as researchers. This requires involving men and boys in efforts to empower women and working with households to acknowledge shared and conflicting interests within the home, allowing gender inequalities to be recognized as a constraint to resilience, prosperity and sustainability. FTA has contributed to understanding how a more equal world is good for trees, forests and people.”
Ana Maria Paez Valencia, Gender Specialist

“The FTA Gender cross-cutting theme has provided a rare and essential opportunity for researchers to advance with the gender questions, join critical communities of practice and try new approaches to addressing complex problems that are rooted in the imbalances across the gender spectrum. I hope to see our good work live on through the legacy of FTA gender team collaboration and synthesis research.”
Emily Jeanne Gallagher, Scientist

The partnerships and coalitions, research findings and innovations of FTA, and the change these have effected on the ground will have a long-lasting impact. The talent and resources FTA has invested in supporting the amazing energy and agency of rural women, men and all the other actors championing gender equality, set a clear pathway on which efforts to achieve gender equal and inclusive forests and agroforestry landscapes and societies can be sustained.

Many issues that FTA was designed to investigate were originally dominated by technical or biophysical views and perspectives (such as for instance climate change mitigation, forest land restoration, tree commodity production and preserving forests, and so on). On these issues, FTA has pushed the cursor of policies and approaches to make them more “people-centred”, and especially also more inclusive and more equitable towards women. As we will show in the soon to come series on “FTA Highlights of a Decade”, this has contributed to effectively changing narratives, and to concrete progress on the ground.

We hope that the achievements of FTA’s dedicated scientific community in this area will continue to inspire gender specialists working in tree, forest and agroforestry landscapes for a better world.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator

Special feature

A feminist approach to restoration – Interview with Marlène Elias

imagethumb.jpgIn a special issue of Ecological Restoration titled “Restoration for whom, by whom: Exploring the socio-political dimensions of restoration”, scientists make the case for exploring these dimensions through the lens of feminist political ecology. We spoke with Marlène Elias, FTA’s Coordinator of Gender Equality and Social Inclusion who was co-guest editor of the special issue. Read more.


Gender-transformative pathways in the regreening landscapes of Ghana

imagethumb.jpgAs part of Regreening Africa’s effort to meaningfully integrate gender issues, an innovative study was set up to determine whether taking an explicitly gender-transformative approach to land restoration in Ghana would not only foster changes in harmful gender norms and attitudes but also contribute to desirable environmental outcomes. Read more about it here!

From Tree to Fork is growing!

imagethumb.jpgMore foods from trees are being added weekly to our FTA campaign on fruits and vegetables, accompanied by incredibly beautiful infographics. The campaign has also been launched in Spanish. Stay updated with our weekly entries, visit the dedicated website!

The rise and fall of rubber: effects on women and livelihoods

imagethumb.jpgRubber expansion and decline have major implications for Chinese farmers, particularly women, and their livelihoods. In this feature, we examine the impact on women in Xishuangbanna, China’s ‘rubber heartland’. Read more.

Transforming gender norms in land and resource rights

imagethumb.jpgA new research project between a consortium of CGIAR Centres and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will generate evidence on the potential contribution of different kinds of gender transformative approaches for achieving more equitable and fairer outcomes for men and women in accessing and controlling land and its resources. Read about it!

Shaping a future that ensures women are at the center of the Ghana shea trade

imagethumb.jpgSix villages in Ghana faced with resource, soil and land use changes participated in social learning-oriented activities to explore customary systems of land and tree tenure and women’s access to resources. More about this learning experience.

Food Systems Summit reveals challenges of transforming global food production

imagethumb.jpgGovernments, companies and other organizations offered more than 200 commitments at the world’s first food systems summit aimed at addressing unequal access to food in a more sustainable, healthier and equitable way. Read about the UNFSS.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. News photos, from top, by: Ana Maria Paez Valencia/ICRAF; ICRAF; Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR; Axel Fassio/CIFOR; Giulio Napolitano/UN Photo.

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Women's Changing Opportunities and Aspirations Amid Male Outmigration: Insights from Makueni County, Kenya


Onto the Farm, into the Home: How Intrahousehold Gender Dynamics Shape Land Restoration in Eastern Kenya


Disciplines, Sectors, Motivations and Power Relations in Forest Landscape Restoration


Exploring Gender Equity in Ecological Restoration: The Case of a Market-Based Program in Kenya


Equitable and Inclusive Landscape Restoration Planning: Learning from a Restoration Opportunity Assessment in India


Restoration of Urban Water Commons: Navigating Social-Ecological Fault Lines and Inequities


Enhancing synergies between gender equality and biodiversity, climate, and land degradation neutrality goals: Lessons from gender-responsive nature-based approaches


Améliorer les droits et les vies des femmes grâce à une restauration équitable entre les sexes


Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration


Restoration for Whom, by Whom? A Feminist Political Ecology of Restoration


Three Approaches to Restoration and Their Implications for Social Inclusion


Implementation of gender responsive research in development projects


Gender and Ethnicity in Vietnam Agroforestry Landscapes: Lessons for Project Implementation


What Is the Evidence Base Linking Gender with Access to Forests and Use of Forest Resources for Food Security in Low- and Middle-Income Countries? A Systematic Evidence Map


Mainstreaming gender in REDD+ policies and projects in 17 countries

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


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  • Celebrating the fundamental role of trees for food security and nutrition (Vol. 5, Issue 3)

Celebrating the fundamental role of trees for food security and nutrition (Vol. 5, Issue 3)

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FTA communications

More than 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Fruits and vegetables can go a long way to address them as well as to reduce the current epidemic of overweight and obesity. However in most countries of the world consumption does not meet the FAO/WHO recommended 400 g per person per day, according to a recent FTA brief. Such shortages can lead to malnutrition and food insecurity. This year, which marks the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV2021) and the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, is a perfect time to reflect on how conserving and promoting food tree species has the potential to boost nutritional security, support local livelihoods, promote more sustainable agriculture and preserve valuable ecosystem services.

FTA is actively engaging with the global community to highlight these critical benefits of trees and forests. For example, last February our FP1 Leader, Ramni Jamnadass, spoke at an event hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the experiences and challenges of conserving fruit tree species and sharing genetic resources to make future food systems more resilient.

At the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit last month, FTA’s FP2 Leader, Fergus Sinclair, issued a keynote titled “How agroecology can guide the UNFSS” within the “Strengthening food systems transformation through agroecology” session. The event discussed the new “Coalition on food systems transformation through agroecology/regenerative agriculture,” through which members aim to implement the policy recommendations that were adopted during the Committee on World Food Security (CFS48). FTA’s scientists Amy Ickowitz and Stepha McMullin also hosted a session that centered on the importance of healthy forests and trees for tomorrow’s agricultural and farming systems.

Just one month before, between 22-24 June, the FTA Kunming Conference brought together almost 400 participants to look at concrete options for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD COP15) post 2020 agenda. The international hybrid event especially focused on trees’ potential contributions to a green circular economy and to healthy, diversified diets. Together with the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science (CAS), the Research Institute for Resource Insects and the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), the event produced 12 core recommendations for governments, policymakers and private actors.

In June, FTA was also instrumental in launching the Agroecology Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) during the annual Committee on World Food Security (CFS48). As one of the funding partners, FTA also facilitated the TPP’s Policies for Agroecology event on July 15, which brought together 20 speakers and more than 570 participants from over 50 countries to discuss the policy gaps standing in the way of agroecological transitions that work with nature. Videos from both events can be fully replayed online (see further down the newsletter).

As the year leads into other milestone events such as the UNFSS in September, CBD COP15 in Kunming (China) in October and the UNFCC Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow (United Kingdom) in November, FTA will strengthen its commitment to advocate for trees and forests. We believe that trees are essential to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They also promote biodiversity and can aid in the transition toward sustainable and healthy global food systems in harmony with nature.

