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  • Ensuring REDD+ finance delivers fair finance and benefits to meet climate goals

Ensuring REDD+ finance delivers fair finance and benefits to meet climate goals

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Establishing standards for measuring, monitoring and assigning financial value to forest-related greenhouse gas emissions is a challenging process due to the wide range of variables at play, said delegates attending the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

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  • Workshop builds leadership capacity in Indonesian forest sector

Workshop builds leadership capacity in Indonesian forest sector

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Pak Ongko, a 77-year-old farmer and fisherman, used to make a reliable living from the Butini fish (Glossogobius matanensis) and freshwater prawns that teemed in Lake Matano – a remote, ancient tectonic lake in the far eastern corner of the province of South Sulawesi in Indonesia.

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  • Final harvest for the 2021 From Tree to Fork campaign

Final harvest for the 2021 From Tree to Fork campaign

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FTA communications

The 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.

For example, did you know that Camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) contains 30-60x more vitamin C than the same serving of oranges? Each fruit in the campaign collected trivia like this with engaging infographics and scientist-reviewed facts about some of the most unknown and underutilized fruits and vegetables from trees. Much of this information came from CIFOR-ICRAF databases including the Priority Food Tree and Crop Food Composition Database, the Tree Functional Attributes and Ecological Database and the AgroforesTree Database.

Launched earlier this year, From Tree to Fork is aligned with other important initiatives on the global agenda including the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) — a time to raise awareness for how trees can help make food systems more sustainable and resilient worldwide. This year (2021) also marks the start of the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which has direct links to food trees and agroforestry because people are more likely to restore landscapes with trees that have multiple benefits for human health and well-being.


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A few of the scientists who worked on the campaign also shared their personal experiences with these valuable tree foods.

“As a huge lover of chocolate, I was delighted to discover that ‘chocolate’ could also be made out of a whole different species [Copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum)!” said FTA scientist, Elisabeth Lagneaux. “Try it if you can.”

Michael Brady, a CIFOR principal scientist and leader of FTA’s Flagship 3, has a similarly positive experience associated with Sago, a starch made from the trunk of the Sago palm tree (Metroxylon sagu):

“I did my graduate research in Sumatra and met my wife there,” he said. “During that time, I have many happy memories of eating Pempek, a famous dish made by mixing Sago flour and fish that is eaten throughout the island.”

These colourful images and key messages are also featured as part of a virtual exhibit on FTA’s new Google Arts & Culture page. This display, along with seven other stories on the page, champion the importance of forests, trees and agroforestry to respond to environmental crises. Also, check out the recently released FTA Highlights Volume No. 5 on Food Security and Nutrition to learn more about the work scientists have done on tree foods over the last 10 years.



In 2021 we brought you 18 infographics and more than 50 eCards and key messages on particular tree foods. There are many more underutilized fruits and vegetables that the campaign was not able to cover this year, and we hope to bring you more in 2022. Here’s a taste of what we could serve you…

  1. Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes)
  2. Ungurahui (Oenocarpus bataua)
  3. Monkey orange (Strychnos cocculoids)
  4. Safou (Dacryodes edulis)
  5. Marula (Sclerocarya birrea)
  6. Kiawe (Prosopis pallida)
  7. Wild plumb (Ximenia americana)
  8. Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa)
  9. Cherimoya (Annona cherimola)
  10. Bengal quince (Aegle marmelos)
  11. Abiu (Pouteria caimito)


Enjoy your holidays and make sure you treat yourselves a different fruit every day!


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  • New Open Access E-Learning Course: Gender and Inclusion in Forest Landscape Restoration

New Open Access E-Learning Course: Gender and Inclusion in Forest Landscape Restoration

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FTA communications

The world has set itself important objectives in terms of land restoration, under the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. But restoration should be as much about people as about ecosystems. There is today a growing recognition of the importance of adopting a people-centered approach to restoration, as promoted by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

People-centered approaches mean giving priority to gender and social inclusion in the implementation of global ecological restoration to avoid perpetuating marginalization, inequalities, and environmental degradation. Yet, despite international agreements and national and local commitments, barriers to enhancing equality and inclusion remain and continue to limit the opportunities and wellbeing of women and girls, as well as groups marginalized by ethnicity, socio-economic status, or other factors of discrimination. This also hinders reaching the restoration objectives themselves, and their sustainability.

A common challenge in enhancing gender and social inclusion in the field of forest and landscape restoration (FLR) is the lack of easily accessible, practical learning tools.

To address this 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 course 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.

The e-learning course addresses the needs and priorities, as well as capacity and knowledge gaps, that emerged from an extensive consultation process with multiple restoration stakeholders including NGOs, national governments, research organisations and universities, and grassroots organisations. The course structure, design and functionality address these identified needs and priorities.

The course consists of five modules featuring relevant evidence, case studies, tools and good practices developed by FTA and partners, packaged in an accessible and interactive online learning format.

