Publications

“Forest of Andasibe National Park, Madagascar” 

by Gregoire Dubois, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This page provides information and links to select publications supported by FLARE and by FLARE research associates, including current and former students, post-docs, coordinators, and others.

2020

Liao et al. (2020) Socio-Environmental Patterns of Large-Scale Land Transactions

Liao et al. (2020) Socio-Environmental Patterns of Large-Scale Land Transactions

Liao, C., Jung, S., Agrawal, A., Brown, D. 2020. Socio-Environmental Patterns of Large-Scale Land Transactions: Evidence from Ethiopia, Liberia, Cambodia, and Peru. Land Degradation and Development

Abstract

Recent large‐scale land transactions, often framed as “land grabbing,” are historically unprecedented. Millions of hectares of land have changed hands for agriculture‐driven development over the past decade, and their implementation generates substantial risk of land degradation. This paper aims to investigate land transaction patterns and evaluate their potential socio‐environmental impacts in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Peru. We undertake a novel spatially explicit approach to quantify land transactions, and conduct scenario‐based analyses to explore their implementation consequences on people, land, and carbon emission. Our results demonstrate that existing global datasets on land transactions substantially underestimate their incidence, but can either exaggerate or underreport transacted areas. While confirming that land transactions are more likely to occur in sparsely populated, poorer, and more forested areas, our scenario‐based analyses reveal that if fully implemented for agricultural development, land transactions in the four countries will affect more than one million people, yield over 2 Gt of carbon emissions, and disrupt vast swathes of forests. Our findings refute the “empty land” discourse in government policy, and highlight the consequences of land degradation that can occur at an unexpected scale in the “global land rush.” Future policy‐making needs to anticipate the risk of land degradation in terms of deforestation and carbon emission while pursuing agriculture‐driven development through land transactions.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Newton et al. (2020) The Number and Spatial Distribution of Forest-Proximate People Globally

Newton et al. (2020) The Number and Spatial Distribution of Forest-Proximate People Globally

We estimate the number of people who live in and around forests globally by combining forest cover and human population density data on a global scale in 2000 and 2012. Globally, 1.6 billion rural people lived within 5 km of a forest in 2012. Of these, 64.5% lived in tropical countries. We propose the term ‘‘forest proximate people’’ to refer to people who live in and around forests. Forest proximity is related to, but not synonymous with, forest dependency.

 

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2019

Hajjar et al. (2019) The Consequences of Large-Scale Land Transactions on Household Labor Allocation

Hajjar et al. (2019) The Consequences of Large-Scale Land Transactions on Household Labor Allocation

Hajjar, R., Ayana, A., Rutt, R., Hinde, O., Liao, C., Keene, S., Bandiaky-Badji, S., Agrawal, A. 2019. Capital, Labor, and Gender: The Consequences of Large-Scale Land Transactions on Household Labor Allocation. Journal of Peasant Studies

ABSTRACT

Contemporary large-scale land transactions (LSLTs), also called land grabs, are historically unprecedented in their scale and pace. They have provoked robust scholarly debates, yet studies of their gender-differentiated impacts remain more rare, particularly when it comes to how changes in control over land and resources affect women’s labor, and thereby their livelihoods and well-being. Our comparative study of four LSLTs in western Ethiopia finds that the transactions led to substantial land use change, including relocation and decrease in size of smallholder parcels, loss of communally-held grazing lands, and loss of forests. These changes had far-reaching impacts on household labor allocation, the gendered division of labor, and household wellbeing. But their effects on women are both more adverse and more severe, expressed in terms of increased wage labor to make up for lost land and livestock, more time spent gathering firewood and water from increasingly distant locations, and an increased intensity of household responsibilities where male members underwent wage labor migration. These burdens led to negative psychological, corporal, and material effects on women living in and near transacted areas compared to their situation prior to transactions. This article both responds to the deficit in studies on the impacts of LSLTs on gendered livelihoods, labor relations, and wellbeing outcomes, and lays the groundwork for future research.

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Jung et al. (2019) Evidence on the Impacts of Forestry Concessions on Wealth in Liberia

Jung et al. (2019) Evidence on the Impacts of Forestry Concessions on Wealth in Liberia

Jung, S., Liao, C., Agrawal, A., Brown, D. 2019. Evidence on the Impacts of Forestry Concessions on Wealth in Liberia. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 6(5): 961-1000

Abstract

The effects of resource-led development on local people’s well-being are disputed. Using four rounds of Demographic and Health Survey data in Liberia, we find that households living closer to active forest concessions achieved a higher asset-based wealth score compared to those living farther away. These wealth-improving effects did not stem, however, from the direct employment effects of concessions. Rather, evidence suggests that indirect general equilibrium effects related to demand for goods and services and increased employment in all-year and nonsubsistence jobs are the main channels. Our study underlines potential wealth-improving effects of resource-led development in poor countries, thereby contributing to the literature on well-being impacts of resource-led development on local people.

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2018

Hajjar and Oldekop (2018) Research frontiers in community forest management

Hajjar and Oldekop (2018) Research frontiers in community forest management

Community forest management (CFM) has been promoted worldwide as a means to conserve forests, recognize community rights, and improve local livelihoods. Here, we synthesize findings across recent CFM studies and identify two thematic and one methodological trend at the forefront of CFM scholarship. The first thematic trend is an examination of community forest enterprises as hybrid business models. The second is the increase of studies examining how REDD+ can contribute to the goals of CFM, and vice versa. The key methodological trend is the use of secondary data sets to determine outcomes of CFM policies at regional and national scales. These three trends add new perspectives to the debate on the effectiveness of CFM as a forest policy and institutional intervention.

 

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Jung, Liao, Agrawal, Brown (2018) Evidence on Wealth-Improving Effects of Forest Concessions in Liberia

Jung, Liao, Agrawal, Brown (2018) Evidence on Wealth-Improving Effects of Forest Concessions in Liberia

The effects of resource-led development on local people’s wellbeing are disputed.
Using four rounds of Demographic and Health Survey data in Liberia, we find that households
living closer to active forest concessions achieved a higher asset-based wealth score compared to
those living farther away. These wealth-improving effects did not stem, however, from the direct
employment effects of concessions. Rather, evidence suggests that indirect general equilibrium
effects related to demand for goods and services and increased employment in all-year and nonsubsistence
jobs are the main channels. Our study underlines potential wealth-improving effects
of resource-led development in poor countries, thereby contributing to the literature on wellbeing
impacts of resource-led development on local people.

 

Full Paper

Sanchez Badini, Hajjar, Kozak (2018) Critical success factors for small and medium forest enterprises: A review

Sanchez Badini, Hajjar, Kozak (2018) Critical success factors for small and medium forest enterprises: A review

Small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) are small firms in developing countries aimed at generating income from a diverse set of forest-related activities. They result in multiple dimensions of economic, social, and cultural prosperity in forest-dependent economies, and as such they constitute an important strategy for fostering prosperity. However, SMFEs facea number of barriers and challenges, including inhospitable or incompatible regulatory environments, difficulties achieving economies of scale, and insufficient access to technical and financial capacity to overcome these issues. Through a comprehensive literature review of scholarly research published on the subject of SMFE failures and successes, our study addressed the following question: what political, economic, and socio-cultural conditions are needed for SMFEs to thrive? In answering this question, we identified and characterized twelve (12) emergent critical success factors (CSFs) of enabling business environments: macroeconomic setting, regulatory frameworks, forest law enforcement, tenure and ownership rights, management and land use planning rights, marketsnatural capital, financial capitalforest management capacities, business management capacities, organizational capacities, and clustering. The integrative enabling environment framework proposed in our study can be used as a tool by practitioners seeking to promote SMFEs through programs of support or policy reforms. By considering the various CSFs that act as the foundation for successful SMFE development, the efficacy of forest-dependent livelihoodinterventions aiming to achieve prosperity around the world can be meaningfully enhanced.

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2017

Broegaard et al. (2017) Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes

Broegaard et al. (2017) Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes

Citation: Broegaard, Rikke Brandt, Laura Vang Rasmussen, Neil Dawson, Ole Mertz, Thoumthone Vongvisouk, and Kenneth Grogan. “Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. Web.