For this reason, FTA is now launching “From Tree to Fork,” a communication campaign to raise awareness about some of the most unrecognized and underappreciated fruits and vegetables that come from trees. These foods can furnish important nutrients to local and indigenous diets and play a vital role in improving livelihoods through agroforestry systems or other tree products that generate income. Promoting native fruits and vegetables, including those highlighted in the “From Tree to Fork” campaign, is also important to maintain crop genetic diversity and conserve ecosystems.

We are only at mid-year, and there is much more to look forward to as we celebrate the vital role that forests, trees and agroforestry play for FSN and for human health. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the fruits and vegetables we eat (and those we have never tasted, but should!) and to envision a global food system that is more sustainable, inclusive and biodiverse.

Keep reading to learn more about our recent achievements — we hope to see you at future events this year!

Vincent Gitz
FTA Director

Special feature

From Tree To Fork

imagethumb.jpgDid you know that the fruit from the Baobab tree (Adansonia digitata L.) can contain up to six times more vitamin C than the same serving size of oranges and twice as much calcium as milk? Or that tamarind fruits are rich in protein and antioxidants, containing 40 percent more protein than the same serving size of avocado?

FTA’s just-launched “From Tree to Fork” campaign is a fun, informative and colourful way to learn about some of the most undervalued fruits and vegetables that come from trees. Many of the species that will be highlighted over the coming weeks provide essential nutrition, dietary diversity, medicine and sources of income to people everywhere, yet they are rarely found in Western markets. When sustainably managed in agroforestry systems, increasing evidence shows that food trees are also primary engines of sustainable agricultural transformation, limiting deforestation while enriching the soil and generating valuable crops and wood products.

As we celebrate the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) and the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, we invite you to join us in recognizing the first ‘superfruit’ of the campaign: Baobab (Adansonia digitata)

Stay tuned for more nutritious fruits!


FTA Kunming Conference – Results

imagethumb.jpgOn 22–24 June 2021, FTA organized the FTA Kunming International Conference 2021, which explored the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in enhancing diverse and sustainable landscapes. Hosted both virtually and in Kunming, China in cooperation with the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Research Institute for Resource Insects, Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF), the event provided an extensive set of recommendations for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, as well as the upcoming 15th Conference of Parties to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), which will also be held in Kunming in October 2021. Results and all videos from the conference can be accessed now! Read more.

New FTA Brief: Contribution of forests and trees to food security and nutrition

imagethumb.jpgLast May FTA released a Policy Brief titled Contribution of forests and trees to food security and nutrition, illustrating extensively the many ways through which forests and trees play a key, yet largely unrecognized, role in sustaining food production and food security and nutrition (FSN). The aim is to facilitate the use of such knowledge to inform policy and decision making in forestry and FSN related areas, as well as actions meant to build back better in a post-pandemic world.

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Launch: Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on agroecology

imagethumb.jpgA new Agroecology TPP initiative aims to spearhead the transition to agroecological farming systems that make the most of nature’s resources without damaging or depleting them. The partnership was launched on 3 June at a side event of the 48th Plenary of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 48). Shortly afterwards on 15 June, the Policies for Agroecology event brought together 20 speakers and over 570 participants to discuss how policies can help scale up agroecology at various levels of governance. The event was broadcast in 3 languages and can be re-played entirely (EN, FR, ES).

Read more about the TPP Launch.

Adapting to a changing climate with forests and agroforestry

imagethumb.jpgIt is widely known that forests and trees are essential in providing solutions to the ever-expanding climate crisis. A recent co-publication from FTA and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) titled Addressing forestry and agroforestry in national adaptation plans, provide a guideline for countries to involve forests, trees and agroforestry in their National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to deal with climate change.

Read more.

Current timber production in Brazilian forest concessions can only be sustained for 35 years (French only)

imagethumb.jpgLaunched in 2006, the forest concessions in the Brazilian Amazon aim to provide a legal framework for sustainable timber production. However, according to a new study published in June in Forest Ecology and Management, the current rate of exploitation of these areas is far from sustainable… Read more.

Updates on the Asia-Pacific Roadmap on primary forest conservation

imagethumb.jpgA further online expert workshop on primary forest conservation was organized on 23-25 March 2021 to take stock of the progress made in the development of the roadmap and prepare the next steps in the roadmap. Proceedings are now available!

Towards Natural Rubber as a Response to Climate Change – Proceedings of the workshop

imagethumb.jpgEighty-five percent of rubber, a key global commodity, is produced by smallholder farmers. As such, it has great potential to contribute to sustainable development, alleviate poverty, boost rural development, and facilitate a sustainable bioeconomy. FTA, together with the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), recently published the proceedings and extended abstracts of the digital workshop on natural rubber systems and climate change organized on 23-25th June 2020.

Document and recordings from the event here.

From governments down to local realities: Sentinel communities in the Congo Basin

imagethumb.jpgAfter 10 years of research in the Congo Basin, FTA has published its third Sentinel Landscape study. Together, the scientific partners of the Central Africa Humid Tropics Transect Sentinel Landscape (CAFHUT) analyzed four sites where the pressures of urban development, population growth and forest commercialization are rapidly changing the landscape. The recommendations and policy actions emerging from studies like these could mean conserving these rainforests, which absorb 370 million metric tons of the planet’s carbon emissions every year – more than even the Amazon.

How much do you know about the Congo basin?

New methodology proposes mechanisms to support integrated landscape initiatives and make access to finance more inclusive

imagethumb.jpgTropenbos International (TBI) together with World Agroforestry (ICRAF) have developed a methodology that could make funding for integrative landscape management initiatives more inclusive. The research helps identify the key stakeholders linked to financial flows and examines their perspectives, motivations and the mechanisms they use to channel funding from investors through brokers or intermediaries to individual or recipient groups. From this methodology 2 recent case studies, one in Indonesia and another in Uganda have been released. Our partner TBI plans to publish further studies (one per month) that illustrate and make use of the methodology; all case studies are implemented by partners of FTA, with support of FTA and TBI.

Further case studies will be added to their website at this link, as they publish them. Stay updated!

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. News photos, from top, by: Austin Smith/World Agroforestry; Michael Padmanaba/CIFOR; P. Sist/CIRAD; Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR.

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Contribution of forests and trees to food security and nutrition


Collection and consumption of wild forest fruits in rural Zambia


Agriculture extensification and associated socio-ecological trade-offs in smallholder farming systems of Zambia


Climate change adaptation in and through agroforestry: four decades of research initiated by Peter Huxley


Embedding stakeholders' priorities into the low-emission development of the East African dairy sector


The costs of elite-oriented multi-stakeholder forums to address deforestation: the case of the Green Municipalities Program in the Brazilian Amazon


Re-integrating ecology into integrated landscape approaches


Onto the Farm, into the Home: How Intrahousehold Gender Dynamics Shape Land Restoration in Eastern Kenya


Linking food, nutrition and the environment in Indonesia: A perspective on sustainable food systems


Intégration de la foresterie et de l'agroforesterie dans les plans d'adaptation nationaux – Directives complémentaires


Establishment success of Brazil nut trees in smallholder Amazon forest restoration depends on site conditions and management


FTA Kunming 2021

ShadeMotion software improves crop yields in Latin America

Sri Lanka Bans Artificial Fertilizers and Agrochemicals, president's address


Developing smallholder-oriented integrated pest management strategies for fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda Smith) management

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


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  • From science to action: Process, results, impact (Vol. 5, Issue 2)

From science to action: Process, results, impact (Vol. 5, Issue 2)

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FTA communications

Welcome to our April newsletter.

The CGIAR released its independent evaluation of FTA. This external review outlines FTA’s “high scientific productivity and strong implementation performance”, stating that the program was “likely to make significant progress toward most planned end-of-program targets,” and highlighting the “close collaboration between FTA partners, and between universities and research institutions”. According to the review, FTA’s “efficient governance, and the effective prioritization and management of resources resulted in a high level of programmatic value-added”. FTA stood out of the set of reviews of all 12 CGIAR research programs by ranking first in terms of scientific collaboration and by being in the top 3 for the number of policy innovations and for progress against programmatic outcomes. The review is available on our website. All scientists and partners involved have to be credited for this result. FTA’s Independent Steering Committee and Management Team have just issued a letter sharing their perspectives on this final report.

