2021 International Day of Forests - interviews to Julia Wolf and Alexandre Meybeck
2021 International Day of Forests – interviews to Julia Wolf and Alexandre Meybeck
On 21 March 2021 we celebrate the International Day of Forests!
For this occasion we interviewed Julia Wolf (FAO) and Alexandre Meybeck (FTA), lead authors of the recently published co-publication “Addressing forestry and agroforestry in National Adaptation Plans: Supplementary guidelines”, a report that provides specific guidance for national adaptation planning in the forestry sector. These guidelines are intended to be used by national planners and decision–makers working on climate change issues in developing countries and authorities and experts who are contributing to climate change adaptation and NAP formulation and implementation. From the introduction of the report:
These supplementary guidelines therefore aim to:
show the need for adaptation of forests and trees;
show the importance of forests and trees for adaptation; show the need to appropriately integrate forest and trees in the NAP process;
support NAP practitioners in integrating the management of forest and trees in NAPs;
support actors in the forestry and agriculture sectors in their engagement and contribution to the process, at national, economy wide level, and both locally and in their sector/value chain; and
trigger and facilitate a forward-looking intersectoral policy dialogue that fully integrates forests and trees in adaptation planning of all sectors.
The interviews touch upon the reasons why FAO and FTA decided to issue these guidelines, whom they are addressing, while also discussing some of the examples in the report. The potential of trees and forests to adapt to climate change and at the same time help other sectors, especially vulnerable systems, is one of the core elements of this publication.
A full transcript of the interviews will be available in the next days.
Julia Wolf’s interview
Alexandre Meybeck’s interview
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.
Natural rubber is a key global commodity, above 85% produced by small-holder farmers. As recalled by Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz S.A. Kadir, Secretary General of the IRRDB, “Natural rubber sustains 13 million small holders and 40 million people including their families”. It has a great potential to contribute to sustainable development, both poverty alleviation and rural development, and to the bio-economy. However, as emphasized by Jerome Sainte Beuve, Rubber Value Chain Correspondent, CIRAD “climate change is already impacting rubber production”. As stated by Dr Vincent Gitz, Director of FTA, “Natural rubber has a key role to play for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change”. There is an urgent need to understand how global natural rubber production can be safeguarded and sustainably increased on a lasting basis under climate change, while contributing to climate mitigation goals.
Salvatore Pinizzotto, Secretary General of the IRSG emphasized that “Climate action needs to be grounded on science, on a common understanding of issues and means to address them”.
This is why the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), with the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB), the CGIAR research program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), organized an open digital workshop on natural rubber systems and climate change on 23-25th June 2020.
The workshop reviewed recent research results on impacts of climate change on natural rubber production, potential means of adaptation and contribution to mitigation of climate change, to identify knowledge and research gaps as well as recommendations for action.
The workshop considered:
the impact of climate change on natural rubber systems and potential changes in the geography of production (session 1)
the role of natural rubber systems for climate mitigation and adaptation (session 2)
the integration of natural rubber systems in the broad perspective of climate change and sustainability policies (session 3) and in the international discussions on climate change (session 4)
and reflected on a way forward for the sector (session 5).
Natural rubber is a strategic raw material essential for human being mobility, welfare and safety. Furthermore, it is a resource of economic prosperity for many countries and communities worldwide. IRSG, together with CIFOR/FTA, CIRAD and IRRDB believes that there is no time to wait for the rubber sector and industry to initiate actions, together. This workshop, by reviewing existing knowledge, identifying gaps and bringing relevant information to the climate change community and to decision makers can play a major role in raising the visibility of natural rubber and its responses to climate change challenges.
The first session (divided in 3 sub-sessions) reviewed the state of knowledge about climate change impacts on natural rubber production systems, now and in the future. Rubber production is already impacted by increased variability, droughts, changes in rain patterns, extreme events. Little is known on potential effects of higher average temperatures on the physiology of rubber trees and thus on latex flows. Of particular concern are also increased risks of fungal attacks. The impacts of climate change are different in the different natural rubber producing regions, with potential effects on geographical distribution. There are a lot of useful results from the research conducted these last 10-15 years with important findings for adaptation through management and breeding for traditional as well as marginal areas.
Session 2 (divided in 2 sub-sessions) considered how can rubber contribute to climate change mitigation and the role of rubber systems for adaptation. Two types of complementary strategies are available for adaptation of rubber cultivation to climate change: improved Hevea genetic resources, and climate-resilient agronomic practices. Regarding breeding, the use of modern technologies and new genomic selection methods, such as genomic marker assisted selection, can fast forward the development of climate-resilient, high yielding clones, with an optimized use of the germplasm (looking especially to other Hevea species). International cooperation is key, for multinational clone exchanges and for testing. Going forward, this also raises many R&D avenues on improved land management through optimized agricultural practices including agroforestry, integrating carbon offsets into the rubber plantation economy, as well as new downstream applications of natural rubber as a green substitute to synthetic rubber.
Session 3 considered the Opportunities for better integrating natural rubber in broad Climate Change and Sustainability Policies, including Economic and Social Dimensions. Natural rubber, as a renewable material, and because of its contribution to the livelihoods of millions of small holders has a considerable potential to contribute to sustainable development in its three dimensions, economic, social and environmental. It offers a good opportunity to be part of future economic development trends towards a circular, forest-products based bioeconomy. It is a natural product with many positive characteristics which make it an essential part of plastic substitution and future uses in industry, textiles/footwear, and construction. Mechanims in place in other tree-commodity sectors, reviewed at the workshop, can provide starting points to develop similar initiatives for the rubber sector to strengthen sustainable production and consumption.
