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  • CATIE presents results on sentinel landscapes in Nicaragua-Honduras

CATIE presents results on sentinel landscapes in Nicaragua-Honduras

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Photo by CATIE

One of the most innovative approaches from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the establishment of a set of ‘sentinel landscapes’.

These have formed part of a global analysis of networks and helped to understand issues and processes relevant to ecosystems worldwide.

A sentinel landscape is a geographic area or set of areas bound by a common issue, in which a broad range of biophysical, social, economic and political data are monitored, collected with consistent methods and interpreted over the long term.

CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), in conjunction with FTA, has coordinated a Sentinel Landscapes initiative since 2012. The long-term data are essential for addressing development, resource sustainability and scientific challenges, such as linking biophysical processes to human reactions and understanding the impacts of those reactions on ecosystems.

CATIE – a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture, and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, and a strategic partner of FTA – recently held four workshops for 164 participants from 45 organizations representing government, academic, productive sectors and NGOs.

The workshops, held on Nov. 5, 7, 9 and 27, 2018, focused on presenting the results and advances of the Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape initiative and were held in the cities of Matagalpa and Siuna in Nicaragua and Catacamas and La Ceiba in Honduras. The Nicaragua Honduras Sentinel Landscape is characterized by a variety of land uses. Tree cover is therefore diverse, competition for land is high, and speculation and renting land are common, but these arrangements drive deforestation, hinder long-term investments and exacerbate land degradation.

Watch: Analysis and monitoring of deforestation dynamics in FTA sentinel landscapes

The gatherings aimed to provide a space for the exchange of information between decisionmakers and key actors in the sectors of environmental management, forest management, protected areas, livestock, cocoa, coffee and biodiversity.

Around 64 participants from 45 organizations representing government, academic, and production sectors as well as some NGOs updated their knowledge of the Sentinel Landscapes initiative, exchanging information on their projects and activities, which served to improve levels of coordination among participating organizations.

Photo by CATIE

Since the initiative began, CATIE students have conducted valuable thesis studies that have contributed to improving knowledge and research methodology in the sentinel landscape.

The Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape is a mosaic of forests, agricultural lands, cattle ranches and agroforestry systems, covering 68,000 square kilometers, including two biosphere reserves and 13 protected areas.

“This landscape also contains the largest forest area in Central America,” said Norvin Sepúlveda, CATIE’s representative in Nicaragua.

Watch: CIFOR’s Robert Nasi on Sentinel Landscapes

The initiative develops and implements a standardized matrix that includes a set of indicators and livelihoods to monitor landscape sustainability in a wide variety of cultural, institutional and environmental settings.

Sepulveda also indicated that socioeconomic and biophysical baselines have been developed in conjunction with universities and local organizations.

José Manuel González, CATIE representative in Honduras, mentioned that it is important to make these databases available to organizations, to continue with studies and monitoring, as well as to strengthen local and national alliances.

In this sense, Alan Bolt, coordinator of the Collaborative Management Committee for the Peñas Blancas Protected Area and director of the Center for Understanding Nature, stated that CATIE’s support, through the initiative, had been important for the institutionalization of the committee and the thesis studies carried out by students have improved research methodology.

Indeed, sentinel landscapes can provide a common observation ground where reliable data from the biophysical and social sciences can be tracked simultaneously and over time so that long-term trends can be detected, and society can make mitigation, adaptation and best-bet choices.

By Priscilla Brenes Angulo, CATIE Communication Assistant, first published by CATIE.

For more information, contact Norvin Sepúlveda, nsepulveda@catie.ac.cr.

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  • Women left on sidelines of decisions about forest management

Women left on sidelines of decisions about forest management

A woman makes bread in a riverside community in Pando, Bolivia. Photo by Amy Duchelle/CIFOR
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A woman makes bread in a riverside community in Pando, Bolivia. Photo by Amy Duchelle/CIFOR

Firewood for fuel, fruits to feed their families, palm fiber for baskets, medicinal plants to heal their children — women in forest-dwelling communities in Latin America use a wide array of products from their farmland and forests in their daily tasks.

But when it comes to tenure rights to those forests or participation in decisions about their management, women are often left on the sidelines.

“Latin America’s land and forest tenure issues are marred with various social, legal and political complexities,” says social scientist Purabi Bose, former focal contact for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). “And women bear the brunt of it, directly and indirectly.”

Although some countries have policies to address those problems, there remain obstacles to implementing them, Bose says.

