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Uniting efforts to counter global threats to forests (Vol. 3, Issue 6)

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FTA communications


Welcome to another edition of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Tees and Agroforestry (FTA) newsletter.
The highlight of this month was the XXV IUFRO World Congress 2019, which showcased the richness of forest science and research, and its relevance to the sustainable development agenda. FTA was very present (around 50 scientists and related presentations). One key dimension of the congress was that forest science needs to be bold and invest the policy arena. This is not necessarily new to us, but the movement is gaining momentum and this comes at a critical moment when evidence-based policies and action are more needed than ever. To give forest science a stronger voice, you may join us in signing the congress’ final declaration. You may sign the pledge here.
Such congresses that happen only once every 5 years provide a valuable opportunity to collectively take stock of forest science progress, and reflect on new research frontiers: what research should we be doing more? FTA organized a side event on Research on forests, trees and agroforestry: What’s next? Which priorities for the future? with a lively and fruitful exchange between key scientists from CIFOR, ICRAF, CIRAD, CATIE and INBAR, and the audience. What came out strongly is the need to go from characterization to implementation and workable solutions for people. Our research should be people-centered. We won’t be able to work for forests unless we can work with people, for the people.
Back in 2018, anticipating this emerging issue, FTA opened a new line of research on the issue of agroecology. Now the fruits are ripe, with two key results:
First major result: FTA flagship program leader and ICRAF principal scientist Fergus Sinclair led the write-up of the highly expected HLPE report on Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition. The recommendations of the report are going to be discussed by world governments, civil society and the private sector next week during the 46th plenary session of the UN Committee on World Food Security. Agroecology may seem for some a theoretical concept, difficult to grasp. At CFS, FTA will host a discussion with Vi Agroforestry and SIANI to discuss how Agroforestry can be a concrete agro-ecological pathway for SDG2.
Second major result: FTA led a chapter and background paper for the Global Commission on Adaptation. The work of the commission was a major influence of the climate summit organized in New York where a range of commitments were made towards increased support of agricultural research for development given the challenges posed by climate change.
Finally, our Inclusive Landscape Finance Project is continuing its path and, after the GLF Digital Summit organized in July, we are now organizing an open consultation on the outcomes of this project. The set of open questions will be available for comments between 4-15th November on the GLF website. The inputs will be analyzed, and incorporated allowing us to have a pre-final version of the report to be discussed and finalized during a GLF Event in Luxembourg on the 30th November 2019. An important contribution to the dialogue on up-scaling of innovative finance for sustainable landscapes.
Please make sure to bring your views!
Vincent Gitz

FTA Director

Special feature

Inclusive finance: Paying the way for sustainable landscapes

imagethumb.jpg Local landscape initiatives make business sense: companies stand to gain an edge in innovation through supporting local communities and smallholders by utilizing the tacit knowledge of front-line employees. But how can we create environments that better connect financial instruments and ground level landscape initiatives?
On July 9th at 14:00 CET (Paris, Rome), FTA brought together diverse perspectives on what inclusive finance means and how it may be mobilized. This Digital Summit featured speakers like Pauline Nantongo of Ecotrust in Uganda, Juan Carlos Gonzalez Aybar of Althelia Funds and impact investment manager from Mirova. Speakers shared their experiences and thoughts on the way forward for the upscaling of innovative finance mechanisms that support sustainable landscapes and have special consideration for the smallholders within that landscape. The discussion brought together 111 on-line participants who interacted in real time posing around 60 comments/questions to the speakers. A video recording of their discussion can be found here.
This Digital Summit emerges from the context of a workstream on inclusive finance initiated within the framework of the FTA, Tropenbos International and CIFOR. This workstream included eight interviews with key stakeholders of the finance value chain and a summary of existing documentation on the topic.
Read the latest two here:

This learning journey is now entering a consultative and interactive phase, with a set of open questions available on the GLF website between 4-15th November on the GLF website. The consultation will be oriented towards researchers, practitioners and policy makers that relate to the field of sustainable and resilient land use in the tropics. The inputs will be analyzed and incorporated into a pre-final document, to be refined and concluded during the upcoming GLF Event in Luxembourg on the 30th November 2019



New Background Paper from the Global Commission on Adaptation led by FTA Flagship Leader 2

imagethumb.jpgIt is generally accepted that agriculture is a major driver of climate change as well as being acutely challenged to adapt to its effects. Agroecological approaches involve the application of integrated ecological, economic and social principles to the transition of smallholder farming systems, towards greater resilience. This involves adapting 13 generic agroecological principles to local circumstances. The principles include: diversification, recycling, and better connecting producers and consumers. Adaptation is done by scientists working closely with farmers and other stakeholders to co-create concrete, demand-led solutions to pressing problems as they are experienced locally rather than through imposing externally prefabricated solutions that may not be locally appropriate.
A new GCA background paper led by principal scientist Fergus L. Sinclair from ICRAF makes the point on how agroecological approaches can pave the way towards climate smart agriculture.
All GCA background papers can be accessed here.

Scientists on Indonesia’s polluting haze

imagethumb.jpgWhile the eyes of the world have been fixed in horror on the Amazonian forest fires, the rainforests of Indonesia on the other side of the planet are now also in flames.

In the first eight months of 2019, over 300,000 hectares of land burned and the past week has seen a surge in fire alerts across the entire Indonesian archipelago. According to Global Forest Watch, the 8,903 fire alerts is more than twice the average number for this time of year.

Time to rethink the role of trees, forests and agroforestry in the fight against climate change

imagethumb.jpgThe 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.

New manual promotes use of bamboo for climate change

imagethumb.jpg A new manual aims to help countries calculate the climate mitigation potential of their native bamboo stocks.
Fast growing, with a high rate of carbon storage and a spread of 30 million hectares across the tropics and subtropics, bamboo could be an important part of countries’ nature-based toolkit for climate change mitigation. However, while there are many international guidelines for forest carbon assessment, very little information exists on measuring the carbon sequestration potential of bamboo. This is a critical knowledge gap, and affects the development of bamboo forests as a carbon sink.
Released in May, the first draft of the Manual for Bamboo Forest Biomass and Carbon Assessment was developed by the FTA partner International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR). It provides instructions for technical staff to conduct bamboo forest inventories and bamboo stock, biomass and carbon assessments, introducing various methods for data collection.
The manual is currently being reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a first draft can be downloaded here.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: T. Saputro/CIFOR; A.Erlangga/CIFOR; R.Martin/CIFOR

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What’s the Science Week?

Webinar: If forests and peatlands disappeared, would humanity survive?

Webinar: If forests and peatlands disappeared, would humanity survive?



The 5th Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture 2019
October 8, 2019 – October 10, 2019
Bali, Indonesia

Committee on World Food Security (CFS 46)
October 14, 2019 – October 18, 2019
FAO, Rome, Italy

Global Landscapes Forum Luxembourg
November 30, 2019


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 thanks all donors who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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