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.

CIFOR-ICRAF and UNHCR partner to support communities affected by displacement and promote sustainable forestry resource use in Cameroon

Photo credit: UNHCR Cameroon

Yaounde, 28 March 2023 – CIFOR-ICRAF and UNHCR signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the resilience of refugees and host communities, while preserving the sustainable management of forest resources in areas affected by forced displacement in Cameroon.

“Environmental degradation has become a major concern in refugee-hosting landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said CIFOR-ICRAF’s Country Coordinator Ann Degrande. “The daily subsistence of refugees relies heavily on forest and tree resources for fuelwood, construction, fruit and non-timber forest products as well as other environmental services. This exerts a lot of pressure on the already fragile ecosystems where most refugees are hosted.”

Said Richard Eba’a Atyi, CIFOR-ICRAF’s Regional Convener, “Targeting sustainable development and resilience at the level of a landscape by an Integrated Landscape Approach is increasingly being recognized as a viable approach to overcome sectorial gaps and find solutions through dialogue with actors at multiple levels.”

In Cameroon, CIFOR-ICRAF has demonstrated how tree growing can mitigate the environmental impact of displacement and develop sustainable wood fuel value chains and food security. However, it soon became apparent that the actions of a single organization could not solve the environmental and social problems related to population migration, given its complexity and scope. This led to the organisations combining their efforts, beginning in 2018 in the east of Cameroon as part of the implementation of the EU-funded Governing Multifunctional Landscapes (GML) project.

In October 2022, a new tool called Guidance for a Landscape Approach in Displacement Settings (GLADS), which outlines how an integrated landscape approach can be adapted for displacement or refugee settings, was launched. Developed in partnership with UNHCR Cameroon, the tool aims to guide stakeholders in building context-relevant understanding, inclusive approaches, continuous learning and outcomes towards sustainability and resilience in refugee hosting or displacement settings.

“The present MoU between our organizations thus reinforces the vision of our operations in refugee settings in order to jointly materialize actions and advocate for sustainable development and resilience in the landscape of the people we serve through an integrated landscape approach,” said UNHCR Representative in Cameroon Olivier Beer.

In order to achieve the sustainable development goals of zero hunger, good health and well-being, access to affordable and clean energy, and addressing climate change, UNHCR and CIFOR-ICRAF are also combining their efforts to mobilize resources for the enhancement of the livelihoods of refugees and members of the host community as well as the sustainable use of forests.

The first activities through the UNHCR and CIFOR-ICRAF partnership will be implemented in the Garoua-Boulai Subdivision in Cameroon’s East Region which is home to almost 64,000 Central African refugees. In order to develop and implement solutions that improve the management of natural resources, both organizations have committed to conducting participatory research so that communities may create futures for themselves and future generations.

For more information
Merilyne Ojong
Communications Specialist
Behind Usine Bastos, Yaounde-Cameroun
PO Box : 16317 Yaounde
Tel: (+237) 222 21 50 84 | 222 22 74 51 | 699 98 16 58
Email: cifor.cameroon@cifor-icraf.org | icraf-aht@cifor-icraf.org

First-of-its-kind course trains African scientists in cutting-edge technology to adapt agriculture to climate change

Media advisory

Nairobi, 26 January 2023 – Climate change is making it harder to grow enough nutritious food, but a unique programme is training African scientists in harnessing a cutting-edge breeding tool to adapt agriculture to new threats.

The African Plant Breeding Academy, a programme for top plant breeders to upgrade their skills in advanced crop breeding, is training 11 doctorate-level scientists from across the continent to use CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), a tool that allows scientists to make precise and specific changes to DNA sequences in living organisms, including crops.

The technology will help plant scientists to quickly develop crop varieties adapted to the changing climate, and to boost their nutritional content for important vitamins and minerals like Zinc, Iron and Vitamin A, all of which are critical for human health and development.

As an initiative of the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC), the University of California of Davis organised the six-week training programme, partnering with UC Berkeley’s Innovative Genome Institute (IGI) and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) which is hosted in Nairobi, Kenya by the Center for International Forestry Research and the World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Additional partners include African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for African Development (AUDA-NEPAD), Morrison and Foerster, Bayer, Syngenta, UM6P Ventures, and the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR).

“We are honoured to be working with the top institutions in the world in this Academy that will enable Africans to drive innovation critical to improving African crops to eliminate stunting due to malnutrition,” said Dr Allen Van Deynze, Director of the Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis and Scientific Director of the AOCC.