That leaves women — especially rural and indigenous women — particularly vulnerable, according to studies from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua and Mexico. Those studies are part of a Special Issue of the Women’s Studies International Forum, of which Bose was guest editor.

The topic is drawing increasing attention since UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 specifically calls for countries to develop policies to strengthen land rights and land ownership for women.

“That goal provides a rallying point to bring these issues more into public debate, not as something sidelined as a ‘gender issue’, but as part of a set of sustainable development goals that all of these countries have agreed on,” says Anne Larson, a principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and coauthor of a study on women and forest tenure in Nicaragua that is part of the Special Issue.

Negotiators at global climate summits are increasingly recognizing the need to involve women, especially indigenous women, in decisions about programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).

The importance of ensuring land and forest rights for indigenous people was also highlighted at the CIFOR-led Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany, in December.

A woman prepares fish, a main source of protein for Amazonian indigenous communities, in Nueva Ahuaypa, Peru. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR


In Latin America, the challenges take different forms in different countries, according to an overview paper by Bose, Larson and colleagues in the special issue.

In Colombia, where half of the 3 million people displaced during the country’s civil war are female, indigenous and Afro-Colombian women still suffer most from poverty and exclusion. Although women are beginning to receive land rights under recent legislation, true empowerment will require more support for women entrepreneurs in rural areas, researchers say.

Nicaragua has a larger percentage of women in congress than many other countries, but that empowerment has not trickled down to rural communities, where it is difficult for women to take leadership roles because of their household work load or because their husbands object, Larson says.

Survey respondents in Nicaragua agreed that women’s involvement in decisions about forest management was strongest within the household. They are also more likely to control the income from the forest products that they sell, such as fruits, herbs, honey or handicraft materials, than from timber, posts or firewood, which are mainly sold by men, her study found.

In Mexico, where nearly 86 percent of land titles were still held by men as of 2011, joint land titling remains a challenge, researchers found. Besides giving women land rights, joint titling would enable them to participate in community assemblies and hold elected positions in their communities.

Bolivia’s Gran Chaco region, in the country’s southeastern lowlands, is seeing changes in the land-tenure system as land and resources increasingly shift to production of cash crops and livestock.

That area is largely inhabited by Guaraní indigenous communities, and although communal property cannot be sold, there is an increasing possibility that land could become privatized in practice, if not legally, researchers say.

Because cash crops and cattle are generally controlled by men, that trend could leave women with the right to use land for subsistence agriculture, but no real control over land and resources.

“Gender inequality is worsened by women’s exclusion from access to the necessities of life,” Bose says.

“Household livelihoods remain suboptimal for women, while they continue to be excluded from making a full contribution to resource governance.”

International market demand that turned two Andean staples crops, quinoa and kañawa, into cash crops had a strong impact on Quechua women in the Bolivian highlands, the researchers found. As the crops became commodities, lack of land tenure rights excluded women from decisions about marketing those products.

Daily life in La Roya indigenous community, Peru. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

Although women tried to form collectives to market value-added products, such as cakes and cookies, made from those crops, their lack land tenure made it difficult to establish formal enterprises.

When women do have access to land, the areas are often smaller than for men. That is the case in the Brazilian Amazon, where researchers found that women work areas averaging 25 hectares, compared to 60 hectares for men.

Deforestation and the expansion of industrial agriculture threaten those family farms, however, jeopardizing food security. In some areas, participation in collective microenterprises has empowered women, giving them greater technical skills for forest and crop management.


The studies reported in the Special Issue point to a need for policies that actually make a difference for women, Bose says.

“Policymakers never discuss the criteria for successful policies,” she says. “These studies identify loopholes in policies and, by doing so, identify ways of overcoming them.”

One common thread throughout the studies is the need for effective implementation of policies, Bose says.

“Providing a legal framework and creating new policies that recognize women’s rights to land is important, but not an end in itself,” she says. “Ensuring the implementation of these rules and policies is what is really critical for maximum impact.”

Because women’s access to land tenure can vary not just between countries but also within them, the studies reveal a need for more comparative analysis, Bose says.

Comparing women’s tenure rights in the Colombian Amazon to those of coffee farmers or Afro-Colombian women “would make it possible to identify whether and how one national policy influences the diversity of women’s roles and responsibilities in different landscapes,” Bose says.

Those factors could then be compared across countries to analyze regional trends.

That points to a need for researchers from different disciplines to be involved in studies in the field, Bose says.

