CIFOR–ICRAF publishes over 750 publications every year on agroforestry, forests and climate change, landscape restoration, rights, forest policy and much more – in multiple languages.

CIFOR–ICRAF addresses local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet.

We deliver actionable evidence and solutions to transform how land is used and how food is produced: conserving and restoring ecosystems, responding to the global climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises. In short, improving people’s lives.

Dr Ravi Prabhu appointed Director General ad interim of World Agroforestry

The CIFOR-ICRAF Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Ravi Prabhu as Director General ad interim (a.i.) of World Agroforestry (ICRAF) effective 1 October 2022.

Making the announcement, Prof Getachew Engida, Board Chair said, “We are pleased to have Dr Prabhu at the helm to help us deliver urgent and effective solutions to some of the world’s greatest environmental and development challenges.”

“Thinking ahead to the responsibilities that you have entrusted me with, I intend to do my utter best to fulfil and exceed expectations and the responsibilities entrusted to me,” said Dr Prabhu to staff. “I fully intend for my role to be meaningful, innovative and constructive – we must use every precious second available to leap forward.”

Dr Prabhu is a hugely accomplished scientist who has engaged in multidisciplinary research and action in forested landscapes for almost 20 years with different organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme, CGIAR and CIFOR. In 2005, he received the Queen’s Award for Forestry at Buckingham Palace in 2005 for his work on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management. In 2012 he joined ICRAF as Deputy Director General, and he has served on numerous international initiatives and committees. Dr Prabhu earned his professional degree and a doctorate in forestry from the University of Goettingen, Germany.

Dr Prabhu takes over from Prof Tony Simons, whom the Board, management and staff recognize for his tremendous leadership and significant contributions made to ICRAF over his 28 years of service. His achievements include his leading role as CIFOR-ICRAF Executive Director in the visionary collaboration with CIFOR on merging the world’s premier forestry and agroforestry research institutions.

During multiple farewell events and celebrations this week, Tony was reminded of the incredible social dimensions that enrich life at CIFOR-ICRAF. He concluded his 28-year tenure by saying “the brilliance, utility and worthiness of CIFOR-ICRAF work and impact are logically supported by investors and beneficiaries; although the real treasure of the institute resides in the dedication and linkages of CIFOR-ICRAF staff and delivery partners”.

CIFOR-ICRAF looks forward to Tony’s continued dedication and new forms of collaboration as it continues to seek solutions to global challenges.

New initiative: Catalyzing expansion of trees outside forests in India

USAID and Indian Government collaborate to increase tree coverage for climate action in India

It is often said that the best time to act against climate change was yesterday; the next best time is today. In a bid to support global climate change mitigation and adaptation goals, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Indian government’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) launched a new program, ‘Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI)’, on September 8, 2022.

Led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), the five-year program seeks to scale up trees outside forests in India to enhance carbon sequestration, increase tree-based livelihoods, and build climate-resilient agriculture.

In recent times, the Indian government has given huge impetus to the expansion of trees outside forests through policies and schemes that incentivize and support farmers and other stakeholders to take up trees outside forests (TOF) systems, particularly agroforestry.

“India is completely committed to agroforestry,” said Leena Nandan – MoEFCC’s secretary – in her address at the launch. “It is center-stage in our planning. I hope the intervention and collaboration on trees outside forests will lead to a very successful outcome in terms of giving a visible boost to agroforestry and fostering an increase in green cover and the economic activities centered around it – including the commercial production of trees.”

“Trees can help achieve the ‘triple-win’ situation – providing livelihoods, absorbing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the health of the ecosystems,” said Chandrashekar Biradar, TOFI’s Chief of Party and India’s Country Director for CIFOR-ICRAF. “By bringing lost trees into mainstream agriculture and man-made landscapes, TOFI will play a vital role in meeting India’s national climate goals and international commitments.”

Such targets include the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (NDCs), the Bonn Challenge, Land Degradation Neutrality, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Growing trees outside forests can also support food and livelihood security for rural Indians, especially for poor and vulnerable groups.

However, there are various economic, policy, capacity, and information-related barriers to realizing the full potential of trees outside forests in the country. The TOFI program aims to address these barriers by:

  • Strengthening the enabling environment to improve laws, regulations, policies, certifications, and standards to scale up trees outside forests
  • Enhancing access to finance, insurance, and quality planting material, and providing incentives and value-chain support to boost demand for products from trees outside forests
  • Bridging gaps in technical and market information through extension services, knowledge, data, monitoring, and decision tools

TOFI seeks to approach climate change through the lens of multi-stakeholder engagement in tree planting for its numerous benefits. These benefits include carbon capture, improved soil health for increased productivity and income, and subsequent improvement in livelihoods. “The TOFI program will improve individual lives through increased economic opportunities and crop yields, as well as contribute to our global priorities of addressing climate change through sustainable solutions,” said Veena Reddy, Mission Director for USAID India. “We hope this will provide a model that can be scaled and replicated in India and beyond.”