“This training is the first of its kind to impart knowledge, skills and tools to accomplish gene editing in crop plants to national program scientists in Africa,” said Dr Rita Mumm who oversees Capacity Building and Mobilisation at the AOCC and directs the African Plant Breeding Academy.

Eleven doctorate scientists from seven countries are participating in this first cohort, from a highly competitive applicant pool of 57. The scientists work at institutions that are already undertaking research in gene editing in crop plants or have committed to doing so upon their employee’s graduation from the course.

“The gene-editing toolkit training is a momentous occasion that should be celebrated given the scale of the problem that CRISPR is expected to address,” said AOCC founder Dr Howard-Yana Shapiro during the official launch of the training programme.

“CRISPR is a key strategy towards improving food nutrition in Africa and the trainees from this programme will be the change agents that will make the impossible happen especially with the kind of pan-African collaboration we have witnessed today.”

Dr Silas Obukosia from the African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for African Development (AUDA-NEPAD) emphasised the organisation’s support for gene editing as one of the key innovations that will transform the continent.

“Gene-edited crops and their products that are equivalent to conventionally bred crops should be regulated under the conventional seed laws,” said Dr Obukosia. “Gene editing makes specific, targeted changes to the DNA of an organism and can be programmed to produce products equivalent to those developed through conventional breeding. In contrast, techniques used to develop GMOs often involve introducing genetic material from distantly related organisms to develop traits of economic importance.”

The programme supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2), which aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition as well as promote sustainable agriculture by 2030.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said World Agroforestry Interim Director General Dr Ravi Prabhu, adding that, “addressing nutrition by improving local skillsets through such a programme is key to improving food security on the continent and an important contribution to a productive and sustainable transformation of African agriculture.”

For more information please contact:
Susan Onyango
Global Communications Coordinator
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 700 299 227
Email: s.onyango@cifor-icraf.org

CIFOR-ICRAF scientists caution not to abandon forest carbon offsets, in wake of critical coverage

Photo by Kate Evans/CIFOR-ICRAF

Media advisory

  • Carbon offsetting is a popular strategy for individuals and companies looking to offset their carbon footprint and mitigate the effects of climate change. One way to do this is through planting forests or trees. While this approach has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks
  • Forest carbon offsets and REDD+ can help reduce deforestation and forest degradation – but those without proper oversight may have limited impact
  • Effective REDD+ projects can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities – and the women within those groups – as well as reducing deforestation and forest degradation and providing additional tree cover in agricultural landscapes
  • To meet the Paris Agreement goals, we must reduce our use of fossil fuels by 90%, and REDD+ remains an effective solution for sectors that cannot be decarbonised, while also supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services

An article in The Guardian on 18 January 2023 questions the effectiveness of REDD+ and forest carbon offsets if projects lack the proper oversight and monitoring standards necessary to achieve their goals of reducing carbon emissions and forest degradation.

But scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) are cautioning governments from abandoning the practice altogether, emphasizing the critical need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and the effective role REDD+ can play in mitigating the effects of industries that cannot decarbonise.

“Carbon offsetting is often presented as a panacea or as a dangerous distraction in relation to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. It is neither one nor the other,” says Dr Robert Nasi, acting CEO of CIFOR-ICRAF, a global research and development organisation with more than 75 years of experience in harnessing the power of trees, forests, and agroforestry landscapes to address the most pressing global challenges of our time – biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, livelihoods, and inequity.

To achieve the goals set by the Paris Agreement, we must drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by 90%. But as not all sectors can be decarbonised, this is where scientifically sound, equitable and transparent carbon offset schemes can play a role. Forests and trees (and the oceans) are particularly effective at absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. They also provide many other benefits: they are home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, and they help to regulate the Earth’s climate by releasing water vapour and absorbing sunlight. Forests also help to protect against soil erosion and flooding and provide resources such as timber and non-timber products.

Win-win forest and tree-based solutions thus include:

  • Protecting intact, and largely intact, forests to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services. Indigenous-controlled lands play a major role here
  • Managing production forests and plantations better, to provide much-needed materials for shifting from a fossil-fuel-based to a bio-based economy, and replace materials with high carbon impact like cement and steel
  • Increasing the presence of trees in agricultural lands through diverse agroforestry systems
  • Restoring, in a locally adapted and accepted manner, the vast amount of degraded land on our planet, to yield a bundle of critical ecosystem-based goods and services

Each of these solutions has the potential to become forest or tree-based carbon offsets; they also bring along a myriad of other benefits, with carbon storage becoming one of the by-products of better care of our land.