Session 4, titled “Rubber and Climate Change in the International Fora” explored the possible pathways to raise the importance of the rubber sector at international level in relation to Climate Change. A strong partnership among stakeholders in the natural rubber value chain can bring discussion on integration of rubber in mitigation policies, measures, and adaptation policies in the wider climate dialogues.
In session 5, the final panel, building upon the findings of the previous sessions, discussed a way forward for the sector to fully tackle climate-change related challenges. Natural rubber has a key role to play for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change. It is an important land user, a producer of renewable materials (rubber and wood), a major economic activity in many countries, supporting the livelihoods of millions of small holders. However, this role is not properly accounted for. The participating organizations are calling to build upon the workshop to construct a follow-up agenda on natural rubber systems and climate change. They are now bringing the related issues to the awareness of a greater range of stakeholders, including climate policy makers. Part of this goes by bringing rubber as a discussion topic to the UNFCCC.
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 and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.
INBAR’s new policy brief summarises how to include bamboo forestry projects in carbon markets.
In recent years, planting trees has gained momentum as a way to combat climate change. Because they store carbon, forests contribute to reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As such, reforestation projects can be rewarded for ‘offsetting’ carbon, providing a possibly lucrative source of income to the project developers.
According to a recent survey, INBAR Member States are planning to restore 5.7 million hectares of land with bamboo by 2030, as a way to restore degraded soils and protect riverbanks – so why aren’t bamboo forestry projects included more often as offsets in international carbon markets?
Around the world, bamboo is being planted as a solution to restore degraded soils and protect riverbanks.
A new INBAR policy brief explains how to develop and register bamboo forestry projects, so they can be certified by carbon markets. Aimed at project developers and government actors, the brief encourages the inclusion of bamboo forestry projects in carbon offset schemes.
The main points of the report are:
More countries should be recognising bamboo’s contributions to climate change mitigation. Bamboo plants and durable products can store a lot of carbon: over a 30-year period, a plantation of giant bamboo and its harvested products can store 1.7 times the same amount of carbon as Chinese fir trees. As such, bamboo forests can be traded in carbon markets as ‘offsets’, as long as they are shown to lead to additional carbon being stored, or emissions avoided. Countries, particularly in tropical and subtropical areas where bamboo grows, should make efforts to include bamboo in national and international carbon markets, as well as their national climate strategies.
Because it is a grass, not a tree, bamboo requires different methods to measure carbon storage. Bamboo culms are hollow, and the relationship between bamboo’s diameter and height with its biomass (and related carbon storage) is different to that of trees. In addition, the denseness of several clumping bamboo species can make it impossible for surveyors to adequately measure the culms’ diameters. To solve this issue, INBAR’s 2019 Manual for Bamboo Forest Biomass and Carbon Assessment provides detailed guidelines for assessing and monitoring biomass and carbon changes in bamboo forests and plantations.
To be included in carbon markets, bamboo forestry projects must adhere to specific methodologies. There are a few existing methodologies which can certify bamboo forestry projects for a number of different carbon markets, including the Clean Development Mechanism, Verra and the Gold Standard: CDM AR-ACM 003, CDM AR-AMS 007, VCS VM 005, and VCS 007 REDD+MF version 1.6. The INBAR policy brief provides more information on each.
Further research is needed. Reforestation is not the only way bamboo can contribute to storing or reducing carbon emissions. More research is needed to explore how sustainable management of existing bamboo forests can improve their carbon storage. In addition, methodologies which help assess the carbon stored in durable bamboo products, and the emissions avoided by substituting more carbon-intensive materials with bamboo, would also help increase our understanding of how to scale up bamboo’s applications for climate-smart development.
The policy brief, ‘Integration of Bamboo Forestry into Carbon Markets’, can be read here. It can be cited as: King, C., van der Lugt, P., Thanh Long, T., Li, Y. (2021) Integration of Bamboo Forestry into Carbon Markets. INBAR: Beijing, China.
CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with ICRAF, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR and TBI.FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.
Rubber resin being collected in the forest near Lubuk Beringin village, Bungo district, Jambi province, Indonesia. Lubuk Beringin villagers main source of income comes from rubber trees which grow well in the extensive forests in the area. Photo by Tri Saputro/CIFOR
By Salvatore Pinizzotto (IRSG), Lekshmi Nair (IRSG), Vincent Gitz (CIFOR/FTA), Alexandre Meybeck (CIFOR/FTA), Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz b S A Kadir (IRRDB), James Jacob (IRRDB), Jerôme Sainte Beuve (CIRAD) and Eric Gohet (CIRAD). Originally posted on the IRSG website.
How can natural rubber be part of the Climate Change actions?
The scientific consensus is clear: climate change is associated with increasingly frequent and intense natural disasters. The impacts of climate change are faster than ever predicted. The longer we wait to act on climate change, the greater the damage to countries and the global economy.
What can we do to move from talk to action?
Natural rubber has a key role to play for both adaptation and mitigation of climate change as an important land user (≈14 Million ha), a producer of renewable materials (i.e. latex and rubberwood), and as a major economic activity.
It is a strategic industrial raw material grown predominantly by smallholders, in areas where the annual mean temperature is 26 to 28°C and used in more than 5000 end-user applications with tyre industry dominating the market share. Natural rubber sustains around 40 million people with their families around the globe, with a supply chain generating more than 300 billion dollars. A sustainable production and consumption of this commodity provides opportunities for sustainable development.
