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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.

Healthy soil is the foundation for functioning ecosystems including sustainable agricultural systems, rangelands, wetlands, peatlands and forests. Consequently, healthy soil is fundamental if we are to achieve land-based ecosystem restoration.

CIFOR-ICRAF’s state-of-the art soil spectroscopy lab and global database of ecosystem health indicators are one of the world’s best tools for large scale and accurate soil analytics. By conducting multi-scale assessments of land and soil health across landscapes, we are able to provide analysis at the farm, landscape and global levels. Providing robust and actionable scientific data and analysis and capacity development, our evidence draws links between soil health, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity to inform policies and investment at multiple scales.

Learn more about our works on soil and land health and our state-of-the-art Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostics Lab.

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More than simply ‘agriculture with trees’, agroforesty is an agroecological approach that involves farmers, livestock, trees and forests at multiple scales – including trees on farms, farming in forests and at forest margins and tree-crop production. It leverages the ability of trees to store carbon, draw water and nutrients from soil, shelter biodiversity, build soil organic matter and carbon, and record climate history.

Since the term agroforestry was coined in the late 1970s to describe the work of World Agroforestry (ICRAF), the concept has evolved greatly. CIFOR-ICRAF’s approach addresses the complexity of the interaction between people and ecological systems through a holistic systems approach.

Agroforestry: Fast facts

Restoring degraded land using agroforestry could increase food security for 1.3 billion people1
Agroforestry can reduce soil erosion by 50 per cent and increase soil carbon by 21%2

 

Sources:
1 Smith P et al. 2019. Interlinkages between desertification, land degradation, food security and greenhouse gas fluxes: Synergies, trade-offs and integrated response options. In Climate change and land. Shukla PR et al. (eds.). IPCC.
2 Muchane MN et al. 2020. Agroforestry boosts soil health in the humid and sub-humid tropics: A meta-analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 295.

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Cocoa, timber, coffee and palm oil are the major commodities that support smallholder livelihoods, along with lesser-known tree crops and non-timber forest products such as nuts, honey, resins and natural medicines. While they can provide a diverse range of nutritious foods and other ecosystem services, their productivity is threatened by unsustainable practices, biodiversity loss and climate change.

CIFOR-ICRAF is supporting local innovations to sustainably produce food across landscapes. Through our ‘options by context’ (OxC) approach, we are helping farmers adopt agroecological and climate-smart principles and practices, while also strengthening land and resource rights for forest-dependent communities. Research migration and urbanization aims to understand how these choices affect land-use decisions, social dynamics and gender roles. We are also identifying ways to engage the private sector, as well as youth and women, in sustainable forestry and agroforestry practices to build resilient, productive communities.

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Fergus Sinclair

Chief Scientist

Habtemariam Kassa

Principal Scientist

Livelihoods: Fast facts

At least 2 billion people depend on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods, particularly poor and rural populations1
~80% of the world’s farms are smaller than 2 ha, but they take up only ~12% of the world’s agricultural land2
~86 million green jobs, as well as food, shelter, energy, medicines, come from forests3

 

Sources:
1 Abraham M and Pingali P. 2020. Transforming smallholder agriculture to achieve the SDGs. In Gomez y Paloma S, et al. (eds.). Springer, Cham. 173- 209.
2 Lowder SK, et al. 2016. The number, size, and distribution of farms, smallholder farms, and family farms worldwide. World Development 87: 16–29.
3 FAO. 2020. State of the World’s Forests 2020. Rome: FAO.

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Consumer awareness of how commodities – such as timber, cocoa and palm oil – affect ecosystems, people and the climate is driving a transformation in these industries. Private companies, governments and financial services providers are investing more and more in sustainable activities that reduce pressure on forests and farm-forest landscapes.

CIFOR-ICRAF is supporting this transition through research on public policy, business models, private investments and finance to find solutions that support smallholder farmers, who depend more and more on global markets for their incomes. Scientists are documenting the conditions needed to make supply chains more sustainable and inclusive, as well as exploring ways to leverage public and private initiatives to address performance gaps, particularly in the oil palm and cocoa sectors. And work on the sustainable production and marketing of non-timber forest products aims to improve smallholder livelihoods while maintaining ecosystem services and biodiversity.

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Michael Allen Brady

Team Leader, Sustainable value chains and investments

George Schoneveld

Senior Scientist

Finance, trade and investment: Fast facts

50% of the world’s GDP is dependent on nature1
Every dollar invested in restoration creates up to USD 30 dollars in economic benefits2
The New York Declaration on Forests was endorsed by 36 national governments, 53 companies and 54 civil-society organizations3
The Consumer Goods Forum represents 400 companies across 70 countries, which collectively employ nearly 10 million people and have sales of more than USD 3 trillion4

 

Sources:
1 World Economic Forum [WEF] (2020). The Global Risks Report 2020. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
2 Ding, H., Faruqi, S., Wu, A., Altamirano, J-C., Ortega, A.A., Zamora-Cristales, R., et al. (2018). Roots of Prosperity: The Economics and Finance of Restoring Land. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.
3, 4 Zero deforestation initiatives and their impacts on commodity supply chains

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Inspired by natural ecosystems, agroecology combines local and scientific knowledge, and focuses on the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment. It seeks to build resilience in both livelihoods and landscapes, and address key knowledge and implementation gaps to support agroecological transitions.

CIFOR-ICRAF’s work on agroecology uses a systems approach to determine ‘Options by context’ (OxC), working closely with smallholder farmers to develop locally relevant innovations that will help them keep pace with the global demand for food without damaging the natural resources they need to produce it.

Ensuring soil health is a key agroecological principle. Our work focuses on managing soils to protect their ability to sequester carbon, store and regulate water and nutrients, and provide other ecosystem services.

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Fergus Sinclair

Chief Scientist

Agroecology: Fast facts

An improved rice–fish–duck agroecosystem in China is estimated to have 7.8 times the economic value of the conventional hybrid rice monoculture model

 

Source: Zhang Y et al. 2017. A conservation approach of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). Sustainability 9(2):295.

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