However, carbon offsetting through forests and trees also has its downsides. One major concern is that these projects can displace local communities, particularly in developing countries where land is often scarce. Furthermore, many carbon offsetting projects take place in remote areas, making it difficult to monitor and verify the actual carbon sequestration taking place. Another problem with carbon offsetting through forests and trees is that it is often a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Trees and forests take time to mature and reach their full carbon sequestration potential, and even then, they may not be able to fully offset the emissions being produced.

In sum, carbon offsetting through forests and trees can be a valuable tool in the fight against climate change, but it is important to approach it with caution. Careful consideration must be given to the potential negative impacts on local communities and the need to monitor and verify carbon sequestration. It is also important to recognise that while carbon offsetting through forests and trees can help, it is not a substitute for reducing our overall carbon emissions. It’s clear that carbon offset projects will never be able to curb the emissions growth if fuel-fed power stations continue to be built or petrol cars continue to be bought.

“We are like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland who needs to run endlessly to stay in the same place,” says Nasi. “This is not to say that carbon offset projects should stop – quite the opposite. We must continue to restore forests and peatlands while also scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency projects via offset schemes. But it cannot simply be an excuse to continue business as usual. Like the Red Queen, we must run faster if we want to go somewhere.”

Related research


CIFOR-ICRAF brings more than 75 years of experience in harnessing the power of trees, forests, and agroforestry landscapes to address the most pressing global challenges of our time – biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, livelihoods and inequity. It has partnerships in 64 countries, 159 funding partners and 192 active projects, alongside more than 2,200 completed projects across 92 nations. The organisation has an annual budget of USD 100 million, and a combined legacy investment of USD 2 billion in research and technology, policy and development. On average, CIFOR-ICRAF research is cited nearly 137 times a day and appears in global media more than 3,000 times per year. CIFOR and ICRAF merged in 2019 and are both international organizations and CGIAR Research Centres. Learn more at cifor-icraf.org.

For more information, please contact:

Azzura Lalani
Global Head of Outreach and Engagement
Bonn, Germany
Tel: +49 151 1062 6686
Email: a.lalani@cifor-icraf.org

Dabur joins hands with CIFOR-ICRAF to promote agroforestry and trees outside forests in India

From left: Chandrashekhar Biradar, Country Director- India, CIFOR-ICRAF and Chief of Party-Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) Program; Pankaj Prasad Raturi, Head- Department Bio-Resource Development, Dabur Research & Development Center; Mohit Malhotra, CEO, Dabur India Limited; Ravi Prabhu, Director General, ICRAF; Javed Rizvi, Director – Asia Continental Program, CIFOR-ICRAF; and Rahul Awasthi, Executive Director-Operations, Dabur India Limited. Photo: CIFOR-ICRAF/Sakshi Gaur

New Delhi, 14 December 2022: India’s leading science-based Ayurveda company, Dabur India Limited, today joined hands with the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) to roll out a mega initiative aimed at improving trees, fruits, medicinal and aromatic plantation practices on farms and outside forests areas, using agroforestry, across Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Tamil Nadu.

The initiative, which will play a critical role in increasing the tree cover outside demarcated forest areas and on farmlands, will go a long way towards helping India achieve its climate mitigation targets in the forestry sector, while also supporting sustainable livelihoods for communities.

“At Dabur, nature is the lifeline of our business. With a range of products based on nature and natural ingredients, we depend on nature’s bounty to deliver on our promise of delivering holistic health and well-being to every household. Managing natural resources sustainably comes naturally to us, and we encourage the same across our value chain. Dabur is proud to be partnering with CIFOR-ICRAF on boosting agroforestry and trees outside forests. This is a step forward in our Environment Sustainability strategy of preserving ecosystems and halting land degradation and the accelerated loss of biodiversity,” Dabur India Ltd. Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mohit Malhotra said.

Under this project, Dabur will focus on the domestication of selected medicinal tree species and medicinal plants, as well as establishing satellite nurseries in states to ensure the availability of quality planting material for the selected plant species.

