One-third of our planet is covered with forests, and about 1 billion people depend on forest resources for their lives and livelihoods. Forests are a nutritional bounty and provide essential services to agriculture. Forests also play a vital role in slowing the pace of climate change through carbon storage and in mitigating the effects of severe weather events.
Yet, in the time it takes to read this page, an area of forest roughly equal to 100 football fields (45 hectares) will have been cleared to make way for agriculture or mining, or will have been degraded by unsustainable or illegal logging and other poor land-use practices.
Since 2011, the CGIAR Research Program on ‘Forests, Trees and Agroforestry: Livelihoods, Landscapes and Governance’ responds to the urgent need for a strong and sustained research focus on forest management and governance, given the crucial role of forests in confronting some of the most important challenges of our time: climate change, poverty, and food insecurity. Impact-driven and innovative, FTA seeks to enhance the management and use of forests, agroforestry and tree genetic resources across the landscape. In 2017, FTA entered it second research phase, building on the strong partnerships of the previous six years.
Research outcomes are influence policy-makers (for example in designing Payment for Ecosystem Services schemes) – and practitioners (for example in increasing crop yields).
The Center for International Forestry Research leads the program in partnership with Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), Bioversity International, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Tropenbos International, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, CATIE), and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).
The program comprises five flagship projects:
- Tree genetic resources to bridge production gaps and promote resilience deals with threats to important tree species. Key areas are conserving high-value tree species, improving silviculture practices, and developing constructive ways to resolve conflicts over resource rights.
- Enhancing how trees and forests contribute to smallholder livelihoods has a focus on research that helps to boost the productivity and sustainability of forestry and agroforestry, to increase people’s incomes in forested areas, and to improve policies and institutions that affect land rights for the rural poor.
- Sustainable global value chains and investments for supporting forest conservation and equitable development seeks to understand the effects of forest-related trade and investment and generate knowledge that will help mitigate negative impacts and enhance the positive.
- Landscape dynamics, productivity and resilience explores the drivers and consequences of forest transition—i.e. the restoration of deforested and degraded lands for environmental goods and services.
- Climate change mitigation and adaptation opportunities in forests, trees and agroforestry encompasses research on how forests, trees and agroforestry can mitigate climate change and how they can help people adapt to climate change.
The program also includes cross-cutting themes:
- A gender strategy that views gender integration in research as a fundamental part of doing good science and integrates gender analysis and research into each of the five flagship projects.
- An effective and innovative system to monitor, evaluate and assess the impact of the program’s work.
- A capacity development component to raise awareness of the FTA research program and improve its methodologies.
Find out more about Phase I of the program.