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  • Deforestation pledge redux: Reflections on “forest loss” as dust settles on Glasgow summit

Deforestation pledge redux: Reflections on “forest loss” as dust settles on Glasgow summit

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The Glasgow leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use made at the COP26 summit on climate change and endorsed by 141 countries at the time of writing shares similarities with previous pledges or targets, including the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity and the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF).

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  • FTA Highlight No. 10 – Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities

FTA Highlight No. 10 – Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities

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FTA communications

Analysis shows that between 2012 and 2019 the estimated volume of global trade in key forest commodities (oil palm, soy, cocoa, rubber, coffee and timber) has grown significantly. This production growth has put increasing pressure on forests, across landscapes in the tropics and subtropics of Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, leading to multiple environmental challenges linked to losses in forest cover and biodiversity.

The growth in the trade of commodities also presents social challenges, including threats to local food and nutrition security and tenure rights and to the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

For a decade FTA’s research has focused on supporting transitions to more sustainable and inclusive value chains, finance and business models for these commodities in order to meet growing global demands for food, feed and fibre from sustainable sources.

Download the volume! [PDF]
Within the context of the new series of highlights from 2011 to 2021, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is now publishing the volume on Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities.

Annually, billions of dollars flow into rural landscapes worldwide. However, many investments fail to address a number of important goals of the inhabitants of these landscapes. FTA’s research links the impacts of global trade and investments to state- and market-driven responses in order to address their socio-environmental impacts from the subnational to the global level.

FTA has worked to address these themes over 10 years, providing critical results and improvements. FTA’s Flagship Program 3 on value chains and business models addresses three main themes:

  • which policy arrangements have the most potential for enhancing sustainability and social inclusivity in the value chain?
  • what support is needed to involve smallholders and SMEs in ways that are economically viable, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable?
  • what mechanisms could promote more widespread adoption of responsible finance that improves sustainability and supports smallholders’ access to finance?

FTA’s efforts in the forestry sector and with tropical commodities such as coffee, cocoa and bananas have been at the forefront of certification and sustainability initiatives. In Indonesia extensive engagement with national and provincial authorities supported smallholders to meet the new challenge of timber legality accreditation through collective action.

Extensive FTA research has also contributed to improved policies and practices that support environmentally conscious and socially inclusive palm oil value chains. FTA researchers have also analyzed Fairtrade coffee value chains and their gendered dimensions.

Efforts increasingly aim to de-link deforestation from supply chains and to achieve zero deforestation. FTA research has shown, however, that commitments to zero deforestation should not be considered in isolation from the wider processes of forest degradation.

The growth in the trade of agricultural commodities is also linked to rising carbon emissions. FTA’s work over the past decade also helps to achieve broader objectives of low-emissions development and climate change mitigation and adaptation in production landscapes.

Private initiatives implemented at the supply chain level alone are insufficient — public and private arrangements that involve supply chains and landscape goals are needed. FTA research has used the Landscape Assessment of Financial Flows to assess how private-sector investments can contribute to income generation and resilient landscapes.

Landscape analysis of financial flows, Gunung Tarak landscape, Indonesia

The complexity of the governance of supply chains in the palm oil sector has led to multiple approaches to implement sustainability initiatives that also relate to how supply chains are structured. Numerous publications produced by FTA contributed to putting the domestic timber sector on the political agenda of many producer countries and the European Commission.

During the past decade, the emphasis of FTA analyses has shifted to embracing different types of suppliers — from smallholders to large-scale loggers and farmers. FTA research on value chains focuses on the inclusion of smallholders and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) at the landscape scale. Public-private initiatives are also engaging with processes for reform.

Future strategic initiatives will need to strengthen partner capacities in developing countries to co-design and deliver evidence-based solutions to address supply chain and investment constraints.

Download the report to find out how future initiatives can build on FTA results and work in ways that ensure sustainable and inclusive value chains and support climate change mitigation and adaptation in production landscapes.

Published volumes until today include:

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  • Sustainable trade and peatland management for emissions reduction and community livelihoods

Sustainable trade and peatland management for emissions reduction and community livelihoods

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Growing and trading commodities while protecting and sustainably managing forests and other natural ecosystems from agricultural encroachment is crucial for meeting development and climate targets both nationally and internationally.

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  • FTA Highlights Series Launched at GLF Climate/COP26

FTA Highlights Series Launched at GLF Climate/COP26

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Keynote speakers presented on 6 of FTA’s core work domains and how 10 years of research have translated into concrete impact

The first year of the U.N. Decade of Ecosystem Restoration also marks the completion of a 10-year cycle for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). To celebrate, FTA announced its new series, “FTA Highlights of a Decade, 2011-2021,” during a side event of GLF Climate: Forests, food, finance – Frontiers of Change. The webinar spotlighted FTA’s past achievements and underlined the critical importance of FTA’s research for the future.

“We are very pleased to present our results from the last 10 years, showing the impact that research can have,” said Robert Nasi, Co-Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF). “Our work shows that forests, trees and agroforestry can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, livelihoods and biodiversity.”