CIFOR-ICRAF is leading the implementation of the Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) Program, which is a five-year joint initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) under the bilateral agreement on Sustainable Forestry and Climate Adaptation. The main goal of the TOFI program is to significantly expand the area under trees outside forests, thereby enhancing livelihoods and ecosystem services in the seven participating states (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh). The initial phase of the collaboration with Dabur will be initiated through the TOFI Program.

Dr Ravi Prabhu, Director General a.i., ICRAF said: “We are glad to collaborate with India’s leading science-based Ayurveda company-Dabur India Limited. Through this partnership, we look forward to developing a partnership through which smallholders and tree growers in participating states are enabled to produce the kinds of tree-based raw materials required by Dabur. This will not only help augment the livelihoods of the smallholders but will also promote sustainable production and harvesting of tree-based products of medicinal value while supporting India’s larger development goals and NDC targets”.

Other priority activities under the agreement include developing a business model through which Dabur can buy back the final produce from the community, and developing optimum harvesting protocols for commercially important medicinal plants.

About Dabur India Ltd: Dabur India Ltd is one of India’s leading Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Companies. Building on a legacy of quality and experience for 138 years, Dabur is today India’s most trusted name and the world’s largest Ayurvedic and Natural Health Care Company. Dabur India’s FMCG portfolio includes nine Power Brands: Dabur Chyawanprash, Dabur Honey, Dabur Honitus, Dabur Lal Tail and Dabur Pudin Hara in the Healthcare category; Dabur Amla, Vatika and Dabur Red Paste in the Personal care space; and Réal in the Food& Beverages category.

About CIFOR-ICRAF:  The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) address local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet. CIFOR-ICRAF is more than a research institute: it is a union of the best minds working to find nature-based solutions for forest and tree landscapes. This dynamic and resilient partnership is uniquely equipped to deliver evidence-based, actionable solutions and to lead the radical transformations to address the interlinked crises of climate change, deforestation and biodiversity loss, dysfunctional food systems, and unsustainable supply and value chains, and inequality affecting women, Indigenous Peoples and other marginalized groups. Learn more about CIFOR-ICRAF’s work in India: https://www.cifor-icraf.org/locations/asia/india


For further information, contact:

Byas Anand @+91-9811994902
Head-Corporate Communications, Dabur India Ltd.

Sakshi Gaur
Communications Coordinator, India, CIFOR-ICRAF


Reach us on:
www.dabur.com   |  Facebook: /DaburIndia   |   Twitter: @DaburIndia
www.cifor-icraf.org  | Facebook: @cifor @World Agroforestry – ICRAF | Twitter: @CIFOR @ICRAF

World Agroforestry signs Host Country Agreement with Sri Lanka

From left: Tony Simons, Director General ICRAF; Javed Rizvi, ICRAF Regional Director, Asia; Mr Ajith Abeysekera, Director General of the Sri Lanka External Resources Department; and Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Environment

On 14 September 2022 World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka signed a Host Country Agreement formalizing their shared commitment to developing strategies for a more resilient, food-secure Sri Lanka.

“We feel honoured and privileged to be afforded this esteemed status as a high-level international partner,” said Tony Simons, Director General of ICRAF. “This year alone we have seen how climate change, unsustainable farming systems, and conflicts can unbalance entire economies and cause suffering worldwide. For centuries, Sri Lanka has skilfully harnessed the power of nature through traditional agroforestry practices, and it can set an example by continuing to place a high priority on addressing environmental, food security and social development issues. The Host Country Agreement offers ICRAF even more scope – and responsibility – to contribute to Sri Lanka’s development agenda by supporting local expertise with the latest in agricultural science. We stand ready to assist the government, institutions and people of Sri Lanka in creating a greener and more vibrant future for all.”

Anura Dissanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, said: “Sri Lanka sees in the green economy vast opportunities for sustainable development. Our biodiversity is a treasure waiting to be unlocked and we expect ICRAF’s presence in Sri Lanka to catalyse our progress towards a resilient economy and improved income opportunities for smallholder farmers.”

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and has a rich tradition of agroecology. But according to the World Food Programme, 80 percent of the land is prone to water shortages and nearly 30 percent of its population are currently food-insecure. Urgent solutions are needed to climate-proof the country’s agroecosystems and increase food security for its most vulnerable populations.

One immediate priority of the Agreement is to set in motion a USD 49 million joint project between the Ministry of Irrigation, ICRAF and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the project aims to strengthen climate resilience among the subsistence farmers and agricultural plantation communities living in vulnerable downstream areas of the Knuckles Mountain Range Catchment in central Sri Lanka.