“We need to listen more to the voices of rural and indigenous women,” she says. “I think it is the responsibility of researchers to tell these women’s story to the world.”

By Barbara Fraser, originally published by CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Purabi Bose at purabibose@gmail.com or Anne M. Larson at a.larson@cgiar.org.

The Special Issue of the Women’s Studies International Forum grew out of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. This Forests News article was supported by funding from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets.

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, and was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets, which are supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Value chain development in Nicaragua: prevailing approaches and tools used for design and implementation

Value chain development in Nicaragua: prevailing approaches and tools used for design and implementation

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This article draws on four contrasting cases of value chain development (VCD) in Nicaragua to assess approaches and tools used in design and implementation. We interviewed 28 representatives from the international NGOs leading the interventions, the local NGOs that participated in implementation, principal buyers, and cooperatives. Despite the complexity of market systems, results showed a relatively basic approach to VCD, reflected in: 1) reliance on a single tool for design and implementation; 2) expected outcomes based on technical assistance and training for smallholders and cooperatives; 3) local NGOs and cooperatives with key roles in implementation; and 4) limited engagement with other chain actors, service providers, and researchers.

We conclude with a call for a broader approach to VCD, based on a combination of tools to account for multiple, context-specific needs of diverse stakeholders, deeper collaboration between key actors within and outside value chain, and evidence-based reflection and learning.

Published in Enterprise Development and Microfinance, Vol. 28 (1–2), p. 10-27.

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  • FTA Gender Research Updates – June 2017

FTA Gender Research Updates – June 2017

Coffee grows in the shade in the highlands of Nicaragua. Over half of the farmland in Central America has more than 30% tree cover. Photo by ICRAF
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Coffee grows under a canopy of shade in Nicaragua. Photo by ICRAF

Gender, access to information and trees on farms: Considerations for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

This project analyzes the conditions under which women’s participation in community-level groups may influence their capacities to access and implement information on the use of trees on farms, in a territory distinguished by high climatic risk in north-central Nicaragua.

The research, which forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), is carried out through collaboration between CATIE and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) researchers based in Costa Rica and in Nicaragua.

The field site coincides with the Climate Smart Village of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in Tuma la Dalia and the FTA Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape.

Read also: Going deep on gender: research on climate-smart agroforestry in Nicaragua

The Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape is characterized by a variety of land uses. Tree cover is therefore diverse, competition for land is high, and speculation and renting land are common, but these arrangements drive deforestation, hinder long term investments and exacerbate land degradation.

This Sentinel Landscape hopes to address some of the following questions:

  • What conditions underlie the recuperation of tree cover?
  • What is the current land uses on the landscape and the different models to re-introduce trees?
  • Do current legal frameworks favor sustainable management or practices for the recuperation of trees?
  • What are the implications of the different models of tree re-introduction (in terms of quantity, functional and taxonomic, for mitigation of climate change, hydrological network and connectivity within the landscape)?
  • What are the changes to human welfare related to the different models of tree re-introduction?
  • Where are areas of conflicts within the landscape?
  • What are the trade-offs between social-ecological vulnerability and efficiency of the system under different models of tree re-introduction?
  • What opportunities and limitations are therefore the different models of tree re-introduction?
  • How to support initiatives for the re-introduction of trees in farms and landscapes to secure ecosystem restoration
Coffee grows in the shade in the highlands of Nicaragua. Over half of the farmland in Central America has more than 30% tree cover. Photo by ICRAF

Correspondingly, the research bases itself on data from the CCAFS gender household survey carried out in the territory in 2015 as well as on research insights from the NHSL project. Through funding from the Independent Science and Partnership Council, meetings with local stakeholders were recently carried out in order to share results and solicit feedback and inputs on research development.

The visits included the following organizations: the Research and Development Institute (NITLAPAN) of the Central American University (UCA) of Nicaragua; Christian Medical Action (AMC); the Organization for Rural and Urban Area Social and Economic Development (ODESAR); the Knowledge Management Network for Rural Development in Matagalpa and Jinotega (Red Gescon); and the Augusto Cesar Sandino Union of Farming Cooperatives (UCA San Ramón).

The sessions with local partners served to promote knowledge sharing on local gender dynamics and agricultural and agroforestry trends, with a focus on socially inclusive rural development and gender-sensitive climate change strategies.

For more on this project, visit the Sentinel Landscape page or click here for information in Spanish.