The project will be implemented in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh. TOFI will be implemented through key partners, including Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE); Central Agroforestry Research Institute (CAFRI); Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti (GRAVIS); National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NIAP); Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF); The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI); Tropical Forest Research Institute (TFRI); and the Forest College and Research Institute of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

By expanding trees beyond forests, TOFI will contribute to putting 2.8 million hectares of new land into trees outside forests across the seven project states – thus capturing 420 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Also, by contributing to other ecosystem services such as the availability of raw materials for industries, safe drinking water, clean air, erosion prevention, and nutrient cycling, the program will impact positively on at least 13.1 million people across the country.

Learn more about TOFI

Rubber set to revitalize Nepal’s degraded and underutilized lands to boost climate and livelihoods’ goals

CIFOR-ICRAF has teamed with two NGOs to conduct research-in-development of the natural rubber sector in the country.

Tilak Bhandari, pioneer rubber scientist and IRRN executive director at a rubber and tea farm in Chilimkot, Mai Municipality, Ilam, Nepal. Photo: Bhola Neupane.

The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Rubber Research Nepal (IRRN) and WorldStar Rubber Farm Company Pvt Ltd on 23 August 2022.

IRRN and WorldStar are a non-governmental organization and private company, respectively, which support development of policies and programmes and implement activities related to rubber and rubber-based production and trade, natural resources management and environmental conservation in Nepal.

“The main aim of this cooperation is to produce scientific knowledge and appropriate technologies, expand activities related to rubber agroforestry and natural resources management, and transfer them for practical application to Government agencies, private companies, communities, practitioners, researchers and development partners,” said Javed Rizvi, director for Asia with CIFOR-ICRAF.

Rubber with black pepper intercropped, in Jhapa, Eastern Nepal. Photo: Tilak Bhandari/IRRN.

To achieve their objectives, the partners will collaborate on raising funds for research and development, particularly regarding sustainable management of rubber cultivation, establishment of a farm-forest “engagement landscape”, support for social and community forestry, exploration of the role of forested and production landscapes in climate-change mitigation and adaptation, examination and development of forestry and agroforestry value chains, training and capacity development and exploration of gender and youth issues related to farm-forest development.

“This is a very timely partnership,” said Keshab Adhikari, Nepal liaison scientist with CIFOR-ICRAF. “Available information indicates rubber production in Nepal is around 450 tonnes per year while annual consumption of rubber and rubber-related products is 12,000 tonnes. It has been estimated that by 2025 the demand for natural rubber is expected to exceed 20,000 tonnes annually, valued at USD 150 million. To meet this demand and address the environmental and social challenges faced by the country, we see that this partnership is an important step forward.”

Tilak B. Bhandari, executive director of IRRN, has devoted more than three decades to pioneering rubber production in Nepal.

“This MoU is a great and demand-based opportunity for cooperation and co-work,” he said. “Rubber commercialization has become one of Nepal’s top national agenda items for the public and Government, with Parliament prioritising debate so as to swiftly harness its various potentialities.”

Hevea brasiliensis, aka rubber, was first planted in Nepal in the 1970s but has expanded very little beyond its initial area. The total land under rubber cultivation is only about 555 hectares, with average annual production of 1.1 tonnes per hectare. Consequently, Nepal imports more than 98% of its natural rubber, mainly from India, China, Thailand and Malaysia.

However, Nepal’s eastern region is abundantly suited for growing natural rubber, which needs well distributed rainfall (2000–3000 mm) with relatively high humidity (80%) and temperatures ranging 20–35 0C, all of which are present in the region.

“Nepal’s east is a highly fortunate landscape for high-value, low-volume crops like dry rubber, which has not been fully utilized for its admired income at household and national levels,” said Navin Joshi, president of WorldStar Rubber, who has expertise in natural-rubber quality assurance, processing and marketing. “This understanding between specialty organizations is an opportunity to boost youth and women’s engagement through diverse socio-economic circles.”

Rubber farmers gathering in an industrial village opening ceremony in Jhapa, Eastern Nepal. Photo: Tilak Bhandari/IRRN.

The new partnership will exchange knowledge, carry out research and engage with Government, particularly, to support the re-establishment of a body mandated with development of the rubber sector. A focus of such a body would be facilitating a conducive policy environment and providing various support mechanisms.

General aims would include increasing the number of rubber farmers’ groups and individual farmers, training and capacity development, expansion of the rubber-cultivation area and demonstrating the economic advantages of integrating rubber with production of fruit, annual crops and biomaterial, that is, various forms of ‘rubber agroforestry’.