We recently made available all the material from FTA’s Science Conference. The fully digital event titled Forest, trees and agroforestry science for transformational change, was held from 14 to 25 September 2020 and drew more than 520 participants from 69 countries around the world. All the material is now available online: the videos of the keynote speeches, close to 200 interventions, panel debates in 26 different sessions, and posters. We hope that this wealth of information will be useful both for scientists and educators worldwide. We’re also bringing key results of the FTA science conference to stakeholders and to the general public, with a series of open webinars called “From Science to Action”. A first dialogue on Innovations to overcome barriers to access to finance for smallholders, SMEs and women was held in November 2020 and you may read the webinar report here.

Hot of the press FTA just released a Brief titled Contribution of forests and trees to food security and nutrition. This is a key area of work of FTA, and the brief reviews the latest state of research findings on the matter. Forests, trees and agroforestry play a key, often undervalued, role to support food security and nutrition (FSN). All these contributions need to be better considered by policies aiming at SDG2. Maximizing these contributions requires policy coherence and integrated landscape approaches, and conversely, agricultural policies need to better integrate the specificities of tree crops and the multiple benefits provided by the integration of trees in farming systems. The brief has been made available this week to inform discussions at the 16th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF16), and will be also of relevance to the dialogues of the UN Food Systems Summit.

On the path to the UN Food Systems Summit, FTA proposed a set of 11 emblematic, actionable “game-changing” solutions, based on evidence and best-practice, towards sustainable food systems. FTA submitted these proposals to each of the five action tracks process, and to several UNFSS dialogues. The UN has recently released the set of 1,200 ideas collected so far and organized thematically, and we can proudly say that FTA’s proposals have been taken into account and we look forward to feeding into the next stages of UNFSS processes.

Down in this rich newsletter, you will find many other successes and stories from our partners. A lot more is coming up this year, as we bring the results of a decade of research for development by the FTA partnership to the policy arenas and to the general public.

Stay tuned for more and happy International Workers’ Day on the 1st of May!

Vincent Gitz
FTA Director

Special feature

New FTA Brief underlines links between forests and trees and food security and nutrition

imagethumb.jpgDuring the 16th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF16), FTA released a Policy Brief titled Contribution of forests and trees to food security and nutrition. The Brief was developed by CIFOR-ICRAF, UBC, The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Penn State and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Austria.

Find out more about the largely unrecognized (often ignored or misunderstood) multiple dimensions with which forests, trees and agroforestry contribute to food security and nutrition. Download the FTA Brief.


Independent evaluation shows FTA’s progress towards targets

imagethumb.jpgIn 2020, the CGIAR Advisory Services Shared Secretariat (CAS) commissioned independent reviews of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), incluing FTA. Results are now available, as well as FTA’s Independent Steering Committee and Management Team’s subsequent letter of perspectives on the review. Read more.

FTA Science Conference Website, with videos from keynotes!

imagethumb.jpgResearch findings, keynote speeches, posters and videos regarding trees, forests and agroforestry contributions to sustainable development are now available in the newly launched web-portal of our groundbreaking Science Conference held in 2020. It contains over 150 downloadable presentations (with voice-over narration from the scientists), 40 posters and further material, such as the book of abstracts submitted to the conference. We also made a playlist of the 16 incredible keynote speeches delivered during the conference. Even if you couldn’t join, you can now get the most out of it! Read more.

CATIE and CIRAD host a webinar to present results on the ecological and timber potential of secondary forests

imagethumb.jpgOn March 26th, scientists and professionals of CATIE, Cirad and SINAC (the Costa Rican National System for Conservation Areas) organized a webinar where they presented the results of the work they made on characterizing timber potential in secondary forests from national forest inventories in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. More than 140 scientists, professionals and stakeholders from relevant institutions, around the neotropics, from Mexico to Argentine attended the webinar. The results of this work are also presented in a scientific article submitted to the special issue on active restoration of secondary and degraded forest of the scientific international review Forest Ecology and Management, co-edited by Marie Ange Ngo Bieng, Plinio sist and Bryan Finegan, scientists of Cirad and CATIE. Read more.

INBAR’s new policy brief summarises how to include bamboo forestry projects in carbon markets

imagethumb.jpgA new INBAR brief explains how to develop and register bamboo forestry projects, so they can be certified by carbon markets. Aimed at project developers and government actors, the brief encourages the inclusion of bamboo forestry projects in carbon offset schemes. Download it here.

The third report from the FTA Sentinel Landscapes is out!

imagethumb.jpgLocated in Cameroon, the scientific partners of the Central Africa Humid Tropics Transect Sentinel Landscape (CAFHUT) carefully analyzed four sites where the pressures of urban development, population growth and forest commercialization are rapidly changing the landscape. The Congo Basin, with its ancient forests butting up against twenty-first century development, is the very definition of a Sentinel Landscape. The third for which the CGIAR Research program on Forests Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) has produced a report after a 10-year research, the other two being the Nicaragua-Honduras site and the Borneo site. Read the findings.

Open call for papers! Special Issue “Resilient Landscapes for Sustainable Trade and Development

imagethumb.jpgBas Louman from Tropenbos International, Sara Scherr of EcoAg Partners and Vincent Gitz, the FTA Director, have been invited as guest editors for “Resilient Landscapes for Sustainable Trade and Development”, a special issue of Land, in the section “Landscape Ecology“. The editors encourage you to submit your papers/articles. The edition will be structured in three sections: (i) Integrating resilient landscape approaches with agro-commodity value chains and development; (ii) Governance challenges and strategies for reconciling landscape resilience with trade and development; and (iii) Finance and investment challenges and emerging opportunities for mainstreaming resilience into landscapes.

Submit your papers now!

Innovations to overcome barriers to access to finance for smallholders, SMEs and women – Webinar report!

imagethumb.jpgOn the 26th of November 2020 FTA held its first webinar of the “From Science to Action” series, focused on “Innovations to overcome barriers to access to finance for smallholders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and women”. Developed in coordination with Tropenbos International, who leads the FTA Priority 17 on Innovating finance for sustainable landscapes and moderated by FTA’s Flagship 3 Leader, Michael Brady, the event convened a panel of researchers, financial experts, and government representatives, and attracted around 200 participants, to tackle innovative financial schemes for sustainable land uses with smallholder involvement. Full report of the event and YouTube recording available!

On 21 March 2021 we celebrated the International Day of Forests!

imagethumb.jpgFor this occasion we interviewed Julia Wolf (FAO) and Alexandre Meybeck (FTA), lead authors of the recently published co-publication “Addressing forestry and agroforestry in National Adaptation Plans: Supplementary guidelines”, a report that provides specific guidance for national adaptation planning in the forestry sector and that has just recently been translated in Spanish. We took the occasion to make 2 videos out of the interviews… watch them here.

Media campaign in Cameroon influences consumer buying intentions (French only)

imagethumb.jpgA new CIFOR study shows for the first time a positive correlation between a media campaign and the behavioral change from private individuals in favor purchasing timber legally. The campaign included awareness raising activities such as running a commercial on social media, radio broadcasts, radio and television advertising, distribution of leaflets to markets, public poster, among others. Read the story here (French only).

Call for contributions! Participate to a global study on the costs and benefits of restoration with TEER (The Economics of Ecosystem Restoration)

imagethumb.jpgThe Economics of Ecosystem Restoration initiative (TEER) hosted in FAO has launched a call for a global study to collect and analyze data on the costs and benefits of restoration.

To participate in the data collection process and contribute data on the costs and benefits of your restoration project, you just complete an ‘onboarding’ form to provide basic information about your project. Once completed the form please send it to before the 10th of May. Upon analysis of projects available for data collection, the TEER Secretariat will send you a detailed template to collect information on the costs of your project.