Global production can be safeguarded and sustainably increased on a lasting basis by strengthening climate resilience and can successfully contribute to climate mitigation goals. Average global temperatures have already risen 1.1°C above preindustrial levels and at current rates of warming, it is projected to reach 1.5°C within two decades (IPCC, 2018). What does climate change mean for rubber? How can it adapt? What changes in genetic resources, management practices and location of plantations are needed? We need data and information on this issue. The best way to start working on these questions is by science, to put science at the basis of the dialogue.
A steady rise in temperature and occurrence of extreme weather might compromise natural rubber production and supply chains in the different rubber growing countries. Among the responses to these risks, identified during the workshop, figure research on climate resilient clones, warning systems for pests and diseases, satellite mapping and ecophysiological modelling for identifying agro-climatically suitability of cultivation according to the various IPCC scenarios. Multifaceted challenges of climate changes call for greater cooperation among researchers across national borders. Exchange of information and a common research agenda can support all countries to make easy comparison on effect of weather events.
Facing climate risks, small farmers are particularly vulnerable. They need to be supported. At national and regional level, it is important to share appropriate climate information and projections that can help to predict distribution of rubber in traditional and marginal areas.
How can natural rubber contribute?
There are different opportunities and knowledge gaps regarding the possible impacts of rubber (from plantations to end-products) on climate change adaptation and mitigation. Ecosystem-based adaptation has highlighted improvements in soil moisture, erosion, and soil chemistry. Rubber tree is a suitable component of agroforestry models for the purpose of enhancing cropping diversity as well as tree cover for carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration in plants and soils has additional benefit and bio-sequestration carbon offsets can have the potential to bring economic benefits to smallholders. Carbon sequestration process-based models can have the ability to describe C sequestration by rubber plantations (biomass and soil). Effects on soil erosion, soil degradation and runoff, can also be modelled at watershed level, depending on land management options and climate scenarios. There are opportunities for using genetically selected rubber germplasm for climate adaptation and rubber farming in degraded land for improving livelihood of farmers.
Focus on Green Investments
Dealing with climate change, be it mitigation or adaptation, requires public and private investments. This means providing incentives for green investment and safety-net to pricing risk. Digital technology solutions can play an important role. The global GDP grew by 2.9% in 2019 according to the IMF, and if the global economy decarbonised at the same rate as in the last 10 years, that would still lead to an increase in global emissions. There is urgent need to address ecosystem- based adaptation plans for renewal of plantations, well aligned with the NDCs. Financial institutions are also able to play a key role in unlocking investments for a climate resilient rubber economy. There is an untapped potential to apply climate finance to the rubber sector to significantly reduce emissions and to encourage climate adaptation ensuring livelihood improvement for small farmers.
Major business, economic, and societal shifts towards sustainable production and consumption, embracing the circular economy could underlie transition to 1.5°C pathway. Global production can be safeguarded and sustainably increased on a lasting basis by strengthening climate resilience and can successfully contribute to climate mitigation goals.
What International Fora can do?
Public and the private actors have a key role to play in recognising the importance of natural rubber in mitigating the effects of climate change and implementing measures keeping adaptation as a high priority for natural rubber systems. There is a need for increased consideration of the rubber sector in international climate change for a such as the UNFCCC, as well as the SDGs, especially SDG12 on sustainable production and consumption.
A scientific-based holistic approach, can help to address thoroughly all social, economic and environmental aspects related to livelihoods, conservation of biodiversity and sustainable growth of natural rubber production and consumption. This will also require innovative forms of cooperation across national borders and among a variety of actors – governments, business, academia, and civil society.
We can, and need to act together, now.
The authors would like to thank all the researchers that gave their own important contribution for this article.
FTA is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, INBAR, ICRAF and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.
Natural Rubber Systems and Climate Change - Materials from the workshop
Natural Rubber Systems and Climate Change – Materials from the workshop
Last June 23-25, together with the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), the International Rubber Research and development Board (IRRDB) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), FTA organized a digital workshop on natural rubber systems and climate change.
With over 500 registered attendees, the 3-day event showcased 30 presentations with the most recent research on the correlations between climate change and rubber production, with discussions on adaptation strategies and the potential that rubber plantations can offer to mitigate the effects of climate change.
The workshop was an occasion to stir a lively debate with the audience and to underline the research gaps and identify recommendations for future actions.
Now all presentations are available to download and recordings of all sessions can be replayed fully.
Time to rethink the role of trees, forests and agroforestry in the fight against climate change
Time to rethink the role of trees, forests and agroforestry in the fight against climate change
Open lands used for cabbage plantations in Sukabumi, Jawa Barat, Indonesia. Photo by R.Martin/CIFOR
The role of forests and trees in mitigating climate change and capturing and storing carbon in biomass and soil is well recognized. Over the past few decades, a variety of schemes, including REDD, REDD+, 4per1000 and AFR100 have been designed to leverage this mitigation potential.
However, much less attention has been given to the role of forests and trees in helping farmers and farm systems adapt to climate change. Today, with climate change impacts already having immediate, dramatic impacts on smallholder farmers, it is time to have a more balanced approach.
That’s why we are calling for a shift of focus from trees and mitigation to trees and adaptation. There is a need to explore what forests, trees and agroforestry can bring to the adaptation of other sectors, particularly agriculture.
This coincides with a need to change perspectives, from a dominant global perspective centered on carbon, to a local perspective centered on what works for farmers in a particular place. There is growing understanding that tree planting initiatives for mitigation won’t happen unless they benefit farmers locally. Farmers, however, will plant trees if they see how they help their livelihood systems become more resilient to climate change.