“Any such large-scale planting of trees as this partnership proposes should follow CIFOR-ICRAF’s maxim of identifying the ‘right trees in the right place for the right purpose while respecting local rights,” said Himlal Baral, senior forest and landscape restoration scientist with CIFOR-ICRAF. “Evidence shows that agroforestry systems that combine rubber, other tree species — including fruit, timber and non-timber production species — with other alley and intercrops for multiple benefits for livelihoods and the environment are the most effective and efficient.”


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Calling all agroecology enthusiasts!

An open invitation to join a global community of practice

By Monica Evans

Agroecology is growing in prominence as a key strategy to address current climate and good security crises. Also referred to as ecological or regenerative agriculture, it’s a farming approach that’s inspired by natural ecosystems, and combines local and scientific knowledge to focus on the interactions between plants, animals, humans, and the environment.

To help maximize the uptake and benefits of this promising approach, the Center for International Forestry Research–World Agroforestry Centre (CIFOR-ICRAF) last year launched a Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on the topic, in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Biovision, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and TMG Think Tank for Sustainability.

The TPP includes a global community of practice (CoP), where agroecology enthusiasts can share relevant news and ideas, have meaningful conversations with like-minded and knowledgeable people, ask direct questions to scientists, and explore a wide range of resources on the topic. Hosted by the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF)’s global community of independently-organized chapters (GLFx), the CoP provides an opportunity for members to connect and learn from each other, develop co-created knowledge, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.

Now, the fledgling CoP is spreading its wings, with its first Activation Workshop being held online on 13 September at 15:00 CEST. The workshop will guide attendees through numerous functionalities of the GLFx platform on which the CoP is hosted; shed light on the scope and purpose of the vibrant and growing community of agroecology enthusiasts; provide a wealth of real-life examples of CoP features; and take prospective members through the sign-up process. There will also be time to ask questions and develop a common vision for the CoP.

To register, click here; a detailed agenda is available here.

Soil health to be part of COP27 Food Systems Pavilion

CIFOR-ICRAF joins other leading international organisations to put food on the table at COP27

Over fifteen leading international food organisations have joined forces to host the first ever Food Systems Pavilion at the upcoming United Nations 27th Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The Coalition of Action for Soil Health (CA4SH), co-founded by CIFOR-ICRAF, will be part of the Pavilion, championing the role of soil health and land restoration in healthy, sustainable, and equitable food systems for all. CA4SH, which has over 100 members, aims to improve soil health globally by addressing critical implementation, monitoring, policy, and investment barriers that constrain farmers from adapting and scaling healthy soil practices.

Other participating organisations include co-hosts Clim-Eat, Coalition of Action for Soil Health (CA4SH)EIT Food, Environmental Defense Fund, FOLUGood Food Institute, InfarmSNV and Yara International; session partners Aleph FarmsFood Tank, Just Rural Transition, One Acre Fund and Rabobank; and supporting partners World Farmers’ OrganisationWorld Food ForumYPARDIAAS World and YOUNGO.

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NGOs active in tree-growing exult in training on seed, a neglected area: ‘I really needed this’

Key message: Grow species and genetic diversity, and collect seed according to best practice

By Cathy Watson

Tree seed is woefully missing from most discourse on planting trees but is central to all tree planting to restore ecosystems and productive healthy landscapes. So, it was no surprise that 90 people thronged the World Agroforestry campus in Nairobi when offered the chance to learn about tree seed, and interested parties had to be turned away.

One who got a spot at the event on 4-6 July 2022 was Sam Dindi. ‘I really needed this,’ said the young environmentalist who leads Kenyan NGO Mazingira Yetu. ‘Sourcing quality seeds is key to healthy seedlings and biodiversity restoration that meets multiple needs.’

The event was organized by CIFOR-ICRAF, which has the world’s largest collection of tropical agroforestry tree species; Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), the world’s biggest plant conservation network; and Terraformation, a startup promoting modular off-grid seed banks that can process and store millions of seeds per year.

Titled ‘Tree diversity and quality tree seed for livelihoods, nutrition, water, soil, climate and nature’, the meeting hosted participants from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. Over 30 organizations attended, all of which actively plant trees.

It included a grueling pre and post-test, a practical on seed collection in Nairobi’s Karura Forest, and culminated in a Certificate of Training in The Theory and Practice of Seed Conservation.

Day one addressed the urgency of tree diversity, focusing first on species diversity, and stressing the need to expand from the commonly planted exotics to far more indigenous species.

‘There is a misconception that indigenous trees take a long time to grow. It is incorrect.
What is more, they can be so much better in protecting ecosystems and soil conservation,’ said Dr Fandey Mashimba, head of Tanzania Forest Service Agency’s National Tree Seed Centre.