Abstract

Wild food constitutes a substantial part of household food consumption around the world, but rapid land use changes influence the availability of wild foods, which has implications for smallholders’ food and nutrient intake. With increasing commercial agriculture and biodiversity conservation efforts in forested tropical regions, many shifting cultivation systems are being intensified and their extent restricted. Studies examining the consequences of such pressures commonly overlook the diminishing role of wild food. Using a combination of collection diaries, participant observation, remote sensing, and interviews, we examined the role of agriculture-forest landscapes in the provision of wild food in rapidly transforming shifting cultivation communities in northern Laos. We found that wild food contributed less to human diets in areas where pressure on land from commercial agriculture and conservation efforts was more intense. Our results demonstrate that increasing pressure on land creates changes in the shifting cultivation landscape and people’s use thereof with negative effects on the quality of nutrition, including protein deficiency, especially in communities adjacent to core conservation areas. Our study shows the importance of adopting a more nutrition-sensitive approach to the linkages between commercial agriculture and biodiversity conservation (and the policies that promote them), wild food provisioning, and food security.

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Byg et al. (2017) Trees, soils, and warthogs – Distribution of services and disservices from reforestation areas in southern Ethiopia

Byg et al. (2017) Trees, soils, and warthogs – Distribution of services and disservices from reforestation areas in southern Ethiopia

Citation: Byg, A., Novo, P., Dinato, M., Moges, A., Tefera, T., Balana, B., Woldeamanuel, T., Black, H. “Trees, Soils, and Warthogs – Distribution of Services and Disservices from Reforestation Areas in Southern Ethiopia.“ Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

Conservation projects have often been criticized for creating global benefits while causing negative impacts on local livelihoods. Ecosystem services approaches have been seen as one way to change this by focusing explicitly on maintaining ecosystems for human well-being of stakeholders at various scales. However, ecosystem services approaches have often ignored trade-offs between groups of people and issues of power and do not automatically lead to better outcomes in terms of human well-being. Here we report on a study on the impacts of reforestation projects with an explicit focus on human well-being in three communities in southern Ethiopia. We investigated the distribution of services and disservices from reforestation using qualitative methods. Results showed that the services and disservices from reforestation were distributed unequally across space and wealth groups resulting in widespread dissatisfaction with existing reforestation projects despite the explicit focus on human benefits. To improve outcomes of reforestation it is necessary to acknowledge and manage disservices adaptively, include issues of power and make trade-offs transparent.

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Hajjar and Kozak (2017) The evolution of forest producer associations and their current role in REDD+: Case studies from Quintana Roo, Mexico

Hajjar and Kozak (2017) The evolution of forest producer associations and their current role in REDD+: Case studies from Quintana Roo, Mexico

Citation: Hajjar, Reem, and Robert A. Kozak. “The evolution of forest producer associations and their current role in REDD+: Case studies from Quintana Roo, Mexico.” Land Use Policy 60 (2017): 373-83. Science Direct. Web.

Abstract

Forest associations (secondary-level institutions that support and represent groups of forest producer communities) play an important and understudied role in promoting community forestry in a multi-level forest governance context in many countries. This role continually evolves to meet new demands from their constituents, with associations diversifying into activities that bring new governance issues, interests, organizational logics and capacity needs. As community forestry in many countries is being integrated into REDD+ national strategies, questions arise regarding new roles for these associations. Through a case study of two forest associations in Quintana Roo, Mexico, this study traces the history and evolution of these associations as they react and adapt to a changing forest sector, uses forest stakeholders’ opinions to assess the associations’ current status and perceived importance of their involvement in the forest sector, and examines how current opinions and historical legacy have shaped their role in REDD+ in Mexico. Results show that association members and outsiders (mostly government stakeholders) hold divergent views of the utility of these organizations. Outsiders’ negative perceptions, as well as the niche that the associations are currently in, is largely determining their limited participation in REDD+ consultation and implementation to date. This is a missed opportunity to engage important allies who still hold high legitimacy in the eyes of the communities that will be the ultimate implementers of REDD+.

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Ingram et al. (2017) Challenges to governing sustainable forest food: Irvingia spp. from southern Cameroon

Ingram et al. (2017) Challenges to governing sustainable forest food: Irvingia spp. from southern Cameroon

Citation: Ingram, Verina, Marcus Ewane, Louis Njie Ndumbe, and Abdon Awono. “Challenges to governing sustainable forest food: Irvingia spp. from southern Cameroon.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

Across the Congo Basin, bush mango (Irvingia spp.) nuts have been harvested from forest landscapes for consumption, sold as a foodstuff and for medicine for centuries. Data on this trade however are sparse. A value chain approach was used to gather information on stakeholders in the chain from the harvesters in three major production areas in Cameroon to traders in Cameroon, Nigeria, and Equatorial Guinea, the socio-economic values, environmental sustainability and governance. Around 5190 people work in the complex chain in Cameroon with an estimated 4109 tons harvested on average annually in the period 2007 to 2010. Bush mango incomes contribute on average to 31% of harvester’s annual incomes and dependence increases for those further from the forest. Customary rules govern access to resources. Although regulations exist, most trade is illegal, with corruption and collective action governing access to markets. The majority of nuts harvested are sustainably collected. Although 51% of the harvest is sourced from the forest, trees are also managed on cultivated land. Forest degradation and deforestation threaten the species. Policy measures such as linking stakeholders, promoting cultivation, pragmatic regulation, and supporting processer groups may make trade in this forest food more sustainable.

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Jung et al. (2017) Brazil’s National Environmental Registry of Rural Properties: Implications for Livelihoods

Jung et al. (2017) Brazil’s National Environmental Registry of Rural Properties: Implications for Livelihoods

Citation: Suhyun Jung, Laura Rasmussen, Cristy Watkins, Pete Newton, and Arun Agrawal. 2017. Brazil’s National Environmental Registry of Rural Properties: Implications for Livelihoods. Ecological Economics, 136: 53-61.

Abstract

In Brazil, the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR) is currently being implemented. This policy aims to geo-reference all properties and promote monitoring of, and compliance with, natural vegetation conservation requirements. Scholarly efforts and policy attention have so far concentrated on possible environmental impacts hereof, while the attention devoted to how the CAR might affect farmers’ livelihoods has been limited. In this paper, we evaluate potential livelihood impacts of the CAR and programs that facilitate CAR registration. We do so by developing a conceptual framework and using evidence from semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders including farmers, governments, and funding agencies. We find that while the CAR and programs facilitating CAR do not have explicit livelihood impact goals, they nonetheless affect livelihoods, both positively and negatively, depending on the initial amount of natural vegetation on farmers’ properties, farmers’ access to credit and infrastructure, and changing market conditions. We argue that environmental interventions and policies need to consider potential livelihood impacts, especially if the policy intervention area has high poverty rates.

Full Paper

L’roe and Naughton-Treves (2017) Forest edges in western Uganda: From refuge for the poor to zone of investment

L’roe and Naughton-Treves (2017) Forest edges in western Uganda: From refuge for the poor to zone of investment

Citation: L’roe, Jessica, and Lisa Naughton-Treves. “Forest edges in western Uganda: From refuge for the poor to zone of investment.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

Western Uganda is home to growing populations of smallholder agriculturalists, expanding commodity plantations, and protected forests. In this setting, we document a shift in who uses forest edge land and how it is used. In developing countries, protected forest edges are traditionally sites where marginalized people can subsist, but increasing land competition has the potential to change this scenario. We used longitudinal field data spanning two decades to characterize the evolution of landownership and land use neighboring Kibale National Park. The number of households has more than doubled since 1993. Land values are rising, and people buying land near the park in recent years are significantly wealthier and have more off-farm income than those who acquired land there in earlier periods. The reverse is true of renters. More people are growing inedible perennial cash crops like eucalyptus, tea, and coffee, especially those with larger amounts of land and capital. Some long-term residents are prospering, while others are squeezed onto ever smaller pieces of land and opting for precarious rental arrangements as land competition increases. We discuss the implications of this transitioning park neighborhood, both for conservation and local livelihoods.

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Miller et al. (2017) Prevalence, economic contribution, and determinants of trees on farms across Sub-Saharan Africa

Miller et al. (2017) Prevalence, economic contribution, and determinants of trees on farms across Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation: Miller, Daniel C., Juan Carlos Munoz-Mora, and Luc Christiaensen. “Prevalence, economic contribution, and determinants of trees on farms across Sub-Saharan Africa.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. Web.

Abstract

Trees on farms are often overlooked in agricultural and natural resource research and policy in Sub-Saharan Africa. This article addresses this gap using data from the Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture in five countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. Trees on farms are widespread. On average, almost a third of rural smallholders grow trees. They account for an average of 17% of total annual gross income for tree-growing households and 6% for all rural households. Gender, land and labor endowments, and especially forest proximity and national context are key determinants of on-farm tree adoption and management. These new, national-scale insights on the prevalence, economic contribution and determinants of trees on farms in Africa lay the basis for exploring the interaction of agriculture, on-farm tree cultivation, and forestry to gain a more complete picture of the dynamics of rural livelihoods across the continent and beyond.