Scientists at the digital event on Nov. 5 presented emblematic examples from six of the 18 volumes in the highlights series, which was officially launched the week after. FTA’s work has helped frame current agenda items as outlined in the U.N. Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) and most importantly the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which was concomitant to our webinar.

The full event can be replayed here:


Now, at the close of FTA’s decadal studies, the fruits from this labour are becoming clear. Six keynote speakers opened the conference with highlights on:

  1. Seed genetic diversity: ICRAF senior scientist and FTA Flagship 1 Leader, Ramni Jamnadass, spoke on the importance of diverse seeds for effective tree planting projects and landscape restoration, reminding the audience that “a mighty tree starts from a seed. If you put garbage in, you get garbage out.” Such diversity is particularly important to fit the needs of smallholders and support adaptation to climate change.
    Volume to be released
  2. Trees on farms (TonF): Over the past decade, FTA engaged in numerous agroforestry initiatives to improve livelihoods and the environment. Eduardo Somarriba, the FTA focal point from CATIE, presented a relevant case from Honduras, where “living tree fences” are used to pen livestock and encourage rotational grazing. Scaling up these fences created with trees could improve the ecosystem and livelihoods for farmers who could use the trees’ resources for additional income generation while contributing to climate change mitigation.
    Volume to be released
  3. REDD+: FTA has conducted comparative research in more than 22 countries with the intent of providing evidence-based knowledge and tools for countries to better measure and monitor their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These programs “allow country partners to develop efficient, equitable and effective policies and practices,” said CIFOR senior scientist and FTA-Flagship-5 Leader, Christopher Martius.
    Volume 11 available here!
  4. Value chains: Scaling up sustainable value chains and certification schemes can create new problems for smallholders if they do not have equitable access to resources, noted Bas Louman, the FTA focal point from Tropenbos International (TBI). To better understand these relationships, “we propose a systems approach linking landscapes to value chains and not looking just at landscapes or value chains,” he said.
    Volume 10 available here!
  5. Gender and social inclusion: Successful landscape initiatives must also work for women, said Marlène Elias, the FTA Gender focal point from the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT. Over the last decade, FTA’s work has had incredible impact, proving that effective and sustainable landscape management can support social inclusion. “The innovations that we propose aim to lift the barriers in forestry and agroforestry landscapes,” said Elias, so that women, Indigenous Peoples and other minority groups have equitable access to resources, assets, income and decision-making power.
    Volume 15 available here!
  6. Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR): CIFOR senior scientist, Manuel Guariguata, acknowledged that FLR is about more than just tree planting. Rather than being a goal, FLR is a means to achieve many goals that optimize ecosystem functions along the forest transition curve. Landscape restoration also implies multistakeholder collaboration at every stage. These understandings are summarized in the six principles of FLR.
    Volume 4 available here!

The introduction to the series, as well as the volumes on tree biodiversity conservation, wild meat and monitoring & evaluation are also available. More will be published in the coming weeks.

Following these interventions, the audience was asked which types of forest and tree-based innovations were most important for the future. The poll results showed that 45.7% of respondents felt more should be done to improve social inclusion (including poverty eradication) through forest and tree-based initiatives.

Next, a panel of stakeholders at the national and international level discussed how FTA’s decade of research could light the way forward. The distinguished line-up included Malanding Jaiteh, advisor to the Minister of Environment of The Gambia. “Much of what we are trying to do [in The Gambia] is to raise people’s livelihood systems by promoting the development of natural-resource-based enterprises,” said Jaiteh. He explained that the Ministry needs expert knowledge about tree diversity and seed quality to implement projects that are socioeconomically feasible and sustainable. Research from FTA scientists helps fill these gaps.

Li Yanxia, FTA-management-team member from the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), further highlighted three unique benefits that INBAR has received from the organization’s partnership with FTA: its unique focus on development, its capacity-building support and its platform for knowledge exchange. The Head of Embrapa Forestry, Brazil, Erich Schaitza, similarly shared how FTA facilitates his organization’s work. “FTA’s goals match very much with ours,” he said. “Working with them is a good opportunity to have our voices heard and to learn from other countries in the network.”

Natural rubber-producing countries also stand to benefit from FTA’s knowledge. “We have worked very closely with FTA since June 2020 to study how we can adapt natural rubber plantations to climate change,” said Salvatore Pinizzotto, the Secretary General for the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG).

The partnership will also be hosting its final event, “10 Years of FTA Research for People and the Planet,” on Dec. 9. Join us!