Each module is a certified training in and of itself, and therefore interested learners have the choice to complete one or more modules. The course is designed to be easily accessible to all: learners have the option to complete it online, off-line or on their mobile phone. Learners will have access to an extensive resource centre to assist with further learning. Each of the modules, which include videos, interactive exercises, and a guide, takes approximately 40 minutes to complete, with the five-module course requiring approximately 3 hours. The learning platform the course is hosted on, which requires participants to register and log in, allows learners to pick up the course where they left off, for a self-paced journey. A certificate of completion is delivered at the end of the full course and of individual modules.

It is hoped that the course will strengthen the capacity and knowledge of a range of actors to achieve more inclusive and equitable restoration initiatives.

Access the Gender and Inclusion in Forest and Landscape Restoration e-Learning course now!

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  • Meet the farmers and scientists collaborating to restore Kenya’s degraded grasslands

Meet the farmers and scientists collaborating to restore Kenya’s degraded grasslands

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Hellen Atieno Owuor remembers a time when farming goats and cattle in the sub-humid eastern highlands of Kenya was a relatively straightforward task.

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  • FTA celebrates 10 years of achievements and sets ambitions for the future

FTA celebrates 10 years of achievements and sets ambitions for the future

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The “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.

“This is a springboard,” said Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) Director General, and Director of the first phase of FTA, Robert Nasi. “…We don’t want to stop here, as there is much more work to do in light of the recent COP26, the CBD and the news you see every day. We have a good team; we have a good set of partners. I see no reason why we should stop here.”

To begin the event, lead scientists from FTA’s Flagship programs and managing-partner organizations presented chapters from the FTA Highlights series, which showcases a decade of results, findings and achievements. More than 200 scientists were involved as authors in the highlights series’ 18 volumes. The event was organized around four sections which represent a partition of the highlights volumes.

The full event can be replayed in EN (ES and FR to follow). Download the agenda of the event.


Session #1: Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Biodiversity and Food Systems

The first session was moderated by Linda Collette, member of the Independent Steering Committee of FTA, and showcased volumes two through six of the highlights series. Each of these chapters emphasize research and impactful projects related to tree genetic resources, biodiversity, landscape restoration, food systems and wildlife.

Leading the way, Ramni Jamnadass, FTA’s Flagship 1 Leader and senior scientist at ICRAF, presented on seeds and seedlings (Vol.2). She highlighted the need for diverse, high-quality seeds to sprout successful landscape restoration initiatives that are good for business and for ecosystems. “We have seen soaring tree-planting pledges over the past few years,” she said, “so this is an opportune time to bring up the seeds and to ask where they are coming from. …remember: garbage in, garbage out. Quality in, quality out.”

Read volume 2

Senior researcher at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Barbara Vinceti, similarly reflected the need for diversity in her presentation on conservation of tree biodiversity and forest management (Vol. 3). In light of the ongoing environmental challenges facing the planet, “genetic diversity is a dimension still overlooked, so we need to include it explicitly in forest conservation and management,” she said.

Read volume 3

However, restoring ecosystem services is a difficult topic from a development perspective because it is multi-dimensional and multi-scalar, according to senior CIFOR scientist, Manuel Guariguata. Presenting on forest and landscape restoration (Vol. 4), he summarized FTA’s contributions to research and policy governance. He also celebrated the partnership’s on-the-ground implementation of FLR initiatives, “The restoration agenda is the bread and butter of FTA partners, and we have contributed a lot in this regard” he said. “We also learned a lot. For instance, we learned it is critical to implement FLR through landscape approaches.”

Read volume 4

Next, senior CIFOR scientist Amy Ickowitz showcased tree and agroforestry contributions to food security and nutrition. Ten years of research across Africa, Asia and South America has increasingly proved the links between trees and micro-nutrient-rich diets. “A lot more still needs to be done to have these contributions [from food trees] both better understood and, more importantly, better integrated in national discourses and policy,” said Ickowitz.

Read volume 5

Wild meat is another important, albeit controversial, source of nutrition that comes from forests. World expert and CIFOR senior associate, Julia Fa, has worked with the Bushmeat Research Initiative (BRI) to study how wild meat consumption impacts the environment, contributes to food security and impacts human health through its association with zoonotic diseases. She and her team have worked in more than 40 countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia. “We’re very proud of what we’ve done in the last 10 years, and based on this, there is now an agenda to translate research to action, to link implementation and further learning and to ensure that wild meat is sustainably sourced and harvested,” said Fa.

Read volume 6

Session #2 – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Livelihoods

The second session was moderated by René Boot, member of the FTA ISC and Director of Tropenbos International; it centred on the highlights’ volumes seven through nine plus 15. These chapters reveal how FTA and its partners have worked to improve well-being and generate income through trees for people in developing areas.

For example, FTA Management Team member and CATIE senior scientist, Eduardo Somarriba, discussed how Trees on Farms (ToF), can generate income for farmers while also providing valuable ecosystem services. He especially focused on a case from Honduras where trees have been planted as “live fences” to facilitate rotational livestock grazing. “It is possible to increase innovation with trees on farms, but we need solid science to convince farmers, land-use planners and policymakers,” he said. “You need a lot of communication, facilitation and to show good financial performance.”