Over 1.3 million people – 51.4 percent of whom are women – live in this area and can benefit greatly from the adoption of diversified, climate-resilient livelihood options. The five-year project aims to enhance their ability to weather shortages of irrigation and drinking water by climate-proofing both farm- and land-management practices and the underlying upland and lowland ecosystems, which span an area of 346,000 hectares.

This on-the-ground work complements another GCF project in Sri Lanka, namely ICRAF’s role as a delivery partner in the development of the country’s ‘GCF readiness’. In 2018, as a first step towards the Host Country Agreement, both parties signed a Letter of Intent at the 24th UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland, with the aim of working together towards mitigating tropical deforestation, land depletion and rural poverty through improved agroforestry systems. The Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment (MMDE), which is Sri Lanka’s National Designated Authority (NDA) to the GCF, requested ICRAF to be its delivery partner and help build its capacity to perform its GCF-readiness duties.

“Having collaborated with ICRAF in strengthening our readiness to harness opportunities to combat climate change and the erosion of key ecosystem services, we welcome the potential benefits of the permanent presence of an ICRAF team in the country working alongside our world-class Sri Lankan scientists and practitioners,” said Dr Anil Jasinghe, Secretary of Environment. “We firmly believe in such partnerships.”

“This collaboration will effectively build a strategic framework for engaging the GCF on climate interventions by advancing the implementation of the National Adaptation Plan and Sri Lanka’s Nationally Determined Contribution,” said Simons.

Other priority activities under the Host Country Agreement include supporting the emergence of a climate-resilient green economy by mainstreaming the tools of collaborative research into national policies that address mitigation and adaptation, green development, ecosystem services, and social forestry and tenure. ICRAF will continue efforts to strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacity to carry out ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change, including support to upgrade value chains and improve ecosystem resilience through agroforestry. It will also develop new and productive partnerships across public and private sectors, while conducting research that positively impacts development at scale.

ICRAF’s ability to contribute to Sri Lanka’s sustainable development has only increased since its functional merger with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). While maintaining separate legal entities and headquarters, CIFOR-ICRAF now operates under a single governing Board and leadership team, with a joint regional structure and 10-year strategy. Harnessing a combined 70 years of expertise and extensive partnership networks across Africa, Asia and Latin America, CIFOR-ICRAF has over 700 dedicated staff working in 60 countries, and has completed over 2,200 projects worth more than USD 2 billion in 92 countries.

Since January 2005, ICRAF researchers in Sri Lanka have focused on identifying and overcoming barriers to agroforestry development, as well as capacity building with a variety of partners, including the Ministry of Environment and Wildlife Resources, the Coconut Research Institute of Sri Lanka and the University of Peradeniya.

“ICRAF has been a trusted partner in Sri Lanka’s agricultural and forestry landscape for over two decades,” said Javed Rizvi, CIFOR-ICRAF Director for Asia and head of ICRAF’s former South Asia Regional Programme, which included Sri Lanka. “Most notably, proactive efforts by ICRAF researchers contributed to the swift eradication of a devastating outbreak of Weligama Coconut Leaf Wilt Disease (WCLWD) in 2007.”

Coconut is a source of income for hundreds of thousands of resource-poor Sri Lankan farmers, who rely on the trees for food, cosmetics, wood, choir and medicine. But in 2007, coconut trees were dying from WCLWD, with over 320,000 coconut trees affected across three districts. Drawing on its experience with WCLWD in Kerala, India, ICRAF worked in partnership with Sri Lanka’s Coconut Research Institute to contain the outbreak. CRI launched a programme to breed disease-resistant coconut trees, and ICRAF provided technical support to maintain the health of coconut-based agroforestry systems.

On World Coconut Day, 12 October 2012, the then Ministry of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development presented ICRAF with the Presidential Science Award – the first time it was awarded to an international organization – and a certificate of appreciation for its role in supporting the transition to a more resilient agroforestry model.

Other examples of ICRAF’s ongoing work in Sri Lanka include improving home gardens through diversification and strengthening the existing germplasm; training of key staff in the policy and practice of agroforestry for sustainable development, as well as through fellowships and training courses; and joint efforts on the domestication and improvement of quality planting material – mainly of gooseberry, jackfruit and dragon fruit – which led to the introduction of high-yielding varieties.

