Enhancing decision makers’ understanding of policy implications for agroforestry concession holders

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Men work together on a plot of land in Peru. Photo by M. del Aguila Guerrero/CIFOR

Outcome summary

FTA research on farmer livelihoods conducted under the SUCCESS project, revealed the need for forest legislation to take into account the fine scale variation in agroforestry practice for the proposed legislation to be inclusive. The provisions highlighted by the research have been incorporated into the Peruvian national legal governing agroforestry concessions. These legal guidelines formalize the rights of smallholders to practice agroforestry on state land. The state forest authority used FTA research to nuance the guidelines for how regional forest authorities will implement agroforestry concessions with 120,000 eligible farming households.

Current work has involved case studies in two sites in the Amazon region presenting different forest frontier dynamics to inform a national level policy process. There are opportunities to influence other countries in Latin America that are exploring similar mechanisms to formalize production systems taking place on state forest land by introducing conditionalities that farmers would need to comply with, most notably, Colombia.

Outcome details

The SUCCESS project research aimed to enable evidence-based implementation of an important policy innovation in Peru – the granting of conditional agroforestry concessions and formalizing current land holdings. Peru has the second largest total area (70mha) and highest proportion of national territory in the Amazon. It also has a rapidly increasing deforestation rate, in large degree due to encroachment by smallholder agricultural colonists.

The research was interested in facilitating wide adoption of agroforestry systems and practices across the Peruvian Amazon and ensuring that the policy was shaped in a way that would positively affect the livelihoods of thousands of smallholder householders living in the Peruvian Amazon. The legislative changes would affect 123,000 vulnerable smallholder farmers, managing more than 1.2 million ha, of which over 450,000 ha are still covered by forest.

As part of the SUCCESS project 197 farmers participated in focus group work in the villages (57 of whom were women), 119 farmers were surveyed and their landholdings mapped (20 of whom were women). Other participants included leaders of associations, members of local, regional and national level forest authorities, and members of local regional and national level civil society. The research deliberately engaged all levels of participants in co-learning about agroforestry concession implementation, including exploration of the feasibility of the proposed mechanism, assessment of the main opportunities and challenges related to its technical implementation, and development of guidelines and preliminary tools to design interventions. Researchers observed changes among national forest authority representatives and the regional technical units responsible for the implementation of the agroforestry concession in their level of awareness, understanding and the language used in analysing the issue. It also highlighted the limited flow of information through formal channels to the grass roots level. As a result of this research activity, the Regional Government of San Martin decided to implement a pilot and register 29 families for Agroforestry Concession, based on FTA’s characterization work and the project recommendations. ICRAF is now a reference institution of the regional technical committee for the implementation of Agroforestry Concessions.

The key contribution of FTA research was the introduction of a whole farm and livelihoods perspective to the development of incentives and intervention schemes for implementing Agroforestry Concessions. These considerations are key for the forestry legislation to contribute meaningfully to the objectives of conservation, restoration and inclusiveness of smallholders at the forest frontier. To inform the development of the legislation, FTA researchers drew on previous characterizations of agroforestry practices and related definitions to orient national and regional technical agencies in the assessment of agroforestry practices implemented or to be implemented in the concessions.

During the project, several science policy meetings were held with partners in the national and subnational agencies responsible for Agroforestry Concession implementation. These meetings were an opportunity to present advances, refine concepts on agroforestry and approaches to support agroforestry implementation together.

Efforts were also made to engage other decision makers involved in the articulation of the NDCs and other relevant national strategies such as those for climate change and restoration.  Implementation of Agroforestry Concessions is aligned with international, national and regional policies and planning instruments including:

  • REDD+ and the Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) with Norway and Germany
  • The Peruvian Nationally Determined Contribution to climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Peru’s aspiration to achieve accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Peru’s National Strategy on Forests and Climate Change (ENBCC)
  • Peru’s National Green Growth Strategy (NGGS)
  • The Third Cadaster, Titling, and Registry Project (PTRT3, for its acronyms in Spanish)
  • National Strategy of Family-based Agriculture 2015-2021
  • Regional planning instruments

Key Contributors

  • FTA – FP2 Livelihood Systems
  • BMZ-BEAF small grant/ GIZ PRO-AMBIENTE


Peer-reviewed articles in periodicals

  • ROBIGLIO, V. & REYES, M. 2016. Restoration through formalization? Assessing the potential of Peru’s Agroforestry Concessions scheme to contribute to restoration in agricultural frontiers in the Amazon region. World Development Perspectives, 3, 42-46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wdp.2016.11.013

Conference presentations and other documents

  • ROBIGLIO, V. & REYES, M. 2016. Restoration through formalization? Assessing the potential of Peru’s Agroforestry Concessions scheme to contribute to restoration in agricultural frontiers in the Amazon region. 2nd Annual FLARE Meeting, Edinburgh, December 2-5th
  • POKORNY B., MICCOLIS A., ROBIGLIO V., CRONKLETON P., Session: Including local people in landscape restoration policies: Insights from Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. 3d Annual FLARE Meeting, Stockholm, 30-9/2-10 2017.
  • MEJIAS ROJAS N., PRETZSCH J., ZINNGREBE Y., VILLEGAS P.P., Incentives for the Implementation of Agroforestry Concessions: Experiences from Communities in the Peruvian Amazon



Valentina Robiglio, Landscape Ecology and Climate Change Specialist, FTA, ICRAF v.robiglio@cgiar.org



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