Read volume 7 (COMING SOON)

Sustainable timber harvesting for bioenergy is another way that trees can act as engines for sustainable development. INBAR representative, Li Yanxia, discussed how a wood-based circular bioeconomy could benefit local communities and global economies while reducing the ecological footprint of deforestation. “Efforts should not only invest in building natural capital,” she said. “Attention should also be directed towards building human capacity and understanding the social dimensions of the wood value chains through forest tenure systems, etc.”

Read volume 8 (COMING SOON)

Transitioning to a circular bioeconomy will require context-specific approaches that work at scale. In his presentation, CIFOR-ICRAF chief scientist and FTA Flagship 2 Leader Fergus Sinclair specifically promoted FTA’s work on Options by Context (OxC), a set of performance metrics that allow farmers and researchers to identify the best options for agricultural development and land restoration in their local areas. He also spotlighted the recent launch of the Agroecology Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) that FTA incubated, and which brings together people from around the world to discuss sustainable food systems transitions. “There are multiple transition pathways depending on local contexts and partnerships; this is what allows us to scale up sustainably.”

Read volume 9 (COMING SOON)

None of this work is possible without financial support and increased investment in sustainable forest and tree-based commodities. Presenting the FTA Highlight Volume 10 on sustainable value chains, finance and investment in forestry & tree commodities, Michael Brady, FTA’s Flagship 3 Leader, outlined three core research areas for sustainable value chains: institutional arrangements, business models for smallholders and SMEs and responsible finance among financial service providers. He noted that research this decade has especially focused on sustainable certification systems for agro-commodities such as timber, rubber, shea, oil palm and cocoa. “This particular topic very much requires a systems approach looking at institutional, environmental and socioeconomic elements,” he said. “None of these can be really ignored when you consider value chains, finance and investment.”

Read volume 10

Cross-cutting all of FTA’s work on livelihoods is the need to advance gender equality and social inclusion. FTA’s Gender coordinator and senior researcher at The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Marlène Elias outlined FTA’s Theory of Change, which places inclusion at the heart of the organization’s structure and encourages research done specifically with a gender and social inclusion lens. The goal is for women and other marginalized groups to share equal rights, access and tenure to forest and tree-based landscapes. “What we’ve shown in this work is not only that gender inequality can hinder efforts to achieve positive environmental outcomes but also how policies and interventions that focus on the environment can advance gender equality,” she said.

Read volume 15

Session #3 – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry for Climate change and the SDGs

The third session of the event focused on how FTA’s research aligns with the SDGs and contributes to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Moderated by Florencia Montagnini, member of FTA’s ISC, the presenters spoke on volumes 11-14 of the highlights series.

Starting off, Christopher Martius, CIFOR senior scientist and Flagship 5 Leader, offered several examples from FTA’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+. This work has helped governments set target emissions levels and to implement monitoring systems to track progress. While celebrating the work that was achieved over the past 10 years, Martius reminded the audience that long-term changes take time: “Oftentimes projects have a lot of high expectations,” he said. “In a 10-year program such as this, you will start seeing results, but it takes a lot of time to effectuate these changes in really complex policy environments.”

Read volume 11 

It is well-known that forests and trees act as carbon sinks and ecosystem service providers. The mitigation agenda has often hidden a crucial adaptation agenda for forests and trees. FTA has worked to shift paradigms towards the key role of forests and trees for adaptation of various sectors.  FTA’s approach also looks at how social and ecological systems can work together and adapt to climate change, according to senior CIFOR scientist Alexandre Meybeck. “You need to have research embedded in implementation,” he said. “We need normal interactions between actors on the ground and scientists to support them in creating the new systems for the future.”

Read volume 12 (COMING SOON)

In order to facilitate mutually-beneficial relationships between humans and ecosystems, FTA promotes a multifunctional landscapes approach that uses careful resource planning and implementation to generate more sustainable futures. Scientist at ICRAF, Lalisa Duguma, presented on how the organization has begun implementing these approaches in the humid tropics, managing trade-offs and synergies across multiple project sites. “We can’t solve all the problems at once, but they all need to be confronted in a way” he said. “There is a need for multiple projects to complement one another to achieve multi-functional landscapes. …for this, we need an articulated portfolio of research and action on the ground.”

Read volume 13 (COMING SOON)

Beyond on-the-ground approaches, FTA works with governments to build policies that harmonize human development with nature. Senior ICRAF scientist Beria Leimona spoke about how this work has involved advocating for multi-stakeholder forums (MSFs), supporting community forestry initiatives and lobbying for fair government policies. “The rich portfolios of local, national and international work, and the theories of change that FTA has developed, can support good governance principles being synergised across scales,” she said.

Session #4 – Results and impact

During the fourth session of presentations, led by Management Team member and CIRAD senior scientist Plinio Sist, scientists gave more details about how FTA measures its results and impact across scales.