Mr Laksiri Abeysekera, Interim CIFOR-ICRAF Country Head for Sri Lanka, said: “As we establish a more stable institutional presence in the country, we look forward to working with partners to support Sri Lanka in meeting its national commitments on climate, biodiversity and sustainable development, and to build greater climate resilience in Sri Lanka’s agroecosystems.”

Dr Sunimal Jayathunga, Additional Secretary for Environment Development echoed the sentiment: “We recognize that climate change will play an enormous role in shaping ecosystems and livelihoods in Sri Lanka in the decades to come. In ICRAF, the Government of Sri Lanka recognizes a key partner that will help build resilience and adaptive capacity across our unique and precious ecosystems and the people who depend upon them.”

The agreement was signed at the Treasury Secretariat Building in Colombo by Mr Ajith Abeysekera, Director General of the Sri Lanka External Resources Department and by Prof Tony Simons, Director General of ICRAF. Among those present were Dr Anil Jasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Environment; Mr Sampath Manthreenayake, Additional Director General, External Resources Department; Dr Ravi Prabhu, Deputy Director General of ICRAF, Dr Javed Rizvi, Director of Asia for ICRAF and Mr Laksiri Abeysekera, Interim CIFOR-ICRAF Country Head for Sri Lanka.


  • CIFOR-ICRAF Country Office
    Laksiri Abeysekera
    CIFOR-ICRAF Country Coordinator for Sri Lanka
    Email: l.abeysekera@cgiar.org
  • ICRAF headquarters
    Susan Onyango
    Global Communications Coordinator
    United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
    PO Box 30677, Nairobi, 00100, Kenya
    Tel: +254 20 7224000
    Via USA: +1 650 833 6645/+1 650 833 6646
    Email: s.onyango@cgiar.org
    Web: www.worldagroforestry.org

Learn More:

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, l.liu@cgiar.org
  • Budhy Kristanty, Regional Head of Media Relations, Asia-Pacific, CIFOR-ICRAF, b.kristanty@cgiar.org


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   https://doi.org/10.48130/CAS-2022-0003


For media inquiries, contact:

Leona Liu, Global Head of Outreach and Engagement, CIFOR-ICRAF, l.liu@cgiar.org

Budhy Kristanty, Regional Head of Media Relations for Asia, CIFOR-ICRAF b.kristanty@cgiar.org



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.

Signing of agreement for restoring Asian drylands: Landscape Partnership for Asia

Date: 22 October 2020

Time: 16:00 – 17:00 UTC +9

Join with Zoom from here

Seoul, Republic of Korea, 20 Oct 2020 – Leaders of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO), World Agroforestry and Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR-ICRAF), Global EverGreening Alliance (Alliance) will sign on 22 October a landmark partnership agreement to restore drylands and drought-prone areas in Asia.

The Landscape Partnership for Asia will contribute to efforts to restore economic and environmentally productive functions to drylands and drought-prone areas to achieve national and global targets for food security, climate mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, social equity, bioenergy, governance and economic growth, specifically, to prevent more land degradation, store substantial amounts of carbon and increase biodiversity.

The Partnership will deploy proven and cost-effective solutions that can be expanded to large scale. These will include farmer-managed and assisted natural regeneration; agroforestry; sustainable forest, land, rangeland and water management; bioenergy production; financial instruments; and value-chain development with accompanying social-equity and institutional capacity building. These solutions will help mitigate the climate crisis, build agricultural and environmental resilience, and improve livelihoods through development of small-to-medium enterprises and value chains.

‘For these reasons, we hope to emphasize the importance of cooperation between communities, scientists, researchers and political stakeholders and strengthen governance and institutional capacities for forest and land restoration’ said Chencho Norbu, executive director of AFoCO, which is hosting the secretariat of the Partnership.

‘This is one of the most important agreements for land restoration in the world,’ said Tony Simons, executive director of CIFOR-ICRAF. ‘With more than 14 countries signed up or interested already, ranging from Kazakhstan through Mongolia to Indonesia, covering millions of hectares of degraded forest and agricultural land, the signing of this agreement is an historic moment leading up to the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.’

‘We will achieve the ambition through a consortium of partners in the governmental, non-governmental and private sectors through establishing a network of “engagement landscapes”,’ said Robert Nasi, managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF. ‘Engagement landscapes allow focus in geographical locations that aim to take an intensive, systematic approach to collaborative research over the long term.’