Download the form here.
More information here.

New FTA Working paper on initiatives to promote sustainable supply chains

imagethumb.jpgResearchers at CIFOR, CIRAD and WWF conducted a comprehensive review of initiatives to promote sustainable production, including recent “hybrid” initiatives that involve governments at the national or subnational levels to create a better enabling environment for the private sector. Many aspects of complex policy regimes are not yet well understood by policymakers, scientists or the public, suggests the study.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. News photos, from top, by: Neil Palmer/CIAT; Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR; Tim Cronin/CIFOR; Ollivier Girard/CIFOR; FAO; Ollivier Girard/CIFOR.

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Book of Abstracts: FTA 2020 Science Conference – Forests, trees and agroforestry science for transformational change


Determining appropriate interventions to mainstream nutritious orphan crops into African food systems


Long-term (1990–2019) monitoring of forest cover changes in the humid tropics


Cómo abordar la silvicultura y la agroforestería en los Planes Nacionales de Adaptación: Directrices complementarias


Variation in aboveground biomass in forests and woodlands in Tanzania along gradients in environmental conditions and human use


The links between forests, food security & nutrition


The value of local ecological knowledge to guide tree species selection in tropical dry forest restoration


Ecosystem Services and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Natural Forests and Mixed Bamboo Systems in Peru


Getting it right, a guide to improve inclusion in multistakeholder forums


Preliminary results of assessments on the impacts of Payments for Forest Environmental Services (PFES) on forest networks and governance, household income and forest loss in Vietnam


Assessment of Bamboo Forest Ecosystem Services in Thanh Hoa Province, Viet Nam


COVID-19 Pandemic and Agroecosystem Resilience: Early Insights for Building Better Futures


Mapping tree species distribution in support of China’s integrated tree-livestock-crop system


Impact of a Media Campaign on Consumers’ Purchasing Intentions of Legal Timber in Cameroon


Litterfall seasonal dynamics and leaf-litter turnover in cocoa agroforests established on past forest lands or savannah


Ecosystem restoration in Mexico: Insights on the project planning phase


Highlights from the FTA 2020 Science Conference 14-18 | 21-25 September

2021 International Day of Forests – FAO/FTA co-publication on NAPs – Interview with A. Meybeck

2021 International Day of Forests – FAO/FTA co-publication on NAPs – Interview with Julia Wolf (FAO)

CIFOR’s toolkit to support inclusion in multi-stakeholder forums

A short guide to implementing How are we doing?


Gender matters in Forest Landscape Restoration: A framework for design and evaluation

Addressing Forestry and Agroforestry in National Adaptation Plans

Changing forests, changing diets in Papua

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


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  • Women's effective participation to build an equal future (Vol. 5, Issue 1)

Women’s effective participation to build an equal future (Vol. 5, Issue 1)

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FTA communications

Today we celebrate the 8th of March, International Women’s Day. It is a moment reflect on the progress made and multiply our actions to achieve an ambitious vision of gender equality, critical to the well-being of humanity and the planet we inhabit. We know that despite many efforts worldwide, gender equality is still far from being a reality. This is true not only in some professional areas, geographies, or in the home, but across all areas of life globally. For instance, the recently released UN Secretary-General’s report underlines, among many other considerations, the great gender gap in public sector decision-making positions: there are currently only 22 women Heads of State or Government, and only 24.9% of national parliamentarians are women, globally. Things are even worse if we zoom into the decision-makers steering the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. An analysis of COVID-19 task forces from 87 countries revealed that only 3.5% of these had gender parity; a particularly stark reality considering that women represent at least 70% of the workforce in the health sector.

The imbalance is not only unjust towards women, but it has repercussions on everyone, leaving Governments unable to respond adequately and holistically to global challenges. Unequal decisional power translates in decisions that are less inclusive and relevant to the needs and interests of some segments of society, and thereby in worse societal outcomes. One needs not only think about COVID-19, similar considerations apply decision-making pertaining to climate change, biodiversity loss, sustainable development, education, conflict resolutions, ethics, and so on. This is why this year’s IDW theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” focuses on the critical need of supporting women’s right to decision-making and having women leaders, while also honoring the fundamental role of women and girls all over the world in shaping a more equal future; contributions often made from disadvantaged situations.

Social structures that shape asymmetric gender dynamics have been a focus of FTA’s research since the program’s inception. When drafting its renewed Gender Action Plan in 2019, FTA reinstated equal participation as one of its key focus research areas. A recent news article also recalls how FTA contributed to make two UN processes more gender-responsive. In the FTA 2020 Science Conference, one of the technical workstreams dealt with inclusive governance for sustainable landscapes, concentrating discussions on decision-making at the intersection of policy and practice, together with the institutions that support or obstruct inclusion, transparency and accountability in decision-making processes. FTA also substantially re-oriented its work on sustainable value chains to focus on social inclusion and especially gender issues, as testified in the value-chains, finance and investment session of the FTA conference. It was an occasion to highlight the significant research FTA is conducting in this domain, which surfaces pressing challenges as well as possible solutions and strategies to address them.

Unequal gender norms and social structures limit women’s genuine participation and influence, and lead to their overall underrepresentation, in landscape and value chains governance. As we’ve emphasized in a previous newsletter, the COVID-19 crisis has brought a double burden on forest-dependent and rural women, who need to fight on two fronts: they are the first exposed to the socio-economic repercussion of the COVID-19 response and at the same time expected to lead the charge in enhancing their households’ and communities’ resilience.

As a research program, it is our role to investigate and contribute to the strong evidence that women’s equal and effective participation is a key to unlocking solutions to the many environmental and socio-economic crisis humanity faces, and to advance sustainable development and embed justice into the fabric of our societies. For all and for women, let’s use this moment of crisis not to “build back better” but to “build forward better”.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender coordinator

Special feature

Inclusive governance for sustainable landscapes – all material from the FTA 2020 Science Conference now available!

imagethumb.jpgFrom 14 to 25 September 2020, FTA ran its fully digital decadal conference, titled “Forest, trees and agroforestry science for transformational change”. It drew more than 520 participants from 69 countries around the world, featuring close to 200 interventions from scientists involved in the FTA program. One of the 6 technical workstreams of the conference, one focused on inclusive governance for sustainable landscapes, with 3 sessions:

  1. Participatory processes in landscape governance and management
  2. Land and forest tenure: implications for sustainable management and inclusion
  3. Landscape and jurisdictional approaches for governance and sustainability

See all workstream contributions and keynote here.


FTA research and engagement inform biodiversity and climate change policies

imagethumb.jpgFTA scientists are collaborating with a network of organizations that have been pushing for more gender-responsive policies for years. Among this constellation of actors, the role of FTA scientists is to bring empirical evidence to the table. Read how FTA influenced some key policy processes.

11 February was International Day of Women & Girls in Science

imagethumb.jpgThis year’s international day of women and girls in science (11 February 2021) focused on the role of women scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. FTA acknowledges both the important role of women in the fight against the pandemic and their critical contributions to building forward better, increasing resilience of agricultural systems. FTA had a chat with two of our women scientists, Houria Djoudi and Pamela Tabi, who shared their inspiring stories and wisdom! Read more.

Structuring climate finance to benefit women and alleviate poverty

imagethumb.jpgScientists with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) have studied five national financing mechanisms in Indonesia to learn more about the way they incorporate gender inclusiveness. Read more.

Addressing gender in forests and climate change actions

imagethumb.jpgThe importance of women’s participation in successful climate action initiatives and the sustainable management of forest resources has been proven many times. Recent work by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and others demonstrate strong evidence of the positive effects of women’s inclusion in forest management groups on both governance and conservation outcomes. Find out how.