Andrew Wardell began with a presentation on how FTA facilitates long-term capacity development. For example, his team collated data from the decade to track impacts and found there have been almost 80,000 downloads of the climate change tools that have been developed by FTA Flagship 5. Another example of capacity development includes the work done with the University of Kisangani, DRC, to train graduate students in forestry science and development. Already, the program has over 200 local students and graduates who will hopefully continue to work in the tropical rainforests of DRC. In the future, Wardell believes “there is a need to strengthen education systems and capacities in the global south, rather than relying on masters and PhD students from the global north. …This needs to be accompanied by monitoring and evaluation systems that look at the capacity development functions, including through ex post impact studies.”

Read volume 16 (COMING SOON)

In addition to capacity development, research for impact requires monitoring, evaluation, learning and impact assessment (MELIA). “Evolving research for development approaches require evolution in how we conceptualize and assess research,” said Brian Belcher, senior researcher at Royal Roads University. “How do we know that we’re doing the right thing? How do we know that we’re being effective?” To answer these questions, FTA has developed and applied an innovative approach based on integrative, challenge-driven Theories of Change and an organizing framework. These tools allow FTA to conduct qualitative assessments of some of the impacts of the program at scale and on key development objectives. Impact of FTA research overall has been substantial, it is estimated that FTA’s work has:

  • Brought between 1.8–34.4 million ha of land under
  • Provided between 5.1–19 million people with better means to exit poverty.
  • Brought 25.7–133.4 million ha of forests under enhanced protection. This represents up to 125.4 Gt of sequestered carbon dioxide.
  • Brought 59.5–204 million ha of land under better management via improved policy, monitoring and management practices.
  • Provided 1.12–3.43 million people with additional means to improve food and nutritional security.

Read volume 17

Following each set of presentations, the audience was asked through a poll whether they thought more implementation or more research was needed going forward. Although there was some debate, it is interesting that most poll respondents chose “more implementation.” The scientists agreed that implementation is now urgent, however, the relationship between research and implementation cannot be easily divided. “Do we need more research or implementation?,” said Meybeck. “We need a greater understanding of the relations between the two. We need more implementation of research and more research on implementation.”

Final discussion on the future of FTA

The closing panel brought together five distinguished speakers to discuss partnerships and new directions going forward. When moderator and FTA Director, Vincent Gitz, asked how organizations like FTA should work with actors in the global south going forward, Chairperson of the Independent Steering Committee of FTA, Anne-Marie Izac said, “Great focus on the role of partnerships is the very raison-d’être of FTA. …We have a relatively clear path ahead of us in terms of scaling up to build on local partneships… and I’m extremely hopeful.”

Sist (CIRAD) agreed that after 10 years and looking forward to a new FTA, we should put emphasis on strengthening our connection with society and with other actors in the field: “Our resources must breach the broader society if we want to catalyse large-scale changes that address climate change and other global challenges” he said.

Bas Louman from Tropenbos International, an organization that joined the set of FTA managing partners in 2017, also spoke on the value of an integrated, research-for-development approach for the new FTA, from upstream research to downstream, and back. “In spite of so much money being dedicated to climate, very little of that money is dedicated to research,” he said. “People just spend money and start implementing without really taking the time to think about what they’re doing. We need to help the word correct for that, to continue learning at the same time action is being made on the ground.”

To combat this trend, Li Xuejiao Deputy Director of the Division of International Cooperation at the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) upheld the importance of ongoing South-South collaboration in the coming decade. “Research plays a very important role in terms of putting items on the agenda in the first place,” she said. Li pointed to ongoing networking opportunities for Chinese organizations through the FTA network.

Similarly, Erich Schaitza, Director General of Brazil’s Embrapa Florestas, praised the networking potential of FTA: “We have to have innovation to promote wealth sustainably,” he said. “Initiatives like FTA are incredibly important to us.”

In closing, Vincent Gitz, Director of FTA, called on the audience to remain hopeful about future progress and to work together to achieve goals. He said, “Often it is difficult to see the magnitude, increment and annual changes in the work we live in. But when we look back 10 years, we see the huge magnitude on how some things have changed and evolved, on the progress made for our planetary environment and people. Not all is solved of course, but it gives us hope that we can be effective for the future… And as the famous proverb says, ‘if we want to go far, we have to go together.’”

Stay tuned for the next decade of FTA, and a special thanks to all the scientists and partners who have made these past 10 years possible.

All the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations are now available below


This article was written by Daniella Silva.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • Toward a gender-responsive post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

Toward a gender-responsive post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

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FTA communications

As we progress towards establishing a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and approach the halfway mark to the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the social and developmental aspects related to global biodiversity and climate challenges are ever more apparent. Gender dimensions are central to understanding and effectively responding to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. With a draft Gender Plan of Action proposed for consideration by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) alongside the post-2020 framework, it is an opportune time to bring attention and resources to ensuring a gender responsive approach to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the utilization of genetic resources.

In the lead up to COP 15, experts from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (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 by COP 15, and its implementation in the coming years.  An infographic and accompanying brief have been developed to assist Parties and stakeholders engaged in natural resource management, providing an overview of linkages and practical strategies to address pervasive gender inequalities related to the use and conservation of biodiversity.