Speakers included CIFOR-ICRAF’s seed lab expert Zachayo Kinyanjui and Tree theme leader Ramni Jamnadass, BGCI’s Kirsty Shaw, Terraformation’s Head of Seed Banking Marian Chau, CIFOR-ICRAF’ Sammy Carsan and Abrham Abiyu, Karura restoration manager Ely Kogei and Tanzania’s seed head Fandey Mashimba. Photos by Felix Odhiambo.

The first day of the meeting then addressed genetic diversity – the variation within a species, a quality which derives from seed sourced from widely-spaced populations with unrelated mother trees to ensure that trees have the variation to thrive in different habitats and climates while withstanding current and future stresses.

CIFOR-ICRAF’s Dr Abrham Abiyu vividly illustrated how crucial genetic diversity is. The leader of a project to grow Ethiopia’s tree seed sector, he praised Eucalytpus trees for being a major cash crop for farmers. But he said that their health was already jeopardized by their very narrow genetic base.

‘We need intra-species — within species — genetic diversity. Ethiopia’s most important Eucalyptus species are highly affected by disease. Unfortunately, they descend from a just few trees that were introduced 100 years ago. It is hard to find ones that are resistant.’

Participants also heard presentations from James Mwangombe, Head of Forest Health and Biodiversity Conservation at Kenya Forest Service, and representatives of organizations with commitments to plant trees.

Although many described obstacles to diversifying their planting, including lack of seed, all appreciated the need to plant a wider mix of native species. Loureen Awuor said the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation aims to plant 10 million trees, 50% indigenous. Anne Micomyiza said her NGO, One Acre Fund Rwanda, is testing which native species farmers prefer.

Global Landscape restoration stewards Eirini Sakellari and Adrian Leitoro, Yali fellow Paul Kaluki, Eden Restorations’ Ruth Wanjiru and Caroline Kerichu, Farm Africa’s Tom Cadogan and Mary Nyale, One Acre Fund’s Ben Mitchell and Kenyan National Farmers Federation’s Charles Nyanjui, Photos by Felix Odhiambo.

But genetic diversity was a newer concept, and as discussions progressed, it became clear that numerous inter-related seed problems bedevil tree growing. Reasons include:

  • National tree seed centers follow best practice on seed collection, but lack the capacity to provide seed for all species required and often face low demand for seed of native species, so NGOs may not find it in stock.
  • Where private seed dealers exist, norms for quality are absent.
  • Projects often feel that they do the right thing by running their own nurseries and buying seed from the comunity. Without training, however, the community is likely to source from a handful of trees, posing a grave threat of ‘inbreeding depression’, the reduced survival and fertility of offspring.
  • – Buying seedlings from existing nurseries can feel right too, putting money in local pockets. But similarly, most nurseries collect seed from few trees. ‘It is very difficult to trace the source,’ said CIFOR-ICRAF’s Sammy Carsan, a Kenyan expert who works regionally.
  • Finally, a crisis overshadowing everything is land degradation. Indigenous trees are becoming harder to find.


‘Seed sources of native species are disappearing due to land use change, climate change, and over-exploitation,’ said Carsan. ‘They lack custodians.’

Kristy Shaw, BGCI’s Head of Ecological Restoration and Tree Conservation, said that 147 out of Kenya’s more than 1100 native tree species are at risk of extinction. The global figure for all trees is one-third.

Preserving diversity: visiting CIFOR-ICRAF’s genebank, participants hear from its manager Prasad Hendre, a geneticist and plant breeder who also leads CIFOR-ICRAF’s programme on African orphan crops, half of which are trees. Photo by Felix Odhiambo.

But the mood was still upbeat. Participants said that they had just not thought so much about it, and now they knew. Further, the next two days offered a way forward, with a formal course on seed with pre and post-tests, lectures, seed viability testing, visits to CIFOR-ICRAF’s genebank.

Its content falling on open ears, the course drew on Millennium Seed Bank Partnership (MSBP) training resources and was enriched by instructors Shaw and Herbert Ongubu of BGCI, Marian Chau of Terraformation, and Zachayo Kinyanjui, Ludy Keino and Agnes Were of CIFOR-ICRAF.

As participants carried out cut tests on forest seed to look for signs that indicate maturity, they were reminded that the aim of seed collection is to capture diversity so that important variants are not lost, and that collectors need to be safe and efficient.

In Karura forest, reaching for seed of Brachylaena huillensis, a threatened tree species of the Compositae family. Its small seed is best collected in the morning and ‘collected from all sides of the tree’. Photo by Felix Odhiambo.

Here were key teachings.

On seed collection

‘Collect from ideally at least 50 individual trees per population, and as many populations as possible.’

‘Collect as close as possible to the point of natural dispersal.’

‘Avoid collecting seed from the ground: it often has infestation by insects.’

On seed handling and processing

‘Remove seeds from fleshy fruit as soon as possible; moisture degrades them. 

