Impacts of Smart-Tree Invest project after 3 years
Impacts of Smart-Tree Invest project after 3 years
29 June, 2017
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
The Climate-smart, Tree-based Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), introduced novel tree planting schemes in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, based on a co-investment mechanism, to improve the quality of home gardens and sloping land — and ultimately the quality of the environment and local livelihoods. The new schemes have already been widely adopted and appreciated by local people and government officials.
We will also see the completion of a book full of case studies and perspectives on payment for ecosystem services. The introductory chapters are already online, further work is added regularly. It may change your idea on what PES is, how it can be used and what can go wrong. Its message is a change of theory, from a focus on economic efficiency to a more socially balanced co-investment.
A similar reorientation is coming out of the analysis of certification schemes across five major tropical commodities. Again a few papers are already online, others will be added as they have completed the external peer review trajectory. Further syntheses are expected to emerge this year that will argue that forest and trees are relevant for nutritional diversity.
The currently dominant theory of change is based on landscapes as social-ecological systems, in which change is part of learning loops in which evidence, logic, innovation, political platforms and trade-offs all play their role. With the multi-layer reality of polycentric governance this is complex, with breakthroughs requiring considerable investment in social capital–plus a bit of luck. We engage in many places, and cannot yet be sure what the 2017 success stories will be–although our planners and funders are eager to find out.
Further synthesis of findings on qualitative and quantitative tree cover transitions will support the definition of theories of place within land-use systems typologies. These will serve to delineate extrapolation domains that are key to the generation of international public goods from place-based research.
The FTA Sentinel Landscape portfolio will be managed as part of FP4 and provide a 5% sample of area across the tropics, and 8% of people, 9% of tree cover and 10-12% of potential tree crop presence, with quantified biases across ecological zones, forest-transition stages and Human Development Index classification.
We have learned that coffee expansion in the water tower landscapes highlights contested ecosystem services that will deserve further attention.
We expect that a more systematic approach to the current policy interest in restoration will bring new progress, and will invest some time in 2017 in that type of learning by doing.
Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a known feature in the research and development worlds. Co-Investment, an instrument that aims at the same goal, still needs some explaining. Amy Cruz, Communication Officer for the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in the Philippines, went to a workshop in Lantapan, Philippines, to find out more about this initiative under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).
Most markets in the world don’t really trade in ‘watershed protection’ and ‘water provision’. However, a project in the municipality of Lantapan, southern Philippines wants to improve smallholders’ livelihoods and resilience in the face of climate change and market shocks through creating markets for watershed protection services, an idea also known as co-investment in watershed protection.
Co-investment schemes, which are very similar to payments for ecosystem services, may be seen as a cost-effective way of improving environmental management by rewarding communities for their efforts in providing ecosystem services. It is, in a way, communities ‘selling’ ecosystem services, such as watershed protection, to other communities or organizations that benefit from them.
Researchers from ICRAF Philippines met with leading farmers and local government units of Lantapan to create a strategy for implementing a co-investment scheme in the municipality. They agreed to involve local people’s organizations as ‘sellers’. Representatives from the Association of Lantapan Sustainable Agroecological Zone, Tala-andig Tribal Organization and members of the Payments for Ecosystem Services Working Group would then be involved in developing business cases.
Preparing a business case
‘A business case is basically like a proposal. It includes profiles of the watershed and the sellers, the environmental services that could be offered, the list of activities for providing the services and the costing’, said Kharmina Evangelista, the project coordinator for Smart Tree-Invest Philippines.
During a training workshop in May 2016, farmers and members of the working group learned about the concept of PES and co-investment schemes and in the end successfully drafted their business case for the sub-watershed clusters in Lantapan.
Although the participants were very interested in the new concept, the workshop was not without challenges. The researchers found that the participants were not familiar with areas of the watershed and, thus, had some difficulty with three-dimensional mapping of the watershed. A follow-up workshop is needed for the participants from the Tala-andig Tribal Organization who were somewhat reserved in participating in the discussions. This will allow for the finalization of the costing of the business cases.
After all this is completed, and the business cases packaged, the participants will be able to present their offer to potential ‘buyers’ of the services and also to the Bukidnon Watershed Management Council.