By Tatiana Gumucio, Gender Social Scientist, FTA Gender Integration Team. 

This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. This work is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

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  • Forest use in Nicaragua: Results of a survey on gendered forest use, benefits and participation

Forest use in Nicaragua: Results of a survey on gendered forest use, benefits and participation

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Key results

  • Generalizations about gender and forests are misleading; detailed, comparative studies are needed to understand important contextual differences not only among world regions but also, as demonstrated here, within countries, among different cultures.
  • Gender biases lead men to underestimate women’s work related to forests and overestimate their benefits and role in decision making, relative to women’s own estimates.
  • In Nicaragua, forest resources, particularly firewood, are important for the vast majority of rural households studied; indigenous households, as well as indigenous women specifically, use and benefit from a much larger variety of forest resources than non-indigenous communities.
  • Of all the forest products mentioned by respondents, men extract more than women, except for craft materials in some locations.
  • Indigenous women are much more involved in the sale of forest products than non-indigenous women and are more likely to control the income from the products they sell.

Source: CIFOR Publications.

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  • Learning from women’s and men’s perspectives on agroforestry to enhance climate change strategies and actions in Latin America

Learning from women’s and men’s perspectives on agroforestry to enhance climate change strategies and actions in Latin America

Agroforestry products are also sold on markets in Nicaragua. Photo: CIAT
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Click to listen to the recording of the webinar (in Spanish)
Click to listen to the recording of the webinar (in Spanish) Part 1

By Tatiana Gumucio

How does consideration of women’s and men’s uses of and benefits from forest and tree resources make a difference for successful agroforestry strategies targeting climate change adaptation and mitigation? This was a key question addressed by a recent webinar on “Gender, Agroforestry and Climate Change in Latin America,” carried out through the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), and coordinated by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF). The webinar shared insights from ICRAF and CIAT research projects in sites in South and Central America in order to support decision-makers and development practitioners in the region to integrate gender concerns in climate change policy-making and interventions. Participants represented government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions from 13 countries.

The first theme of the webinar focused on “Agroforestry for climate change adaptation in the Andes: Designing inclusive options based on local knowledge,” presented by Sarah-Lan Mathez of ICRAF. Research carried out via participatory methodologies with indigenous communities in the Peruvian Andes shows that both men and women have developed important knowledge of how to use woody plants and trees for adaptation to local effects of climate change. In particular, results show that men and women may differently perceive the benefits from certain agroforestry practices. In general, the tree species most valued by men and women tend to be those that give multiple uses, that do not harm other crops, and that are indigenous to the area.

Click to listen to the recording of the webinar (in Spanish) Part 2
Click to listen to the recording of the webinar (in Spanish) Part 2

A second theme, presented by Tatiana Gumucio of CIAT, looked at “Gender and smallholder shade coffee production in Nicaragua: Considerations for agroforestry and climate change interventions.” The study focused on trends in the uses and the importance that men and women associate with various types of trees on farms in the shade coffee-producing region of Tuma la Dalia, Nicaragua. Results suggest that uses and importance can vary between men and women, by land area, and by involvement in coffee cultivation. Decision-making patterns concerning trees on farms also show that women’s involvement in decision-making can be limited depending on the type of tree.

The presentations stimulated a discussion of key questions for gender and climate change interventions, for instance: how to involve the public sector in diffusion of research results and how to integrate a gender perspective in climate change planning in practice.

The Andean study provided a useful example of research conducted in coordination with not just public institutions but also with civil society organizations, by including local authorities and NGOs at various points along the way of the research process. Panelists also affirmed the importance of including diverse local voices in the design of adaptation and mitigation actions in order to promote planning that truly takes into account women’s and men’s needs and preferences. Furthermore, the discussion highlighted the need to understand women’s limitations to participate in formal decision-making processes, for instance due to demanding work schedules and constraints to take on leadership roles.

The event acted as an important means to share research on indigenous and gender perspectives on agroforestry and climate change. Additionally, it provided initial recommendations for development policy and practice:

  • Firstly, it is crucial to recognize that different social groups—indigenous groups, men and women—can contribute different, specialized agro-ecological knowledge to climate change planning.
  • Secondly, actions must be based on local information, not just in terms of land use characteristics but also in livelihood strategies and preferences.
  • Finally, these considerations are important not only to take into account the interests and needs of different social groups but also to ensure more effective strategies and plans to tackle climate change.