  1. Rober Nasi opening speech
  2. Effective Tree Seed Systems – Ramni Jamnadass & Lars Gaudal
  3. Trees on Farms (TonF) for livelihoods and the environment – Eduardo Somarriba, Arlene López-Sampson, Norvin Sepúlveda, Edwin Garcia, Fergus Sinclair
  4. REDD+: fighting climate change with forest science Assessing ten years of REDD+ research – Christopher Martius (CIFOR) Amy Duchelle (CIFOR, FAO)
  5. Gender and social inclusion – Marlène Elias
  6. Forest and Landscape Restoration – Manuel R. Guariguata


Visit the main portal here

  1. Introduction: Ten Years of Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Research in Partnership for Sustainable Development
  2. Tree Seed and Seedling Systems for Resilience and Productivity (COMING SOON!)
  3. Conservation of Tree Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management
  4. Forest and Landscape Restoration
  5. Food Security and Nutrition
  6. Wild Meat
  7. Trees on Farms to Improve Livelihoods and the Environment (COMING SOON!)
  8. Biomass, Bioenergy and Biomaterials (COMING SOON!)
  9. Improving Rural Livelihoods Through Supporting Local Innovation at Scale (COMING SOON!)
  10. Sustainable Value Chains, Finance and Investment in Forestry and Tree Commodities
  11. REDD+: Combating Climate Change with Forest Science
  12. Adaptation to Climate Change, with Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (COMING SOON!)
  13. Multi-Functional Landscapes for Sustainable Development (COMING SOON!)
  14. Governing Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Landscapes for Delivering on the SDGs (COMING SOON!)
  15. Advancing Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
  16. Capacity Development (COMING SOON!)
  17. Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment
  18. The Way Forward (COMING SOON!)

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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  • FTA Highlight No. 17 – Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment

FTA Highlight No. 17 – Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment

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Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA) has been a key focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) over its decade of work.

FTA’s MELIA Program has adapted, developed, tested and refined a comprehensive set of concepts and methods. These include participatory theories of change and developing and refining outcome evaluation methods.

They also include systematically reviewing, defining and assessing the quality of research that crosses disciplinary boundaries; and developing a quality assessment framework suitable for research for development (R4D).

This decadal work has generated a body of research and valuable lessons about research design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation within FTA and beyond.

Download the volume! [PDF]
As part of “FTA’s highlights of a decade,” a new series focusing on its main results since its inception in 2011, FTA is now publishing the volume on Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA).

The CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) embodied a fundamental shift in the approach to research for development (R4D). CRPs assume shared responsibility for achieving economic and human development outcomes, a shift that required new ways of monitoring and evaluating research (R4D).

When the Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) program was established in 2011 it responded to this approach with a plan to develop and use theory-based approaches for monitoring and evaluating outcomes and impacts.


Over its ten years FTA has recognized the importance of monitoring and evaluation, not only as an important management tool, but also as a field of research in its own right.

From the beginning, FTA’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Impact Assessment (MELIA) strategy included a core research component. FTA’s impact orientation and MELIA work were strongly supported by FTA governance. More engaged, transdisciplinary approaches to research involve stakeholders in order to deal with complexity and increase potential impact.

FTA’s research approaches aim to contribute to reduced poverty, improved food security and nutrition, and improved management of natural resources and ecosystem services through technical, institutional and policy innovation. Monitoring is a key element of FTA’s adaptive, learning-oriented approach, from the project level to the program level.

Research activities operate within a program-level theory of change (ToC), and each activity has its own particular context, design and implementation, and specific ToC.

This multi-level approach creates an excellent opportunity for learning how research contributes to transformative change within complex social and environmental systems.

MELIA has focused its work on five key global challenges.

  1. accelerating rates of deforestation and forest degradation;
  2. high prevalence of degraded land and ecosystem services;
  3. unsustainable land-use practices;
  4. persistent rural poverty, with increasing levels of vulnerability;
  5. rising demand for and need for nutritious food.

FTA has developed a set of user-friendly and time-efficient monitoring tools for use at the project scale. The tools facilitate systematic collection of data on engagement with stakeholders, knowledge generation, uptake and use, and progress toward higher-level outcomes and impacts.

FTA’s MELIA team also contributed to the development of the Quality of Research for Development (QoR4D) framework. The framework guides and enhances research at all levels, and contributes to outcomes and impacts.

Download the publication to learn more about FTA’s approach to monitoring, FTA’s integrated outcome evaluations, case studies, results and lessons learned. FTA’s work on MELIA sets the ground for future initiatives to build and design projects integrating theory-based evaluation towards a transdisciplinary model of research impact.

Published volumes until today include:

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  • Researchers, practitioners and community members call for greater inclusion in ecosystem restoration

Researchers, practitioners and community members call for greater inclusion in ecosystem restoration

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As the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration begins, almost 50 authors from diverse backgrounds set out 10 rules for addressing human and social dimensions of restoration currently overlooked in ecosystem restoration

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Restoration efforts hold unique potential for improving environmental outcomes and human wellbeing. They are the focus of the recently launched UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Yet, ignoring the social dimensions of environmental initiatives is likely to fail to achieve ecological and other objectives. Neglecting social and people-centered restoration models can result in land grabs, conflict, and further marginalization of vulnerable groups, say authors of a new paper, “Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration.”