New guide aims to accelerate forest tenure pathways to gender equality

imagethumb.jpgForest tenure reform in the global south has often failed to be gender-responsive, but there is a growing call to take up this challenge to activate effective change. A new guide created by scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) aims to make the process more accessible. The guide recommends a three-step process, billed as “analyze, strategize, and realize,” to support interventions in local and national contexts. Read more.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. News photos, from top, by: Amanda Voisard/UN Women; Arnauld Chyngwa/CIFOR; Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR; Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR.

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Making climate finance work for women and the poor: Insights from national climate finance mechanisms in Indonesia


Leveraging climate finance for gender equality and poverty reduction: A comparative study


Forest tenure pathways to gender equality: A practitioner’s guide


Understanding gender dynamics in the context of rural transformation processes: An East Kalimantan case study



Enhancing women’s rights and lives through gender-equitable restoration in Burkina Faso


Gender-responsive project implementation within the Resilient Food Systems Programme


Fit for purpose? A review of guides for gender-equitable value chain development


Embodied engagement with gender and agrobiodiversity: Leveraging transformative moments in multidisciplinary teams


Climate finance and gender on the ground: Insights from mitigation and adaptation interventions in Indonesia


Confronting climate change with gender inclusive financing

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


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  • Trees for a fruitful 2021 (Vol. 4, Issue 5)

Trees for a fruitful 2021 (Vol. 4, Issue 5)

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Dini Raras

Dear readers,

It is my pleasure to send you the last FTA Newsletter of 2020. I hope you are all as good as can be as we approach the end the year. Needless to say, this has been a very complex year with the pandemic; these are challenging times. Everyone, from governments and organizations to businesses, households and individuals, had to adapt quickly to radical changes, developing coping strategies. Adaptation is a key part of FTA’s research and I must say that I admired how our FTA scientific community as a whole was able to transform ways of working in such a short span of time, demonstrating a strong resilience and also innovative responses to this global shock.

FTA is a global program and as such, remote ways of work between distant colleagues and communities are already part of our daily routine. Back in March 2017, we had already organized a major global digital symposium, one of the first of the kind. In 2020 we mobilized this prime experience to go through the constraints imposed by lockdowns, local and international travel restrictions. We drastically increased our online work and communications. Lowering our carbon footprint did not mean lowering our capacity to interact: we exchanged with more actors in the field than we did before when physical events was the norm. We held the FTA 2020 Science Conference as a unique event that ran over 2 weeks gathering more than 500 scientists worldwide and hundreds of contributions, divided into 6 technical workstreams. We are now working on making all this material available on line on a dedicated website will be ready early 2021. We also initiated a webinar series as a result of the FTA 2020 Science Conference, to bring to the open public the results of our decadal research activity. The first one, featuring an exceptional panel on innovative finance, was held on the 26th November and it attracted over 130 participants. More of these webinars will come in 2021.

2021 will bring a range of global milestones around biodiversity with the CBD Conference in Kunming, climate change with the UNFCCC Conference in Glasgow, sustainable forestry with the Global Forestry Congress in Seoul, Sustainable food systems with the UN food systems summit, and the starting UN decade on ecosystems restoration. It has also been declared by the UN the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV). We’ve worked hard in FTA to contribute effectively to these agendas, and the international discussions this year will in turn shape the future demand towards global research on forests, trees and agroforestry.

2021 will be the last year of FTA as a decadal collaborative research for development program of the CGIAR, and at the same time it will be a global doorstep for the “build back better” agenda. It will be the time to look back at key achievements, what has worked well, less well and why. It will be time to look into the future. A future that can be enriched by the incredible amount of positive “fruits” of trees, forests and agroforestry systems.

I hope you will enjoy how closely the content of this newsletter is linked to environmental, health, social justice and sustainability topics. I wish you all some safe days ahead and I look forward in engaging with you all in 2021.

Stay safe and healthy!

Vincent Gitz
FTA Director


Our work on Orphan Crops featured on Reuters

imagethumb.jpgFollowing a recent publication led by the FTA partner ICRAF, Reuters picked up our work on orphan crops with an interesting piece featured on their website. ‘‘The revival of orphan crops could be the disruption that African food systems need. But what is the best way to make it happen? Create consumer demand, or boost the yields of these traditional foods first?’’ questions Stepha Mc Mullin, ICRAF scientist and lead author of the review study. Find out more.

Food for thought!

imagethumb.jpgTwo of humanity’s biggest problems – the climate crisis and abysmal eating habits – can partly be solved by one healthy solution: eating more food from trees, specifically tropical ones. A new article published on People and Nature, highlights the myriad nutritional, economic and environmental-health potential of increasing the production and consumption of tropical fruits.

Special feature

Forests and agroforestry taking its place for climate adaptation

imagethumb.jpgForests and trees provide so called nature-based solutions for adaptation helping other sectors build resilience. Thanks to their crucial ecosystem services, forests support crops, livestock, and fisheries, as well as prevent flooding and erosion that can threaten infrastructure, economies and people. To help countries integrate these considerations into adaptation planning, FTA together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) joined forces and developed the Addressing forestry and agroforestry in National Adaptation Plans: Supplementary guidelines. Read more.

FTA and IRSG just released a brief on rubber and climate change

imagethumb.jpgThis joint FTA and IRSG publication considers natural rubber primary production in relation to its sustainability and challenges in order to identify how it can best contribute to sustainable development in a context of climate change. It focuses on issues linked to primary production and land use as part of a research program on plantations, identifying a number of “sustainability hotspots” and proposing 5 key pillars for the way forward. Download it here.

Sentinel Landscape Report on Nicaragua-Honduras now available in Spanish

imagethumb.jpgThe first Sentinel Landscape Report, written together with our partner CATIE is now also available in Spanish. In case you missed it, here is also a longform article on the report from when the English version was released. Download the ES version here.

Record submissions to public consultation urge EU to act on deforestation!

imagethumb.jpgA landmark 1,193,652 submissions to the EU’s public consultation on deforestation were handed over to the European Commission on the 14th of December, all of which demanded a strong EU law to protect the world’s forests and the rights of people who depend on them. The one million+ submissions have made this the largest public consultation on environmental issues in the history of the EU, and the second largest ever. FTA’s partner Tropenbos International has prepared a position paper on this regard.

Uganda’s 10-year National Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan is moving

imagethumb.jpgWith technical and financial support from INBAR/FTA, in 2019 Uganda signed off the National Bamboo Strategy and Action Plan for 2019–2029. We take stock of progress 1 year after this landmark policy decision and it seems things are progressing steadily!

New joint FAO-CIFOR report on the domestic production and trade of legal timber in Côte d’Ivoire

imagethumb.jpgTitled Demandes en bois et produits dérivés dans les marchés publics en Côte d’Ivoire, the study, published as part of a project supported by the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Programme (FLEGT), seeks to fill the knowledge gap on the type and volumes of timber supplied on the domestic market. The publication also presents a series of recommendations on how to increase the supply of legal timber in the country. This information is an invaluable contribution towards Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to move forward with the elaboration of a public procurement policy on the production and trade of legally harvested timber. Download it here.

Sustainable Food Systems for all: inclusivity matters!

imagethumb.jpgAs part of the UN SDG Action Zone, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), recently hosted a session moderated by Kuntum Melati and Sofia Cavalleri, entitled “Protection For Resilience: Synergizing SDGs to Achieve Resilient Food Systems”. The panel included FTA scientists, voices of youth, civil society organizations, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) and the private sector, all of whom are working to redesign the food systems. Read our article and replay the session here.

Farmers restore land in Africa with natural regeneration but how can we learn what practices work where and for whom?

imagethumb.jpgFarmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) is where farmers encourage trees to grow from rootstock or seeds naturally occurring in their fields that are in active agricultural use. FMNR delivers a number of positive impacts, including increased agricultural productivity through improvement of soil fertility and feed for livestock and higher incomes for farmers. Scientists from World Agroforestry (ICRAF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Bangor University and Wageningen University have recently reviewed the scientific evidence on FMNR in Sub-Saharan Africa, covering how context influences the composition of regenerating vegetation and what is known about the subsequent environmental and socio-economic benefits. Read more.