More information on the webinar presentations, recommended readings, and the recording of the webinar itself can be found here (in Spanish only)

For more information contact

Sarah-Lan Mathez at S.Mathez@cgiar.org

Tatiana Gumucio at T.Gumucio@cgiar.org

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  • Shedding light on opportunities and challenges for rural women

Shedding light on opportunities and challenges for rural women

In Nepal, women are participating more in decisions related to changes in the landscapes that they live in. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT
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imgresOn the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women, Bimbika Sijapati Basnett, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) reflects on her research and the situation of rural women in times of climate change and sustainable development.

Rural women across forest and tree landscapes make critical contributions to their households, communities and the landscapes in which they live. But often their contributions are not really recognized because they are confined to informal sectors, concentrated in low-value areas, and are unpaid.

The day of rural women is important because it is an opportunity to draw attention to women’s contributions, celebrate them. And to shed light on the advances that have been made in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment (Sustainable Development Goal 5), and highlight the work that remains.

Rural landscapes across the countries where we’re working are changing rapidly due to wide range of factors such as

  • expansion of markets,
  • migration and mobility,
  • expansion of agriculture in forested landscapes,
  • introduction of a wide range of interventions in the name of conservation or development.

These changes present both opportunities and challenges for rural women and girls in various contexts in which we locate our research.

A woman unloading charcoal from river boats in Africa. Photo by Jolien Schure for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
A woman unloading charcoal from river boats in Africa. Photo by Jolien Schure for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

For instance, our research on charcoal value chains in Zambia is finding that women are challenging pre-existing gender restrictions to where they can go, what they can sell, and what they can do with their earnings. These women are participating in more lucrative areas that were previously reserved for men; earning more than they did previously. Their contributions are being recognized at the household level and this in turn, is influencing their position and bargaining power at the home.

Our research on women’s participation in forest governance in Uganda, Nicaragua and Nepal, for instance, shows that women are participating more in decisions related to changes in the landscapes that they live in and depend on to earn their livelihood. And this is impacting on how benefits are distributed and whether forest and tree resources are sustainably managed.

A combination of factors are playing a role in these changes for women, for example relaxing of traditionally fixed gender relations at the household and community levels, policy interventions aimed at promoting women, and favorable market conditions for women’s enterprise.

In Nepal, women are participating more in decisions related to changes in the landscapes that they live in. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT
In Nepal, women are participating more in decisions related to changes in the landscapes that they live in. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT

But we are also finding that many of these interventions are designed and implemented at levels that are beyond women’s reach. Women often have little voice and influence on negotiations over conversion of land. The risks posed by a changing climate are unknown and still unfolding. And it is questionable whether and how women’s collective and individual capabilities can respond to these risks and adapt to these changes.

As a consequence, existing gender inequalities are being exacerbated, women’s voices are getting further restricted, women’s burden in caring for others is increasing, and their capabilities are diminishing.

Our research is aimed at documenting how these changes are impacting on different categories of women and girls in rural areas, and how different alternatives can be realized by fostering greater gender equality and empowering women. We are leveraging our research findings to inform governments, donors, non-governmental organization and women’s movements on the role they can play in carving transformative pathways.

In this process, we are partnering with a wide range of influential organizations at the local, national and global levels to undertake research on pressing gender issues as they unfold, and to ensure that the findings of our research translate into action and bring about change that advances the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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  • Update on gender research projects

Update on gender research projects

Focus group discussion in Forish Forestry Enterprise, Jizzakh Province, Uzbekistan. Photo: N. Muhsimov/Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Centre of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry
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ICRAF | Bioversity International | CIAT | CIFOR

Climate change is severely affecting Yunnan Province. Photo: Louis Putzel/CIFOR
Climate change is severely affecting Yunnan Province. Photo: Louis Putzel/CIFOR


Gender and climate change in China’s Yunnan Province

In 2016, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) East and Central Asia office (ECA) has made significant progress on gender and climate change research to inform policy makers in China’s Yunnan Province.

First, ICRAF-ECA has recently been investigating how gender affects climate change adaptation throughout Yunnan. This Poverty and Vulnerability Analysis China Gender Report will be published as a working paper before the end of this year.

It is a part of a wider initiative investigating how gender has influenced climate change adaptation throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, conducted by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which includes Nepal, Pakistan and India. All research teams involved in this initiative used the Livelihood Vulnerability Index, developed by Hahn in 2009.