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Miller, Rana, and Wahlén (2017) A Crystal Ball for Forests?: Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Miller, Rana, and Wahlén (2017) A Crystal Ball for Forests?: Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Citation: Miller, Daniel C., et al. “A Crystal Ball for Forests?: Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term.” Environment and Society, vol. 8, no. 1, 1 Sept. 2017, pp. 40–62.

Abstract:

Citizens, governments, and donors are increasingly demanding better evidence on the effectiveness of development policies and programs. Efforts to ensure such accountability in the forest sector confront the challenge that the results may take years, even decades, to materialize, while forest-related interventions usually last only a short period. This article reviews the broad interdisciplinary literature assessing forest conservation and management impacts on biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. It emphasizes the importance of indicators and identifies disconnects between a rapidly growing body of research based on quasi-experimental designs and studies taking a more critical, ethnographic approach. The article also highlights a relative lack of attention on longer-term impacts in both of these areas of scholarship. We conclude by exploring research frontiers in the assessment of the impacts of forest-related interventions with long incubation periods, notably the development of predictive proxy indicators (PPIs).

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Rasmussen et al. (2017) Bridging the practitioner-researcher divide: Indicators to track environmental, economic, and sociocultural sustainability of agricultural commodity production

Rasmussen et al. (2017) Bridging the practitioner-researcher divide: Indicators to track environmental, economic, and sociocultural sustainability of agricultural commodity production

Citation: Rasmussen, Laura Vang, Rosina Bierbaum, Johan A. Oldekop, and Arun Agrawal. “Bridging the practitioner-researcher divide: Indicators to track environmental, economic, and sociocultural sustainability of agricultural commodity production.” Global Environmental Change 42 (2017): 33-46. Science Direct. Web.

Abstract

Agricultural systems, with their links to human wellbeing, have been at the heart of sustainability debates for decades. But there is only limited agreement among scientists and stakeholders about the indicators needed to measure the sustainability of agricultural commodity production. We analyze the metrics and indicators of sustainability used in contemporary research on commodity agriculture to demonstrate that new sustainability indicators continue to be developed rapidly by researchers interested in the three principal pillars of sustainability (environmental, economic, and sociocultural). Data from interviews with main agencies and organizations investing in sustainable commodity agriculture reveals that the most commonly used indicators in the academic literature do not overlap with the central aspects of agricultural commodity production that practitioners seek to monitor. Increased dialogue between researchers and practitioners is necessary for better design and use of metrics and indicators that are cost-effective and can be used to compare sustainability outcomes across countries and commodities. We argue that finding common ground among researchers and practitioners requires coordinating ongoing data collection efforts, a greater focus on linking data collection to relevant indicators for sustainable agricultural production, and more attention to the analysis of combined datasets, rather than on the collection of new data on new indicators. By outlining twelve key aspects of agricultural commodity production that the interviewed practitioners from major agencies and organizations deem important to track, our analysis provides a strong framework that can help bridge research-practitioner divisions related to agricultural commodity production and the use of indicators to monitor and assess its sustainability. Our findings are relevant to the search for a parsimonious set of sustainability indicators at a critical time within the context of a new emerging global sustainability agenda.

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Rasmussen et al. (2017) Forest contributions to livelihoods in changing agriculture-forest landscapes

Rasmussen et al. (2017) Forest contributions to livelihoods in changing agriculture-forest landscapes

Citation: Rasmussen, Laura Vang, Crsity Watkins, and Arun Agrawal. “Forest Contributions to Livelihoods in Changing Agriculture-forest Landscapes.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

Forests support the livelihoods of a vast number of people through subsistence use of products, such as food, fodder, and medicinal plants; cash income obtained from sale of products; and more indirect ecological benefits such as the contributions of forests and trees to agricultural productivity. It is widely acknowledged that these contributions can be paramount to local livelihoods, yet country- and region-wide data on their linkages remains sparse and limited attention has been devoted to understanding synergies and trade-offs between, for example, subsistence and cash exchange-based contributions. And because many forest landscapes are now transitioning towards patchworks of land uses owing to agricultural expansion, conservation interventions, urbanization, and other drivers, the ways in which forests support livelihoods are in flux leaving questions about potential shifts in their importance relatively unexplored. This editorial as well as the papers collected in this special issue on Forests, food, and livelihoods, discuss the ways in which forests contribute to livelihoods, including interactions between them, and how they change as landscapes transition. By doing so, we point to the need to move beyond single-year data collection to comparable temporal points and panel data as well as the importance of accounting for a) subsistence use values, b) commercial use values, and c) ecological forest contributions in poverty alleviation policies.

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Rasmussen et al. (2017) Understanding smallholders’ intended deforestation behavior in the Brazilian Cerrado following environmental registry

Rasmussen et al. (2017) Understanding smallholders’ intended deforestation behavior in the Brazilian Cerrado following environmental registry

Citation: Laura Vang Rasmussen et al 2016 Environ. Res. Lett. 12 094001

Abstract:

Brazil’s Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) is a potentially promising avenue to slow deforestation on private properties as it facilitates the monitoring of land use. Yet limited empirical evidence exists on how the CAR affects smallholders’ behavior and recent scholarly efforts have in fact indicated that it may be doing less to protect forests than previously assumed. Based on 1177 smallholder surveys conducted in the Cerrado, we assess 1) whether the CAR might incentivize smallholders to pursue deforestation and 2) which factors are associated with smallholders’ intended deforestation behavior. We find that upon CAR registration, factors significantly associated with smallholders’ intention to deforest are: the existing percentage of native vegetation on the property, the use of agricultural loans, property owner’s age, and livestock production experience. To curb deforestation that may follow expressed intentions of smallholders, the CAR, and environmental registration programs alike, should account for existing land use by, for example, improving the system already in place for trading areas of native vegetation as this system is not widely adopted by those smallholders with more native vegetation than the legal cut-off. Also, such programs should assess the role of whether conditions related to land cover maintenance may protect against deforestation if credit access is supported especially to younger smallholders and/or livestock producers with a high percentage of native vegetation in their properties.’

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Reed et al. (2017) Trees for life: The ecosystem service contribution of trees to food production and livelihoods in the tropics

Reed et al. (2017) Trees for life: The ecosystem service contribution of trees to food production and livelihoods in the tropics

Citation: Reed, James, Josh Van Vianen, Samson Foli, Jessica Clendenning, Kevin Yang, Margaret Macdonald, Gillian Petrokosfsky, Christine Padoch, and Terry Sunderland. “Trees for life: The ecosystem service contribution of trees to food production and livelihoods in the tropics.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. Web.

Abstract

Despite expanding interest in ecosystem service research over the past three decades, in-depth understanding of the contribution of forests and trees to food production and livelihoods remains limited. This review synthesizes the current evidence base examining the contribution of forest and trees to agricultural production and livelihoods in the tropics, where production often occurs within complex land use mosaics that are increasingly subjected to concomitant climatic and anthropogenic pressures. Using systematic review methodology we found 74 studies investigating the effect of forest or tree-based ecosystem service provision on a range of outcomes such as crop yield, biomass, soil fertility, and income. Our findings suggest that when incorporating forests and trees within an appropriate and contextualized natural resource management strategy, there is potential to maintain, and in some cases, enhance yields comparable to solely monoculture systems. Furthermore, this review has illustrated the potential of achieving net livelihood gains through integrating trees on farms, providing rural farmers with additional income sources, and greater resilience strategies to adapt to market or climatic shocks. However, we also identify significant gaps in the current knowledge that demonstrate a need for larger-scale, longer term research to better understand the contribution of forest and trees within the broader landscape and their associated impacts on livelihoods and food production systems.

