“Harnessing Synergies between Agriculture and Forest Restoration’
Communities work together to restore forests – an example from Nepal By Lila Nath Sharma, PhD
Blog from IUFRO Member Organization ForestAction Nepal
Jalthal forest is a 6,000 ha forested land in the densely populated region in the lowland of Southeastern Nepal. It is a remnant moist tropical forest with diverse ecosystems and habitats comprising swamps, rivers, ponds, hillocks and plain areas. It is an important biodiversity hotspot with several threatened floras and faunas including the Asiatic elephant and pangolin. The forest has unique assemblages of tropical and subtropical plant species found in the sub Himalayan tract. Floristic elements from different bio-geographical regions – Sino Himalayan, East Asian and Indian, for example – makes the forest diverse and unique.
The forest is an important source of environmental services including fresh water and multitudes of forest products for people living around the forest. It is currently managed by 22 Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) and is an important livelihood source for over 80,000 people. In spite of high ecological and social significance, the Jalthal forest is subjected to multiple pressures. These include invasive species, human-wildlife conflict (particularly human-elephant), wildlife poaching, illegal felling of trees and timber focused forest management.
Amos is a 25 year old Ugandan and a recent graduate from Makerere University, Kampala, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Conservation Forestry and Production Technology. He has been the President of the International Forestry Students’ Association (IFSA) since August 2019. His favorite pastimes are cycling through natural landscapes and meeting friends.
Integration of Western and Traditional knowledge in FLR planning and implementation can result in more comprehensive, locally grounded, and socially and culturally acceptable restoration projects. This scene from the Ilmil Valley in the Atlas Mountains (Morocco) depicts a mosaic of agricultural and forest management practices used by farmers to support their livelihoods and food security while conserving forest biodiversity. Photo: John Parrotta
Much has been written about forest landscape restoration (FLR) from a silvicultural or ecological perspective: techniques, approaches, methods, case studies, have all tended to focus on the practical and technical tools to implement forest restoration. However, relatively little attention has been given to human dimensions.
In fact, there is limited guidance on how to go about restoring forest landscapes when it comes to integrating both ecological and human dimensions of FLR. The need for this integration was the main motivation for the newly published book entitled Forest Landscape Restoration: Integrated Approaches to Support Effective Implementation, which was edited by Stephanie Mansourian (Consultant, member of IUFRO Task Force Forest Adaptation and Restoration under Global Change, and Research Associate, University of Geneva, Switzerland), and John Parrotta (US Forest Service and IUFRO Vice-President). Read more…
Many centuries ago, a Greek philosopher noted that change is the only constant in life.
And change is brought about, in many instances, through discourse.
Discourse has been described in part as: “an ensemble of ideas, concepts and categories through which meaning is given to social and physical phenomena…”
According to this definition, discourse refers to a particular set of related ideas, which are shared, debated and communicated using different formats.
Through various discourses, we can discover fresh information and be introduced to new and different perspectives. We are able to gain experience and insight. As a result, our thinking, our attitudes, and our approaches toward various issues can evolve and change.
Certainly the ways in which forests are viewed, managed and developed have changed as the discourses concerning them have evolved. Read more…
To some, the forests mean combatting illegal logging and associated trade, avoiding deforestation and degradation, conserving biodiversity and protecting wilderness.
Photo by Geoff Roberts, Australia
To others, the forests mean timber as a renewable raw material for uses such as construction and bioenergy, forest-based climate change adaptation and mitigation and transitioning toward a forest-based bioeconomy.
“These issues can be termed the global forest environmental frontier,” said Dr. Georg Winkel, Head of the European Forest Institute’s Resilience Research Programme in Bonn, Germany.
“All the issues are interrelated and relate to a global controversy that asks how we can keep and manage the world’s forests to satisfy both ecological and socio-economic needs now and in the future,” he said.
Dr. Winkel is coordinator of a session entitled The Global Forest Environmental Frontier – What has changed, what has remained unchanged, how will the future look? at the IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress in Freiburg, Germany in September. Read more…
Plantation of Olga Bay Larch at Qingyuan in Liaoning Province, China. Plantations such as these will be an important source of roundwood in the future. (Photo by John Innes, Coordinator of IUFRO Task Force on Resources for the Future: Transformation in Forest Use)
The 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessments report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that “…in planted forests, a new timber resource is continuing to be created … (that will) contribute significantly not only to future wood and energy supplies but … (also to) a range of wider social and environmental benefits…”
About 25 years ago, planted forests represented 4% of the world’s forested area. Today they represent almost 7%. But that 7% provides at least one-third of the world’s timber, so their importance should not be underestimated. Read more…
During the past 15 years, the rapid expansion of fossil fuels usage has raised global greenhouse gas emissions to the highest levels to date. This has led to a rise in surface temperatures and a significant increase in climate-related risks, including the loss of sea ice in the artic ocean, reduction of mountain glaciers, sea level rise, loss of endangered species, to name but a few.
