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Focus on knowledge sharing (Vol. 1, Issue 5)

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Welcome to this October newsletter with a focus on knowledge sharing.

For FTA, a research for development (R4D) program, knowledge sharing and engagement are fundamental to effectiveness and impact. Knowledge sharing starts with better explaining the work we do, as well as how, with whom and for what.

That is why we’ve created, with FTA’s scientists, a set of brochures explaining the work done across the program. Please take a look at our new webpage where we have already published six brochures and will release two more by year end.

Knowledge sharing means engaging with key partner institutions to bridge the worlds of research and development. FTA recently participated in the historic IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress, including cohosting a subplenary session on research priorities.

It also means engaging with policy and multistakeholder platforms. At the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) taking place this week at FAO headquarters in Rome, FTA is coorganizing two side events: one on feminism, forests and food security and one on sustainable forestry for food security and nutrition, looking at research and partners toward a joint action agenda, where we will discuss how to move forward on the implementation of the HLPE report and CFS policy recommendations. Click here to see the CFS agenda.

Please send your thoughts and feedback on this newsletter to

Special feature

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) Annual Report 2016


The year 2016, the last year of Phase 1 of the CGIAR Research the last year of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s Phase 1, saw significant achievements in output, outcome and impact terms as detailed in this Annual Report. Overall Phase 1 FTA results contributed to placing the program, for its Phase 2, as a potential key provider of knowledge and solutions for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. The many achievements in 2016 offered potential for scaling up and out and showed recognition of FTA’s work by partners.


The long and winding road to sustainable palm oil

imagethumb.jpgThe polemic around the expansion of oil palm plantations in the tropics is continuing, and increasingly involves consumers concerned with sustainability. At the core of the debate is the matter of hard trade-offs between conservation and development – reconciling this is still the major challenge facing governments and companies. This article looks at finding a way to ensure sustainable palm oil supply chains, in order to sustain economic gains while supporting conservation and climate action.

For secure land rights, indigenous forest communities need more than just titles

imagethumb.jpgUnder Peruvian law, a land title gives traditional forest communities rights over land, but resources on that land, such as forests, formally remain the property of the state. In order to use these resources, communities are required to follow additional procedures to obtain permits and authorizations. A recent study has highlighted that while securing a land title may be a key step for forest-dependent communities, it is not sufficient to ensure legal rights and improve livelihoods. This story and video were produced in recognition of UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

Fighting fires with academic narrative

imagethumb.jpgA recent National Policy Dialogue on Laws and Best Practices for Reducing Fire and Haze in Indonesia addressed the hot topic of fire and haze in terms of environmental conservation versus livelihoods. According to scientists, this must be resolved by taking into account the economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability, and they hope that relevant research, leading to outputs that create an academic narrative to inform policymakers, will create the possibility of legal changes. This, in turn, could help to alleviate the annual blazes.

Are Brazil nuts the saviors of the Amazon basin?

imagethumb.jpgThis new study has assessed Brazil nut exploitation from a socioecological perspective. Fruits containing the weighty, nutritious nuts are collected from the forest floor by forest-based harvesters, who maintain customary rights to the resource in many areas. While this is seen as a relatively sustainable system, it is under threat. If done well, integrated management of multiple forest uses, such as low-intensity timber harvest and ecotourism, combined with Brazil nut harvesting, could prove both profitable and sustainable.

Guiding the conservation of food tree species in Burkina Faso with a threat-mapping approach

imagethumb.jpgAgroforestry parklands are among the most widespread traditional land-use systems in sub-Saharan Africa, where scattered individual trees occur on cultivated fields. Over recent decades, agroforestry parklands in Burkina Faso have come under increasing demographic and climatic pressures, threatening indigenous tree species that contribute to rural households’ income and nutrition. Following a paper that analyzed 16 important food tree species in Burkina Faso and six key threats to them, this story looks at how this approach can help plan for timely, more selective and efficient conservation actions.

Getting down to business: Seminar promotes shift toward inclusive investment

imagethumb.jpgIn a precursor to its ongoing and future work as part of FTA, Tropenbos International recently held a workshop on inclusive investment and business models for improved land governance and livelihoods in the Netherlands. Part of a broader series of annual seminars on sustainable forest management in the tropics, the seminar not only raised awareness on the importance of moving from a do-no-harm to a do-good approach in investing in smallholder land management, but also provided evidence of the feasibility and scaling-up opportunities from such an approach.

What are the priorities for relevant, legitimate and effective forest and tree research? Lessons from the IUFRO congress

imagethumb.jpgForests and trees are central to many of the challenges of our time. This raises new questions every day, as showcased at the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany, where more than 40 scientists affiliated with FTA presented their latest results and findings. The prioritization of issues related to trees and forests is now becoming more difficult and more necessary – what is needed most and where we should start? How should we conduct research in order to best enable impact?

Sharing better, for better research

imagethumb.jpgAs a research for development (R4D) program, FTA has invested heavily in knowledge sharing in recent months. Engaging in knowledge sharing fundamentally conditions the program’s effectiveness and impact, both in the policy environment and on the ground. Thus, better sharing leads to better research. Read how FTA’s participation at the International Conference on Research for Sustainable Development in Bern, IUFRO in Freiburg, a food security and nutrition conference in Quebec and CFS44 in Rome is supporting these efforts.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; J. Carlos Huay llapuma/CIFOR; A. Erlangga/CIFOR; M. Simola/CIFOR; H. Gaisberger/Bioversity International; A. Erlangga/CIFOR; © FVA; M. Edliadi/CIFOR.

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Tropical fruit tree diversity: Good practices for in situ and on-farm conservation


What a difference 4 decades make: Deforestation in Borneo since 1973


Farm-scale greenhouse gas balances, hotspots and uncertainties in smallholder crop-livestock systems in Central Kenya

Local tree knowledge can fast-track agroforestry recommendations for coffee smallholders along a climate gradient in Mount Elgon, Uganda


NTFP harvesters as citizen scientists: Validating traditional and crowdsourced knowledge on seed production of Brazil nut trees in the Peruvian Amazon


Tree Growth Rings in Tropical Peat Swamp Forests of Kalimantan, Indonesia


Revisiting the ‘cornerstone of Amazonian conservation’: a socioecological assessment of Brazil nut exploitation

FTA documents


Program overview


Tree genetic resources


Sustainable value chains


Climate change mitigation and adaptation


Gender and youth


Ensuring quality of research for development: The MELIA system



Sustainable development of Cameroon’s palm oil


The State of Charcoal Production in Zambia


Fire and haze: Laws and regulations



Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 44
October 9 – 13
Rome, Italy

Conference of the Parties (COP) 23
November 6 – 17
Bonn, Germany

Global Landscapes Forum: Bonn
December 19 – 20
Bonn, Germany

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.

We would like to thank all donors who support this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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