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  • FTA in 2017: A bumper crop of research, articles and presentations

FTA in 2017: A bumper crop of research, articles and presentations

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Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT/CIFOR
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During the first year of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s (FTA) Phase 2, which runs from 2017 to 2022, the program strengthened its global presence by participating in international events, continuing to produce extensive research publications, and making new efforts to disseminate its work. 

Read on to find out which blog articles, research publications, presentations and program documents were most-read on the FTA website throughout last year.

Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT/CIFOR

Of the varied work carried out and published by FTA scientists from lead center the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and partner institutions Bioversity International, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Tropenbos International (TBI) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), much was covered and explored in blogs and news articles in 2017.

Agroforestry and the scientific research process were popular themes, beaten only by “rainfall recycling”, which was also the topic of a virtual symposium held in May and appeared in several blogs and was discussed at events throughout the year. The five most-read blogs and news articles on the FTA website in 2017 were as follows.

  1. Cool insights for a hot world: trees and forests recycle water
  2. Passion first, research later? A case study of Zambia’s mukula tree
  3. Trees, water and climate: Cool scientific insights, hot implications for research and policy
  4. Can agroforestry landscapes reduce the risk of floods?
  5. Money grows on clove trees in Sulawesi
China’s fight to halt tree cover loss, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In terms of the research itself, gender continued to be a strong point of interest, while the top spot went to afforestation in China. While research publications are often viewed on the websites of scientific journals or partner institutions, of those collated on the FTA website, the top five most-read were:

  1. China’s fight to halt tree cover loss
  2. Gender responsive value chain development and the conservation of native fruit trees through an inclusive learning process: a case study in Western Ghats, India
  3. Integrated natural resource management as pathway to poverty reduction: Innovating practices, institutions and policies
  4. Gender-responsive participatory research for social learning and sustainable forest management
  5. Cocoa agroforestry is less resilient to sub-optimal and extreme climate than cocoa in full sun
On the critical role of soil organic carbon in landscapes by Tor-Gunnar Vågen.

Throughout the year, FTA scientists presented about their work at various opportunities and occasions. The top five most-read presentations of those collected on the FTA website were:

  1. Forests, Climate Change and REDD+: A brief introduction
  2. On the critical role of soil organic carbon in landscapes
  3. An introduction to CIFOR’s global comparative study on REDD+ (GCS-REDD+)
  4. Key governance issues and the fate of secondary forests as a tool for large-scale forest restoration
  5. Exploring Participatory Prospective Analysis: A collaborative, scenario-based approach for analyzing and anticipating the consequences of tenure reform implementation
The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry leaflet.

Lastly, FTA produced a number of program-level documents in 2017, which aimed to summarize its work and provide clear information about its priorities and goals. The 2016 annual report featured highly in this category. Taking top spot and filling out the rest of the five most-read positions were all components of FTA’s new brochure series, which can be seen here in full.

  1. CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry leaflet
  2. Sustainable value chains and investments
  3. CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) Annual Report 2016
  4. Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  5. Ensuring quality of research for development: The MELIA system

As the program moves into 2018, the second year of Phase 2, it looks forward to a continued presence at high-level events; innovative research publications; blog articles, videos and newsletters to promote the program’s work; and an ongoing focus on the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development, food security and addressing climate change.

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

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  • CGIAR Portfolio 2017-2022: Transforming global agriculture and food systems

CGIAR Portfolio 2017-2022: Transforming global agriculture and food systems

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People work in a field in Kenya. Photo by Tim Cronin/CIFOR
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People work in a field in Kenya. Photo by Tim Cronin/CIFOR

CGIAR has officially launched its new research portfolio, comprising 11 research programs and three platforms, representing the second generation of its multidimensional work streams. The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is key among these programs.

FTA is a worldwide research for development partnership, led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in partnership with two other CGIAR centers, namely the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International, as well as four international research institutions: CATIE, CIRAD, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) and Tropenbos International.

