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Focus on landscapes (Vol. 1, Issue 7)

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FTA communications


Landscapes are a key overarching focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). The program defines a landscape as a spatial unit where economic activities, natural resources, ecosystem services and their economic and social uses can be considered together.

FTA’s research aims to enable actors to unlock the potential and maximize the benefits that forests, as well as trees in landscapes and agricultural systems, can bring to production systems, securing people’s livelihoods, resilience and food security, as well as promoting the equitable distribution of benefits. This requires confronting multiple objectives and expectations from actors and sectors, and agreeing on priorities.

It is at the landscape level that key interactions among biophysical, socioeconomic and institutional factors occur and can be observed, and that synergies between multiple objectives can be leveraged and tradeoffs can be addressed. The program upholds the landscape approach throughout its work, which is defined in one of FTA’s new brochures.

The stories in this final newsletter for 2017 highlight FTA’s recent articles and publications, many of which relate to landscapes, from landscape restoration to sustainable landscape management and men and women in rural landscapes. In this light, FTA will also be participating in the Global Landscapes Forum, as outlined below.

FTA will strengthen its work on landscapes in the year to come, and will inscribe the issue of landscape governance in its key priorities for 2018 and beyond.

A very good end of the year to all.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director

Special feature

FTA at GLF: From rainfall recycling to landscape restoration

imagethumb.jpgFTA is anticipating productive involvement in the upcoming GLF Bonn from Dec. 19-20. From Discussion Forums – including ‘Rainfall Recycling’ as a Landscape Function: Connecting SDGs 6, 13 and 15 – to pavilions and Landscape Talks, FTA scientists will be represented across the event. Dubbed the world’s largest gathering on sustainability issues, the GLF will welcome more than 45 different organizations, with FTA among them. The GLF’s five key themes – food and livelihoods, finance, rights, restoration, and measuring progress – are set to shape the event. Please join us at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany, or sign up to attend the GLF online and watch the livestream of the Discussion Forum on Dec. 19 at 2pm CET.


Restoring forest landscapes: A question of community rights

imagethumb.jpgAbout 30 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by forests, and around 1.6 billion people depend on them for significant contributions to their environments and livelihoods. Yet, 12 million hectares of intact forests are lost in the tropics every year, either through permanent destruction or degradation. Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) is one of the newer initiatives to be put forward to help solve the problem. This article explains how the goal of FLR is to restore ecological integrity to deforested and degraded landscapes, with respect to the link between healthy forests and human wellbeing.

Community concessions bring newfound hope for forest conservation and socioeconomic development

imagethumb.jpgThere is increasing evidence that the devolution of rights to forest communities leads to a decrease in deforestation rates, better protection of biodiversity, and significant livelihood benefits of community members, especially if linked to the development of community forest enterprises. This story looks at large-scale socioeconomic surveys being carried out in the Petén region of Guatemala, where 25-year forest concessions were granted to the communities in the late 1990s.

Ebola outbreaks linked to forest loss, new study finds

imagethumb.jpgScientists have uncovered a vital piece of the Ebola puzzle — when and where outbreaks can occur. A team of practitioners, landscape ecologists and modelers joined forces to investigate patterns of forest loss in areas where Ebola disease outbreaks had been recorded, and other sites where no outbreaks had occurred. The question to be answered was whether there were substantial differences in the rates and extent of deforestation in these two distinct types of sites. The findings of the work provided strong evidence of an association between Ebola outbreak locations and deforestation.

Forest restoration needs to become climate-smart

imagethumb.jpgWhat can countries do to reduce the rates of failure and help make forest and landscape restoration climate-smart? All forest and landscape restoration projects require access to land and seed, but the quality, availability of, and access to tree seed has received little attention in high-level policy and planning. What seedlings are, where they come from, how they are selected, produced and delivered and by whom are neither trivial nor merely technical issues for forest and landscape restoration to be effective and provide expected benefits, including for the climate.