‘The Partnership will draw on the collective experience of diverse stakeholders across sectors and borders, supporting local innovation at the grassroots and improving access to knowledge and markets,’ said Christopher Armitage, chief executive officer of the Alliance. ‘This will empower rural communities to really own and benefit from more sustainable landscape management well beyond the end of the Partnership in 2032.’

These groups will include governments, research and development organizations, the private sector, multi-sectoral platforms, civil-society networks and community-based associations that will implement performance-based investments in the restoration of Asian drylands and drought-prone areas, building on successes already achieved.

The Partnership will deploy proven techniques with a well-established track record for dryland restoration across a range of biophysical and socioeconomic landscapes at wide scale to speed regreening and improve livelihoods.

Knowledge will be shared across Asia, inviting specialist expertise from Africa and other dryland regions, to establish a coherent body of ‘green, blended development’ knowledge and successes on the ground that will sustain further expansion of scale.

The Partnership will also implement a trans-Asia monitoring and evaluation system that assists national governments to measure progress in relation to targets and that will feed these achievements into international commitments, linking to other restoration initiatives such as the Bonn Challenge, the Decade of Ecosystems Restoration, and the Forest Landscape Restoration programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for Asia-Pacific.

If you miss this event, tune in at 14:45 CEST, 28 October 2020 to the Global Landscapes Forum ‘One World, One Health, where the announcement will be shared with delegates.


AFoCO: Jimyung Kim, Program Officer for Assembly and Governance: jmkim@afocosec.org; +82-10-9678-2808. Location: Seoul, Republic of Korea

CIFOR-ICRAF: Robert Finlayson, Senior Strategic Communication and Liaison, ICRAF: r.finlayson@cgiar.org; +62 81212125308. Location: Bogor, Indonesia.

Budhy Kristanty, Communications Project Coordinator, Asia: b.kristanty@cgiar.org. Location: Bogor, Indonesia

Alliance: Sally Armitage, Lead, Media and Communications: sally.armitage@evergreening.org; +61 458 432 820. Location: Melbourne, Australia



Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO)
Formalized in 2018, AFoCO is an intergovernmental organization committed to strengthening forest cooperation by transforming proven technologies and policies into concrete actions in the context of sustainable forest management to address the impacts of climate change. Through concerted efforts with member countries, AFoCO strives to undertake and promote action-oriented forest cooperation programs in Asia on sustainable forest management; enhancing forest carbon stocks and supporting related initiatives; addressing deforestation and forest degradation; strengthening capacity building and research and development in the forest sector; and partnerships that build on forest-related international efforts and global initiatives.

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.

Global EverGreening Alliance
Since early 2012, the Alliance has brought together leading research, technical and development organizations. The Alliance harnesses collective energies and builds on the shared vision to restore degraded land and improve the sustainability, profitability and reliability of smallholders’ farming systems. The Alliance provides a collaborative platform to support and facilitate massive-scale environmental restoration and sustainable agricultural intensification projects, increasing biodiversity, and both mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change on a globally significant scale.

Brief on Laos’ NDC and forestry sector was launched at a knowledge sharing and closing event on the decade-long ASFCC partnership

Inadequate data, institutional arrangements and methodologies for measuring outcomes could jeopardize achieving NDC targets

JAKARTA – (Mar. 3, 2020) At a knowledge sharing and closing event in Jakarta last week, delegates celebrated over a decade of partnership, sharing lessons and results from the ASEAN Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Delegates reflected on lessons from ASFCC and explored the potential for enhancing collaborative action on social forestry, climate change and related issues of sustainable development, CIFOR launched a brief on “Laos’ Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC): Progress, opportunities, and challenges in the forestry sector.” The case of Lao PDR is particularly interesting as it was the first country in Asia to declare its Nationally Determined Contributions in 2015 and currently is developing a second NDC for submission to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the end of 2020.

NDCs are a key part of the strategy detailed in the 2015 U.N. Paris Agreement to prevent post-industrial average temperatures from rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius or higher. Each country is required to provide data on greenhouse gas emissions and reductions targets it aims to meet post-2020.

An early adopter in 2015, Laos’ efforts have met with mixed results, say a recently published brief jointly produced by the National University of Laos, the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

“Major challenges impeding the country’s efforts to achieve its forestry sector NDC targets are persistent and similar to those identified 10 years ago,” the report states, citing shortcomings that include failure to fully implement policies aimed at addressing causes of deforestation and forest degradation, poor coordination between sectors, lack of reliable data and credible methodologies for measuring outcomes.