Informed by the knowledge and experience of diverse stakeholders, the work harnesses ideas and action plans detailed in Addressing Gender Issues and Actions in Biodiversity Objectives – a prominent CBD guide aimed at policymakers and other biodiversity stakeholders – as well as the report Towards a Gender-Responsive Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, published by the CBD Secretariat in advance of COP14, and to which FTA also contributed. These documents emphasise how resolving the challenge of social exclusion is critical for meeting local and global commitments related to restoration, biodiversity and climate change.

Download the Brief!

Highlighting the link between social identities and discrimination, the infographic and brief demonstrate how multiple intersecting identities (such as age, ethnicity, gender, marital status) have both a direct and indirect influence on the way individuals and groups are recognised, governed and, often, marginalised and discriminated against. Critically, these pieces also demonstrate how intersecting identities define roles, responsibilities and relationships with regard to natural resources and biodiversity restoration and conservation. They highlight the undervalued yet critical role that rural women and girls, Indigenous peoples, and other groups that experience systemic discrimination, play in biodiversity and natural resource management. Accelerating progress towards gender equality and CBD objectives thus requires the recognition of women and Indigenous groups as legitimate players in the use, management, restoration and conservation of biodiversity. It also requires recognizing women, girls and Indigenous peoples as agents of change, and honouring their priorities and capacities.

Enhancing gender equality and social inclusion cannot be achieved without addressing the barriers that exclude social groups, including women and girls, from accessing and controlling land and natural resources, as well as services, such as formal education, finance and information systems, that allow them to manage these resources sustainably and equitably. It further necessitates a fair distribution of biodiversity benefits and costs; the development of safeguards protecting the claims and decision-making powers of rightsholders; the integration of gender-specific knowledge; and the promotion of gender parity and an inclusive environment in national decision-making processes.

Download the Infographics!

As the infographic and brief demonstrate, transforming deep-rooted gender inequalities can support the sustainable use, management, and conservation of biodiversity, and contribute to the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use. COP15 provides a critical opportunity to integrate these considerations into the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and ensure that clear directions are put forward for progress in the new Gender Plan of Action. As we move into the implementation of the Framework, concrete actions to address gender inequalities are needed on multiple fronts to contribute to real gains for all people and for the planet.

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  • Sauver les écosystèmes forestiers des paysages multifonctionnels de Garoua-Boulaï dans la région de l’Est-Cameroun

Sauver les écosystèmes forestiers des paysages multifonctionnels de Garoua-Boulaï dans la région de l’Est-Cameroun

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Au Cameroun, les paysages de Garoua-Boulaï dans la région de l’Est se caractérisent par des écosystèmes dominés par des savanes boisées. Les activités pratiquées dans ces espaces représentent des facteurs de dégradation du paysage. On note entre autres l’agriculture, l’élevage, l’exploitation minière et forestière. A cela, s’ajoute la production du bois énergie (bois de chauffage et production de charbon) pour répondre aux divers besoins énergétiques des populations riveraines. En outre, les paysages de Garoua-Boulaï présentent la particularité d’être la terre d’accueil de plus de 60 000 réfugiés centrafricains installés depuis plusieurs années en quête de stabilité du fait de la crise politique en République Centrafricaine. En effet, l’arrivée massive de ces réfugiés a augmenté la pression sur l’environnement, la demande croissante du bois-énergie constituant l’une des causes. Il va sans dire que le paysage dans lequel se déroulent aussi bien les activités des autochtones que celles des étrangers, finit par se dégrader de manière profonde.

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  • Fortalecer los derechos sobre la tierra de las mujeres para mejorar la resiliencia al cambio climático, señalan expertos

Fortalecer los derechos sobre la tierra de las mujeres para mejorar la resiliencia al cambio climático, señalan expertos

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En todo el mundo, menos del 15 % de los propietarios de tierras son mujeres, una disparidad que tiene importantes consecuencias para el estado y bienestar general de mujeres, niños y sus comunidades. Sumado a ello, esta realidad dificulta los esfuerzos para desarrollar resiliencia frente al cambio climático, destacaron los delegados de una mesa redonda que tuvo lugar en la cumbre climática COP26 de la ONU en Glasgow.

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  • Scientists urge action as Gambian livestock grazing puts forests at risk

Scientists urge action as Gambian livestock grazing puts forests at risk

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Herders moving within Gambia and across the country’s borders into Senegal in search of pasture inadvertently threaten forests and the soil landscape in the country. If left unchecked, this activity could have lasting implications for ecosystems.

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  • Gender inequality hindering progress towards Rio Convention goals

Gender inequality hindering progress towards Rio Convention goals

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FTA communications

Nature-based solutions can play a crucial role in solving the interconnected crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation – but their full potential will only be fulfilled if they are designed to address gender inequality.

That was the main takeaway from a new paper published by the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), one of FTA’s managing partners.

Land use decisions can generate synergies to address issues such as climate and biodiversity at the same time, the paper finds, and these decisions are influenced by social dynamics such as gender relations, which affect how the benefits of nature-based solutions are distributed within and across households, communities, and beyond.

To maximize these synergies and an equitable distribution of benefits, the paper calls for gender-responsive approaches that address the priorities and concerns of women and other marginalized groups, enhance their capacities, and facilitate their involvement in land use decision-making.

