Welcometo the first edition of our quarterly newsletter for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). With about 237 researchers working in more than 35 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, FTA responds to a call for an urgent, strong and sustained effort focused on the management and governance of forests, given the crucial role trees play in confronting some of the most important challenges of our time. Spanning scales from farms to landscapes, FTA research ranges from genetics to governance and involves dozens of organizations and hundreds of partners. The program is made up of five thematic research components. One of them is climate change, and given the recent UNFCCC COP talks in Lima, that is the focus of this edition.
Christopher Martius, Principal Scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research, is joined in a wide-ranging discussion of one of the defining challenges of our generation by Peter Minang, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Bastiaan Louman, Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), and Glenn Hyman, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
In the recently published book, Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, the authors explore the different functions of landscapes – from carbon sequestration and water conservation to producing commodities and contributing to improved livelihoods for their inhabitants. This multifunctionality gets researchers excited about the landscapes approach, with the promise of integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation alongside multiple social, economic and environmental objectives: resulting in sustainable climate-smart landscapes.
São Félix do Xingu in Brazil unexpectedly recorded an increase in deforestation in areas registered under a recent REDD+ initiative. As CIFOR researchers explain in a new case study book, the initiative gave property owners access to government subsidies previously unavailable to them – leading to more deforestation for cattle ranching and agriculture. This important lesson leads researchers to recommend more training and education on other kinds of government credits available to farmers who move away from deforestation.
Reducing deforestation in the Amazon is possible – Brazil has done it. Now it’s the turn of other Amazon countries to do something. With Terra-i and other Global Forest Watch contributors, let’s start by monitoring land cover changes in the region to better pinpoint drivers of deforestation and formulate appropriate responses.
As the halfway point approaches for the Aichi Target 15 – which has the bold goal of restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020 – there is increasing urgency to meet the Target. In PyeongChang, Korea, at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12), global environment leaders called for attention to a previously ignored aspect of ecosystem restoration – genetic diversity of tree species planted.
At Tree Diversity Day 2014, participants discussed recently developed tools and best practices for measuring biodiversity and environmental health. Among them was the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework, which assesses ecosystem health using GIS techniques and soil surveillance. It is linked with the CRP-FTA-supported online Landscapes Portal, where users can load maps and explore spatial data to see the health of a given area.
As 2014 came to close, nursery managers in Southeast Asia turned their attention to tending their tree seedlings for the next planting season, which are expected to help meet global targets of land restoration and carbon sequestration. Most years, countries and national tree seed programs face the challenge of a lack of seeds for key species, a challenge that the Asia Pacific Forest Genetic Resources Programme (APFORGEN) hopes to address with a new Working Group on strengthening national tree seed programs in the region.
The pressure on Kenya’s Mau Forest and the land-use changes occurring in and around it are among the most pressing environmental issues facing the country today. Researchers at CIFOR — together with international and Kenyan partners — are trying to determine the best-case scenarios for sustainable management of these forest resources and the ecosystem services they provide, the provisioning of goods and water, and their contribution to resilience and adaptation in the context of climate change.
CGIAR Research Program – Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (CRP-FTA)
CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry
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.