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Sunderland et al. (2017) A methodological approach for assessing cross-site landscape change: Understanding socio-ecological systems

Sunderland et al. (2017) A methodological approach for assessing cross-site landscape change: Understanding socio-ecological systems

Citation: Sunderland, Terry, Rabdo Abdoulaye, Ronju Ahammad, Stella Asaha, Frederic Baudron, Elizabeth Deakin, Jean-Yves Duriaux, Ian Eddy, Samson Foli, Davison Gumbo, Kaysara Khatun, Mumba Kondwani, Mrigesh Kshatriya, Laurio Leonald, Dominic Rowland, Natasha Stacey, Stephanie Tomscha, Kevin Yang, Sarah Gergel, and Josh Van Vianen. “A Methodological Approach for Assessing Cross-site Landscape Change: Understanding Socio-ecological Systems.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

The expansion of agriculture has resulted in large-scale habitat loss, the fragmentation of forests, significant losses in biological diversity and negative impacts on many ecosystem services. In this paper, we highlight the Agrarian Change Project, a multi-disciplinary research initiative, that applies detailed socio-ecological methodologies in multi-functional landscapes, and assess the subsequent implications for conservation, livelihoods and food security. Specifically, the research focuses on land use impacts in locations which exhibit various combinations of agricultural modification/change across a forest transition gradient in six tropical landscapes, in Zambia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. These methods include integrated assessments of the perceptions of ecosystem service provision, tree cover loss and gain, relative poverty, diets and agricultural patterns of change. Although numerous surveys on rural livelihoods are undertaken each year, often at great cost, many are hampered by weaknesses in methods and thus may not reflect rural realities. We attempt to highlight how integrating broader socio-ecological methods can be used to fill in those gaps and ensure such realities are indeed captured. Early findings suggest that the transition from a forested landscape to a more agrarian dominated system does not necessarily result in better livelihood outcomes and there may be unintended consequences of forest and tree cover removal. These include the loss of access to grazing land, loss of dietary diversity and the loss of ecosystem services/forest products.

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Wahlen (2017) Opportunities for making the invisible visible: Towards an improved understanding of the economic contributions of NTFPs

Wahlen (2017) Opportunities for making the invisible visible: Towards an improved understanding of the economic contributions of NTFPs

Citation: Wahlen, Catherine Benson. “Opportunities for Making the Invisible Visible: Towards an Improved Understanding of the Economic Contributions of NTFPs.” Forest Policy and Economics (2017): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

Forests around the world remain under-valued because governments, policymakers, and other key actors do not consider the global or national contributions of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) when estimating the value of forests. Where available, existing estimates suggest the non-cash benefits of forests are substantial, in many cases three to ten times higher than those for which systematic national and global data are collected. Part of this under-valuation stems from a general focus by governments on forest resources that are commercially valued as well as from government failure to include estimates of NTFP contributions in their national accounts. Beyond these reasons, however, lay methodological challenges in measurement techniques and comparability across studies, countries, and regions, both of which result in limited data on NTFPs. This article reviews NTFP studies at the global and national levels to provide estimates of the non-cash contributions of NTFPs and to shed light on challenges related to the absence of systematic, reliable data on the economic contributions of forests. The article then considers the implications for forest governance, management, and policy, arguing that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer an opportunity to increase attention on the non-cash contributions of forests and turn this invisible contribution into a visible one.

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Wilson et al. (2017) Forest ecosystem-service transitions: the ecological dimensions of the forest transition

Wilson et al. (2017) Forest ecosystem-service transitions: the ecological dimensions of the forest transition

Wilson, S. J., J. Schelhas, R. Grau, A. S. Nanni, and S. Sloan. 2017. Forest ecosystem-service transitions: the ecological dimensions of the forest transition. Ecology and Society 22(4):38.
https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-09615-220438

Abstract

New forests are expanding around the world. In many regions, regrowth rates are surpassing deforestation rates, resulting in “forest transitions,” or net gains in forest cover. Typically measured only in terms of aggregate“’forest cover” change, these new forests are ecologically distinct from each other and from those originally cleared. We ask, what are the ecological attributes, goods, and services we might expect from different pathways of forest recovery? To address this question, we proposed a typology of forest transitions that reflects both their social drivers and ecological outcomes: tree plantation, spontaneous regeneration, and agroforestry transitions. Using case studies, we illustrate how the ecological outcomes of each transition type differ and change over time. We mapped the global distribution of forest-transition types to identify global epicenters of each, and found that spontaneous transitions are most common globally, especially in Latin America; agroforestry transitions predominate in Europe and Central America; and plantation transitions occur in parts of Europe and Asia. We proposed a conceptual framework to understand and compare the ecological services arising from different types of forest transitions over time: forest ecosystem-service transition curves. This framework illustrates that carbon sequestration tends to be comparatively lower in agroforestry transitions, and biodiversity recovery is lower in industrial plantations. Spontaneously regenerating forests tend to have relatively high biodiversity and biomass but provide fewer provisioning and economically valuable services. This framework captures the dynamism that we observe in forest transitions, thus illustrating that different social drivers produce different types of ecosystem-service transitions, and that as secondary forests grow, these services will change over time at rates that differ among transition types. Ultimately, this framework can guide future research, describe actual and potential changes in ecosystem services associated with different types of transitions, and promote management plans that incorporate forest cover changes with the services and benefits they provide.

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2016

Bakkegaard et al. (2016) Measuring forest and wild product contributions to household welfare: Testing a scalable household survey instrument in Indonesia

Bakkegaard et al. (2016) Measuring forest and wild product contributions to household welfare: Testing a scalable household survey instrument in Indonesia

Citation: Bakkegaard, Riyong Kim, Nicholas J. Hogarth, Indah Waty Bong, Aske S. Bosselmann, and Sven Wunder. “Measuring forest and wild product contributions to household welfare: Testing a scalable household survey instrument in Indonesia.” Forest Policy and Economics (2016): n. pag. Web.

Abstract

Systematic comparisons of human dependence on forests and environmental resources have been challenging, as a result of heterogeneous methodologies. Specialized Forestry Modules have been developed, with the goal of filling current information gaps concerning the economic importance of forest and wild products in household welfare and rural livelihoods. Results from a pilot assessment of the Forestry Modules in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, are presented, showing that the Forestry Modules perform well in extracting the expected information: mean per capita forest and wild product income shifts according to the geographical “forest gradient”. Significantly, in the forest-rich upstream village, mean forest and wild product income and mean forest-related wage and business incomes exceeds current mean agricultural income statistics for West Kalimantan and mean non-agricultural rural household incomes in the lowest bracket. Consumption of forest products and importance as a coping strategy was higher in the most upstream village, where sale of forest products in times of shock was more marked in the most downstream village (where forest coping strategies were also least important). The Forestry Modules’ detailed and systematic approach can help ensure that contributions of forest and wild products are not underestimated in national figures.

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Brandt et al. (2016) Deforestation and timber production in Congo after implementation of sustainable forest management policies

Brandt et al. (2016) Deforestation and timber production in Congo after implementation of sustainable forest management policies

Citation: Brandt, Jodi, Christoph Nolte, Arun Agrawal. 2016. Deforestation and timber production in Congo after implementation of sustainable forest management policies. Land Use Policy 52: 15-22.

Abstract

Over 400 million hectares of tropical forests are managed for timber production, comprising more than half of the remaining global permanent tropical forest estate. A growing proportion of tropical production forests are managed under Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) principles. The objective of SFM is to achieve multiple benefits, including forest protection, biodiversity conservation and income enhancement. However, the outcomes resulting from the implementation of SFM in tropical forest ecosystems have seldom been examined rigorously. In this paper, we present a methodological approach to assess broad-scale impacts of SFM policy in tropical forest ecosystems. As a case study, we investigated deforestation and timber production in logging concessions in the Republic of Congo after the implementation of its SFM-based forestry law in 2000. Compliance with the forestry law was incomplete, allowing a unique opportunity to compare deforestation and legal timber production outcomes in concessions that implemented SFM-based policy compared to those that did not. Quasi-experimental matching analysis indicated that deforestation in matched parcels in compliant concessions was up to 2-times higher than matched parcels in non-compliant concessions, equivalent to 67 km2 of forest loss for the period 2005–2010. Annual deforestation data demonstrated that deforestation was stable or increased in all six concessions following the respective date of compliance in each concession. Legal timber production increased (by 5%, from 0.18 to 0.19 CBM/ha/yr) and became more stable, in compliant compared to non-compliant concessions. Our results suggest that the presence of SFM in a concession does not immediately lead to less deforestation. Rather, SFM policy may be associated with higher deforestation, because SFM is also associated with higher legal timber production, foreign capital, and international timber demand. Our findings measure short-term associations between SFM and deforestation in the Congo, and underscore the need for empirical evaluation of long-term impacts of SFM in tropical forest ecosystems worldwide.