Three steps toward more equitable land use

“If we ignore power relations around who captures the benefits and plan interventions without thinking carefully about how resources are allocated and who participates, we run the risk of elite capture,” says Marlène Elias, the lead author of the paper. “It’s important to carry out a careful analysis of tenure and power relations among community members to prevent this elite capture.”

The first step toward addressing these inequities is to recognize the legitimate stakes, claims, and rights that different groups, such as rural women and men of different ages, socio-economic status, ethnicity, etc., have in/to restoration.

Once these groups have been recognized, it follows that they should have a voice in key decisions that affect them through their effective representation and participation in environmental management initiatives. Initiatives should safeguard their rights through measures such as grievance mechanisms and free, prior and informed consent.

Finally, practitioners must ensure that the costs and benefits of an initiative are equitably distributed. Costs may include labor, management and transaction costs, while benefits may be either direct, such as payments for planting trees, or indirect, such as those derived from ecosystem services.

“For example, if you’re not looking carefully at how labor is allocated within households, then women with land management and agricultural responsibilities could end up putting in labor without benefiting from it,” Elias explains.

“The benefits might instead be directed to heads of household, who tend to be predominantly men in most of the contexts we work in.”

Designing equitable nature-based solutions

Nature-based approaches are not inherently equitable – and they must be intentionally designed with gender and inclusion issues in mind, the authors emphasize.

For instance, collaborative forest management (CFM) can promote synergies by promoting forest conservation and restoration, combating biodiversity loss, deforestation and land degradation, and sequestering carbon at the same time. However, CFM can create these synergies even more effectively if it also enhances gender equality, such as by increasing women’s influence over forest management decisions and improving their access to forest resources. The paper cites several studies showing that women’s participation in forest management can be positively linked with both forest growth and carbon sequestration, with mixed-gender groups being linked with greater community compliance with rules on resource use.

Existing social hierarchies and norms often prevent marginalized groups from participating in and benefiting from CFM. Hence, approaches such as Adaptive Collaborative Management – a collective problem-solving approach – have been developed to address these exclusions by recognizing women and other marginalized groups as key stakeholders in forest management. Practitioners can improve the representation and participation of these groups in CFM by harnessing their unique knowledge and expertise, the authors suggest.

Another notable example is the U.N.’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative, which aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon through forest restoration and reforestation. REDD+, which FTA has covered extensively as part of its flagship research on climate mitigation and adaptation, rewards individuals financially for conserving and sustainably using forests based on verified emissions reductions, and creates synergies by simultaneously combating climate change, deforestation, forest degradation and biodiversity loss, while also contributing to socioeconomic development.

Gender-responsive REDD+ can further improve these outcomes by incentivizing women and other marginalized groups to support, conservation, restoration and reforestation efforts. It must recognize that such groups will be disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change on the one hand, but that they are also valuable agents of change in climate action on the other hand.

Yet recognition is not enough to ensure that the benefits of REDD+ are equitably distributed. Formal measures such as secure land tenure rights are crucial to enabling women to benefit from these scheme, as women’s rights to land and other natural resources are often mediated by male relatives.

Download the publication [PDF]
There may also be trade-offs between climate mitigation and gender equality goals. The authors cite an example in Burkina Faso where parklands dominated by indigenous trees can significantly benefit women’s livelihoods but are not as effective at sequestering carbon as exotic tree monocultures, which are usually cultivated by men. Practitioners must assess the potential impacts of REDD+ on men’s and women’s livelihoods to determine how best to reconcile these trade-offs, the paper finds.

“The cases demonstrate that we should not assume that women’s representation in environmental initiatives alone will result in more equitable decision making and benefits,” the paper concludes.

“Gender-responsive policy will need to safeguard the rights of women and marginalized groups, strengthen their capacities to exercise leadership and influence environmental agendas, and ensure that they reap the benefits, and not only the costs and burdens, of environmental change.”


Sign up for the newly released eLearning course on Gender and Inclusion in Forest and Landscape Restoration

Read more on FTA’s research on gender:

This article was written by Ming Chun Tang.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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FTA seminar on 6 Sept 2021 to assess the pandemic’s impacts on ecosystems, forests and agroforestry-based livelihoods

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FTA communications

FTA initiative “COVID-19 Rapid Research Response” reveals range of consequences

In March 2020, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (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 first set of FTA studies (some published, others yet to be released) looked at diverse forests, trees and agroforestry sectors and value chains across three continents. They focused on diverse value chains (from shea, to wood fuel), passing by wild animal farms, small community forest enterprises, agroforestry in central America, and on ley landscapes (India, Indonesia Papua …).

Undoubtedly, with all the restrictions being imposed as health measures, COVID-19 disrupted agricultural value chains with obvious negative consequences for farmers. However, during the seminar lead FTA scientists indicated that findings defied a unilateral narrative. Whilst limited mobility reduced trade and created shortages within the value chains, it also induced a lower demand for products (e.g. charcoal) as households shifted habits to adapt to the new conditions. Researchers noted that in the areas where sustainable forestry and agroforestry systems were in place, households had greater opportunities to build resilience.