The sooner you begin processing and drying seeds and the drier the seed, the longer they will last.’

‘Dry seed in the shade not in the sun. Heat degrades the seed.’ 

At the closing, the participants counted themselves lucky.

‘We are now the informed generation at the dawn of what is required going forward,’ said one group.

Kenyan youth climate activist Patricia Kombo was glad too. ‘We had been lagging behind in seed.’


CIFOR-ICRAF’s Ramni Jamnadass reiterated that ‘Native trees are well adapted, providing many goods and services. When you plant exotics, focus on genetic quality.’

“When you collect from a tree, take no more than 20% of mature seed available on the day. Leave sufficient for natural regeneration,’ said Kirsty Shaw of BGCI.

More information:

Contact about partnering with CIFOR-ICRAF; about CIFOR-ICRAF’s gene bank; and and to join CIFOR-ICRAF’s Transformational Partnership Platform – Transforming the Quality of Tree Planting and learn more on Integrated Tree Seed and Seedlings systems.


Further resources:
What to Plant Where in Ethiopia portal, the Global Tree Knowledge Platform,  Tree Seeds for farmers – A toolkit and reference source and The Resources for Tree Planting Platform, ICRAF

Note: The figure of 50 trees comes from the 1970s when A.H.D Brown and D.R. Marshall calculated the minimum number needed to ‘capture allelic variants that occur in a population’. Today most major seed collecting organizations still use the 50 species rule. (Hoban 2017) Consensus is growing, however, that fewer trees can be adequate. In 2018 researchers from Morton Arboretum and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew concluded that ‘random sampling of at least 15 trees per population from two populations per seed zone (a geographic region defined by climate, soil, altitude, and plant community) is effective’. A CIFOR-ICRAF guide produced the same year says ‘normally more than 25 trees’. This shift to a lower number helps resource-strapped organizations in the field, although 15 to 25 plus trees is still significant, and for large conservation and restoration projects, larger numbers may be advised.

New agreement reached on mangrove restoration and community-based business models in South Sumatra

Mangroves, along with peatlands, are one of the planet’s greatest natural carbon sinks, also providing ecosystem services that keep us cool, protecting coastlines from erosion and rising sea levels, and providing seafood and other material for home use and sale. However, like most natural ecosystems, mangroves are in decline globally and there is now a race to restore them, driven partly by the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The Province of South Sumatra in Indonesia is no exception to both degradation and restoration trends. Most of the province’s mangroves are in Banyuasin District. Loss of mangrove forests in the Musi River Catchment has been assessed at 63% from 1985 to 2020, driven by conversion to commodity production and settlements, and continues albeit at a slower rate than previously. The Government of the Banyuasin District, has been working hard to reverse this trend by supporting research into restoration and alternative land uses that encompass healthy mangrove ecosystems.

To support the Government and people in Banyuasin District, the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), Center of Excellence for Peatland Conservation and Productivity Improvement at Sriwijaya University and the South Sumatra Watershed Forum are working together to increase knowledge of effective, alternative livelihoods in mangrove ecosystems through a project, Action Research to Enhance Mangrove Restoration and Community-Based Business Model in Banyuasin District, South Sumatra.

Herry Purnomo, senior scientist and deputy director of CIFOR-ICRAF’s Indonesia programme, said that “the Government of Banyuasin and Bank Sumsel Babel, a regional development financial institution, signed a memorandum of understanding on 29 July 2022. The MOU sets out the parameters of all parties in undertaking participatory action research to develop locally accepted and sustainable business models.”

The businesses developed under the model are intended to support communities by generating incomes from restoration of mangroves. The project team will work also to strengthen local policies for restoration and contribute to national and global agendas on mangrove restoration. Supported by Temasek Foundation, Singapore, the research will be underway until November 2025.

“The objectives are to develop, and implement, restoration of mangroves along with community-based business models that people want, are ecologically feasible, deliver benefits for the communities and contribute to knowledge about creating sustainable mangrove socio-ecological systems in Indonesia and beyond,’ said Herry Purnomo, that leads the CIFOR-ICRAF and partner for this project.

The research into restoration and business development will be focused in selected locations on five villages in the Sungsang area of Banyuasin II Sub-district: Sungsang 1, Sungsang 2, Sungsang 3, Sungsang 4 and Marga Sungsang. The potential locations include a riverbank and village-owned land, potential village forest, ecotourism and integrated village forest program and another area for restoration as substitution for the establishment of a port nearby. These locations will be discussed later with community and other stakeholders, in participatory processes.

“We are working on the baseline study now,” said Purnomo, “looking at the socio-economic conditions, institutions, commodities, value chains and biophysics while planting of mangrove seedlings has already started in some areas, along with establishment of a mangrove nursery in Sungsang IV.”