Latest ETFRN news on Restoring African Drylands is now out

imagethumb.jpgETFRN News 60 focuses on dryland restoration in the Sahel and the Greater Horn of Africa where levels of poverty, land degradation and out-migration are acute. It collates 36 articles from more than 100 contributors featuring a number of FTA scientists. It includes some long-term analyses of remarkable increases in tree cover and improved agricultural yields over large areas of the Western Sahel never published before, landscape restoration in Ethiopia, and examples from many other countries. Read more about it here.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. News photos, from top, by: Alina Paul-Bossuet; Tri Saputro/CIFOR; Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; CIFOR; Tropenbos International; International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR); Raphael Tsanga/CIFOR; Neil Palmer/CIAT, May Muthuri/World Agroforestry; Niguse Hagazi/World Agroforestry.

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Recent publications


Raising the profile of woodfuels in the forest landscape restoration agenda


Food for thought


Innovative finance for sustainable landscapes


Resultados de los estudios biofísicos y socioeconómicos en el Paisaje Centinela Nicaragua – Honduras


Demandes en bois et produits dérivés dans les marchés publics en Côte d’Ivoire


Priorities, challenges and opportunities for supplying tree genetic resources


Ecosystem-Based Approaches to Bioenergy and the Need for Regenerative Supply Options for Africa


How does replacing natural forests with rubber and oil palm plantations affect soil respiration and methane fluxes?


Land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions in the tropics


The politics of numbers and additionality governing the national Payment for Forest Environmental Services scheme in Vietnam


Forest-linked livelihoods in a globalized world


Understanding and evaluating the impact of integrated problem-oriented research programmes: Concepts and considerations


Acerca del Estudio Global Comparativo de CIFOR sobre REDD+

Promoting sustainable woodfuel in multifunctional landscapes (social media teaser)

Forest Governance in the Indigenous Territory of Lomerío, Bolivia

Yaw Gyabeng’s – River bank restoration at Elluokrom, Ghana

Empowering refugees and host communities to protect Cameroon’s forests

Preserving the community forest: a woman’s struggle for life

Elikya, l’enfant de la forêt (version en Swahili)

The impact of oil palm growing on land use and food security in Kalangala district


Dig it: Unearthing the importance of soil

Keeping ecosystem intact, keeping humanity alive

Ensuring a nutritious diet for all. Together.

Digging deeper on World Soil Day 2020

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

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

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  • Building back better: the fundamental need to prioritize rural women (Vol. 4, Issue 4)

Building back better: the fundamental need to prioritize rural women (Vol. 4, Issue 4)

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FTA communications

Originally dubbed as the “biodiversity super-year”, 2020 will unfortunately be remembered for something quite different: the outbreak of COVID-19. In addition to the tragic loss of human life and the unleashing of an economic recession, one of the pandemic’s immediate and distressing effects has been to exacerbate inequalities. Women, and especially rural women, who lack the resources and safety nets needed to buffer shocks, have been comparatively extremely hard hit by the pandemic and its response.

In many world regions, rural men and women, compared to urban populations, live far away from quality healthcare structures as well as basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation and essential medicines. But then, compared to rural men, gender norms and institutions further hinder rural women’s mobility and access to public health resources, information and services. Studies have shown that rural women are taking on an even greater share of care work as a consequence of the pandemic, that they are experiencing an increase in domestic violence, and that they are more likely than men to lose their jobs or source of employment. Simply put, despite the fact that COVID-19 seems to be more fatal for men than women, rural women are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the consequences of the sometimes very harsh outbreak management responses.

It is long known and proven that women and girls play a crucial role in the agricultural work force. Moreover, they carry out most domestic work, and are at the heart of their communities’ organization, maintaining social cohesion and shaping intrahousehold dynamics. Importantly, they are also the custodians of their household’s food security and nutrition, and critical to its resilience. Yet, these contributions -together with the challenges women face to deliver on those- are consistently underrecognized and undervalued.

These realities reinforce the urgency and motivation of FTA’s work. As a research program with a key focus on policies, governance and institutions, FTA places gender equality concerns at the heart of its research to “build back better” and more resilient landscapes and livelihoods for all.

As you, FTA newsletter readers, know well, FTA recognizes gender equality as an inherent human right, and a fundamental part of achieving all of its objectives. Rather than merely addressing the symptoms of gender inequality (e.g. unequal participation, income), we need to devise transformative approaches that tackle the underlying causes, such as formal rules (e.g. policies and regulations) and informal rules (e.g. social norms, power relations), of inequality.

In that regard, FTA, as a partnership working globally but in very different contexts, has adopted one constant, not negotiable, objective across all geographies: to support women and girls’ involvement in decision making, control of resources, and control over their own labor and destiny. Only by solving pervasive inequalities in these and other areas will we be able to venture on a solid path towards equitable development and resilient landscapes.

As Reverend Martin Luther King once wrote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” These words resound with wisdom and truth as global, national, and local communities struggle to cope with COVID-19.

Research and action to document and address inequalities linked to gender, rurality, socio-economic status, and other factors of marginalization was a prominent theme in FTA’s Scientific Conference, which ran from 14-25 September 2020. Interventions across six technical workstreams highlighted how social equality can be an engine for sustainability, and canvassed transformational ways to move forward. The conference was an occasion to showcase the significant body of FTA work in this area.

The current pandemic will not deter us. FTA scientists are renewing efforts to generate data and technical, social and institutional innovations that can support change towards a more gender-equal world; and to honor and support the resilience of rural women in the wake of COVID-19.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender coordinator

Special feature

Building just societies and resilient landscapes alongside rural women

imagethumb.jpgWhen women are able to participate in decision-making and equitably share resources and benefits, policies and projects in the forest sector often see increased buy-in and improved outcomes; while initiatives that ignore gender difference or exclude women tend to reinforce or even exacerbate existing inequalities.
Read the interview with our Gender and Social Inclusion scientist Markus Ihalainen here.

Natural rubber and climate change

imagethumb.jpgNatural rubber has a key role to play for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change as an important land user (≈14 Million ha), a producer of renewable materials (i.e. latex and rubberwood), and as a major economic activity.

The International Rubber Study Group ( IRSG ) in collaboration with CIFOR/FTA, CIRAD and the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB) has organised a workshop on “Climate Change and Natural Rubber Systems” to review scientific knowledge about impacts of climate change on natural rubber, potential means for its adaptation and what can be its contribution to mitigation of climate change.

All presentations and videos can be accessed here.

Read more in this article.

Virtual launch of the Global Assessment Report on 15 October 2020!

imagethumb.jpgA new and most comprehensive scientific assessment presented by the Global Forest Experts Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Poverty reveals critical links between forests, trees and poverty alleviation. The report makes a valuable contribution to achieving the first and foremost of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals aimed at ending poverty. This is even more important in light of the current pandemic under which efforts to fight poverty have suffered a severe setback. The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), on behalf of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), established the Panel in the framework of the GFEP Initiative.

Thursday, 15 October 2020 4-5:30 pm CEST

Register here



Men in forests: New book shatters stereotypes

imagethumb.jpgIn a candid new memoir, Colfer, now a senior associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a visiting scholar in the Cornell University Southeast Asia Program, shares her personal perspective to better elaborate reflections on 50 years of research into gender and forests.

She overturns some of the generally accepted parameters which have largely defined gender studies, suggesting that the habits and practices of men warrant greater consideration than they have received to date. Read more here.

Sentinels of social transformation in Borneo

imagethumb.jpgThe recently published BSSL report focuses on two study blocks in the Kapuas Hulu Regency of West Kalimantan on Borneo. Straddling the equator, Borneo is the third largest island in the world, more than three times larger than Great Britain and seven times the size of Cuba. With 73 percent forest cover and two national parks, the report describes Kapuas Hulu as part of the “last forest frontier”. Read our long-form and download the report here.