Preliminary results show that climate change has severely affected Yunnan Province and that few interventions have tried to better prepare local communities for future changes in livelihoods, water availability and natural disasters. It seems that most households are extremely vulnerable and have few resources to support short or long-term mitigation efforts in response to climate change. In this context, gender is one of the factors in predicting adaptation and vulnerability.

Additionally a paper on gender-specific responses to drought in Yunnan Province is currently being revised in line with comments received from journal reviewers. This paper reveals that during the period of record-breaking drought from 2009-2012, women’s changing role in agriculture and household resource management had important consequences for individual and community responses to water resource stresses.

Perceptions of drought impacts and of responses to the drought differed significantly according to gender. However, government policies and practices which aim to support adaptation and adaptive capacity have so far failed to take this gender differentiation into account, and as a result may be out of step with local drought responses, and may even serve to further marginalize mountain women in water resource management.

Finally two Chinese language book chapters about gender and climate change adaptation will be included in the book “Gender analysis of climate change impacts and adaptation” (in Chinese), also to be published this year.

A workshop is planned before the end of the year in Yunnan to disseminate the book among government officers and discuss relevant research findings and policy options.

For more information please contact Yufang Su at y.su@cgiar.org

Focus group discussion in Forish Forestry Enterprise, Jizzakh Province, Uzbekistan. Photo: N. Muhsimov/Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Centre of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry
Focus group discussion in Forish Forestry Enterprise, Jizzakh Province, Uzbekistan. Photo: N. Muhsimov/Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Centre of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry

Bioversity International

Project: Conservation for diversified and sustainable use of fruit tree genetic resources in Central Asia

The project ‘Conservation for diversified and sustainable use of fruit tree genetic resources in Central Asia’ aims to improve the prospects for long-term food security and livelihoods of farmers in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its focus is on generating and disseminating knowledge about fruit and nut tree species, including traits that are important for adaptation and nutrition, their patterns of genetic diversity and how to effectively conserve them.

As primary users and custodians of fruit trees, both women and men play a key role in the management, conservation and transfer of fruit tree resources to future generations. Understanding gender-specific practices, knowledge and perceptions related to forests and trees as well as associated gender-based constraints in their management is essential to co-develop, with local forest managers, equitable innovations in the management of fruit tree genetic resources.

In September, national research partners in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan havecompleted a set of participatory research activities and interviews in project sites to explore gender-specific forest and fruit-tree-related knowledge, practices and interests.

Semi-structured interviews focused on the state’s role in forest management have been conducted with staff from 20 Forestry Enterprises (national forest management units). In parallel, 390 semi-structured interviews have been held with local men and women who manage fruit trees in their home gardens to understand resource management decisions and sourcing of planting material. The focus was on varieties of apple (Malus spp.), apricot (Prunus armeniaca) and walnut (Juglans regia) grown. Finally, 26 focus group discussions on local fruit tree management practices have been held with forest dwellers in separate women’s and men’s groups. Data are currently being cleaned and translated into English.

Results will provide guidance on how to foster the equitable participation of men and women in the management of fruit tree genetic resources in home gardens and forests. They will also help identify strategies for promoting the use of ‘wild’ (forest-based) fruit and nut tree genetic resources in home gardens; for addressing threats to wild populations of fruit and nut species; and for capturing opportunities for sustainable use and conservation of wild fruit and nut tree populations.

National research partners are :

  • Uzbek Republican Scientific and Production Center of Ornamental Gardening and Forestry
  • Kyrgyz National Agrarian University
  • Institute of Horticulture of Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The project is coordinated by Bioversity International with financing from the Government of Luxembourg and with co-funding from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

For more information please contact Marlene Elias at marlene.elias@cgiar.org

Photo: CIAT
Photo: CIAT


Looking at gender in coffee agroforestry in Nicaragua

The research on gender, tree uses, and decision-making patterns among shade coffee producers in Tuma la Dalia, Nicaragua has made some progress.

Research suggests that coffee agroforestry producers in Latin American countries derive significant commercial and subsistence value from the non-coffee products of the agroforestry system, for example, timber, fuelwood, and fruits. However, there is a lack of consideration of gender aspects within the research, for example, how uses derived from the agroforestry system may vary between men and women producers.

The objectives are:

  • Analyze how men and women value and use trees on farms.
  • Understand the role of men and women in the decision-making process on the use and management of trees.

