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FTA Newsletter #2 Issue 2016 – Focus on Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment

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Welcome to the second newsletter of 2016 from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). The focus this time is the crucial issue of monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment. The full proposal for Phase II of FTA was just submitted to the CGIAR, and the team and I are very pleased with the result. You can view it here.
As there is no rest for the wicked, we will be diving head on into sustainable forest and landscape financing with the next big FTA-supported event, Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case, coming up in June. Look out for updates.
Also, International Day of Forests was an opportunity for ICRAF and CIFOR to discuss the state of the world’s forests, and we want to pique your interest with some very special FTA publications. Finally, we have made some improvements to the FTA website that you can check out here. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

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New proposal widens range of FTA research and strengthens collaboration


After months of hard work, the proposal for the next phase of FTA research is ready to be approved. Building on the solid foundation of the past five years, in the next five, research on forests, trees and agroforestry will be even more relevant for the Sustainable Development Goals and the CGIAR Strategic Framework. With the Phase II proposal, FTA is breaking new ground scientifically to achieve a balance between development and environmental sustainability. The proposal can be viewed here.


Caught in a good loop – how to assess the usefulness of research


Daniel Suryadarma makes sure that researchers learn – especially from mistakes. He has been in charge of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Impact Assessment (MELIA) section of the FTA from the start, and has a lot to share. Before leaving his position at the end of March, Daniel gave us his take on impact assessments and the FTA Theory of Change.


Outcomes of FTA research on REDD+


The biggest impact assessment so far has yielded proof that FTA research does indeed make an impact on national policies. The adoption of REDD+, for example, is made easier for countries using a step-wise approach, designed by FTA researchers, that takes into consideration different capacity levels. In Peru, FTA research empowered sub-national initiatives for tropical forest conservation to better understand the implications of REDD+. Informing REDD+ policy: an assessment of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study is currently being updated.


Soils, governance, big data and 99 tropical countries: Best reads in forests, trees and agroforestry


In our last newsletter, we asked you to send us your favourite publications on forests, trees and agroforestry. The call has yielded a very broad selection of FTA papers, ranging from soils to forest governance and climate-smart landscapes. See here which publications have inspired FTA scientists.


FTA website revamped


On your next visit to you will notice that we have improved the look of the website. One new feature is a section to accommodate Partner News, dedicated to research that is not necessarily related to FTA. And, we are producing a lot more original content. See for yourself here.


Urgent need to preserve wild crops in genebanks


Many of the wild plants that will be the building blocks of the future for the global food supply are missing from the world’s genebanks, according to new research by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Read here what this means for researchers. CIAT was pleased that the findings were picked up by Science magazine.


“Valuing the ultimate generational gift”: Holmgren and Simons on forests, trees and agroforestry


An ideal moment to look at the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry was International Day of Forests on March 21. And the heads of two key FTA research institutions, CIFOR and ICRAF, warn that we should not take trees for granted. Peter Holmgren of CIFOR and Tony Simons of ICRAF also reflect on the state of the world’s forests and financing for sustainable landscapes.


Challenges to managing tropical forests


The International Day of Forests was also an opportunity to look at “tropical managed forests”, a topic CIRAD scientist Plinio Sist specializes in. He brought together experts to discuss challenges such as FSC certification in Brazil and forest concessions 2.0. Watch their discussion here.


Producing bioenergy with agroforestry


Bioenergy will be one of the research areas of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry in its next phase. Bioenergy has been a focus of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) for quite a while, and ICRAF recently agreed to collaborate with the Indonesian government on bioenergy. We asked ICRAF’s Director General Tony Simons what this means for the island nation.


Taking investments in sustainable landscapes to the next level


With the high-profile “Investment Case” event, the organizers of the Global Landscapes Forum aim to take financing of sustainable landscapes to the next level. Research on forests, trees and agroforestry plays a key role here. Taking place in London on 6 June, the event connects those with funds to those who have the ideas and/or the power. Check out the new event website or express your interest here.


How scientists can make their work count


It is a question that all scientists face, all the time: How do we make our work count? There are ways, says ICRAF’s Amy Cruz, and she offers a few pointers. Her main point – only if stakeholders are empowered will research help them make informed decisions and share their learning from projects with others. Read her tips here.



Bioversity International’s gender research fellowship programme: results and ways forward

Relationships between population density, fine-scale genetic structure, mating system and pollen dispersal in a timber tree from African rainforest

Conflict in protected areas: who says co-management does not work?

REDD+ and climate smart agriculture in landscapes: A case study in Vietnam using companion modelling

Women and men in tropical dry forests: a preliminary review

CIFOR Strategy 2016-2025: Stepping up to the new climate and development agenda

ICRAF Annual Report 2014-2015: Trees, Landscapes, Climate, Food

Practical tips for communicating research findings in a gender-responsive way

Forest and land-use governance in a decentralized Indonesia: A legal and policy review


Forests, Trees and Agroforestry – an overview

Governance, rights and the role of politics in REDD+ equity discourses

Why managing and restoring tropical forests matter


Thai farmer prefers fruit trees over rubber

Rules, games and carbon: Exploring rights and REDD+ benefits

New restoration commitments under Initiative 20×20

Once, there was a lake – Pecha Kucha-Style Night – GLF 2015


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CGIAR Research Program – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)



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