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, a shift towards restoration strategies that acknowledge complex social and cultural realities is critical. The authors challenge ‘top-down’ restoration approaches which fail to recognize the importance of humans in nature. The paper’s 47 authors represent several nationalities, backgrounds and sectors, and are connected with restoration initiatives around the globe.

“Too often, social issues get relegated to the local level, rather than considering the human dimensions required for successful restoration, including issues of voice and legitimacy, in shaping global agendas,” they say in the paper. They call for people-centered restoration efforts, pointing out that emphasis on ‘engaging stakeholders’ often fails to acknowledge underlying webs of power, as well as critical social, political and economic considerations that underpin restoration.

“Dealing with people in landscapes, each with their own interests in the resources they manage, is complex and a messy undertaking,” explains leade author Marlène Elias, Senior Scientist at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. “The complexity is overwhelming for restorationists and often shuts action down. What we are trying to do is unpack these issues without being reductionist, including important dimensions that restoration initiatives must have on the radar for equitable and sustainable results.”

The rules cover the need to recognize diversity among stakeholders; noting that building trust takes time and calls for deliberate effort and investment to actively engage communities as change agents, holding meetings in communities in local languages for example, rather than at administrative offices. They address the importance of collaboratively unpacking socio-historical trajectories to inform engagement and the need to strengthen resource tenure for marginalized groups and advance equity. The rules call for considering multiple benefits within ecosystems, including different cultural and social benefits, which are often difficult to quantify, monetize and trade.

“It’s not about box-ticking, but about engaging people properly for successful results. One of the key things we highlight is that restoration is not just about economics but ultimately about people,” said Stephanie Mansourian, a co-author and environmental consultant and Associate Researcher at the University of Geneva. “You could restore food security, or spiritual sites, or essential wood for construction. Communities can be compensated for ecosystem services like improving water quality but people will also protect trees or regenerate their ecosystem because they need the services. Restoration is about more than reductionist compensation initiatives. Typically, the social dimension is completely forgotten or limited to ‘engaging or consulting’ stakeholders in a superficial and generally inadequate manner. We examine what that means and how you do it properly.”

The seventh rule deals with equitable distribution of costs, risks and benefits across the landscape. The eighth rule considers the importance of drawing on different types of evidence and knowledge to determine ‘What qualifies as evidence?’ and: ‘Whose knowledge counts?’ The ninth rule questions dominant discourses, such as ecosystem degradation. For example, blaming ‘unsustainable’ land-use practices, such as overgrazing, reveals little about the structures and contextual factors driving these processes, including policies, subsidies and marginalization. The final rule urges inclusive and holistic monitoring, evaluation and learning, enabling local people to decide what, how, and when to measure. It calls for the need to question who does the measuring, and to collect data responding to local concerns.

Developed as actionable guidance for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers among others, the rules follow a special issue in Ecological Restoration and apply equally to the restoration of marine ecosystems, lakes, wetlands, forests and other ecosystems. “We have decades of restoration initiatives that have not been sustainable because they looked for short-cuts,” explained Ruth Meinzen-Dick, a co-author and Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. “And what we’re saying is that inclusive and holistic planning –which recognizes diversity at every level – is what it’s going to take for restoration to be sustainable in the long-term.”

The paper ‘Ten people-centered rules for socially sustainable ecosystem restoration’ is a collaborative initiative that contributes to the CGIAR Research Programs on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Policies, Institutions, and Markets; and Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Originally posted on Eurekalert.

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  • Women’s land tenure a critical pillar for climate action, COP26 delegates say

Women’s land tenure a critical pillar for climate action, COP26 delegates say

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Worldwide, fewer than 15 percent of landholders are women, a disparity that has significant consequences for the general status and wellbeing of women, children and their communities, hindering efforts to build resilience to climate change, said delegates during a panel discussion at the U.N. COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

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  • Chickens and cattle a gateway for economic diversification and wildlife protection

Chickens and cattle a gateway for economic diversification and wildlife protection

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In this context, chickens play an increasingly important economic and social role in local communities. They can be seen roaming the savannah, clucking outside schools and even helping sleeping canines by pecking off pesky fleas. The ones that meander around yards are affectionately called yardies.

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  • At GLF Climate, youth shared 13 sustainable forestry innovations for the Asia-Pacific region

At GLF Climate, youth shared 13 sustainable forestry innovations for the Asia-Pacific region

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FTA communications

More than ever, forests and trees are called upon to address the great global challenges of our times, among which are: climate change, deforestation, forest degradation, biodiversity erosion, poverty and food insecurity. Innovative technologies – including digital technologies, biological technologies, technical innovations in processes and products, innovative finance and social innovations – hold a huge potential to advance sustainable forest management and help address these challenges, globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. However, technology adoption has been slow and uneven in the region. As technology enthusiasts, forest guardians and forest managers of tomorrow, young people have a leading role to play in generating momentum and revolutionizing institutions from within to support the uptake and scaling-up of innovative technologies in Asia and the Pacific.

