SDGs and agroforestry



Panel discussion: Agroforestry helping to achieve the SDGs

As part of ICRAF’s Science Week 2015, held in Bogor, Indonesia, a panel discussion explored the Sustainable Development Goals as the new language in which the agroforestry experience and story has to be retold.

Panel members are drawn from ICRAF’s development, policy and research partners in Indonesia and use the interactions in the Indonesian context to appreciate how such issues, themes, and actions may play out in any country or regional context, given their specificities.


Read the full article: Forests, trees, agroforestry


How restored forests help women




Food and a future: How restored forests help women in Burkina Faso

Women in West Africa are using food from enclosed forest plots to get their households through the lean times.

In the dry Sahel of central Burkina Faso, the months before the harvest are tough. The granaries are empty, and forests are just a memory.

“Everything is green, the crops are almost mature – but that is moment when people are most food insecure, because they are waiting for the new harvest and the old one is gone,” explained Houria Djoudi, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Demographic, economic and environmental changes have put pressure on almost all the region’s forests, leaving a degraded landscape stricken with erosion, drought and infertile soils.

But tiny patches of restored forest are now giving families a safety net at this hardest time of year. Just three hectares of fenced-off land gives a household access to leaves, nuts, beans and fodder for their own use or to sell to buy grain, Djoudi and colleagues found in a new study.

The study looked at the impact of a program run by local NGO Tiipaalga and supported by the FFEM (Fond Francais de L’Environnement Mondial). Since 2003 Tiipaalga has been helping people in the three provinces of Central Burkina Faso – Kadiogo, Kourweogo and Oubritenga – to protect just three hectares of their land.

Read the full article: Forest News

Agroforestry and the IDP



Agroforestry could give Nigeria’s IDPs a new future

Internally displaced people (IDP) in northeast Nigeria need to be given alternative livelihoods, such as agroforestry, if they are to return to their homes, says an article in Premium Times.

Charles Reith, professor of environmental sciences with the American University of Nigeria, says allowing IDPs to return to their homes without tackling desertification would set the stage for continued conflict, both by terrorists and between herders and farmers.

He says climate change, desertification and resource scarcity are important drivers of conflict and violence. In the northeast of Nigeria, desertification has impacted the area for generations.

Reith advocates for alternatives to cropping that expose the soil to erosion, such as agroforestry to “push back desertification” and fruit-bearing trees interspersed with crops to “restore the soil, provide year-round food, and create products to sell for income”.

Read the full story : World Agroforestry Centre

Community-based forestry

Photo credit: Agroforestry World Blog

Women in Mozambique are carrying fuelwood that will be sold by the roadside to create additional income for the rural forest community. Photo: FAO.

FAO reports on 40 years of community-based forestry

Community-based forestry may be showing great promise in driving sustainable development but it is still not reaching its full potential, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Released during the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week being held in Clark, The Philippines from 22-26 February 2016, the report shows how community-based forestry is helping to promote sustainable forest management, reduce poverty and generate jobs and income for rural communities.

Through community-based forestry, “local communities partner with governments to play a lead role in making land-use decisions and managing the forestry resources they depend on for their livelihoods,” says a media release from the FAO.

While almost one-third of the world’s forest are is now estimated to be under some form of community-based management, the approach is still not reaching its full potential. To achieve this, requires greater support by governments through policy reforms and other measures.

Read the full article: Agroforestry World Blog

Successful examples of community-based forestry from around the world

Photo credit: FAO

Women in Mozambique are carrying fuelwood that will be sold by the roadside to create additional income for the rural forest community.


Community-based forestry can be a driving force in boosting sustainability and people’s livelihoods

FAO calls on governments to take steps to unleash its full potential

Community-based forestry has shown itself to be a potent vehicle for promoting sustainable forest management, reducing poverty and generating jobs and income for rural communities, but unlocking its true potential will require greater support by governments through policy reforms and other measures.

Many community-based forestry regimes are showing great promise as engines for sustainable development but are still performing below their potential, a new FAO report released today at the start of Asia-Pacific Forestry Week says.

Under the approach, local communities partner with governments to play a lead role in making land-use decisions and managing the forestry resources they depend on for their livelihoods.

According to “Forty years of community based forestry: A review of extent and effectiveness”, almost one-third of the world’s forest area is now estimated to be under some form of community-based management.

Yet in many cases, while in practice policies may exist for the decentralization and devolution of rights and responsibilities to communities, the right conditions may not yet be in place for them to fully exercise their rights.