In urban territories, solar energy and heat are absorbed to a greater extent than in rural areas, thus reducing the evapotranspiration and creating warmer environments. Consequently, the energy demand for cooling is expected to grow strongly with climate change. However, in many cities there is a potential for cooling urban microclimates through adding vegetation and trees and greening roofs and city areas. This will not only help to save energy, it will also be beneficial to the health and quality of life of city dwellers. Read more…
A report that analyses the complicated, intertwined and often oppositional philosophies, land uses and governance regimes that comprise the forest-food nexus, will help inform deliberations as the United Nations Forum on Forests develops a 15-year roadmap for international forest policy.
At the heart of the new report is the understanding that forests and trees cannot, by themselves, replace the role of agriculture, but they are critically important to food security and nutrition.
Maritime pine in its early stages of plantation (photo by Stephanie Hayes, EFIATLANTIC)
Planted forests are vital but vulnerable resources that can contribute in a sustainable fashion to some of humanity’s most pressing needs – poverty alleviation, food security, renewable energy, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and biodiversity conservation – as well as the preservation of natural forests.
These are among the findings in the recently published Summary Report of the 3rd International Congress on Planted Forests. It is based on outcomes from three scientific workshops and a plenary meeting that took place earlier this year.
Thirty-three countries have greater than 1 million hectares of planted forest area. Together these countries comprise 90% of the world’s 264 million hectares of planted forest which, in turn, equals almost 7% of the total global forest area. The report takes into account key research findings from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, Latin America and North America related to vulnerability, viability and governance of planted forests.
13 May 2011, New York – As discussions draw to a close at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) in UN Headquarters this week, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), an international mechanism composed of 14-forest related organizations and secretariats, are calling upon countries to pay more attention to the crucial contribution of forests to sustainable development.
Members of the CPF are working to improve management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. Sustainably managed forests contribute directly to poverty reduction by providing jobs, incomes, and consumable goods for poor families.
“At a time when we are faced with environmental, social, and economic crises that are daunting; the CPF is working intensively together to further catalyze the positive contributions of forests, including the livelihoods of forest-dependent people, as is being celebrated in 2011, the International Year of Forests.” says Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests Secretariat. “Forest services and benefits are multifaceted and wide-ranging, from the environmental contributions to the social and economic. Cross-sectoral and cross-institutional cooperation and a people-relevant approach is vital not only to management of forests but for advancing sustainable development around the world.”
“Further analysis is needed during the International Year of Forests, to emphasize the connection between people and forests, and the benefits that can accrue when forests are managed by local people in sustainable and innovative ways” says Eduardo Rojas-Briales Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department. “Together we must continue to pursue multiple pathways towards sustainable development using forests at all levels.”
Rojas called attention to the 2011 edition of FAO’s State of the World’s Forests, which provides an analysis of how forests support people’s livelihoods and the development of sustainable forest industries. According to the report, forest industries are improving resource efficiency and recycling efforts and are making progress in promoting wood products as more environmentally friendly than alternative materials. Moreover, State of the World’s Forests 2011 indicates that community-based and traditional knowledge forest management approaches can help communities harvest and sell non-wood forest products to create more sustainable livelihoods.
The relevance of traditional forest-related knowledge and practices to global efforts to advance sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation, adaptation to environmental change, and livelihood security is highlighted by a 6-year global study that has recently been completed by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.
Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization noted that “Already in many tropical countries, sustainably managed forests and the products that arise from them are contributing to sustainable development at both the national and especially at the community level. But since sustainably managed forests still make up less than 10% of the total global tropical forest area, they clearly have the potential to play a much bigger role.”
A successful example of sustainable forest management can been seen in Guinea, where the Landscape Management for Improved Livelihoods (LAMIL) project by the World Agroforestry Centre and the Centre for International Forestry Research has had a profound influence on the sustainability of four large forest areas. Prior to the project, local people were forbidden from using the forest resources and illegal logging, poaching and land clearance were leading to forest loss. The LAMIL project developed a system of co-management involving local communities and government where the local people derive real benefits from the forests, and in return have shown their willingness and ability to manage them sustainably.
“The project illustrates how changes in how forests are governed can lead to win-win outcomes for forests and people,” commented Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research. “This project has done much to improve the welfare of the local people,” said Dennis Garrity Director General of the WorldAgroforestryCenter. “It has also shown that sustainable forest management and improved livelihoods are inextricably linked.”
“Forests, soils and water are a trilogy that are not stand-alone, self-sustaining resources” says Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. “To foster a holistic approach to the management of these environmental resources, we must attend to three things. First, we need to focus on the causes, not the symptoms of deforestation. Second, we also need to focus on the soil, which is the real source of life for the land. Third, the communities that maintain the ecosystems we depend upon need to be rewarded.”
At the recent United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) meeting in February, ministers and high officials agreed on a Ministerial Declaration which stresses that “forests are an integral part of the global environment and human well-being, providing multiple goods and services essential for people worldwide and crucial for sustainable development and the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.” The UNFF Ministerial Declaration contains the most important global forest policy issues and concerns as the concrete input on forests to the upcomingRio+20 conference. Rio+20 (June 2012), marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development, agreed upon at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The conference will review progress made towards sustainable development and map out future strategies to address sustainable development and environmental challenges.