The team has already identified with communities the best places for restoration and is now examining the local situation more closely so as to better understand appropriate businesses and other matters.

“Temasek Foundation is the non-profit arm of Temasek investment. We focus on collaborative actions with communities to build a sustainable future,” Li Lang Heng of Temasek Foundation. “We hope the mangrove restoration will improve ecological and community conditions. We are grateful for all the support from the Government, researchers, non-profits and businesses.”

International Day of Mangroves was on 26 July and the point was well made around the world that although mangroves cover only a small area of the planet’s surface, they provide a significant contribution to sequestration of carbon, protection of coastlines, aquatic habitats and communities’ livelihoods.

“Our role at CIFOR-ICRAF is to develop pilots based on community wishes that can be applied by the communities beyond the life of a project,” said Robert Nasi, managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF. “We have carried out international research led by Daniel Murdiyarso and this will inform the work in Banyuasin, providing the basis for expanding the results from the small area of research throughout South Sumatra and the rest of Indonesia.”

H. Askolani Jasi, head of the District Government of Banyuasin, speaking at the signing ceremony held at the campus of CIFOR-ICRAF and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Bogor, West Java, noted that the District Government had been working for a long time on restoration, with a focus on ensuring community benefits.

“Working together with Bank Sumsel Babel, CIFOR-ICRAF and others, we are looking forward to progress beyond just a ceremonial signing of an MOU,” he said. “The mangroves are important for the people and also for the wildlife: crocodiles nest in them and there are still Sumatran tigers living in the forests.”

Linda Hairani of Bank Sumsel Babel, said that the bank’s aim was to finance the development of the area.

“We are very thankful for the partners working to support development of Banyuasin while also restoring the environment,” she said.

The project has several objectives: enhanced mangrove restoration in the research area; generation of sustainable incomes for communities derived from mangrove restoration and utilization; enhanced sequestration of greenhouse gases; mainstream an action plan for sustainable mangroves in the province; engage with policy makers at all level for well-implemented and appropriate policies, regulations, frameworks and incentives; and establish a platform for national, regional and international interests to promote new ways of working with communities for expansion of scale.

“We are happy to be working together with the partners,” said Myrna Asnawati Safitri, deputy for Education and Socialization, Participation and Partnership at the Peatland and Mangrove Restoration Agency of the Government of Indonesia. “With direction from the President of Indonesia, we are focused on rehabilitation of degraded mangroves, totalling around 600,000 hectares, with participation of the people, for the people. Our approach encompasses three main activities: recovery of degraded mangroves; maintenance of those in good condition; and improvement of biophysical condition of existing systems along with the socio-economics.”

There are 3.5 million hectares of mangroves in Indonesia, about 23% of the world’s total, with 93 true mangrove species, according to data from the World Bank.


Contact: Sonya Dyah Kusumadewi;

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Daniel Murdiyarso of CIFOR-ICRAF becomes the first-ever Indonesian scientist to receive the prestigious Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki

Bogor, Indonesia (June 14)Daniel Murdiyarso, Principal Scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), will be bestowed with the honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Helsinki, the oldest and largest university in Finland this Friday June 17.

Murdiyarso was selected as one of the eight scientists worldwide to be granted this prestigious award. The University of Helsinki is organizing four conferment ceremonies this spring: the doctoral conferment ceremony of the Faculty of Medicine, as well as the master’s and doctoral conferment ceremonies of the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Faculty of Social Sciences. As per tradition, the title of “doctor honoris causa”, the University’s highest recognition, will also be awarded to several individuals in connection with the conferment ceremonies. In the ceremonies to be held this year, a total of 30 distinguished scholars from around the world will be conferred as honorary doctors.

Murdiyarso, the only Indonesian scientist to ever receive this honorary degree, has been working in the agriculture and forestry field for more than 30 years. Currently, he is one of the principal scientists at CIFOR-ICRAF and a professor at the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (FMIPA – IPB) in Indonesia.

He has significantly contributed to the development of science and technology in Indonesia. From 2000-2002, he served as the Deputy Minister of Environment for the Government of Indonesia, during which he was also the National Focal Point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). He played an important role in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), serving as the Convening Lead Author of the IPCC Third Assessment Report and the IPCC Special Report on Land-use, Land-use Change and Forestry.

Over the past two decades, Murdiyarso has published more than 100 research works related to land-use change and biogeochemical cycles, climate change mitigation and adaptation. He received his degree in Forestry from Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Indonesia. In 1985, he received a Ph.D. from the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, U.K. Throughout his career, he has received many prestigious awards, including the Ahmad Bakrie Award (2010), the Sarwono-LIPI Award (2018), and the Habibie Prize (2020). Since 2002, Murdiyarso has been an active member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences.