At the recent 4thWorld Congress on Agroforestry, our colleagues from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) gave a series of presentations that illustrates this farmer-centered, place-based approach. They showed how agroforestry can allow farmers to adapt to climate change, improve their livelihoods and contribute to resilient systems, while also working toward mitigation objectives.
During the congress, Roeland Kindt (ICRAF) and collaborators presented their work on a climate change atlas being prepared for Africa, with habitat change projected for 150 tree species native to Africa. This work follows a publication by World Agroforestry (ICRAF), in collaboration with Bioversity International, CATIE and Hivos, on habitat suitability maps for 54 tree species that are widely used in Central America for shade in coffee or cocoa agroforestry systems.
To adapt to climate change, preserving the diversity of genetic resources is crucial. Alice Muchugi (ICRAF) and collaborators explored the challenges relating to the conservation of high-value tree genetic resources and proposed options to facilitate their conservation and use.
In order to better achieve restoration targets through agroforestry, Lalisa Duguma (ICRAF) and collaborators proposed to change the discourse from “tree planting” to “tree growing”. They highlighted the discrepancy between the short time span of most restoration projects and the time needed to ensure a good survival rate of planted trees, especially when accounting for future shifts in climate.
Soil organic carbon
The increase of soil organic carbon, an indicator of carbon sequestered, should also be seen as an adaptation measure. It is key to soil fertility and to water retention and storage in the soil. It can therefore help boost and stabilize the productivity of agroforestry systems, even in the face of climate change impacts.
A study by Sari Pitkänen and collaborators conducted in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, showed that carbon stocks in agroforestry systems correlate with tree diversity.
However, despite knowing the importance of soil organic carbon, measuring it has long been slow, expensive and difficult to standardize. In response to this, Keith Shepherd and collaborators from ICRAF have tested infrared spectroscopy technology that can provide a robust, low-cost, integrated indicator of soil organic carbon levels. They have demonstrated that inexpensive handheld infrared instruments can be used for measuring soil health changes.
Being able to easily measure soil organic carbon levels allows for evaluating the impacts of restoration initiatives. In another study, Ermias Aynekulu (ICRAF) and collaborators examined the effects of two decades of annual prescribed burning of grazing lands in Burkina Faso and three decades of livestock exclosures in Ethiopia.
Shepherd suggested prioritizing efforts to promote good land management practices at scale to prevent carbon losses, rather than trying to restore already degraded land. This would mean looking at policy interventions to prevent degradation and maintain or enhance soil fertility – for example by promoting agroforestry practices.
Land restoration can play a considerable role in addressing climate change, both adaptation and mitigation, and for this agroforestry is key. Several presentations at the congress explored some of the dimensions that determine the likelihood of success for restoration projects. Key among these factors were accounting for and leveraging local knowledge.
Mary Crossland (Bangor University) and collaborators, in a study in northwest Ethiopia, noted that national objectives and local perceptions and priorities are often different. Local actors are often reluctant to accept the exclosure of areas that are not yet highly degraded, even though it has been shown to be a more effective strategy than focusing on very degraded land. Farmers with a large amount of livestock or little land were strongly opposed to exclosures. This example shows the need to understand how livelihoods interact with different restoration interventions and to take measures that compensate for their impacts on the most vulnerable people.
Anne Kuria (ICRAF) and collaborators explored the role local knowledge can play in adapting land restoration options to local contexts and farmers’ circumstances in Ethiopian drylands. Farmers identified 12 contextual factors that influence the suitability of restoration options for local contexts. Biophysical factors were soil erosion type, soil type, soil depth, slope of the field, field location along a slope and field size. Socioeconomic factors were livestock management systems, land tenure systems, labor, gender, technology and skills. This study also demonstrated that farmers utilized their local knowledge to adapt and modify land restoration interventions to suit their needs and context.
Making agroforestry count
Understanding the potential of agroforestry as a climate change adaptation strategy is one thing, but how can it become a key element of countries’ climate policies?
In a review that we conducted of the 15 national adaptation plans published so far, the word ‘agroforestry’ is present in two-thirds of the plans, but agroforestry practices are referenced more frequently, as a means of adaptation and as serving a great variety of purposes related to natural resource management. These include restoring degraded land, reducing soil erosion, restoring water catchments, protecting water tanks and rivers, protecting against wind and storms and providing shade.
These recommendations generally focus on single biophysical benefits and often neglect integration of the trees with other crops as well as agroforestry’s potential socioeconomic benefits. The NAPs are generally silent on measures related to the enabling environment needed for planting trees, such as measures for tenure as well as seed and seedling systems.
Because the UNFCCC clearly says that the NAPs have to be guided by the “best available science”, we now have a huge responsibility to bring scientific information to the attention of decision-makers.
By Vincent Gitz, Director, FTA and Alexandre Meybeck, Senior Technical Advisor, FTA.
The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, ICRAF, INBAR and TBI. FTA’s work is supported by the CGIAR Trust Fund.
Connecting the policy dots: linking adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development for climate-resilient land use planning
Connecting the policy dots: linking adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development for climate-resilient land use planning
13 February, 2019
FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
In the land use sector mitigation, adaptation and development policies are all closely linked and can impact each other in positive and negative ways. It is therefore essential that these relationships are taken into account in order to enhance synergies and avoid or reduce trade-offs. This can be achieved through a specific form of Climate Policy Integration (CPI), which integrates first mitigation and adaptation policy processes and subsequently mainstreams climate policies into development processes. We have explored these processes through case studies in the land use sectors of Brazil and Indonesia. CPI in the land use sector presents a number of challenges related to cross-sectoral and cross-level integration. Unless a governmental CPI authority mandates that sectoral ministries integrate their efforts, sectoral competition over control of decision-making processes may prevail, hampering CPI. Cross-level integration is weakened by differences in understanding, priorities and power across levels of governance.