The report outlines a series of actions needed to make community-based forestry more effective, including providing communities with secure forest tenure, improving regulatory frameworks, and transferring appropriate and viable skills and technology.

Access to markets and knowledge of market mechanisms are also essential if communities and smallholders are to commercialize their forest products, which can significantly contribute to poverty reduction.

“Indigenous peoples, local communities and family smallholders stand ready to maintain and restore forests, respond to climate change, conserve biodiversity and sustain livelihoods on a vast scale”, said Eva Müller, Director of FAO’s Forestry Policy and Resources Division. “What is missing in most cases is the political will to make it happen. Political leaders and policy makers should open the door to unleash the potential of hundreds of millions of people to manage the forests on which the whole world depends for a better and sustainable future”.

Sharing best practices

The report also cites a number of successful examples of community-based forestry from around the world.

Read the full article: FAO

Silvopasture, land reclamation or agroforestry ?


Photo credit: Dream Lodge Permaculture

Silvopasture and land reclamation




Agroforestry program aims to protect Congo Basin rainforest while increasing yields for farmers


Rural farmers in Cameroon are boosting returns on their investments by introducing agroforestry techniques to their agricultural practices. Agroforestry involves integrating tree crops into both farming and ranching systems.  While farmers attest to higher yields and better incomes,  proponents also note that the model keeps carbon in trees, thereby fighting climate change.  FSRN’s Ngala Killian Chimtom reports.

A group of farmers in Nkenglikok, a small village about 30 miles from Cameroon’s capital Yaounde, welcome officials from the World Agroforestry Centre, or ICRAF, with a song. The organization introduced agroforestry practices here ten years ago with a pilot project that has since proven itself to be successful.

Agroforestry is a system of intensive land management that integrates fruit trees and crops on the same land for the purpose of optimizing the benefits of their biological interactions.

“With the integration of improved fruit trees in the farming system like plum, mango, pears or plantains, farmers now can be able to harvest some of these fruits while waiting for coffee that they don’t even eat, they only see people coming to carry it to a market,” explains Kuh Emmanuel, who used to farm mostly cocoa and coffee for market sale, as well as vegetables for family consumption. He says the integration of fruit-trees into his field has helped to stabilize and vary his income.

“Farmers in the domain of agroforestry have a stable lifestyle because the fruit trees integrated and medicinal plants cause them to harvest throughout the whole year, rather than waiting for coffee that comes only at the end of the year,” says Emmanuel. “When I started, I was doing mainly gardening, growing vegetables without integrating as much fruit trees. By the time that we got the technology in grafting, marketing, rooting of cuttings, we had now to start planting on our farms and now we have plums, mangoes that are already producing; and I would say that that has generated income ten times what we used to have.”

Most of the trees inter-cropped here are non-timber, fruit-bearing varieties. Dr. Zac Tchoundjeu, Regional Coordinator of ICRAF for West and Central Africa, explains the intent of the program from its beginnings.

Read the full story: FSRN



Anti-desertification with Waterboxx


Waterboxx very successful in Spain anti-desertification through agroforestry and reforestation

VIDEO (Spanish with English captions)

Groasis BV is a Dutch company that sells the Waterboxx. Groasis wants to cause the reforestation of the 2 billion hectares wasteland, before 2050, with the waterboxx.

More info about the Groasis Waterboxx at Spain has 10 million hectares of unproductive land. The land turns into desert like areas. With the Groasis Waterboxx we can plant productive trees. Without the use of irrigation. We can also start reforestation. Without using precious water. With the Groasis Waterboxx we use over 99% less water than with irrigation. The planted trees have – despite extreme weather circumstances – over 90% chance to survive. This Life+ ‘The Green Deserts’ project is subsidized by the European Union.

Participatory methods to help farmers adapt to climate change

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Local farmer Ibrahim Mohamedou waters his plants with a watering can at an IFAD-supported nursery, part of an anti-desertification programme near the village of Zabon Mousso. Ibrahim, who has been working on nursery projects such as this one for over ten years, says of his work: ‘I am always encouraged to continue this work when I see my trees growing big. When people don’t look after them it makes me very angry’.