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Chazdon et al. (2016) When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration

Chazdon et al. (2016) When is a forest a forest? Forest concepts and definitions in the era of forest and landscape restoration

Citation: Chazdon, Robin L., Pedro H.S. Brancalion, Lars Laestadius, Aoife Bennett-Curry, Kathleen Buckingham, Chetan Kumar, Julian Moll-Rocek, Ima Celia Guimeraes Vieira, and Sarah Jane Wilson. 2016. When is a forest A forest? Forest concepts And definitions in the era of forest And landscape restoration.  Ambio doi: 10.1007/s13280-016-0772-y

Abstract

We present a historical overview of forest concepts and definitions, linking these changes with distinct perspectives and management objectives. Policies dealing with a broad range of forest issues are often based on definitions created for the purpose of assessing global forest stocks, which do not distinguish between natural and planted forests or reforests, and which have not proved useful in assessing national and global rates of forest regrowth and restoration. Implementing and monitoring forest and landscape restoration requires additional approaches to defining and assessing forests that reveal the qualities and trajectories of forest patches in a spatially and temporally dynamic landscape matrix. New technologies and participatory assessment of forest states and trajectories offer the potential to operationalize such definitions. Purpose-built and contextualized definitions are needed to support policies that successfully protect, sustain, and regrow forests at national and global scales. We provide a framework to illustrate how different management objectives drive the relative importance of different aspects of forest state, dynamics, and landscape context.

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Dave et al. (2016) Forest ecosystem services derived by smallholder farmers in northwestern Madagascar: Storm hazard mitigation and participation in forest management

Dave et al. (2016) Forest ecosystem services derived by smallholder farmers in northwestern Madagascar: Storm hazard mitigation and participation in forest management

Citation: Dave, Radhika, Emma L. Tompkins, and Kate Schreckenberg. “Forest ecosystem services derived by smallholder farmers in northwestern Madagascar: Storm hazard mitigation and participation in forest management.” Forest Policy and Economics (2016): n. pag. Web.

Abstract

Tropical dry deciduous forests provide numerous ecosystem services yet their contribution to agricultural production remains underexplored. We address this research gap by quantifying the broader suite of ecosystem services that support small holder farmers and identifying farmers’ knowledge of storm hazard reduction benefits provided by forest fragments in Madagascar. We survey 240 households and interview eight key informants to identify household and community responses in two communities with contrasting forest cover trajectories. Using multivariate statistics, results show a heavy dependence on forests for food and raw materials and a majority of the respondents holding a positive view of hazard mitigation services provided by forest fragments. Education levels, earning an income from forest based tourism and honey production are the only predictors of participation in forest management. Positive view of the hazard reduction benefits derived from forests could be due to external influences or personal observations, and together with barriers to participation in forest management need to be further investigated to better link forest management to reduced hazards risks. These findings are significant for forest management policy, as local knowledge and rationale for decisions are instrumental in the success of decentralized forest management and maintenance of vital forest benefits to farmers.

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Egelyng et al. (2016) Origin products from African forests: A Kenyan pathway to prosperity and green inclusive growth?

Egelyng et al. (2016) Origin products from African forests: A Kenyan pathway to prosperity and green inclusive growth?

Citation: Egelyng, Henrik, Aske S. Bosselmann, Mary Warui, Fredah Maina, John Mburu, and Amos Gyau. “Origin Products from African Forests: A Kenyan Pathway to Prosperity and Green Inclusive Growth?” Forest Policy and Economics (2016): n. pag. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

Many tropical countries have potential for adding market value to unique forest origin products similarly to how EU gain billions of Euro’s annually from registering agricultural origin products, with Protected Denomination of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication. Following analysis of the renaissance for the global Geographical Indication (GI) regime, this article provides case-studies from Kenya – on Mwingi Honey, Kakamega Silk and institutional conditions under which producers may incorporate territory specific cultural, environmental, and social qualities of their unique products. We investigate prospects for Kenyan producers to create and capture additional monetary value for their forest related origin products, allowing smallholders to build livelihood, while stewarding natural environments. The origin products are investigated for their potential for protection with a GI, within five different dimensions of and links with the social and natural world. Our study shows that Mwingi Honey and Kakamega Silk have potential for registration under a GI regime based mainly on close links between local environment, flora and product quality, and product specificity. The institutional environment presents major challenges for the development of GI products and markets, exemplified by the Kenyan GI bill which is not yet enacted after almost a decade in the making.

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Erbaugh (2016) Book Review: The challenges behind Indonesia’s agricultural matrix

Erbaugh (2016) Book Review: The challenges behind Indonesia’s agricultural matrix

Citation: Erbaugh, James. “Book Review: The Challenges behind Indonesia’s Agricultural Matrix.” Jakarta Post, 26 July 2016. Web.

Book review on the National University of Singapore Press’ two new titles: The Oil Palm Complex: Smallholders, Agribusiness and the State in Indonesia and Malaysia and Catastrophe and Regeneration in Indonesia’s Peatlands: Ecology, Economy, and Society offers an in-depth case study of peatland ecosystems, regeneration, and biomass production.

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Erbaugh et al. (2016) Regulation, formalization, and smallholder timber production in northern Central Java

Erbaugh et al. (2016) Regulation, formalization, and smallholder timber production in northern Central Java

Citation: Erbaugh, J., Nurrochmat, D., and Purnomo, H. (2016). Regulation, formalization, and smallholder timber production in northern Central Java. Agroforestry Systems. DOI: 10.1007/s10457-016-0037-6

Abstract

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade agreements between the EU and countries that grow tropical timber aim to complement, alter, or generate new regulatory mechanisms that ensure the legality of timber products. These regulatory changes affect pre-existing policies and practices within timber production networks. The Indonesian-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement was signed in 2013, and legality verification is scheduled to become mandatory for all smallholders by the end of 2017. Using grower surveys conducted in the Jepara regency of Central Java (n = 204), we generate information on who Jepara smallholders are, what timber species they are growing, and how programs that provide free and discounted seedlings contribute to STP. We use these data to understand how STP operates and how Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK), the Indonesian method for timber legality verification, will affect STP networks and producers. We find that resource provision and oversight of source documentation increase formalization within STP. Our discussion details four policy-relevant insights for promoting STP amid continued formalization.

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Hajjar and Molnar (2016) Decentralization and community-based approaches

Hajjar and Molnar (2016) Decentralization and community-based approaches

Citation: Hajjar, R and A Molnar. 2016 Decentralization and Community-based Approaches. In Panwar, R et al. (eds). Forests, business and sustainability. Earthscan, London.

Link to Google Book

Hajjar et al. (2016) Promoting small and medium forest enterprises in the context of REDD+: A multi-country analysis of enabling environments

Hajjar et al. (2016) Promoting small and medium forest enterprises in the context of REDD+: A multi-country analysis of enabling environments

Citation: Hajjar, Reem, Olivia Sanchez Badini, and Robert A Kozak. 2016. “Promoting Small and Medium Forest Enterprises in National REDD + Strategies: A Global Analysis of Enabling Environments.” Climate Policy 3062 (June).

Abstract

REDD+ has emerged as a key component of climate mitigation strategies in developing countries. Small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) can contribute towards the achievement of REDD+ goals through conservation, sustainable use of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks, while simultaneously improving local livelihoods and contributing to local economies. Thus, the promotion of SMFEs can be thought of as an important component of a nation’s REDD+ strategy. This study assesses the degree to which enabling environments for SMFEs are being promoted in countries that are in the midst of becoming REDD-ready. It uses an analytical framework, developed from a literature review on small-scale forestry enabling environments, to conduct a qualitative content analysis of REDD-readiness documents that 41 countries have submitted to multilateral funders and assess the degree to which enabling environments for smallscale forest enterprises are being promoted under the auspices of REDD+. Despite a general recognition of the importance of SMFEs in REDD+ schemes, most countries failed to propose strategies and actions for improving enabling environments, particularly with respect to internal business capacities. Priority areas for investment of REDD-readiness funds that will deliver returns for both carbon and livelihoods through SMFEs are identified and enumerated.

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Hajjar et al. (2016) The data not collected on community forestry

Hajjar et al. (2016) The data not collected on community forestry

Citation: Hajjar, Reem, Johan A. Oldekop, Peter Cronkleton, Emily Etue, Peter Newton, Aaron J M Russel, Januarti Sinarra Tjajadi, Wen Zhou, and Arun Agrawal. 2016. “The Data Not Collected on Community Forestry.” Conservation Biology 30 (6): 1357–62.

Conservation and development practitioners increasingly promote community forestry as a way to conserve ecosystem services, consolidate resource rights, and reduce poverty. However, outcomes of community forestry have been mixed, with many initiatives failing to achieve intended objectives. There is a rich literature on community forestry institutional arrangements, but fewer efforts to examine the role of socioeconomic, market, and biophysical factors in shaping both land cover change dynamics, and individual and collective livelihood decisions. We
systematically reviewed the peer-reviewed literature on community forestry to examine and quantify existing knowledge gaps in the community forestry literature. In examining 697 cases of community forest management, extracted from 267 peer-reviewed publications, we find three key trends that limit our understanding of community forestry. First, there are substantial data gaps linking population dynamics, market forces, and biophysical characteristics to both environmental and livelihood outcomes. Second, most studies focus on environmental outcomes, and
the majority of studies that do assess socio-economic outcomes rely on qualitative data, making it difficult to make comparisons across cases. Finally, we find a heavy bias towards studies on South Asian forests, indicating that the literature on community forestry might not be representative of decentralization policies and community forest management globally.