Burkina Faso: Rural women’s perspectives on COVID-19

imagethumb.jpgAssociation Tiipaalga, working with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, spent time listening to rural Mossé women living in two communes (Zitenga and Dapelogo) of the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso discuss their lives and experiences in this period of COVID-19. Find out what they said.

FTA, PIM and WLE working together on forest and landscape restoration

imagethumb.jpgDespite the high level of political engagement and the wide range of organizations involved in restoration projects from local to global levels, beyond some success stories, restoration is not happening at scale. Research is urgently needed to design, develop and upscale successful restoration approaches. As part of this effort, FTA, PIM and WLE publish a synthesis of a survey of CGIAR’s projects on restoration.

‘Learning how to learn’ is crucial for researchers in the field

imagethumb.jpgWhen a team of scientists set out to study women’s participation in community forest management in communities in Nicaragua, they faced a quandary. Men tended to dominate the workshops and meetings. How could they encourage more equitable participation if the women didn’t attend or speak up? Find out!

FTA at GLF Bonn 2020

imagethumb.jpgDid you miss our session on the Contribution of Forests, Trees and Agroforestry to Sustainable Food Security and Nutrition in a time of crisis at GLF Bonn 2020? Full video and all presentations available here.

Sharing a vision: youth, women and the future of fine flavor cacao

imagethumb.jpgOn July 24th, the FFC project hosted the first dialogue of its kind as part of the virtual 163rd anniversary celebration of La Convencion province, home to cacao Chuncho. Over 300 participants (average age 25 years) listened in as each of the presenters provided a unique perspective from their successful careers in fine flavor cacao. Find out more here.

FTA proposes a typology of interventions and situations for guiding land restoration

imagethumb.jpgThe objective of the paper is to uncover the diverse understanding and perspectives about “restoration” and to construct a typology that can help to clarify contrasts, similarities and possible synergies. It aims to facilitate upscaling of restoration by allowing better alignment between restoration goals and means ith the priorities of the people who live in, and gain their long-term livelihoods from, the landscapes to be restored. Find out more here.

Under fire: Five myths about wood fuel in sub-Saharan Africa

imagethumb.jpgDespite the environmental cost of using firewood and charcoal for meal preparation and to meet other energy needs, more than 60 percent of families in sub-Saharan Africa have no alternative to wood, making it a significant contributor to forest degradation throughout the region. The solution is not simply to ban the use of wood fuel without offering alternatives, say scientists at CIFOR. Read what they propose.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR.

Contact us

Recent publications


Intersecting and dynamic gender rights to néré, a food tree species in Burkina Faso


Gender and forest tenure reform in Indonesia


Learning to learn in tropical forests: Training Field Teams in Adaptive Collaborative Management, Monitoring and Gender


SDG Book – Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People

Chapter 5 – Gender Equality – A Precondition for Sustainable Forestry


Chapter 10 – Reduced Inequalities – An Environmental Justice Perspective on Implications for Forests and People


Chapter 19 – The Impacts of the Sustainable Development Goals on Forests and People – Conclusions and the Way Forward


Masculinities in Forests: Representations of Diversity


ETFRN news 60 – Enhancing women’s rights and lives through gender-equitable restoration in Burkina Faso


Making room for manoeuvre: addressing gender norms to strengthen the enabling environment for agricultural innovation


Addressing Potential Conflict Using Participatory Mapping: Collection of Forest Foods From Timber Trees Around Industrial Concessions in Cameroon


The Wicked Problem of Forest Policy


Gender Challenges: A Three-Volume Compendium of Selected Papers

Other FTA publications

People-Centric Nature-Based Land Restoration through Agroforestry

Land use change in four landscapes in the Peruvian Amazon

Establishment of Rattan Plantations

Impact of on-farm Land Restoration Practices on the Time and Agency of Women in the Drylands of Eastern Kenya

Sustainable business models for inclusive growth

Capacity Development Plan of Action 2020-2021

Capacity Needs Assessment of CIFOR, ICRAF and their partners for the implementation of the CGIAR Research Program on Forestry, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

Report on implementation of the Landscape Assessment of Financial Flows (LAFF) in Gunung Tarak Landscape, Indonesia

The importance of indigenous peoples’ lands for the conservation of terrestrial mammals

Sentinel Landscapes initiative

Power asymmetries in social networks of ecosystem services governance

Oil palm plantations are large sources of nitrous oxide, but where are the data to quantify the impact on global warming?

Associations between socio‐environmental factors and landscape‐scale biodiversity recovery in naturally regenerating tropical and subtropical forests


NDCP-TWG webinar on Gender, 14 May

Full webinar (includes above presentation)

Presentation for the Swaminathan Research Foundation– Virtual consultation on “Science for Resilient Food, Nutrition and Livelihoods: Contemporary Challenges” – 7 August


Why the energy and food nexus is critical in refugee context

Building Back Better: Investing In Farming Under COVID-19 – Episode 12

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

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

Led by: In partnership with:
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  • Cherishing and strengthening biodiversity for our future (Vol. 4, Issue 3)

Cherishing and strengthening biodiversity for our future (Vol. 4, Issue 3)

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FTA communications

Dear subscribers to the FTA newsletter, I hope that you and your families are safe and coping, staying healthy during this difficult period. We face a unique moment in history. As much as we need to, collectively, protect ourselves and our loved ones from the threats of the pandemic, this is also a moment to realize how we are all interdependent, sharing a planet and its resources, a moment to reflect upon the absolute importance of safeguarding the environment. We all expected 2020 to be the “biodiversity super-year”, what we were not expecting was something like covid-19 to put the spotlight on our relations with ecosystems, between our health, animal health and environmental health. It can be read as a more sign of the absolute need to change the way natural resources and habitats are managed: time is running out. Never like today the role and importance of trees, forests and agroforestry systems to support the resilience of ecosystems and social systems to shocks has been so evident. FTA has a long tradition of research and advocacy on these issues and we will continue to expand them even more so. Indeed, in spite of most FTA researchers being under lockdown, our work does not stop and as a research community we believe it is important to share with you our progress and achievements. Two weeks ago our lead partner CIFOR organized an incredibly well attended webinar with a Q&A session and over 500+ live attendees, on what a ban on wild meat could imply for millions of forests dwellers. The video can be replayed entirely. More similar webinars are in the making. We also proudly released our new Gender Action Plan, a milestone document that builds on the work of our dear Esther Mwangi, recently passed away, integrating new challenges and proposing a transformative approach to research. On 21st of March we celebrated the International Day of Forests while on the 22nd of April Mother Earth’s Day, in both occasions we developed engaging stories that link our research to broader themes – you will find them in this newsletter along with an incredible wealth of information from all our partners. We all hope that we will soon come back to normality, though it may take more time than what we are willing to accept right now. As foresters we are used to having long term perspective. It is an additional strength in a period of uncertainty. In similar times of threat and change, mankind has often been able to change and improve; this is what we should hope and strive for: cherishing, nurturing and strengthening biodiversity for the future of our planet and mankind. Vincent Gitz

FTA Director

Special feature

Sentinel Solutions for the Anthropocene

On International Mother Earth’s Day FTA published a longform article talking about the work our scientists have done in the Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape, for which a report has just been released. imagethumb.jpg The Sentinel Landscapes initiative is an audacious commitment to collect data on biophysical, social, economic and political dimensions across and monitor respective indicators across a network of eight carefully chosen tropical forest landscapes over extended periods of time. The Sentinel Landscapes program is the global health check that we desperately need so that we can face climate change, land degradation, poverty and food security with clear vision. imagethumb.jpg The idea for Sentinel Landscapes was hatched during conversations between colleagues at World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and CIFOR in 2011 and 2012. Since those first conversations, more and more academic organizations have joined the FTA program and participated to the Sentinel landscapes initiative, including Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), Bioversity International, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. In the words of one scientist, it has always been “super collaborative”. Dive into this incredible research journey.