In its first 10 years, REDD+ has inspired much enthusiasm and hope for a global transition away from practices that threaten tropical forests, toward lasting climate mitigation.
Despite unexpected challenges and a funding pot that lacked the depth to trigger global mobilization, REDD+ is beginning to deliver on its potential – if more slowly than expected.
A new book, Transforming REDD+: Lessons and new directions, which has launched at this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Katowice, Poland, takes stock of the efforts taken so far to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) at multiple scales.
At the 2007 UNFCCC COP in Bali, Indonesia, REDD+ emerged on the global scene with the promise of building a bridge toward a carbon-neutral economy – quickly, easily and cheaply.
“REDD+ has not taken its planned route from A to B – that is, providing forest-rich developing countries with direct incentives to promote climate mitigation in the forest and land-use sector,” said Arild Angelsen, a professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a senior associate with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). “But we can learn many lessons from its journey so far.”
Why did REDD+ not turn out as expected? Lack of finance is a major reason, specifically the fact that results-based payment – rewarding developing countries in exchange for keeping and/or improving forest carbon stocks – has not been the driving force it was meant to be. REDD+ was meant to become an integral part of a global carbon market, but this market never materialized. Instead, most funding comes in the form of development assistance from a small handful of donor countries, and some developing countries are shouldering a big part of the costs to put REDD+ into action.
“There are also a lot of different, sometimes conflicting ideas about REDD+,” said Christopher Martius, coordinator of the Global Comparative Study on REDD+ and a co-editor of the book. “Making a distinction between REDD+ as the outcome (reduced emissions) and as a specific framework (the activities) to achieve that outcome could clear up a lot of confusion.
Many observers are now asking whether REDD+ has achieved its intended aims of reducing deforestation and forest degradation or if it has improved local livelihoods and forest governance.
To answer these questions, the authors undertook an analysis based on 10 years of research and almost 500 scientific publications from GCS REDD+, and also drew on the wider literature, on partner contributions, and on policy debates at global, national, subnational and local levels.
With more than 350 ongoing REDD+ projects and programs, there are now enough data – albeit far from perfect – to draw first conclusions about the kind of local impacts REDD+ initiatives have had on forests and communities.
“In a nutshell, results are limited and mixed,” said Amy Duchelle, a co-editor and CIFOR senior scientist who leads research on subnational initiatives in GCS REDD+. “Findings from the few studies on forest carbon and land-use outcomes are moderately encouraging. REDD+ impacts on well-being are mixed – but they’re more likely to be positive when incentives are included. And while there has been some progress in terms of land tenure and the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, local actions need more national policy support to be effective.”
National and subnational forest conservation policies have shown some positive impacts on forests, but no particular policy instrument stands out as a “silver bullet”. Enabling conditions such as political commitment, national ownership, inclusive decision-making and available results-based funding need to be in place and sustained for REDD+ to be transformed.
Many countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions to the 2015 UN Paris Agreement on climate change, and national sustainable development initiatives such as green growth strategies, do recognize the role of forests in mitigating climate change. However, as Pham Thu Thuy, a co-editor, and CIFOR scientist and Vietnam country director, said, these policies and green initiatives will not be successful in achieving their intended goals if they do not have clear and effective policies and measures to address drivers of deforestation and degradations.
The authors show that REDD+, once envisioned as a tool for transformational change, has itself been transformed. They point out that, while REDD+ has evolved into a variety of interventions, and stakeholders may differ in their preferred vision of how REDD+ evolves, all can agree that the core objectives must not be substantially altered or diluted.
“Arguably, the world cannot reach the 1.5°C or even 2°C targets without massive reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increases in forest carbon stocks,” the authors wrote.
In order for REDD+ to be an effective ‘cure’ for the ‘illness’ of deforestation and forest degradation, it will need to adapt further – to a new global climate change architecture, rapidly shifting global politics, and different expectations from donors, REDD+ countries, the private sector and local communities.
“REDD+ needs a clear theory of change – a road map towards a carbon-neutral economy through a transformation of business-as-usual practices,” Martius said.
The authors lay out key pathways to achieving an effective, efficient and equitable REDD+, including emphasizing the positive side-effects of REDD+, and shortening the road to recovery through experimentation and bold approaches.
Results-based payment will continue to play a large role, but national and subnational policy reforms need to go beyond this approach to focus on issues such as land-use planning, tenure and agriculture and address the variety of drivers and problems in their specific national and regional circumstances. And while international finance can give a nudge in the right direction, ultimately countries must set the economic incentives for state and private actors to align their activities with green development strategies.
“Some reforms can be win-win for the economy and environment, such as cutting subsidies to deforesting crops and adding forest criteria in the fiscal transfers from central to local governments, as India has done,” Angelsen said.
Looking at multi-level governance and coordination, the authors also conclude that some problems simply cannot be solved through better coordination.
“In reality, those who deforest have often been more effective at coordinating their efforts than those who support REDD+ or similar initiatives,” said Anne Larson, a CIFOR principal scientist who leads the research on multi-level governance in GCS REDD+.
“In order to challenge business-as-usual trajectories and address both effectiveness and equity goals, we need to develop a deeper understanding of the underlying dynamics among actors in a given context.”
Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India and South Korea have all rolled out bold forest conservation and restoration initiatives, and the authors say more countries need to do the same. Nationwide initiatives with a pro-forest narrative can cultivate the political and intellectual ownership needed to build coordination across ministries and effect long-term impact.
“Change needs to come from both the top and the bottom,” Duchelle said. “Jurisdictional programs for REDD+ and low-emission development at the subnational level also hold promise for protecting tropical forests and securing local rights and livelihoods.”
The authors also call on countries to be brave and assess impacts. Clear data and information are critical to every stage of REDD+, from planning and policy design to implementation and evaluation. But independent evaluations can be risky, as disappointing short-term evaluated impacts in a learning phase could jeopardize future financing. For this and other reasons, there is a persistent lack of data on how various drivers of land-use change affect forest emissions.
“The reality is that powerful agents of deforestation and forest degradation can influence how information on drivers is generated, and how visible it is,” said Veronique De Sy, a co-editor and postdoctoral Researcher at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands. “To counteract this, national forest monitoring systems need to address participation, transparency, accountability and coordination.”
Finally, the authors review four emerging strategies that could help achieve the objective of reducing emissions from the forest and land use sector – with some fine-tuning. These are: zero deforestation and other private sector commitments, climate-smart agriculture, jurisdictional approaches to low-emission rural development, and forest landscape restoration. The book devotes a full chapter to each of these approaches, examining evidence of impact and drawing lessons for a more complementary, streamlined approach.
“Our main goal as editors,” notes Angelsen, “is to provide a critical, evidence-based analysis of REDD+ implementation so far, without losing sight of the urgent need to reduce forest-based emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change.”
“Focusing on a positive narrative about how forests contribute to economic development and climate goals can galvanize support and generate new momentum,” he adds.
By Erin O’Connell, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News.
Constructive critique. This book provides a critical, evidence-based analysis of REDD+ implementation so far, without losing sight of the urgent need to reduce forest-based emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change.
REDD+ as envisioned has not been tested at scale. Results-based payment, the novel feature of REDD+, has gone untested. International funding (both public and private) remains scarce, and demand through carbon markets is lacking.
Better national enabling conditions. Over 50 countries have included REDD+ in their NDCs and developed national REDD+ strategies. REDD+ has improved countries monitoring capacities and understanding of drivers, increased stakeholder involvement, and provided a platform to secure indigenous and community land rights all key conditions for addressing deforestation and forest degradation.
Modest forest and social impacts. Local REDD+ initiatives have achieved limited but positive outcomes for forests. Well-being impacts have been modest and mixed, but have proved more likely to be positive when incentives are included.
National coordination, with a positive narrative. Forest-based mitigation strategies must now be mainstreamed across sectors and levels of government. A strong positive narrative on how forests contribute to economic development and climate goals could boost forest-based mitigation, in spite of the current political uncertainties in key emitting countries.
Evolving REDD+ and new initiatives. REDD+ has evolved, and new initiatives have emerged to support its broader objective: private sector sustainability commitments, climate-smart agriculture, forest and landscape restoration, and more holistic jurisdictional approaches working across legally defined territories.
The statement, signed by 40 prominent environmental scientists, argues that the preservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests is the world’s best hope for limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
It suggests that benefits would be immediate and estimates that reforestation and improved forest management could provide 18 percent of cost-effective mitigation by 2030. The reasons why are fivefold:
The world’s forests contain more carbon than exploitable oil, gas, and coal deposits, hence avoiding forest carbon emissions is just as urgent as halting fossil fuel use.
Forests currently remove around a quarter of the CO2 humans add to the atmosphere, keeping climate change from getting even worse.
Achieving the 1.5°C goal also requires massive forest restoration to remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Bioenergy has technical constraints and is therefore not the primary solution.
Tropical forests cool the air locally and for the entire planet, as well as creating the rainfall essential for growing food in their regions and beyond.
The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) works on enhancing all possible contributions of forests, trees and agroforestry to sustainable development and, in this context, climate change is a major focus of FTA’s work.
TECH-SAVVY BY NATURE
Forests provide a form of ‘natural technology’ that is practical and more cost-effective than alternative carbon removal technologies, which are not yet mature enough for wide application, says Dr. Louis Verchot, a land restoration expert at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and a signatory of the statement.
“CCS expends a significant amount of energy, which raises the cost substantially,” he says. “And although BECCS may be more cost-effective, there are concerns related to the safe and permanent storage of carbon dioxide.”
In particular, there are questions related to seismic vulnerability and leakage in BECCS technologies. The production of biomass feedstocks that support BECCS could also be problematic: increasing demand for land, water, and nutrients to produce the feedstocks could increase competition for land, encourage land grabs and potentially increase deforestation as well.
PROTECTING, RESTORING, COLLABORATING
The efforts needed to protect and restore the world’s forests can be informed by the progress of several large-scale restoration initiatives.
First and foremost, the country-led Bonn Challenge, launched in 2011, is resulting in global action to restore and sustainably manage deforested and degraded land.
Other regional initiatives have developed as part of the umbrella challenge, including Initiative 20×20 in Latin America and the Caribbean and AFR100 in Arica. These initiatives depend in part on rural communities and farmers investing in the restoration and long-term sustainability of their land, in turn improving their land rights.
Countries are using technological advancements and satellite imagery to closely monitor land and respond to land encroachment, and the private sector is increasingly focusing on how to turn profits with better sustainability and benefits for both landscapes and local land users.