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Hicks et al. (2016) Engage key social concepts for sustainability

Hicks et al. (2016) Engage key social concepts for sustainability

Citation: Hicks, Christina,  A Levine, A Agrawal, X Basurto, SJ Breslow, C Carothers, S Charnley, S Coulthard, N Dolsak, J Donatuto, C Garcia-Quijano, MB Mascia, K Norman, MR Poe, T Satterfield, KS Martin, PS Levin. 2016. Engage key social concepts for sustainability. Science 352: 38-40

Abstract

With humans altering climate processes, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem functions (1), governments and societies confront the challenge of shaping a sustainable future for people and nature. Policies and practices to address these challenges must draw on social sciences, along with natural sciences and engineering (2). Although various social science approaches can enable and assess progress toward sustainability, debate about such concrete engagement is outpacing actual use. To catalyze uptake, we identify seven key social concepts that are largely absent from many efforts to pursue sustainability goals. We present existing and emerging well-tested indicators and propose priority areas for conceptual and methodological development.

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Ingalls et al. (2016) Missing the forest for the trees? Navigating the trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation under REDD

Ingalls et al. (2016) Missing the forest for the trees? Navigating the trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation under REDD

Citation: Ingalls, Micah L. and Dwyer, Michael B., 2016. Missing the forest for the trees? Navigating the trade-offs between mitigation and adaptation under REDD. Climatic Change, 136(2), pp.353-366.

Abstract

Forested landscapes play a critical role in mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon while at the same time fostering adaption by supporting ecosystem services, the recognition of which is reflected in the recent Paris Agreement on climate change. It has been suggested, therefore, that the conservation of forested landscapes may provide a potential win-win in the fight against global environmental change. Despite the potential synergies between mitigation and adaptation efforts, recent studies have also raised concerns about possible trade-offs. Our research employs the analytic lens of social-ecological resilience to explore the intersection between mitigation and adaptation in the context of a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) project in Lao PDR. Drawing on ecosystem analyses, group discussions and interviews with policy makers, practitioners and resource-dependent communities, we identify three potential limitations of REDD for achieving climate synergies. First, by disrupting existing disturbance regimes, REDD interventions run the risk of reducing diversity and structural heterogeneity and thus may undermine functional redundancy core to resilience. Second, REDD-as-practiced has tended to select local, rather than structural, drivers of deforestation, focusing disproportionately on curtailing local livelihood practices, reducing local resources for adaptation. Third, REDD risks redirecting ecosystem service benefits away from local communities toward state agencies, incentivizing recentralization and limiting the scope of local governance. We argue that REDD’s potential for delivering synergies between climate change mitigation and adaptation in Laos is currently attenuated by structural factors rooted in development policies and broader political-economic trajectories in ways that may not be legible to, or adequately addressed by, current programmes and policy.

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Liao et al. (2016) Insufficient research on land grabbing

Liao et al. (2016) Insufficient research on land grabbing

Citation: Liao, Chuan, Suhyun Jung, Arun Agrawal, and Daniel G. Brown. “Insufcient Research on Land Grabbing.” Science 353.6295 (2016): 131-32. Web.

FLARE researchers have published an article in the latest issue of Science on land grabbing.

Read the full article here

Newton et al. (2016) Carbon, biodiversity, and livelihoods in forest commons: synergies, trade-offs, and implications for REDD+

Newton et al. (2016) Carbon, biodiversity, and livelihoods in forest commons: synergies, trade-offs, and implications for REDD+

Citation: Newton, Peter, Johan A. Oldekop, Gernot Brodnig, Birendra K. Karna, and Arun Agrawal. 2016. Carbon, Biodiversity, and Livelihoods in Forest Commons: Synergies, Trade-offs, and Implications for REDD+. Environmental Research Letters doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/044017

Abstract

Understanding the relationships and tradeoffs among management outcomes in forest commons has assumed new weight in the context of parallels between the objectives of community forest management and those of reduced emissions for deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) programs to reduce carbon emissions while supporting local livelihoods. We examine the association between biophysical, demographic, institutional and socio-economic variables and three distinct forest management outcomes of interest to both community forestry and REDD+ advocates—carbon storage, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood benefits—in 56 forest commons in Nepal. REDD+ programs aim foremost to increase forest carbon storage and sequestration, but also seek to improve forest biodiversity, and to contribute to local livelihood benefits. The success of REDD+ programs can therefore be defined by improvements in one or more of these dimensions, while satisfying the principle of ‘do no harm’ in the others. We find that each outcome is associated with a different set of independent variables. This suggests that there is a need for policy-makers to clearly define their desired outcomes and to target their interventions accordingly. Our research points to the complex ways in which different factors relate to forest outcomes and has implications for the large number of cases where REDD+ projects are being implemented in the context of community forestry.

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Newton et al. (2016) Overcoming barriers to low carbon agriculture and forest restoration in Brazil: The Rural Sustentavel Project

Newton et al. (2016) Overcoming barriers to low carbon agriculture and forest restoration in Brazil: The Rural Sustentavel Project

Citation: Newton, Peter, Angelo Eduardo Angel Gomez, Suhyun Jung, Timothy Kelly, Thiago De Aragao Mendes, Laura Vang Rasmussen, Julio Cesar Dos Reis, Renato De Aragao Ribeiro Rodrigues, Richard Tipper, Dan Van Der Horst, and Cristy Watkins. “Overcoming barriers to low carbon agriculture and forest restoration in Brazil: The Rural Sustentavel Project.” World Development Perspectives 4 (2016): 5-7. ScienceDirect. Web.

Abstract

The Rural Sustentável project aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and promote sustainable rural development in the Brazilian Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes: by restoring deforested and degraded land, and by facilitating and promoting the uptake of low carbon agricultural technologies. The project offers farmers a) access to information, through demonstration units and field days; b) access to technical assistance, through in-person and online training and capacity-building; c) access to rural credit, through collaborative farmer-technician partnerships, and d) financial incentives, in the form of results based financing to successful farmer-technician teams. The project is still in its implementation stage, but the innovative design and theory of change of this project offer insights into possible mechanisms for promoting forest restoration on private lands in the tropics.

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Newton et al. (2016) Who are forest-dependent people? A taxonomy to aid livelihood and land use decision-making in forested regions

Newton et al. (2016) Who are forest-dependent people? A taxonomy to aid livelihood and land use decision-making in forested regions

Citation: Newton, Peter, Daniel C. Miller, Mugabi Augustine Ateenyi Byenkya, and Arun Agrawal. “Who Are Forest-dependent People? A Taxonomy to Aid Livelihood and Land Use Decision-making in Forested Regions.” Land Use Policy 57 (2016): 388-95.

Abstract

The relationship between forests and people is of substantial interest to peoples and agencies that govern and use them, private sector actors that seek to manage and profit from them, NGOs who support and implement conservation and development projects, and researchers who study these relationships and others. The term ‘forest-dependent people’ is widely used to describe human populations that gain some form of benefits from forests. But despite its long history and widespread use, there are substantial divergences in who the term refers to, what each of its constituent words mean, and how many forest- dependent people there are globally. This paper identifies the range of existing uses and definitions of the term ‘forest-dependent people’, and summarizes them in a systematic taxonomy. Our taxonomy exposes the dimensions that characterize the relationships between people and forests, and leads to two conclusions: First, an absolute, universally accepted definition of the term is untenable. Rather, users of the term ‘forest-dependent people’ need to comprehensively define their population of interest with reference to the context and purpose of their forest- and people-related objectives. The framework and language of our taxonomy aims to aid such efforts. Second, conservation and development program funders, designers, and implementers must reconsider whether forest dependence is an appropriate target for policy objectives.

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Nurrochmat et al. (2016) Contesting national and international forest regimes: Case of timber legality certification for community forests in Central Java, Indonesia

Nurrochmat et al. (2016) Contesting national and international forest regimes: Case of timber legality certification for community forests in Central Java, Indonesia

Citation: Nurrochmat, D. R., Dharmawan, A. H., Obidzinski, K., Dermawan, A., & Erbaugh, J. (2016). Contesting national and international forest regimes: Case of timber legality certification for community forests in Central Java, Indonesia. Forest Policy and Economics.