Project initiated to build resilient farming systems

by Samuel Hinneh

“The CGIAR system through the [Research Program on] CCAFS is willing through these kind of projects to generate the scientific knowledge and evidence about agricultural options that can work well in West Africa.” Jules Bayala, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

Speed read

  • The project is being implemented in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Senegal
  • It aims to use participatory methods to help farmers adapt to climate change
  • An expert suggests a need for including fish culture and rural poultry farming

A large-scale project that seeks to help smallholders adapt toclimate change by practising agricultural systems that integrate tree planting, rearing of livestock and crop production has begun in West Africa.

The Building Resilient Agro-forestry Pastoral Systems through Participatory Action Research (BRAS-PAR) project aims to improve the understanding of farmers’ perceptions and demands by addressing barriers to technology adoption while taking into consideration genderand social differentiation.

Robert B. Zougmoré, who leads CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in West Africa, says the project’s work plans include assessment of needs to build the capacity of stakeholders in adaptation planning.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

The age-old practice of shifting cultivation is still misunderstood by policy makers

See also:

Indigenous people should have the right to practice shifting cultivation


A new publication calls for better recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to practice shifting cultivation in Asia-Pacific to ensure food security.

The publication: Shifting Cultivation, Livelihood and Food Security: New and Old Challenges for Indigenous Peoples in Asia includes 7 case studies from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal and Thailand. It has been jointly produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).

The case studies provide evidence of how, if properly managed and environmentally sound, shifting cultivation can provide multiple benefits.

Read the full article: World Agroforestry Centre

Improving institutional capacity through locally led participatory action research

Photo credit: CCAFS-CGIAR

Trainers participate in research as part of the Trees for Global Benefit project in Mbale, Uganda. Photo: EcoAgriculture Partners

Local organizations in Kenya and Uganda lead smallholder carbon projects

Participatory action research yields benefits for smallholder farmers, carbon sequestration, and much learning.

Among the many men and women toiling in rows of maize, sunflower, sugarcane, potatoes and beans in Bungoma County, Kenya, practically no one was interested in growing carbon. For one, no one has ever asked for a big bowl of carbon for dinner. Also, carbon does not make any money on the local market (nor on the global market for that matter).

Thus, it is a challenge to attract participation in agricultural carbon projects – and thereby to lower total net emissions from agriculture in the developing world.

So what if carbon storage was a happy by-product of more immediately rewarding investments by farmers? Are there climate-smart agriculture practices that make sense to farmers and include investing in storing carbon on their croplands? And could carbon funds feasibly finance investments in those practices? And how can the projects be implemented?

Carbon projects involving hundreds of farmers are very complex: they require training farmers, distributing inputs or supplies, measuring carbon stored and distributing carbon payments. The more farmers involved, the greater the necessity for more tasks. Project success depends, then, on the institional capacity of project implementers.

Over the last several years, EcoAgriculture Partners found that when local institutions drive the project management and problem-solving processes, they generate deep learning, empowerment and ownership over the results. Though sometimes overlooked when focusing on hard adoption targets, local participation in management is essential for sustained carbon sequestration.

Read the full article: CCAFS-CGIAR

Women have emerged as the natural leaders

Photo credit: IPS NEWS

Women from the Gunduribadi tribal village in the eastern Indian state of Odisha patrol their forests with sticks to prevent illegal logging. Credit: Manipadma Jena/IPS

Watch What Happens When Tribal Women Manage India’s Forests

“No one can cheat us of even one metre of our mother, the forest. She has given us life and we have given our lives for her.” — Kama Pradhan, a tribal woman from the Gunduribadi village


Unfolding out of sight and out of mind of India’s policy-making nucleus in the capital, New Delhi, this quiet drama – involving the 275 million people who reside in or on the fringes of the country’s bountiful forests – could be the defining struggle of the century.

At the forefront of the movement are tribal communities in states like Odisha who are determined to make full use of a2012 amendment to India’s Forest Rights Act (FRA) to claim titles to their land, on which they can carve out a simple life, and a sustainable future for their children.

One of the most empowering provisions of the amended FRA gave forest dwellers and tribal communities the right to own, manage and sell non-timber forest products (NTFP), which some 100 million landless people in India depend on for income, medicine and housing.

Women have emerged as the natural leaders of efforts to implement these legal amendments, as they have traditionally managed forestlands, sustainably sourcing food, fuel and fodder for the landless poor, as well as gathering farm-fencing materials, medicinal plants and wood to build their thatched-roof homes.

Under the leadership of women like Pradhan, 850 villages in the Nayagarh district of Odisha state are collectively managing 100,000 hectares of forest land, with the result that 53 percent of the district’s land mass now has forest cover.


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