Still, as the pandemic restrictions extended over time, significant lower incomes have been hard to cope with. Livelihoods of farmers heavily dependent on the shea nut farming value chain, were among those hit hard by the pandemic. Despite former gains, poverty increased, especially among the millions of women who generate income from the shea oil, which is used in cooking, cosmetics and chocolate, reported Andrew Wardell, a principal scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), an expert on the shea trade.

“Pandemic restrictions on movement caused a reduction in global demand due to delayed shipping,” Wardell said. “Women’s groups recorded increased levels of indebtedness as others ended up abandoning the sector.”

Historically central to all aspects of the shea nut industry, some 16 to 18 million women across sub-Saharan Africa not only tend the trees that can be hundreds of years old, but they gather the nuts, shelling and grinding them into butter before selling them at market.

“During the pandemic, collection areas were burned by charcoal sellers who culled the trees, destroying natural vegetation and eliminating the source of income upon which women depended,” Wardell said. “On the other hand, increasing international demand for shea butter in cosmetics and chocolate led to higher sales, as new markets and value chains for non-timber products emerged,” he added.

In Cameroon, the pandemic disrupted businesses reliant on non-timber forest products when movement restrictions cut opportunities to meet new clients through marketing, a situation that drove many business entities to reduce their workforce, said Serge Mandiefe Piabuo, a junior scientist at CIFOR-ICRAF. Unemployment triggered a trend in urban-to-rural migration as life became tougher in cities.

To some extent, these disruptions were mirrored in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the wood fuel value chain was affected, leading to a mixed impact on forest ecosystems, according to researchers studying the charcoal trade around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve.

The team led by Jolien Schure, a CIFOR-ICRAF associate scientist, found that the charcoal trade was curtailed due to reduced transportation capacity around the Congo River. This led to some sellers abandoning the charcoal trade and increased costs, which were exacerbated by a drop in charcoal production.

The main charcoal clientele, which is based in the city of Kisangani, cut down on cooking, with potential negative nutritional effects, she said. The negative effects on charcoal producers were unfortunately not mitigated by financial support through government subsidies due to the informal nature of the sector.

“In some areas, idle school children who were locked out of school as part of the containment measures joined the charcoal production with ad-hoc production disrupting sustainable practices which include taking note of future tree stocks,” she said.


In the Central American countries of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, vegetable producers were also affected by limits placed on transportation. Local agro-food supply chains were largely disrupted, with reduced market availability leading to higher prices and lower sales. Farmers diversified their produce to meet changing demand, said Adriana Escobedo, a scientist with CIFOR-ICRAF, who researched the impact of the pandemic on agroforestry in the two countries. The study indicated an increased preference of consumers to buy from the local fresh food markets, a critical market opportunity that created an unexpected opportunity for local dealers.

The introduction of face coverings to stop the spread of the virus – particularly single use, disposable masks — added to environmental pollution, according to Lalisa Duguma, CIFOR -ICRAF scientist on Sustainable Landscapes who recently published a review of 327 papers on the effects of Covid 19 pandemic on agroecosystems. The study maps the findings and potential consequences across multiple sectors (e.g. agriculture, forestry, wildlife, fisheries, water resources, etc.) and the related socio-economic services (e.g. food, energy, health, income, etc.)

Often conditions worsened; for example, due to fewer conservation staff, forest ecosystems in various cases were more exposed to illegal exploitation.

“Forest ecosystems were made more vulnerable as many encroachers operated at will due to a reduction in the number of forest guards and rangers, allowing poachers to take advantage, Duguma said.

On the other hand, some natural areas flourished, because of limited human movement with fewer visits to parklands.


In India and Indonesia, household farming income was hard hit, particularly in urban areas where the second wave of the virus was extremely disruptive. Villages proved more resilient, mainly aided by the immediate availability of food from trees, according to Karl Hughes, an impact evaluation specialist at ICRAF.

In West Papua New Guinea, where the pandemic disrupted the food value chain by up to 50 percent, many dealers in agriculture products were left seeking financial bailouts to sustain their businesses, reported Mulia Nurhasan, food and nutrition scientist at CIFOR.


In Peru, researchers were informed of lower harvests from coffee and potato farmers, mainly due to climate change, although they also confronted pandemic-related distribution challenges due to high costs and scarcity of transportation. Lower incomes forced many of them to sell assets, with long-term negative effects. Scientists also found that the vast majority of the farmers consulted planned to incorporate new food crops for household consumption.

The Vietnamese wildlife industry also faced significant disruptions due to lack of visitors and reduced revenues. Some wildlife park owners had to sell their operations due to financial losses, according to Pham Thu Thuy, a senior CIFOR-ICRAF scientist. Diversification was key for those businesses that survived, she added.

All presentations from the event and published articles are available here below.