Abstract

The Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the European Union (EU) have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT-VPA), which aims to prevent illegal timber products from entering the EU. This agreement recognizes a certification for timber products exported from Indonesia based on FLEGT-VPA standards and implemented through the timber legality verification system, Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK). While the implementation of SVLK complies with the FLEGT-VPA, it has not dissolved pre-existing national systems for forest management and timber trade. Implementing SVLK standards amid multiple forest regimes causes redundancy of administrative procedures in forest management and timber trade in Indonesia. This redundancy, in turn, leads to decrease in cost efficiency, weak legitimation, and low effectiveness of the system, especially in community forests.

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Oldekop et al. (2016) A global assessment of the social and conservation outcomes of protected areas

Oldekop et al. (2016) A global assessment of the social and conservation outcomes of protected areas

Citation: Oldekop JA, Holmes G, Harris WE, Evans KL. 2016. A global assessment of the social and conservation outcomes of protected areas. Conservation Biology 30(1): 133-141.

Abstract

Protected areas (PAs) are a key strategy for protecting biological resources, but they vary considerably in their effectiveness and are frequently reported as having negative impacts on local people. This has contributed to a divisive and unresolved debate concerning the compatibility of environmental and socioeconomic development goals. Elucidating the relationship between positive and negative social impacts and conservation outcomes of PAs is key for the development of more effective and socially just conservation. We conducted a global meta-analysis on 165 PAs using data from 171 published studies. We assessed how PAs affect the well-being of local people, the factors associated with these impacts, and crucially the relationship between PAs’ conservation and socioeconomic outcomes. Protected areas associated with positive socioeconomic outcomes were more likely to report positive conservation outcomes. Positive conservation and socioeconomic outcomes were more likely to occur when PAs adopted comanagement regimes, empowered local people, reduced economic inequalities, and maintained cultural and livelihood benefits. Whereas the strictest regimes of PA management attempted to exclude anthropogenic influences to achieve biological conservation objectives, PAs that explicitly integrated local people as stakeholders tended to be more effective at achieving joint biological conservation and socioeconomic development outcomes. Strict protection may be needed in some circumstances, yet our results demonstrate that conservation and development objectives can be synergistic and highlight management strategies that increase the probability of maximizing both conservation performance and development outcomes of PAs.

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Rasmussen et al. (2016) Adaptation by stealth: Climate information use in the Great Lakes region across scales

Rasmussen et al. (2016) Adaptation by stealth: Climate information use in the Great Lakes region across scales

Citation: Rasmussen, Laura Vang, Christine J. Kirchhoff, and Maria Carmen Lemos. “Adaptation by stealth: Climate information use in the Great Lakes region across scales.” Climatic Change (2016): 1-15. Springer Link. Web.

Abstract

While there has been considerable focus on understanding barriers to climate information use associated with the character of climate knowledge, individuals’ negative perception of its usability and constraints of decision-contexts, less attention has been paid to understanding how different scales of decision-making influence information use. In this study, we explore how water and resource managers’ scales of decision-making and scope of decision responsibilities influence climate information use in two Great Lakes watersheds. We find that despite availability of tailored climate information, actual use of information remains low. Reasons include (a) lack of willingness to place climate on agendas because local managers perceive climate change as politically risky, (b) lack of formal mandate or authority at the city and county scale to translate climate information into on-the-ground action, (c) problems with the information itself, and (d) perceived lack of demand for climate information by those managers who have the mandate and authority to use (or help others use) climate information. Our findings suggest that (1) scientists and information brokers should produce information that meets a range of decision needs and reserve intensive tailoring efforts for decision makers who have willingness and authority to use climate information; (2) without support from higher levels of decision-making (e.g., state), it is unlikely that climate information use will accelerate significantly; and (3) the trend towards characterizing climate specific actions within a broader concept of sustainability practices, or “adaptation by stealth,” should be supported as a component of the climate adaptation repertoire.

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Wilson et al. (2016) Acceleration and novelty: community restoration speeds recovery and transforms species composition in Andean cloud forest

Wilson et al. (2016) Acceleration and novelty: community restoration speeds recovery and transforms species composition in Andean cloud forest

Citation: Wilson, Sarah Jane, and Jeanine M. Rhemtulla. 2016. Acceleration and novelty: community restoration speeds recovery and transforms species composition in Andean cloud forest. Ecological Applications 26(1): 203-218.

Abstract

Community-based tropical forest restoration projects, often promoted as a win-win solution for local communities and the environment, have increased dramatically in number in the past decade. Many such projects are underway in Andean cloud forests, which, given their extremely high biodiversity and history of extensive clearing, are understudied. This study investigates the efficacy of community-based tree-planting projects to accelerate cloud forest recovery, as compared to unassisted natural regeneration. This study takes place in northwest Andean Ecuador, where the majority of the original, highly diverse cloud forests have been cleared, in five communities that initiated tree-planting projects to restore forests in 2003. In 2011, we identified tree species along transects in planted forests (n = 5), naturally regenerating forests (n = 5), and primary forests (n = 5). We also surveyed 120 households about their restoration methods, tree preferences, and forest uses. We found that tree diversity was higher in planted than in unplanted secondary forest, but both were less diverse than primary forests. Ordination analysis showed that all three forests had distinct species compositions, although planted forests shared more species with primary forests than did unplanted forests. Planted forests also contained more animal-dispersed species in both the planted canopy and in the unplanted, regenerating understory than unplanted forests, and contained the highest proportion of species with use value for local people. While restoring forest increased biodiversity and accelerated forest recovery, restored forests may also represent novel ecosystems that are distinct from the region’s previous ecosystems and, given their usefulness to people, are likely to be more common in the future.

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2015

Agrawal and Lemos (2015) Adaptive development

Agrawal and Lemos (2015) Adaptive development

Citation: Arun Agrawal and Maria Lemos. 2015. Adaptive development. Nature Climate Change 5:185-187

Abstract

Adaptive development mitigates climate change risks without negatively influencing the well-being of human subjects and ecosystems by using incentives, institutions, and information-based policy interventions to address different components of climate risks.

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Agrawal et al. (2015) Motivational crowding in sustainable development interventions: assessing the effects of multiple treatments

Agrawal et al. (2015) Motivational crowding in sustainable development interventions: assessing the effects of multiple treatments

Citation: Arun Agrawal, Elisabeth Gerber, Ashwini Chhatre. 2015. Motivational crowding in sustainable development interventions: assessing the effects of multiple treatments. American Political Science Review 109: 470-87.

Abstract

We used a quasi-experimental research design to study the extent of motivational crowding in a recent sustainable development intervention in northern India. The project provided participants with both private and communal material benefits to enhance their incomes, and environmental and social information to inculcate pro-environmental motivations. We compared changes in reported motivations of participants for conserving forest resources, before and after project implementation, with changes in reported motivations of matched nonparticipants. We found that villagers who received private economic benefits were more likely to change from an environmental to an economic motivation for forest protection, whereas those who engaged in communal activities related to the project were less likely to change from an environmental to an economic motivation. These results, which indicate a substantial but conditional degree of motivational crowding, clarify the relationships between institutional change, incentives, and motivations and have important implications for the design of sustainable development interventions.

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Andersson et al. (2015) Governing resources: The socioeconomic impact of forestry expansion in Chile

Andersson et al. (2015) Governing resources: The socioeconomic impact of forestry expansion in Chile

Citation: Andersson, K., D. Lawrence, J. C. Zavaleta, and Manuel R. Guariguata. 2015. Governing Resources: The socioeconomic impact of forestry expansion in Chile. Environmental Management 57(1): 123-136.

Abstract

Tree plantations play a controversial role in many nations’ efforts to balance goals for economic development, ecological conservation, and social justice. This paper seeks to contribute to this debate by analyzing the socioeconomic impact of such plantations. We focus our study on Chile, a country that has experienced extraordinary growth of industrial tree plantations. Our analysis draws on a unique dataset with longitudinal observations collected in 180 municipal territories during 2001–2011. Employing panel data regression techniques, we find that growth in plantation area is associated with higher than average rates of poverty during this period.

