Forests, trees and agroforestry are part of major land-use transitions worldwide, with an impact on the balance between the global issues of planetary boundaries and local concerns about livelihoods and peoples’ rights. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include complex trade-offs between various local and global interests in forests or derived land uses that require effective science-policy boundary work. Use-oriented research carried out by FTA connects three knowledge systems: the various scientific disciplines, local ways of knowing, and the way public discourses and policy reforms (re)frame issues, articulate common goals and seek effective means of implementation. Place-based, context-responsive sustainable development solutions need to build on identities and core values. These interact with socially contextualized rights, knowledge, markets, local ecosystem services and global teleconnections.
This is an introduction to the FTA Highlights of a Decade series, which showcases the main findings, results and achievements of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) from 2011 to 2021. FTA, the world’s largest research-for-development partnership on forests, trees and agroforestry, started in 2011. This series features the work undertaken under the FTA program by its strategic partners: Center for International Forestry Research-World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), The Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), Tropenbos International and International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR); and other national and international partners.
A decade of research and action by the FTA program has deepened the understanding of the roles of trees in farms and forests on the planet and of land-use and tree-use options in context. It has supported new market connections (traditional and new tree-based food, energy, biomaterials, environmental services), contributed to the emergence of more inclusive business models for tree-based value chains, informed the agendas of national and global forest, climate and food policy and facilitated new forms of governance for the “global commons.”
All the work presented in this introduction and in the FTA highlights series was undertaken as part of the FTA program. The series aims to show the extent of actual contributions of FTA to research and development challenges and solutions over a decade, and indirectly, in doing so, to also provide a perspective on the genesis, history and evolving narratives on the related development issues.
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