While successes have been achieved and targets met in some sectors, e.g rural electrification with a target of 90 percent of rural population having access to electricity has been exceeded but the target of 70 percent forest cover has not been achieved. The forestry sector in NDCs will continue to lag behind, unless rigorous impact assessments of existing policies and initiatives on forest protection, development outcomes and other components are evaluated to determine how best to achieve national environmental, social and economic development goals.

ASFCC partner organizations CIFORWorld AgroforestryNon-timber Forests Exchange ProgramRECOFTC and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, have worked to promote regional cooperation on multifaceted, landscape-based concepts of ecosystem management to combat climate change.

At the two-day event, ASFCC delegates did not only review the transformative impact of a partnership which was conceived initially in 2007 and officially launched in 2011, but they explored potential opportunities for future collaboration.

Hosted by the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry, the ASEAN secretariat, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Indonesia and the Embassy of Switzerland in Indonesia, it was held at the ASEAN Secretariat Compound.

For further information, please contact:

Moira Moeliono
CIFOR Senior Associate

Pham Thu Thuy
Senior Scientist

Indah Waty
Research Consultant

CIFOR advances human well-being, equity and environmental integrity by conducting innovative research, developing partners’ capacity, and actively engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders to inform policies and practices that affect forests and people. CIFOR is a CGIAR Research Center, and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Our headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya, Yaounde, Cameroon, Lima, Peru, and Bonn, Germany.

Book Launch: Lessons from Community-Based Fire Prevention and Peatland Restoration

In 2015, widespread fires in Indonesia created an air pollution crisis in Southeast Asia. Dry conditions and a delayed rainy season contributed to extensive landscape fires and haze that worsened the air quality in the region and the health of millions of people. CIFOR researchers found that the corresponding carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions totalled 1.2 billion tons.

The disaster prompted Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to pledge to restore two million hectares of the country’s degraded peat lands by 2020 to prevent future fires. In local communities, stakeholders realized that there was a need for more systematic prevention. This included involving local communities in fire prevention and peatland restoration.

A joint team of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)Riau University (UNRI), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Gadjah Mada University (UGM) and supported by Temasek Foundation (TF) worked together to conduct a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project in Indonesia’s Riau Province in 2018-2019. The program is managed by the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE).

“Asia is a region that faces various types of disasters and our communities need to be better prepared,” said Benedict Cheong, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation International. “We hope that the community-based models and ideas captured from the program will be a useful reference for communities facing similar issues and also act as a platform for more collaborative conversations in this area.”

The research took place in Dompas Village, Bukit Batu District, Bengkalis Regency and in Siak and Pelalawan Regencies on the island of Sumatra. It was carried out in collaboration with the Fire Care Community (MPA), the Dompas village government and other community groups.

The complexity of fire and peatland restoration inspired the team to conduct the research through a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach. “Participatory Action Research builds knowledge and drives changes at the local level,” said CIFOR scientist and Participatory Action Research project leader Prof. Herry Purnomo.

The research team found that behaviour changes to make non-burning practices the preference in land management are essential to tackling the burning the region has suffered. Dr. Daniel Mendham, CSIRO project leader, said that while “the presidential ban on burning is the main factor that has caused the reduction in burning by communities to date, this on its own is not sustainable.”

In the communities, knowledge needed to deal with forest and land fire problems was not available and not suitable to conditions on the ground. “Communities have largely stopped burning, but this is leading to some inequity, with poorer farmers needing support to maintain their productive use of the land, including knowledge and training in non-burning techniques, assistance with fertilizer, herbicides and machinery,” said Mendham.

The researchers helped locals adapt the new knowledge and take concrete steps such as preparing land without burning, blocking canals to increase peatland moisture, planting trees, establishing fish ponds as well as planting pineapples, coffee, rubber and hybrid coconuts in community gardens. Monitoring was then carried out to determine impacts on the community.

The lessons are published in “Lessons from Community-Based Peat Fire Prevention and Restoration,” a book that details nine lessons, including sustainable business models and strengthening of restoration-based monitoring systems.

The book is available for download here.

For further information, please contact:

  1. Prof. Dr. Herry Purnomo (participatory action research team leader, CIFOR). Email: h.purnomo@cgiar.org
  2. Dyah Puspitaloka (participatory action research team member, CIFOR). Email: d.puspitaloka@cgiar.org
  3. Budhy Kristanty (Communications Indonesia program, CIFOR). Email: b.kristanty@cgiar.org