This is why, on Friday, 5 Nov. 2021, FAO and the CGIAR Research Programme on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) co-organized a session highlighting youth perspectives on innovative forest technologies. This event attracted over 400 attendees and was part of the GLF Climate hybrid conference, “Frontiers of Change.” “Instead of another meeting to exchange on the global and pressing issues, we wanted, during this event, to focus on innovative solutions and share a note of optimism and hope” said Vincent Gitz (CIFOR), FTA Director.

On behalf of FAO, Rao Matta, Forestry Officer, highlighted the important role innovation can play to make the forest sector more attractive to young people. He invited the youth to become “innovation champions,” to play a pivotal role in scaling-up innovative technologies, and to bring their unique forward-looking and out-of-the-box thinking perspectives to the discussion table. “FAO,” he said, “is fully committed to promote the visibility of youth and of their seminal work”.

During this event, FAO and FTA gave the floor to students and young professionals involved in the forest sector in Asia and the Pacific, to hear some of their ideas to unleash the potential offered by innovative technologies to advance sustainable forest management. 13 young people, aged 18–35, from nine different countries of the Asia-Pacific region who were selected by FAO and CIFOR after an open call for contributions presented their works in 3 minutes each.

Their talks illustrated, in various contexts, the huge potential of innovative forest technologies to advance sustainable forestry and sustainable forest management. Together, the guest speakers covered a broad range of topics, showing how technologies — both new and repurposed — can improve and facilitate monitoring and reporting, strengthen citizen engagement in forest monitoring and management and support process and product innovations in the forest sector in the Asia-Pacific region. These ideas are also inspiring globally and in other contexts.


The presentations gave way to a lively session of questions and answers with the audience. The back-and-forth discussions revealed some of the barriers to uptake and scale innovative technologies. These blockages include: (i) the limited internet connection in rural or remote areas; (ii) the high level of upfront investments that may be required for technology adoption, including for equipment, infrastructure development, capacity-building and involvement of local communities. Participants also noted that restrictive or rigid policies and regulations often lag far behind the quick evolution of innovative technologies, which can hamper their use and dissemination. For instance, current policies and rules may not allow the use of data collected by remote sensing methods in official statistics or as forensic evidence. Concluding this event, Rao Matta, indicated  that intensive, follow-up actions will be organized at country level, probably next year. Young experts will once again be invited to share their experience and views on sustainable innovations for the Asia-Pacific.

To access the 13 video presentations, please follow the links below:

Session 1: How can innovative technologies improve and facilitate monitoring?

  1. Shahrukh Kamran (Pakistan): Development, testing and implementation of insect-catching drones.
  2. Kyuho Lee (Republic of Korea): Drones for planning and monitoring forest ecosystem restoration: towards a forest degradation index
  3. Angga Saputra (Indonesia): Estimating tree height, canopy cover and tree diameter using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.
  4. Cecille de Jesus (the Philippines): Follow the water: advanced technologies for demonstrating forest-water-community relationships.
  5. Thuan Sarzynski (Vietnam): Google Earth Engine, an innovative technology for forest conservation.
  6. Marie Jessica Gabriel (the Philippines): Spatial Monitoring And Reporting Tool (SMART).

Session 2: How can innovative technologies facilitate the engagement of civil society, local communities, smallholders and youth?

  1. Sony Lama (Nepal): Forest Watcher: employing citizen science in forest management of Nepal.
  2. Nur Bahar (Malaysia): How to effectively engage youth in satellite-based tropical forest monitoring?
  3. June Mandawali (Papua New Guinea): Community Based Tree Nurseries in Ramu/Markham Valley of Papua New Guinea.

Session 3: How can innovative technologies support optimization of processes and products for sustainable forest management?

  1. Sanjayaraj Tamang (Nepal): Invasive species management in Nepal: a pathway to sustainable forest management.
  2. Clarence Gio S. Almoite (the Philippines): Building back Philippine biodiversity through geotagging mother tree species for modernized and mechanized forest nurseries.
  3. Prachi Gupta (India): Advances in the wood anatomical studies with innovations in microscopy.
  4. Deasy Ramatia (Indonesia): Binderless particleboard: production process and self- bonding mechanisms.
Download the PDF!

All of these 3-minute presentations have been developed in detailed scientific articles and gathered in a FAO and FTA co-publication entitled, Innovative forestry for a sustainable future. Youth contributions from Asia and the Pacific.

This youth publication is part of a broader roadmap jointly developed by FAO and FTA on innovative forest technologies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here for more information on this roadmap process.


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  • La recherche plaide en faveur d’une agriculture intelligente face au climat pour freiner la déforestation en RDC

La recherche plaide en faveur d’une agriculture intelligente face au climat pour freiner la déforestation en RDC

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Les agriculteurs de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) dont les rendements baissent en raison des effets néfastes du changement climatique en viennent à défricher la forêt pour augmenter leurs surfaces de production, mais libèrent de ce fait du carbone stocké qui contribue à l’emballement du réchauffement climatique.