Global food solutions from the Asia-Pacific

imagethumb.jpgCreating a more sustainable global food system demands innovation in food technologies, and collaboration at the highest levels of government. The recent EAT Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia aimed to promote a more holistic approach to food, health and sustainability, filling knowledge gaps, pushing for integrated food policies and finding win-win solutions. This article looks at how the event covered progress on the latest food research, as well as ideas for how to transform food systems in Indonesia and the broader Asia-Pacific region.

New map helps track palm-oil supply chains in Borneo

imagethumb.jpgThe latest version of the Atlas of Deforestation and Industrial Plantations in Borneo allows users to verify the location and ownership of 467 palm-oil mills in Borneo. It includes a new tool to provide verified information on the location of palm-oil mills, and the deforested area within a 10-kilometer radius, as detected annually by satellites. The new tool can be used together with an earlier tool to track the footprint of palm-oil growers on forests – allowing users to better understand the impact of industrial palm-oil developments on tropical rainforests.

Agroforestry to meet the Paris Agreement

imagethumb.jpgNational delegates at the COP23 climate change conference recently agreed on a framework for addressing agriculture’s impact on climate. The framework includes assessing soil health, soil carbon and water management, nutrient use and manure management, and the impact of climate change on socioeconomics and food security. Agriculture was also a key topic. One session involving ICRAF highlighted Indonesia’s Tropical Landscape Finance Facility, which is using public funding to unlock private finance in renewable energy and sustainable landscape management – with a long-term goal to reduce deforestation and restore degraded land.

‘Grain for green’: How China is swapping farmland for forest

imagethumb.jpgSince 1999, China has restored forest landscapes across more than 28 million hectares of farmland and land classified as barren or degraded. A major driver of China’s success has been the ‘Conversion of Cropland to Forest Program’ (CCFP), also known as ‘Grain for Green’. The program pays farmers to plant trees on their land and provides degraded land to rural families to restore. The country has implemented strategies to get trees back into landscapes, including taking the approach of Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR), which aims to improve ecological functions and human wellbeing.

Lack of knowledge may impede economic potential

imagethumb.jpgSome farmers in Java and Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, lack information on teak cultivation and non-timber forest products, leaving them with inadequate skills to improve their livelihoods.A recent study found that the available forestry extension (agricultural advice) services are limited owing to insufficient human resources, learning material and budget. The project aims to improve farmers’ livelihoods through better landscape-scale management, with particular attention on maximizing the adoption of enhanced practices and value chains for timber and non-timber forest products.

Are ‘no deforestation’ commitments working?

imagethumb.jpgIn 2014, many of the world’s major companies buying, trading or producing palm oil and pulp and paper made a joint commitment to stop clearing natural forests by 2020. As the deadline draws near, this article examines how these ‘no deforestation’ commitments are progressing, and what effect are they having on forests. Scientists are using LANDSAT satellite data to observe annual changes in forest area and annual expansion of industrial plantations and assess the impact of corporate commitments to stop deforestation on the island of Borneo.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: C. Shekhar Karki/CIFOR; O. Girard/CIFOR; D. Stoian/Bioversity International; P. Shepherd/CIFOR; C. Alcazar Caisedo/Bioversity International; J. Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR; I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; ICRAF; N. Hogarth/CIFOR; P. Sumardamto/ICRAF; I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR.

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Development, engagement, higher education and research combine for improved natural resource management


Cocoa agroforestry is less resilient to sub-optimal and extreme climate than cocoa in full sun


Towards responsible and inclusive financing of the palm oil sector

Mechanisms mediating the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being and resilience


Fruit tree genetic diversity in Central Asia: a spatial threat analysis


Integrated natural resource management as pathway to poverty reduction: Innovating practices, institutions and policies


How Agroforestry Propels Achievement of Nationally Determined Contributions


Small flame but no fire: Wood fuel in the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa


Social Forestry – why and for whom? A comparison of policies in Vietnam and Indonesia


Farm-forestry in the Peruvian Amazon and the feasibility of its regulation through forest policy reform


Gender matters in forest landscape restoration

FTA documents


Livelihood systems


Landscape dynamics, productivity and resilience


Fire and haze: Better business practices

Fire and haze: Community action


Women woodworkers – the Jepara story


Gender equality and social inclusion in forestry and agroforestry


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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