In regard to the 2022 Doctor Honoris Causa degree awarded by the University of Helsinki, Murdiyarso said: “I am deeply grateful. This achievement was made possible by the support and collaboration of my colleagues at CIFOR-ICRAF and IPB, as well as the students who were involved with the research of land-use change and biogeochemical cycles, climate change mitigation and adaptation. Receiving this honorary degree motivates me to continue conducting my research, so that I can contribute to a better future for our planet.”


  • Leona Liu, Head of Global Outreach and Engagement, CIFOR-ICRAF,
  • Budhy Kristanty, Regional Head of Media Relations, Asia-Pacific, CIFOR-ICRAF,


The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) envision a more equitable world where trees in all landscapes, from drylands to the humid tropics, enhance the environment and well-being for all. CIFOR- ICRAF are CGIAR Research Centers and non-profit scientific institutions that conduct research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world.

New study details carbon capture potential of agroforestry and trees on farms

Joint research conducted by an interdisciplinary international team geospatially modeled and quantified above and belowground biomass carbon on agricultural land, assessing the mitigation benefits of increasing tree cover in agricultural lands under scenarios of incremental and systemic change.

Kunming, People’s Republic of China, 25 May 2022 – Increased use of trees in agriculture can lead the way towards a transformation of the global food system, according to a new study released in May revealing that even small incremental increases in global tree cover on agricultural land could provide short-term respite to carbon accumulation in the atmosphere, benefiting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services.

Building on multi-year work to quantify the extent, geographic distribution, and carbon mitigation potential of agroforestry, the study— led by scientists from the Centre for Mountain Futures of the Kunming Institute for Botany (Chinese Academy of Science), the Centre for International Forestry Research-World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre of Climate Change (CMCC)—is a clarion call to policymakers and institutions to promote the widespread implementation of agroforestry practices to mitigate the effects of climate change while bolstering ecosystems, restoring degraded land and enhancing food security.

Published in the new journal Circular Agricultural Systems and entitled ‘Global Carbon Sequestration Potential of Agroforestry and Increased Tree Cover on Agricultural Land’, the study represents the latest iteration of research on agroforestry, and its potential for carbon mitigation, over a 15-year period of interdisciplinary collaboration.

‘Recently, there has been growing recognition in the land-use sector about the role of agroforestry to bolster mitigation efforts and strengthen small farmer adaptive resilience,’ said Robert Zomer, lead author of the study. ‘Trees on farms are now seen as the road forward for transitioning to improved agricultural systems with lower carbon footprints and environmentally sound practices.’

The recently released IPCC Mitigation report placed agroforestry as one of the top three Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) mitigation pathways, noting that it delivers multiple biophysical and socioeconomic co-benefits such as increased land productivity, diversified livelihoods, reduced soil erosion, improved water quality, and more hospitable regional climates, ultimately concluding there is ‘high confidence’ in agroforestry’s mitigation potential at field scale.

‘The opportunity to achieve beneficial outcomes for both conservation and food production by increasing tree cover on farms and in farming landscapes, including building resilience and soil health benefits, cannot be overstated,’ said Deborah Bossio, lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

‘Resilient agroforestry systems can therefore offer great opportunities to link adaptation and mitigation with climate change, and should be further stimulated within agriculture policy frameworks,’ added Antonio Trabucco, senior scientist at CMCC.

The research also plugs holes in carbon accounting schemes.

‘This recent report noted a discrepancy in anthropogenic land-based carbon accounting between the numbers countries submit in their national GHG inventories and what global modelling assumes,’ said Meine van Noordwijk, lead scientist at the Centre for International Forestry Research-World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), ‘suggesting the need for finer representation of trees outside forests. The updated dataset we present here helps address this gap in the literature.’

The current study used updated carbon density maps to estimate biomass carbon present on agricultural land. It then posed the question — how much additional carbon would be sequestered if tree cover were increased? Two ecologically reasonable land-use scenarios were generated to answer this question.

The first scenario modelled changes in biomass carbon if just small incremental changes were adopted. ‘Incremental changes’ were defined as practices that increased tree cover within existing or slightly modified agricultural systems, such as adding trees to field edges, along roadsides and canals, or as windbreaks and hedgerows.

The second scenario modelled changes in biomass carbon if systems change was adopted. ‘System changes’ were defined as wide-scale adoption of agroforestry or other practices that integrate trees within the production system.

Incremental change in existing agricultural landscapes increased biomass carbon from 4-6 PgC (petagrams of carbon), and up to 12-19 PgC for a systemic change to tree-based systems. Increasing tree cover on agricultural land by just 10% globally, that is, by 1% per year for the next ten years, would sequester more than 18 PgC. By comparison, aboveground losses due to tropical land use conversion have been estimated at 0.6–1.2 Pg yr-1, with net emissions from land use, land-use change, and forestry for the year 2020 estimated to be 1.6 ± 0.7 PgC yr−1.