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  • Riset Mendukung Pertanian Cerdas Iklim untuk Menghentikan Deforestasi di Republik Demokratik Kongo

Riset Mendukung Pertanian Cerdas Iklim untuk Menghentikan Deforestasi di Republik Demokratik Kongo

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Para petani di Republik Demokratik Kongo (RDK) yang mengalami penurunan hasil panen sebagai dampak negatif perubahan iklim melakukan pembersihan kawasan berhutan untuk memperluas produksi. Langkah yang justru mempercepat pemanasan global karena terganggunya sekuestrasi karbon.

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  • Estudio pionero permite comprender las emisiones de GEI y los niveles de degradación de las turberas amazónicas de Perú

Estudio pionero permite comprender las emisiones de GEI y los niveles de degradación de las turberas amazónicas de Perú

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Un nuevo estudio ha logrado una serie de “hitos” en el proceso de comprender la relación entre las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) y la degradación en las turberas de pantanos de palmeras de la cuenca del Pastaza-Marañón, en Perú.

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  • FTA's 4 events at GLF Amazonia 2021 "The Tipping Point" - review of the sessions!

FTA’s 4 events at GLF Amazonia 2021 “The Tipping Point” – review of the sessions!

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FTA communications

The Forests, Trees and Agroforestry research program to support 4 sessions at GLF Amazonia

The Amazon region, one of the most diverse areas on earth culturally and biologically and where the world’s largest humid-tropical forest lies, is transitioning from being a carbon sink to a carbon emitter.

This is bad news for the entire planet.

Conserving the Amazon rainforests requires the involvement of people of all ages, civil society organizations, practitioners, researchers, policymakers, financial and private-sector representatives, activists, individuals and other local and global actors.

Together, these groups have an opportunity to preserve and restore the biological and cultural diversity of the Amazon by combining local and global knowledge and solutions. Inaction is risky and could lead to accelerated global warming, compromised access to food and water for local communities, the proliferation of zoonotic diseases, decreasing nutrient input from the Amazon River into the oceans, biodiversity loss and disrupted spiritual practices for millions of people.

To underline the importance of being active in the Amazon region, FTA helped organize four events at the GLF Amazonia:

  • 21.09.21 – Farming with Trees: learning among Brazilian and Peruvian agroforestry farmers
  • 22. 09.21 – The transition to deforestation-free family farming in the Amazon as a strategy to reduce deforestation: the case of Peru
  • 22.09.21 – Facilitating spaces for women’s conservation organizations: Women’s solutions from the Amazon
  • 23.09.21 – What does Bioeconomy mean?

This news focuses on the Bioeconomy event, but all 4 are available on YouTube and can be replayed (links below).


Is there in fact one “Amazonian” bioeconomy?

In one of the most engaging sessions at GLF Amazonia, over 270 attendees heard different stakeholder voices from across the Amazonian region. The purpose of the session was to confront the increasingly voiced concept of “bioeconomy” to local realities and needs. “Most people don’t know what a bioeconomy is,” said José Neto, an Indigenous youth from Ygarapé, Brazil. “This is because of lack of awareness. It is important to put this term in context.”

A circular bioeconomy is an economy powered by nature — it emphasizes the use of renewable natural capital and focuses on minimizing waste and replacing the wide range of non-renewable, fossil-based products currently in use. Circular bioeconomies offer the opportunity to transform our land, food, health, and industrial systems. In countries of the Global South where people depend on forests for their livelihoods, bioeconomies could make for more sustainable local landscapes and new income opportunities. FTA promotes forest-based bioeconomies, a subsector of the circular bioeconomy concept, which focuses on the transformation of our current system through the conscious use and re-use of forest materials.

In addition to the lack of awareness from stakeholders, different understandings of ‘bioeconomy’ exist. During the event, representatives from Indigenous communities, youth, entrepreneurs, academics and policymakers discussed the regional interpretations of ‘bioeconomy.’

“We organized this session to reflect on the question, “what is bioeconomy” and to try to understand the different perspectives of the region,” said session-moderator Roberto Waack, President of the Uma Concertação pela Amazônia, Coalizão Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura.

The major challenge in these different understandings is synchronizing the implementation of pro-bioeconomy practices. “In the last 30 years we have advanced a lot in this field [bioeconomy], but we have never been good at balancing the environment and economy,” said Danilo Fernandes of the Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazônicos (Naea) and Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA). He further added that there are multiple factors to consider.

Local and Indigenous perspectives on national efforts to implement a bioeconomy were also shared during the session. Angélica Rojas of the Fundación Para La Conservación Y Desarrollo Sostenible (FCDS) los departamentos de Meta y Guaviare shared that, in Colombia, bioeconomy signifies “natural.” “[It means] there is an ability for the people to have and live from the products that are available from the different ecosystems.”