By tying so many sectors and communities together, these initiatives are now tributaries feeding into the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Biodiversity Convention.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature takes stock of the Bonn Challenge annually and, as of December last year, 47 governments, private associations and other organizations had pledged 160 million hectares to the target of bringing 350 million hectares under restoration by 2030. Stakeholders will meet in Bonn this December to assess how these pledges are translating into action on the ground.
But ultimately, these initiatives – of all scales – must keep forests at the fore, and the scientists argue that forest restoration and conservation efforts must now accelerate. The natural technology that forests provide underpins society’s wellbeing, but the level of degradation in these landscapes across the world are threatening our long-term economic prospects. In the absence of CCS technologies that can realistically work at scale, healthy forests may offer our best chance of limiting global temperature rises and avoiding dangerous climate change.
Climate-smart land use requires local solutions, transdisciplinary research, policy coherence and transparency
Climate-smart land use requires local solutions, transdisciplinary research, policy coherence and transparency
11 July, 2018
FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
Successfully meeting the mitigation and adaptation targets of the Paris Climate Agreement (PA) will depend on strengthening the ties between forests and agriculture. Climate-smart land use can be achieved by integrating climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and REDD+. The focus on agriculture for food security within a changing climate, and on forests for climate change mitigation and adaptation, can be achieved simultaneously with a transformational change in the land-use sector. Striving for both independently will lead to competition for land, inefficiencies in monitoring and conflicting agendas. Practical solutions exist for specific contexts that can lead to increased agricultural output and forest protection. Landscape-level emissions accounting can be used to identify these practices. Transdisciplinary research agendas can identify and prioritize solutions and targets for integrated mitigation and adaptation interventions. Policy coherence must be achieved at a number of levels, from international to local, to avoid conflicting incentives. Transparency must lastly be integrated, through collaborative design of projects, and open data and methods. Climate-smart land use requires all these elements, and will increase the likelihood of successful REDD+ and CSA interventions. This will support the PA as well as other initiatives as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Research on Climate Change Policies and Rural Development in Latin America: Scope and Gaps
Research on Climate Change Policies and Rural Development in Latin America: Scope and Gaps
25 October, 2017
FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
Research on climate change policies can contribute to policy development by building an understanding of the barriers faced in policy processes, and by providing knowledge needed throughout policy cycles. This paper explores the thematic coverage of research on climate change policies related to rural areas, rural development, and natural resource management in Latin America. A three-tier framework is proposed to analyse the selected literature. The results show that research studies have focussed on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from forests, and adaptations to climate change in agriculture. There is little policy research on other vulnerable sectors (e.g., water and health) and emitting sectors (e.g., energy and industry) in the context of rural development. Our analysis highlights the various research gaps that deserve increased scientific attention, including: cross-sector approaches, multi-level governance, and the stages of policy adoption, implementation and evaluation. In addition, the selected literature has a limited contribution to theoretical discussions in policy sciences.
On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra, Indonesia, swept a massive tsunami across the Indian Ocean. The wave forged two kilometers inland in some places, and wiped out towns, crops, lives and livelihoods. In Indonesia’s Aceh province alone, 167,000 people died.
Could anything have reduced its devastating impact? In the tsunami’s wake, global attention fell on the potential of mangroves. Many of Indonesia’s mangrove forests had been cleared prior to 2004 to make way for shrimp farms – and subsequent research showed that mangroves and other forests can help protect coastlines and people from the force of tsunamis, hurricanes, and rising sea levels.
The indigenous people of Pahawang Island already knew that, though. In the 1980s and 1990s, the mangrove forests fringing their island – a speck in a bay at the eastern end of Sumatra – were over-exploited. They were turned into charcoal by Korean companies, cut down for timber, and converted to fish-ponds by migrants from East Java.
By the early 2000s, coastal erosion had become a huge problem for the islanders. Houses, agricultural land and fish-ponds were swept away in storms; fish no longer bred amongst the looping mangrove roots; and malaria and dengue outbreaks became more common.
So village leaders got together and pioneered their own, innovative governance system for their mangroves. They developed an organizational structure, and divided the mangrove area into three territories – a strict protection zone, an area where only non-timber products like firewood could be gathered, and a ‘utilization zone’ where limited timber harvesting was allowed. They also identified areas for reforesting, and secured seedlings and funding.
“In Indonesia they were very clear: they managed their mangroves to protect their lives, livelihoods and assets from storm surges, from the sea,” says Esther Mwangi, who helped lead the overarching study. “The mangroves are an important buffer against the energy and the strength of the ocean.”
Mani Ram Banjade led the on-the-ground research in Indonesia, focusing on three villages in Lampung province.
In Pahawang especially, mangrove protection was a very bottom-up affair.
“The local community leaders took the initiative and developed their own rules, regulations and governance mechanisms. Then they got the approval from the local government as well, and from their personal and political connections they also got some resources from outside.”
It worked so well in Pahawang, he says, because the local government recognised the islanders’ rights over the land and supported their efforts – and because strong leaders harnessed community awareness of the role of mangroves in coastal protection.
“Even if they’re not getting a direct economic benefit from the mangrove, they still value its conservation,” says Banjade.
“It’s a good model,” says Steven Lawry, CIFOR’s Director of Forests and Governance Research, who also worked on the report. “This is an example of how strong leadership and persistence have led to good outcomes with respect to local mangrove conservation. People are out there up to their waists in water, planting mangroves, because they see the importance to their livelihoods.”
BREAKING THE SILOS
In many places worldwide, these kinds of bottom up approaches to governance are necessary, because mangroves often fall through the cracks at the national level, says Mwangi.