Given the numerous ways to integrate trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock, agroforestry practices can be implemented around the world. The study also used geospatial modelling techniques to show which regional bioclimatic conditions were most suitable to increasing tree cover on agricultural land, concluding that South America, Southeast Asia, West and Central Africa, and North America had the most potential to increase biomass carbon given their large land areas and tropical/humid conditions that facilitate plant growth.

‘Increasing on-farm tree cover is not a panacea for runaway carbon emissions,’ said Xu Jianchu, Director of the Centre for Mountain Futures and Regional Coordinator of East & Central Asia for CIFOR-ICRAF. ‘However, it can help blunt the most severe effects short-term while laying the groundwork for future political and financial support, as part of the long-term transformation of our global food system.’


For more information:

Citation:  Zomer, R.J., Bossio, D.A., Trabucco, A., Noordwijk, M., Xu, J. 2022.  Global carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry and increased tree cover on agricultural land. Circular Agricultural Systems 2: 3


For media inquiries, contact:

Leona Liu, Global Head of Outreach and Engagement, CIFOR-ICRAF,

Budhy Kristanty, Regional Head of Media Relations for Asia, CIFOR-ICRAF



Euro-Mediterranean Center of Climate Change (CMCC)

The Euro-Mediterranean Center of Climate Change CMCC aims at furthering knowledge and model our climate system and its interactions with society to provide reliable, rigorous, and timely scientific results to stimulate sustainable growth, protect the environment and develop science driven adaptation and mitigation policies in a changing climate. To this end, CMCC is engaged with extensive research methods to develop foresights and quantitative analysis of our future planet and society.

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF)

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) envision a more equitable world where forestry and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all. CIFOR-ICRAF are non-profit, scientific institutions that conduct research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world. Using a global, multidisciplinary approach, the aim is to improve human well-being, protect the environment, and increase equity. Their work focuses on innovative research, developing partners’ capacity, and actively engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders to inform policies and practices that affect forests and people. Their work spans the globe, with expertise in the ‘global South’. Founded in 1993 and 1978 respectively, CIFOR-ICRAF are members of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Founded in the U.S. through grassroots action in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than a million members and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and over 400 scientists, we impact conservation in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners.

CIFOR, UNHAN sign agreement on research collaborations

Peat Area in Perigi village, Pangkalan Lampam District, Ogan Komering Ilir Regency. Photo by Rifky/CIFOR.

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indonesian Defense University’s (UNHAN) research center of energy security on May 19, 2021, in Bogor, West Java, for research collaborations in topics related to energy resilience, climate change and ecological restoration.

The MoU was signed by Dr Robert Nasi, CIFOR Director General and Dr Amarulla Octavian, UNHAN Rector. Under the agreement, both parties agree to conduct joint action research on the topics related to land and environment such as, restoration of degraded land through bioenergy plantations, climate smart agroforestry, climate change and sustainable land, climate change, as well as cooperation in publishing study and research results.

“It’s a win-win solution for people and planet – growing biomass energy on degraded and underutilized land is certainly a better land use strategy, considering its potential to enhance soil fertility, improve farm production and income, biodiversity, while supporting climate and sustainable development goals,” said Nasi.

Meanwhile, CIFOR Senior Scientist Himlal Baral, Ph.D, explained that UNHAN and CIFOR aimed to scale up and expand CIFOR’s work on landscape restoration and bioenergy into transboundary areas and remote and isolated locations in Indonesia, particularly in the eastern part of Indonesia.

“UNHAN’s goals are in-line with CIFOR’s priority to explore potential bioenergy production on degraded land in Indonesia, which aims to support scientific gap on potential species for biomass and bioenergy as well as socio-economic and environmental benefits of restoring degraded land,” said Baral.

Adding that the center was also exploring potential bioenergy production on degraded land in the eastern part of Indonesia.

“The Indonesian Defense University center was originally established to teach expertise in the fields of knowledge vital for Indonesia’s defense,” said Dr. Ir. Donny Yoesgiantoro, M.M., M.P.A, Head of the UNHAN’s Center for Energy Security Studies.

Donny went on to say that over time, the institute offered courses related to peaceful activities, including humanitarian assistance and international peacekeeping operations as well as a course on Indonesia’s political system and defense policy that features diplomatic strategy and issues related to energy resilience.

“Through this collaboration with CIFOR, we wished to foster scientific understanding practical knowledge on land use management all over Indonesia especially in restoration of degraded lands and deforested areas,” Yoesgiantoro said.

Adding that the university was also ready to support CIFOR’s restoration projects, particularly in remote and border areas of Indonesia.


  • Himlal Baral
    Senior Scientist
    Center for International Forestry Research
  • Donny Yoesgiantoro
    Chairman of Energy Security Research Center
    Indonesia Defence University (UNHAN)