  1. A Perfect Storm? Impacts of insecurity and COVID-19 on shea supply chains in Burkina Faso
    Dr. D. Andrew Wardell, Aicha Tapsoba, Mathurin Zida and Marlene Elias
  2. Effect of COVID-19 on rural community enterprises: Case of community forest enterprises in Cameroon
    Piabuo SM, Tsafack S, Minang PA, Foundjem-Tita D, Guimke G, Duguma L
  3. Study on impact of COVID-19 on woodfuel value chains in the DRC
    Jolien Schure , Lwanga Kasereka-Muvatsi, Paolo O Cerutti and Phosiso Sola
  4. Market opportunities and impacts of COVID19 on short supply chains of agroforestry products in Nicaragua and Costa Rica
    Adriana Escobedo, M.Sc. /MBA
  5. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Agroecosystems Resilience: Insights based on a review
    Lalisa A. Duguma, Meine van Noordwijk, Peter A. Minang and Kennedy Muthee
  6. Can restoration of the commons foster resilience? Comparing COVID-19 induced livelihood impacts and coping strategies among villages targeted and not targeted by a largescale common land restoration program in three Indian states
    Hughes K
  7. Impact of Covid-19 on food value chains in West Papua Province, Indonesia
    Mulia Nurhasan, Ferdinandus Hurulean, Desy Leo Ariesta, Agus Muhamad Maulana, Muhammad Hariyadi Setiawan, Charlie Danny Heatubun, Heru Komarudin and Amy Ickowitz
  8. Effects of health crises and quarantine on coffee and potato farmers in Peru: short and medium trend dynamics through a panel data base
    Ricardo Vargas & Valentina Robiglio
  9. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agri-food value chains: Fractures, responses and opportunities for building back better
    Dietmar Stoian, Paswel Marenya, Jason Donovan & Gabija Pamerneckyte
  10. COVID impacts on wildlife farms in Vietnam
    Pham Thu Thuy , Tang Thi Kim Hong, Nguyen Thi Kieu Nuong, Dang Hai Phuong, Hoang Tuan Long, Tran Ngoc My Hoa, Nguyen Thi Thuy Anh, Nguyen Thi Van Anh
  11. FTA Rapid Research Response on Covid 19Vincent Gitz, Director FTA


This article was written by Edwin Okoth.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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  • Wildlife clubs teach children in Guyana’s Rupununi about life and livelihoods

Wildlife clubs teach children in Guyana’s Rupununi about life and livelihoods

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A box of chocolates seems completely out of place as a tool for teaching kids about wildlife, but Susan George makes it work.

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  • Menurunkan Emisi dan Meningkatkan Penghidupan melalui Perdagangan dan Manajemen Gambut Berkelanjutan

Menurunkan Emisi dan Meningkatkan Penghidupan melalui Perdagangan dan Manajemen Gambut Berkelanjutan

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Budi daya dan perdagangan komoditas sambil melindungi dan mengelola hutan serta ekosistem alam lain secara berkelanjutan dari ekspansi pertanian menjadi krusial dalam mencapai target pembangunan dan iklim secara nasional maupun internasional.

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

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Eight stunning digital exhibits to reduce humans’ “plant blindness” surrounding forests, trees and agroforestry

Forests 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 launches 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.

“As scientists, we were pleased to create exhibits with Google Arts & Culture, a new way to bring our important message to global audiences: trees are drivers of sustainable development,” said FTA Director, Vincent Gitz, “they are the cornerstone of our future.”

This work forms part of a larger Google collaboration with over 60 international organizations. Together, the partners aim to reduce “plant blindness” — the tendency for people to have difficulty empathizing with plants and the environment at risk.

Explore these eight exhibits from FTA and its strategic partners, featuring compelling images, Google Streetview, videos, key messages and infographics and find out more about our research!

A Global Partnership for Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Learn more about FTA and the scope of its international work!

Access the story of FTA here!

The Forest Transition Curve

Explore the relationship between trees, humans and ecosystem services over time.

Learn about the Forest Transition Curve!

Trees on Farms

Find out how planting trees on farms (agroforestry) makes good business sense while also contributing to healthy ecosystems and food security and nutrition.

Read about the benefits of adding trees to farms!

Forest Landscape Restoration

Learn more about the 6 principles of FLR and the top 7 tree-planting misconceptions!

Did you know there are many ways to achieve FLR?

FTA Highlights of a Decade: From research to impact

This exhibit showcases FTA’s achievements over the past 10 years.

Access 10 years of research in a nutshell!

From Tree to Fork

Did you know that trees and forests are the key to the world’s future food security and nutrition? Learn more about how trees provide healthy foods, cultural traditions and jobs to people everywhere.

How many of these fruits have you tasted?

Ingenious Innovations

The tree sector is often perceived to be a low-tech world… time to change your opinions! Read up on these top 11 innovations that FTA and its partners have developed.

Innovations are at the core of forestry!

Roleplaying Agroecology

Play along as a smallholder farmer, policy maker and palm-oil plantation manager to learn more about the difficult decisions that we all need to make to protect our planet. What choices will you make?

Play along with us!


The full Google campaign with 60+ partner pages and curated exhibits will be released early next year, sensitizing more people to the vital role of trees for climate adaptation, biodiversity, food security and nutrition. Stay tuned for more!

This article was written by Daniella Silva.

This article was produced by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). 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. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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