Washed by the tides, simultaneously of the land and of the sea, mangroves don’t neatly fit into governance structures. Globally, it’s rare for countries to have specific rules for mangroves. They’re either governed under a hodgepodge of two or three ministries, or they fall under the forestry department.
That isn’t a perfect match, says Mwangi.
“In mangrove forests, the timber is not the biggest thing – the value is in coastal protection, fisheries, carbon sequestration – things that are not forestry. And yet this resource has been placed in the hands of forestry departments. So there is a bit of a tension.”
Where governance is spread among multiple ministries, coordination is a problem. And many efforts to improve it have failed. Indonesia put together a mangrove management and coordination plan in 2012 – but it hasn’t yet been fully implemented.
Even more telling is the case of Tanzania. In 1991 it was one of the first countries to create an integrated management plan for mangroves – and yet to date, 25 years on, it too has not been implemented.
The reasons behind these failures is a prime area for future research, says Mwangi – but perhaps a better approach, she suggests, would be to bring in new legislation that is specific to mangroves, like the rules pioneered on Pahawang.
“One could easily say the village regulations are substituting for a national, mangrove-specific regulation that is missing,” says Mwangi.
GENDER DYNAMICS IN CONSERVATION
Something that’s lacking at all levels – from fishing village to academia – is an appreciation of gender dynamics.
“In the literature review there was hardly anything on gender, and then when we looked at the ground level we saw exactly the same thing – a widespread gender blindness in mangrove management.”
People’s relationships to mangroves are gender-differentiated, Mwangi says. Women might gather firewood, while men harvest timber and fish.
Yet in both Tanzania and Indonesia, women rarely sat on management committees, and their participation in decision-making was curtailed in a number of ways.
In Tanzania, researchers found that meetings were often organized in the late afternoon, when most women were fetching firewood and water to cook the evening meal. When women were present, social customs dictated they sit behind the men and ‘say yes to everything’, even when they disagreed.
“Not only as a matter of right, but also in terms of being effective, it makes sense to have women on governance committees,” says Mwangi. “They too have knowledge and use the resource, so their presence and input in decision-making is important.”
Gender aside, there’s a lot national governments can learn from the innovative ways local communities are managing their mangroves. And it’s crucial those villages receive support and assistance to do that from regional and national bodies, Mwangi says.
“With good local leadership and support from others at different levels of government, communities can organise, develop rules and can work together to conserve their mangroves.”
The study found that a transition is underway in a few countries towards increased community participation in mangrove management. Though Latin America has been most enthusiastic, Tanzania’s government is also starting to experiment with community-based approaches in some mangrove areas, says Lawry.
That is encouraging, he says, because the traditional model of mangrove governance – strict top-down regimes that try to protect mangroves by locking local people out – hasn’t worked very well, in Tanzania, Indonesia and elsewhere.
“Despite government intentions to manage them sustainably, governance regimes are generally ineffective at conserving mangroves. They generally fail to involve communities, and at the some time they don’t effectively regulate large-scale commercial users of mangroves, with a result that mangrove loss is accelerating,” he says.
“Where we do see progress towards sustainable mangrove management, it’s in places where communities have clear rights, and they enjoy clear benefits.”
Where Land Meets the Sea: A Global Review of the Governance and Tenure Dimensions of Coastal Mangrove Forests
Where Land Meets the Sea: A Global Review of the Governance and Tenure Dimensions of Coastal Mangrove Forests
03 February, 2017
Authors: Rotich, B.; Mwangi, E.; Lawry, S.
This report provides a synoptic analysis of the legal and governance frameworks that relate to the use and management of mangrove forests globally. It highlights the range of challenges typically encountered in the governance and tenure dimensions of mangrove forest management. This assessment forms part of a broader study that includes national-level assessments in Indonesia and Tanzania. It was carried out under the USAID-funded Tenure and Global Climate Change Program. The report provides information on the challenges for mangrove rehabilitation and restoration, legal frameworks for the governance of mangroves, mangrove governance and tenure in practice, and lessons in mangrove governance for policy and practice. Primary findings from this assessment show that authority over mangrove forest management is overwhelmingly vested in state institutions and that mangrove protection is a central objective. Given the ambiguous role of mangroves situated between the land and sea, the configuration of state authority for mangrove management is quite complex. In some countries, there is fragmentation of responsibilities across two or more agencies such as forests, fisheries, environment, and wildlife. This contributes to a high level of segmentation and jurisdictional ambiguity. Frameworks and mechanisms for enabling multi-sectoral coordination across agencies and governance levels are uncommon, and where they exist, they are difficult to put into practice.
Publisher: CIFOR and USAID Tenure and Global Climate Change Program, Bogor, Indonesia and Washington, DC
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries is based on the premise that conserving tropical forests is a cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions and therefore can be fully funded by international actors with obligations or interests in reducing emissions. However, concerns have repeatedly been raised about whether stakeholders in REDD+ host countries will actually end up bearing the costs of REDD+. Most prior analyses of the costs of REDD+ have focused on the opportunity costs of foregone alternative uses of forest land. We draw on a pan-tropical study of 22 subnational REDD+ initiatives in five countries to explore patterns in implementation costs, including which types of organizations are involved and which are sharing the costs of implementing REDD+. We find that many organizations involved in the implementation of REDD+, particularly at the subnational level and in the public sector, are bearing implementation costs not covered by the budgets of the REDD+ initiatives. To sustain this level of cost-sharing, REDD+ must be designed to deliver local as well as global forest benefits.
Publication Year: 2017
Source: Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change