Meanwhile, in Peru, Karina Pinasco of the Amazónicos por Amazonía (AMPA) expressed the need to shift towards a “neutral country.” She said, “in 2020, we have deforested 4500 ha of land. Decision-makers are myopically focused on drug trafficking, land grabbing and corruption.” At the national level, bioeconomy is a potential tool to enhance the production of food and restore the environment while also providing income and livelihoods. Achieving bioeconomy targets could eventually help solve the persistent issues of deforestation.

The event’s panelists also raised the need to have a reality-check and to put bioeconomy in the context of social injustices and denial of human rights in the Amazon. “How do we talk about bioeconomy and deforestation when there are pressing issues about human rights — when Indigenous peoples and activists are killed?” asked Ivaneide Bandeira Cardozo of the Kanindé Ethno-environmental Defense Association.

Download the PDF!

The differing perspectives on bioeconomy show that there is no use in trying to force an all-encompassing “Amazonian bioeconomy” concept; locally-designed bioeconomy approaches differ from place-to-place, even though the principles remain the same globally. To address conflicting views and misunderstandings on the concept of bioeconomy, ongoing initiatives in the Amazon are converging towards common frameworks. These frameworks and other issues are developed in the session’s White Paper.

What is clear is that, without compromising human rights and social justice, there is a huge opportunity for bioeconomy approaches to address the pressing environmental challenges. Context-specific bioeconomies could create new value chains using forest-based products and services that generate more local profit — a win-win situation, if properly implemented.

What are the most effective paths to promote socioenvironmental development in the Amazon?  

How do we ensure “bioeconomy” is more than just another fashionable idea? Following the theme of GLF Amazonia, this session discussed the issue from the inside out. Bioeconomy negotiations need to be diverse and encourage meaningful participation “We need to have a more participative discussion. It should be multi-level, multi-actor,” said Pinasco.

Some of the most important actors for a successful bioeconomy are Indigenous peoples. Respecting on-the-ground, local and traditional worldviews was the loudest call-to-action from this session: “We need to value the Indigenous views. We need to rethink how we move forward with bioeconomy so as not to neglect the voices of the Amazonians,” said Neto.

Developing an economic model that respects the integrity and decisions of Indigenous communities is the most pressing challenge to advance bioeconomy approaches in the Amazon. “We cannot just focus on monetary benefits,” said Cardozo. “It is against Indigenous values. There should be a certain degree of respect for nature.”

Integrating Indigenous and local voices in decision-making processes is key for capacity development. When local organizations and institutions are strengthened, they could help communities better manage their territories. “We need to develop skills and materials that could help us in providing mature and informed decisions in relation to the value chains that are developed,” said Pinasco.

Tapping into the potentials of alternative forest resources, such as bamboo, was also raised by Noelia Trillo, CEO of Forest Bambu. “We see bamboo has a possibility of recovering soil to address the degraded lands in the Amazon. It gives us a number of alternative resources.”

“A bioeconomy should consider social and environmental factors while respecting Indigenous and local perspectives,” Trillo added.


Replay the full session –>


FTA’s other 3 sessions also can be replayed here below!


Drawing from farmers’ experience on practical solutions to sustainable farming that can be scaled up, this session brought farmers’ cooperatives and NGOs from Brazil and Peru and discussed their learning on how to continue farming and making money while also restoring ecosystem functions and enhancing biodiversity on degraded lands.

FTA and its partners are strong proponents of agroecological approaches that support food production, restoration and climate change adaptation. Agroforestry, dubbed as “agroecology on steroids” by principal scientist Fergus Sinclair – paved the way to more recent involvement, for the upscale of agroecology – has enormous potential as a nature-based solution for sustainable land management. This is true, not only in the Amazon, but in most parts of the world. FTA scientists also believe that these initiatives would only become successful if stakeholders are meaningfully participating.

In this session, solutions and practices that reconcile social and environmental goals and factors for their success and challenges in implementation were presented by the Brazilian and Peruvian agroforestry farmers themselves.

Replay the full session –>



 The transition towards Zero Deforestation farming has been a huge undertaking. In this session, actors both from the farm-level and at the policy-level were able to share challenges and opportunities of deforestation-free import regulations to reduce deforestation in regions where commodities are produced by smallholder farmers, such as coffee and cocoa in Peru. This session explored how to minimize the risk that commodities associated with forest loss enter EU’s market and how, from companies to government and farmers, actors along the value chain are planning to meet compliance to regulations, the challenge, and the risks.

The session also solicited thoughts from farmers and practitioners in identifying strategic elements of the policy and institutional context to support the process at scale. It examined priorities to generate those conditions and progresses so far. One issue discussed is how regulatory mechanisms, depending on the implementation, can be both enabling and impeding the success and scaling up of agroforestry practices.

Replay the full session –>


Women are integral in the success of Amazonian conservation. Here, the session reported preliminary lessons learned from gender inclusive initiatives that have increased women’s participation in conservation and development in the Brazilian, Colombian and Peruvian Amazon. These cases cover a diverse collection of indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant women from across the region. The hour and a half-long session facilitated a discussion of findings from multiple grassroots efforts where women increased participation in natural resource decision-making, gained more secure access to natural resources, or improved benefits from natural resource management.