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Hajjar (2015) Advancing small-scale forestry under FLEGT and REDD in Ghana

Hajjar (2015) Advancing small-scale forestry under FLEGT and REDD in Ghana

Citation: Hajjar, R. 2015. Advancing small-scale forestry under FLEGT and REDD in Ghana. Forest Policy and Economics 58: 12-20

Abstract

In Ghana, small and medium-scale forest enterprises (SMFEs) provide income and livelihoods for three million people and supply a growing domestic timber demand. However, most SMFEs operate in the informal sector, and thus have become a target for current forest sector reforms stemming from Ghana’s involvement in two international mechanisms: FLEGT and REDD. This paper examines how SMFEs are being incorporated into FLEGT and REDD plans, and asks whether reforms under these mechanisms will serve to advance SMFEs in the country while tackling illegal and unsustainable forest activities. The analysis shows that FLEGT-related reforms will target governance issues downstream in the domestic lumber supply chain, without tackling a root cause of illegalities and challenges within the SMFE sector: tree tenure. In contrast, REDD planning includes a strong focus on the illusive tenure issue, but to date has placed little emphasis on SMFE promotion. The paper concludes that reforms associated with both mechanisms may work complementarily to advance a legal and sustainable SMFE sector, but only if local communities are incentivized to manage forest and tree resources through clarification of land and tree tenure. Reasons for why tenure reform has been such a sticking point are discussed.

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Hajjar and Kozak (2015) Exploring public perceptions of forest adaptation strategies in Western Canada: Implications for policy-makers

Hajjar and Kozak (2015) Exploring public perceptions of forest adaptation strategies in Western Canada: Implications for policy-makers

Citation: Hajjar, R, RA Kozak. 2015. Exploring public perceptions of forest adaptation strategies in Western Canada: Implications for policy-makers. Forest Policy and Economics 61(2015): 59-69.

Abstract

Various reforestation strategies that could potentially help forests adapt to a changing climate are currently being debated. We sought to gauge the public’s acceptance levels of different reforestation strategies, and explore which factors seem to be associated with people’s willingness to accept different forms of human and technological intervention in forest management. To do so, a public survey was administered in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada to assess acceptance of different forest adaptation strategies that could be employed to adapt to a changing climate, and explore variables identified from the literature as potentially affecting public decisions on biotechnology and assisted migration. A logistic regression was used to determine the degree to which variables identified in the literature are associated with levels of acceptance of different forest management strategies. What emerged was an explanatory model that can be used as a starting point to further engage the public in a discussion over appropriate and acceptable technologies and policies to help forests adapt to a changing climate.

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Mapfumo et al. (2015) Pathways to transformational change in the face of climate impacts: An analytical framework

Mapfumo et al. (2015) Pathways to transformational change in the face of climate impacts: An analytical framework

Citation: Mapfumo, Paul, M. Onyango, SK Jonkponou, EH El Mzouri…Arun Agrawal (12 authors). 2015. Pathways to transformational change in the face of climate impacts: an analytical framework. Climate and Development 7: 1-13.

Abstract

Unprecedented impacts of climate change and climate variability in the twenty-first century are likely to require transformational social, organizational and human responses. Yet, little existing empirical work examines how decision-makers can facilitate such responses. This paper suggests that in order to assess whether responses to climate risks and threats are transformational, it is necessary to move away from a focus only on outcomes and scale and towards the multiple dimensions of social responses and the processes through which transformational changes are realized. In so doing, the paper seeks to move the discussion on transformational change towards the processes and sustainability of adaptation interventions, and the changes they trigger. Drawing on the literature on transformational change in organizational theory and social–ecological systems, the paper first develops a framework with which to examine and assess development and adaptation interventions. The framework is then applied to eight interventions made between 2005 and 2011 in diverse socioecological settings across Africa. All interventions were underpinned by participatory action research methodologies. Our analysis shows how a focus on change agents, generalizability of field-scale adaptation mechanisms and pathways, and sustainability of outcomes, combined with attention to the scale and scope of change processes, provides information that can inform policy on the kinds of intervention that are likely to support long-term and sustainable responses to climate impacts. Although several of the cases mainly illustrate incremental adaptations, use of the analytical framework pointed towards the wider processes of systems change that might lead to transformative trajectories.

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Newton et al. (2015) Community forest management and REDD+

Newton et al. (2015) Community forest management and REDD+

Citation: Newton, Peter, Brian Schaap, Michelle Fournier, Meghan Cornwall, Derrick W. Rosenbach, Joel DeBoer, Jessica Whittemore, Ryan Stock, Mark Yoders, Gernot Brodnig, and Arun Agrawal. 2015. Community forest management and REDD+. Forest Policy and Economics 56: 27-37.

Abstract

The urgent need to limit anthropogenic carbon emissions has led to the global initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD +). One option to facilitate the design and implementation of REDD + is to build on the experiences of community forest management (CFM). Despite tensions between the central objectives of REDD + and CFM, the two policy interventions share the objective of managing forests sustainably. REDD + projects can build on and benefit from the environmental, social, human, and institutional capital associated with existing community forest governance. Using a comparative case approach with studies from Nepal and Tanzania, we illustrate interactions between REDD + and CFM. In Nepal, most REDD + pilot projects have been located in community forest sites, especially in high-carbon forests. In Tanzania, REDD + funding is being used to expand the area of forest under Participatory Forest Management. Our study also highlights how community forestry institutions may need to be modified to satisfy key REDD + criteria. Greater institutional coordination, equitable benefit sharing mechanisms, and higher community capacity for monitoring, reporting, and verification are key areas needing change. There are significant risks, but the vast experience and significant successes of CFM can improve prospects for achieving REDD + objectives in other less-industrialized, forested countries.

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Oldekop et al. (2015) 100 key research questions for the post-2015 development agenda

Oldekop et al. (2015) 100 key research questions for the post-2015 development agenda

Citation: Oldekop, Johan A., Lorenza B. Fontana, Jean Grugel, Nicole Roughton, Emmanuel A. Adu-Ampong, Gemma K. Bird, Alex Dorgan, Marcia A. Vera Espinoza, Sara Wallin, Daniel Hammett, Esther Agbarakwe, Arun Agrawal, Nurgul Asylbekova, Clarissa Azkoul, Craig Bardsley, Anthony J. Bebbington, Savio Carvalho, Deepta Chopra, Stamatios Christopoulos, Emma Crewe, Marie-Claude Dop, Joern Fischer, Daan Gerretsen, Jonathan Glennie, William Gios, Mtinkheni Gondwe, Lizz A. Harrison, Katja Hujo, Mark Keen, Roberto Laserna, Luca Maggiano, Sarah Mistry, Rosemary J. Morgan, Linda L. Raftree, Duncan Rhind, Thiago Rodrigues, Sonia Roschnik, Flavia Senkubuge, Ian Thornton, Simon Trace, Teresa Ore, Rene M. Valdes, Bhaskar Vira, Nicola Yeates, and William J. Sutherland. 2015. 100 Key Research Questions for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Development Policy Review 34(1): 55-82.

Abstract

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) herald a new phase for international development. This article presents the results of a consultative exercise to collaboratively identify 100 research questions of critical importance for the post-2015 international development agenda. The final shortlist is grouped into nine thematic areas and was selected by 21 representatives of international and non-governmental organisations and consultancies, and 14 academics with diverse disciplinary expertise from an initial pool of 704 questions submitted by 110 organisations based in 34 countries. The shortlist includes questions addressing long-standing problems, new challenges and broader issues related to development policies, practices and institutions. Collectively, these questions are relevant for future development-related research priorities of governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide and could act as focal points for transdisciplinary research collaborations.

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Oldekop et al. (2015) Linking Brazil’s food security policies to agricultural change

Oldekop et al. (2015) Linking Brazil’s food security policies to agricultural change

Citation: Oldekop JA, Chappell MJ, Borges Peixoto FE, Paglia, Schmoeller M, Evans KL. 2015. Linking Brazil’s food security policies to agricultural change. Food Security 7: 779-793.

Abstract

Poverty, food security, and sustainability are intimately intertwined, driving conflict and synergy between environmental and societal concerns. Brazil’s flagship food security policies were implemented over a decade ago to address these issues simultaneously. Global institutions have pledged over 2 million US$ to develop similar programs in sub-Saharan Africa, yet empirical assessments of many aspects of these policies are still lacking. We focus on a case study in the state of Minas Gerais and assess the agricultural and environmental impacts of the Purchase with Simultaneous Donation (PSD) program. The PSD provides stable markets as incentives to diversify production, but we find no effect of participation on changes in local agricultural practices, production or income. While some farms are expanding, regional agricultural production appears to be declining due to local economic development and related shortages in farm labor. The PSD’s limited impact arises because most farmers only participate irregularly, typically during the dry season when the program offers higher prices than the local market price. Furthermore, participation is constrained by the specific nature of PSD contracts and centralized governance of the program. We complement these findings with data from the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development and the 2006 agricultural census, which show substantial variation in the availability of PSD initiatives, and the funding allocated to them at local, regional and national levels. We suggest that adaptive management strategies that can respond to local market conditions could lead to more equitable and efficient food security and agricultural policies in Brazil and elsewhere.

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