The research results shall support the development of gender-sensitive climate change interventions focused on high value tree crops. CIAT partners with the Fundación para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Agropecuario y Forestal de Nicaragua (FUNICA).

Findings suggest that women perceive more household uses of farm trees than men. Furthermore, women may be more prone to giving more importance than men to fruit trees than those used for timber. Results also demonstrate that although men tend to dominate decision-making processes, women and men both participate in decision-making on harvest sales and how to use income.

For more information please contact Tatiana Gumucio at T.Gumucio@cgiar.org


Photo: Carol J. Pierce Colfer
Photo: Carol J. Pierce Colfer

Gendered dimensions of agricultural land investments

The social and environmental effects of large-scale agricultural investments in forested landscapes have been extensively documented and debated in public and scholarly spheres, compelling a reassessment of investment policies and rural development plans, agrarian reforms, and regulatory safeguards on the part of host governments and the donor community.

While land deals come with promises of economic prosperity, studies suggest that their negative externalities have disproportionately impacted resource-poor groups, including women and landless farmers.

Within the vast literature on large-scale land acquisitions, or “land grabs”, there has been relatively little research systematically documenting mediating factors that affect rural women and men in the process of agribusiness investments or how different outcomes might be realized under more smallholder-inclusive investment models.

This research contributes to CIFOR’s gendered research agenda by examining the ways in which women and men are differently affected by agribusiness expansion into forested landscapes of Tanzania.

How do factors such as tenure regimes, institutional context and norms, market conditions, financial and other types of capital, intra-household relations, or other social practices mediate the ways in which women and men are differentially integrated into investor supply chains?

How are feminine and masculine domains reinforced, restructured, or renegotiated as a result of inclusion or exclusion into different investment modalities?

For more Information please contact Emily Gallagher at E.Gallagher@cgiar.org

Gender Café at previous Global Landscapes Forum. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT
Gender Café at previous Global Landscapes Forum. Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT

Upcoming events: Panel discussion and side events at GLF and COP

Concerns over gender equality and women’s empowerment are increasingly considered in climate change policy at the global level.

There are currently over 50 UNFCCC decisions that support gender integration in climate policy, including the two-year Lima Work Programme on Gender (LWPG). The LWPG was initated at COP20 in Lima 2014 with a two-fold objective: enhancing the gender balance of the UNFCCC negotiations; and achieving gender-responsive climate policy.

However, while there now is a clear global mandate to develop and implement gender-responsive climate policy and action, these commitments are often not evident in national climate policies. For instance, only 40% of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted to the secretariat before COP21 in Paris made any references to women or gender. In the instances such references were made, they often served to paint a rather generalized picture of women as ‘vulnerable populations’.

The focus of COP22 will be on the implementation of the Paris Agreement: How are the Parties to the Agreement going to deliver on the promises made in Paris? This year’s COP also marks the end of the two-year LWPG. Parties and observer organizations have thus been urged by the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to share experiences and views to guide the possible continuation and enhancement of the program.

Given the gap between the global commitments to gender-responsive climate policy and their systematic implementation on a national level, it is of crucial importance to highlight and assess some of the existing attempts to address gender issues in climate policies.

Towards this end, the gender integration team is partnering with a wide range of organizations to bring together a high-level panel at the Global Landscapes Forum 2016 in Marrakesh on Wednesday November 16th. The focus will be on translating these global commitments into national and local actions. Partners are UN Women, UNDP–UNEP Poverty Environment Initiative, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO), African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF).

Together with the same partners, we are also convening a skills share session at the GGCA Innovation Forum on Saturday November 12th, as well as a side-event at the UNFCCC COP22 (green zone) on Monday November 14th.

The above sessions will delve into the national processes of drafting and implementing gender-responsive climate policy. Particularly, the panelists will explore the role of multiple stakeholders – ranging from advocates and practitioners to researchers and donors – in supporting such processes.

The sessions will further investigate if, how and when ‘gender-responsive policies’ actually enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment on the ground. Participants will be invited to share achievements and challenges of drafting and implementing gender-responsive climate policy and action thus far, thereby fostering South–South learning of good practices.

The sessions will also provide an opportunity to deliberate over a minimum set of standards that countries could follow to ensure that commitment towards addressing gender equality are firmly rooted in national climate policy and action and that mechanisms for accountability, monitoring and continuous learning are in place.