The women in the Amazon are diverse in terms of settlements, age, class, ethnic background, descent, etc. Most of the women also take forest and land-based roles in the community and are holders of traditional knowledge. In spite of their diverse backgrounds, they often face the same challenges of political barriers, cultural and social bias, lack of capacity and resources, lack of trust and lack of collective awareness, and lack of sources of loans, education, and affirmative action.

Replay the full session –>

This article was written by Maria Paula Sarigumba.

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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  • Peru’s smallholder farmers need state recognition for timber production, study says

Peru’s smallholder farmers need state recognition for timber production, study says

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Smallholders who produce fallow timber on their farms in the Peruvian Amazon would benefit from a regulatory mechanism to help transform the informal sector’s supply chain into one based on equity and sustainability, according to a recent study.

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  • FTA Highlight No. 3 - Conservation of Tree Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management

FTA Highlight No. 3 – Conservation of Tree Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management

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FTA communications

Millions of people in the tropics derive benefits through the management of tree species diversity, and from the genetic variation within these species, in forests and farmland. People depend on trees for food, medicine, fuel, tools, fodder for livestock and shade.

Conserving and sustainably managing forest biodiversity, including forest genetic resources (FGRs), is critically important.  Trees provide ecosystem services such as soil and water conservation, carbon sequestration, pollination, and mitigation of the effects of natural pest predators.

Insights on diversity are critical to understanding the domestication and dispersal of tree species, managing their genetic resources and setting conservation priorities.

Previously, conservation of FGRs centred on in situ approaches, and in particular in national parks and forest reserves. The design and location of these conservation areas are rarely driven by genetic principles. FTA has characterized the genetic diversity of tree species to assist both conservation actions and sustainable management.

Data on tree species supports management of FGRs and resilient forest landscapes, including in the Amazon.

As part of “FTA’s highlights of a decade,” a new series focusing on the programme main results since inception in 2011, FTA is now publishing the volume on Conservation of Tree Biodiversity and Sustainable Forest Management. The publication outlines the relevance and impact of FTA’s work in this research domain at the global level and how it contributed to shape some of the key stakeholders’ agendas.

It illustrates how FAO’s Global Plan of Action to implement a global monitoring system for FGRs benefitted from FTA’s support, integrating our analysis of vulnerability of tree species. FTA also contributed to FAO’s State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture. Biodiversity’s role in supporting both environmental and dietary sustainability are summarized in a global report.

As a result of FTA’s work, the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) called for increased attention to native species and their genetic diversity in conservation and restoration.

FTA scientists have also designed various approaches to track forest degradation. Although the issue receives considerable global attention in policy processes, there is no generally accepted way to define or measure it. FTA provided better understanding of the complex dynamics at play, paving the way for improved policies to address the phenomenon at different scales.

Participatory monitoring approaches reviewed by FTA scientists found that information produced through collaborative learning was used more often in decision making related to forest management than evidence-based information was.

The publication discusses a number of case studies and arguments for better understanding FGRs in the global context.

FTA’s work in Guatemala in community forestry has shown it can reconcile management with conservation of both forests and FGRs, while providing livelihood benefits. In Burkina Faso research has shown how gender norms affect tenure patterns related to the highly valuable tree species Parkia biglobosa or néré. FTA researchers also studied how to increase women’s participation in inclusive management of native fruit trees in Malaysia and India.

In northwestern Peru and southern Ecuador, local ecological knowledge showed great potential in selecting tree species that need to be conserved or restored. Collaborations with local and indigenous people have been critical in understanding biodiversity dynamics at the intraspecific level.

Although adequate genetic diversity is a precondition for successful forest landscape restoration (FLR), restoration projects worldwide typically use seed and seedlings of limited genetic diversity. FTA provides tools for better better integrating FRGs in FLR.

The publication illustrates the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and between biodiversity and carbon. It points to how trees on farms (TonF) make a critical contribution to biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes, especially with the current shift from collection of NTFPs to agroforestry systems, which requires an assessment of all the benefits that rural people obtain from various tree species.

Finally, the publication analyzes the links between logging (selectively managed vs illegal) and forest biodiversity and spotlights the Tropical managed Forests Observatory (TmFO), an FTA innovation that brings together 18 research institutions in a global network that cross-correlates and analyses data from tropical logged forests over 600 sites. The TmFO database helps users understand the long-term effects of deforestation and forest change on ecosystems.

FTA also contributed to setting up the Global Timber Tracking Network, which promotes the use of innovative tools to identify tree species and determine the geographic origin of traded wood, such as analyses of DNA samples from timber to detecting potential illegal logging.

Download the publication to find out more about FTA’s work on biodiversity and how critically important it is to conserve and sustainably manage forest biodiversity (including forest genetic resources, or FGRs) to address climate change issues, food and nutrition security, livelihood opportunities and forest ecosystem resilience.

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