COVID-19-led ban on wild meat could take protein off the table for millions of forest dwellers

imagethumb.jpgLack of access to wild meat could result in hunger and malnutrition for local and Indigenous communities. Conservationists have greeted China’s recent clampdown on wild animal hunting and consumption with enthusiasm. The government made the move based on scientific theories that COVID-19 was transmitted from a pangolin or a bat to humans in a market in the city of Wuhan. But this poses serious threats. See why. A webinar to discuss these issues was also organized by our partner CIFOR on the 16th of April, you can replay it fully here: More on Covid-19 from our partners:

FTA’s new Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Agenda and Action Plan 2020-2021 is released!

imagethumb.jpgThe revised version of the FTA gender strategy, called Gender Equality and Social Inclusion – A Revised Agenda and Action Plan for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry 2020-2021 draws on the program’s tradition of quality gender research and its experience strengthening gender integration across program activities and processes. Building on and complementing its original efforts and strategy, FTA continues to view gender integration in research as a fundamental part of doing good science (European Commission 2011), and approaches gender as a theme that cuts across every aspect of the FTA research portfolio. Read about it and download the document here.

Indonesia’s secret forests: Underground water world

imagethumb.jpgIn Java’s cultural heartland, a hidden world of caverns, clear water and mysterious creatures is an ecosystem like no other. Gunung Sewu, on the Indonesian island of Java, takes its name — which means “thousands of mountains” — from its sweeping landscape of conical hills. The area, which is a UNESCO geopark, stretches 120 kilometers east to west from the hills to the coast. But its real treasure lies deep underground, in a mysterious world of rivers and caverns, adorned with crystals, stalactites and stalagmites and inhabited by unusual creatures. Sculpted by water over millions of years, this subterranean system is a magnet for adventure seekers and a key reservoir for local communities. Enjoy a dive into this ecosystem.

Call for contributions ETFRN News 60: Restoring African drylands – EXTENDED UNTIL 2nd May midnight CEST!

imagethumb.jpgETFRN News 60 is coming up! It will focus on dryland landscape restoration, from government and private sector reforestation to farmer managed natural regeneration, improvements to grasslands and rainfed agriculture, changes in tenure and governance, management of exotic species and bush encroachment. If you have a story to tell on dryland restoration in Africa and would like to share it, send a short outline (half page to a page) to the co-editors Nick Pasiecznik ( and Chris Reij ( by 2nd May 2020 midnight CEST. More information here.

Enhancing African orphan crops with genomics

imagethumb.jpgMalnutrition in many African nations is widespread but can be addressed by diversifying food systems with a wider range of nutritious crops. To support this, the African Orphan Crops Consortium is applying genome-enabled methods to improve the production of under-researched (‘orphan’) crops on the continent. “Orphan crops”, explains Ramni Jamnadass, lead author of a Comment piece about the Consortium just published in Nature Genetics, “are crops that have received only minor investments in the past, but often are well adapted to local environments and cultures and are nutritious, being rich in vitamins, essential minerals and other micronutrients important for healthy diets. The reasons for their past neglect include a focus over the last century on increasing the yields of major crops as the primary providers of calories but with less attention being given to providing crucial micronutrients.” Learn more about the AOCC here.

Seeds for trees: Survey from our partner Bioversity on seed supply chains in Southeast Asia

imagethumb.jpgGerminating seeds of Borneo Ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri) at a nursery in Sarawak, Malaysia. Restoration practitioners need information about the origin and quality of seed sources to select the right trees for their sites – trees that can survive and thrive under both current and future climates. But what information is commonly available about seed in markets, and is it sufficient for making the right choices? Fill in the online survey to find help us find out.

In the tropics, intact forests are losing their ability to absorb carbon

imagethumb.jpgThe capacity of intact tropical forests to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide is declining, according to a new study published on 4 March in Nature. In the Amazon, peak carbon uptake appears to have occurred in the 1990s, whereas in Africa, it was reached 10 years later. Since then, this uptake has continued to decline. This challenges the idea that these forests can continue to sequester carbon for years to come. Scientists at CIRAD are nevertheless highlighting the role sustainably managed forests and forest plantations can play in reversing this trend. Read more here and download the publication here.

In The Gambia, controlling wild fire offers nature-based solution to diminishing wild food and hungry monkeys

imagethumb.jpgBurnt by fire, trees thicken bark: but a Green Climate Fund project encourages them to fruit instead. Ecosystem-based adaptation is an approach that strengthens ecosystem services to reduce the impact of climate change, protect communities from extreme weather and provide ecological benefits, such as clean water and food. Read how this approach is helping The Gambia’s transition toward a more climate-resilient, natural resource-based economy. Further read on the Banjul Tree Cover Resolution.

An Alliance for Trees: Why forest biodiversity is “too precious to lose”

imagethumb.jpgFrom forest fires to COVID-19, this year has already presented grave challenges to human and planetary health. Now more than ever, forests have an essential role to play. On the International Day of Forests our partner the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT outlined their research approaches to ensure better conservation and restoration, with selected examples from some of our projects around the world. Read more.

The role of agroforestry in forest restoration

imagethumb.jpgAgroforestry in the Philippines has been crucial in reversing the harmful effects of deforestation and forest degradation, generating sustainable economic and environmental benefits for upland and coastal communities and indigenous people’s groups. Find out more about this success story.

The role of forests at the turn of the decade: in conversation with René Boot, TBI’s Director

imagethumb.jpgA new decade has started, and international attention to forests seems at an all-time high. The 2010s were a decade of ambitious international commitments. The Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the New York Declaration on Forests, and the Warsaw REDD+ Agreement—all stress the need to conserve and restore millions of hectares of forests. Still, throughout the 2010s, deforestation rates have remained high. The 2020s will reveal whether these commitments will actually have an effect. Here René Boot, Director of Tropenbos International, reflects on the longer-term trends, and looks ahead at what lies in front of us. Read this interesting interview.

Forland project from CIRAD for sustainable and integrated territorial management

imagethumb.jpgAlready tested in Brazil, Colombia and Scotland, Forland is about to be deployed in other areas. This platform, developed by a consortium of five partners including CIRAD, is a valuable decision support tool for stakeholders involved in spatial planning. It was launched on 12 March in Nogent-sur-Marne, in the presence of representatives of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Read more about it here.

Vulnerability mapping for forest conservation and restoration

imagethumb.jpgOver the last two decades, forest conservation and restoration has emerged as one of the leading science-based efforts to mitigate human pressures on the earth’s ecosystems. However, the planning and coordination of these efforts are complex, because individual species respond differently to the variety of anthropogenic forces that threaten forest landscapes. Fortunately, that’s exactly the challenge that motivates vulnerability mapping efforts, as carried out in this article. Read more about it.

An exploratory study of cost-benefit analysis of landscape restoration

imagethumb.jpgOwing to increasing demand for landscape restoration and the limited resources available, economic analysis helps prioritize investments. Cost-benefit analysis is a commonly applied approach used in the economic analysis of landscape restoration as well as for strategizing allocation of resources. However, despite the growing amount of restoration, studies of the economic analysis of restoration itself are relatively few. To address this gap, scientists from World Agroforestry (ICRAF) conducted a systematic review of cost-benefit analyses for landscape restoration to understand the extent of existing studies. The studies were from different parts of the world although the majority were from Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Read about them in this article.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: CGIAR – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; CGIAR – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Axel Fassio/CIFOR; CIFOR; Faizal Abdul Aziz/CIFOR; Tropenbos International; Ollivier Girard/CIFOR; APFORGEN; Ricky Martin/CIFOR, Cathy Watson/World Agroforestry; R. Jalonen/Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT; Zarrel Noza/World Agroforestry; Tropenbos International; CIRAD; R.Atkinson/Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT; Ake Mamo/World Agroforestry.

Contact us

Recent publications


Gender Equality and Social Inclusion: A Revised Agenda and Action Plan for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry 2020-2021