The CGIAR Portfolio 2017-2022 aims to reduce rural poverty, advance food and nutrition security and improve natural resources and ecosystem services. It maintains momentum in selected areas while placing renewed emphasis on key issues.

FTA plays a specific role in the overall CGIAR portfolio as the only program working on all aspects of the value and benefits of trees and forests for agriculture, landscapes and livelihoods, to contribute to sustainable development, improve food security and nutrition, and address climate change.

FTA links with six other agri-food systems programs by providing tree-based and landscape-level solutions to ecological intensification of crop-based production systems. It contributes to CGIAR’s integrative programs for policies, institutions and markets, and more.

Its research explores the central role that forest, tree and agroforestry resources play in improving production systems, in securing people’s livelihoods and in promoting the equitable distribution of benefits. At the same time, forest, tree and agroforestry systems protect and enhance the resource base by clarifying the interactions between productivity and ecosystem services in tree-based systems, as outlined in a new FTA leaflet.

A person holds fruit from the shea tree in Burkina Faso. Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

“FTA systems, as we call them, are crucial for the planet, critical for many countries – for economic, social, environmental reasons – and essential for the many households that depend on them for their livelihoods and food security,” FTA Director Vincent Gitz wrote in a blog titled Forests, trees and agroforestry research to advance sustainable development on his vision for Phase II of the program. “FTA at the beginning of Phase II is well equipped for joined-up work across scales, toward effective implementation and impact,” he added.

The overall strategic direction for the CGIAR portfolio (including FTA) is based on the CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and has been developed and informed by the former Fund Council, CGIAR System Council, Science Council, Research Centers and other stakeholders.

CGIAR and FTA’s research will provide scientific leadership, and focus on key partnerships for achieving development impact at scale.

Focused on selected development challenges, the CGIAR portfolio is designed to contribute significantly to the achievement of key SDGs and of CGIAR’s overall goals, of 150 million fewer hungry people, 100 million fewer poor people – at least 50% of whom are women – and 190 million fewer hectares of degraded land by 2030.

This new phase of research builds on CGIAR’s long track record of impact. Across Africa, Asia and Latin America, CGIAR and its partners have improved food security, improved nutrition and increased community resilience to a changing environment in numerous ways.

The new phase of CGIAR research will draw on the expertise of CGIAR’s global network and a multitude of world class partners. The portfolio structure enables researchers to align research priorities and approaches into efficient, coherent, multidisciplinary programs allowing for collaborative research to tackle complex development issues.

World Agroforestry Centre researchers begin a journey to understand and explore a learning landscape in Vietnam. Photo by Alba Saray Perez/ICRAF

The new portfolio is structured around three clusters. The first cluster gathers seven programs around Agri-Food Systems: Fish; Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Livestock; Maize; Rice; Roots, Tubers and Bananas; and Wheat. The second cluster consists of four cross-cutting programs: Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security; Policies, Institutions and Markets; and Water, Land and Ecosystems. The final cluster includes three research support platforms that underpin the entire research system, focused on Big Data in Agriculture; Excellence in Breeding and Genebank.

FTA has a special position within the portfolio because of its very integrated nature and because it works across the landscapes continuum, from natural forests to planted forests, tree-based systems, agro-ecological infrastructures, trees in crops systems, agroforestry and farming. In 2017, FTA’s work includes 118 projects in 41 countries in 2017.

Thanks to its funders, CGIAR research has and will continue to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people through tangible research outcomes. CGIAR is committed to helping the world radically transform its collective approaches and strengthen operations to deliver on-the-ground solutions to the planet’s most vulnerable.

“In Phase II, FTA is ready to provide integrated approaches and solutions. I would call it a multiple integration,” said Gitz. FTA takes on an integrated approach to the various roles of forests and trees within ecosystems, including agroecosystems, at different scales and applied to different contexts, to deliver on solutions to enhance these roles, integrating technical level and practices, management, policies and governance.

Adapted from material originally published at Edited by Hannah Maddison-Harris, FTA Communications and Editorial Coordinator.

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