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  • Challenges for women’s participation in communal forests: Experience from Nicaragua’s indigenous territories

Challenges for women’s participation in communal forests: Experience from Nicaragua’s indigenous territories

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FTA communications

This paper analyzes sex-differentiated use, decision-making and perceptions regarding communal forests in indigenous communities of Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast. Methods include a survey, focus groups, participant observation and adaptive collaborative management processes over a two-year period. Results revealed that while a higher percentage of men than women participate in the harvest of eight forest products, women participate substantially in product sales and have some control over income. A majority of men and women believe that women participate in decision-making, but that participation was of low efficacy. Women face significant obstacles to effective participation in forest decision-making in the community: weak community organization, pressure by spouses, difficulty organizing among themselves and informal sanctions. Improving meaningful participation of women in decision-making requires addressing challenges and obstacles at multiple levels; obstacles at the communal level, where the future of the forests will be decided, cannot be overcome without attention to the household.

Source: CIFOR Publication

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  • CATIE and CIAT, a convincing partnership - not only in forests, trees and agroforestry

CATIE and CIAT, a convincing partnership – not only in forests, trees and agroforestry

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grupo_ciat_catieBy Andrea Carvajal, originally posted at CIAT’s blog.

“It is known throughout the region that together we work well and we create synergies,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, new Director General of the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE, its Spanish acronym) during his visit to CIAT headquarters near Cali, Colombia, in July, identifying collaborative research areas. According to him, CIAT and CATIE, who are both members of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry among others, should take advantage of their long-standing cooperation, which gives them credibility.

Ibrahim took office as CATIE Director General last 29 February for a period of four years and his good relationship with both Centers and the impact of his work are evidenced in concrete actions, such as the creation of CATIE’s Livestock and Environmental Management Program (GAMMA, its Spanish acronym).

“Today, the agenda on shared and complementary topics is even broader and more diverse, due to our common interest in issues such as climate-smart agriculture and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies,” said Ibrahim, who sees CIAT’s  Biotechnology Unit as a strategic partner to identify more varieties that are resistant to diseases and the effects of climate change, and that are capable of maintaining high yields, using the germplasm available in CATIE’s international coffee and cocoa collections.

“Now, as Director General, I also have in mind other issues that are key to CATIE research, as well as its role as a quality education entity. The goal is to promote a horizontal cooperation by exploring opportunities to work jointly in the development of technologies to impact livelihoods. This also means joint publications, efforts to inform policy making, project design and development, and resource mobilization plans, coupled with management indicators to reflect the changes we will have accomplished in five years time.” (Muhammad Ibrahim, General Director, CATIE)

Nicaragua as an entry point for innovation and sustainable development

Along with Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Vietnam, Nicaragua is one of the so-called site integration countries, defined by the CGIAR System as meeting points to facilitate improved coordination among the different CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) present in the region – especially now that the second phase, from 2017 to 2020, is about to start.

Among the various reasons for choosing Nicaragua is the fact that its agro-ecological and socio-economic characteristics are representative of the rest of Central American countries, which makes it possible for knowledge and innovations developed in this country to be scaled out to benefit producers from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Panama.


One of the CRPs present in Nicaragua is the program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), led by CIAT, for whom CATIE is a strategic partner with whom the Center has laid out the following vision:

For 2022, as a result of the CATIE-CCAFS collaboration, a variety of research inputs and key evidence will have been generated to enhance decision making in the Latin American agricultural sector at the local, national, and regional level, considering the effects and opportunities presented by a changing climate. Climate-Smart Territories (CST) and Climate-Smart Villages (CSV) have been scaled out to different locations within the region and are known to be hubs for the design of participatory methodologies, technology testing, and the development of community-based processes aimed to find portfolios of Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices and services that contribute to enhancing resilience, reducing emissions, and increasing food security through improved productivity.

This vision will become a reality through the implementation of a short-term collaborative strategy, in which the complementarity among CSTs and CSVs regarding climate change is as essential as the inclusion of a gender perspective, production of joint research publications, and coordination to support regional, national, and local stakeholders.

Therefore, there are four especially important key points to recover the so-called Central American dry corridor; “it is an opportunity to work in the region and capitalize on the learning experiences achieved by the CSTs and CSVs,” says Isabel Gutiérrez, CATIE liaison officer for Colombia.

This is how, by means of a renewed collaborative research agenda, both centers show their strong commitment to sustainable development in the Latin American region. A commitment that is also evidenced in other long-term endeavors in which CATIE and CIAT take an active part, such as the 20×20 Initiative, aimed to restore 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2020.

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