Restoring and protecting agricultural and forest landscapes

Restoring and protecting agricultural and forest landscapes

Restoring and protecting agricultural and forest landscapes

Restoring and protecting agricultural and forest landscapes

Land is a vital economic resource, particularly for developing countries, yet pressure on that resource is growing amid fast-rising global demand for agricultural and forestry commodities – food, fuel, fibre and timber. With the global population expected to grow by 1.2 billion by 2030, and the global middle class set roughly to double by 2030, the pressure will only increase.2 About 70% more food calories will need to be produced by 2050, while demand for wood products will increase three- to fourfold.3 Most of the new demand is coming from emerging and developing economies, and most will need to be met by production increases in those countries.4

These trends create vital opportunities for economic growth, but they also pose great challenges. Agriculture and land use change, including deforestation, already produce roughly a quarter of global manmade greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.5 Farmland and forests are also being degraded and lost at alarming rates, at a combined cost in the range of US$100 billion per year.6 Moreover, both agriculture and forests are also increasingly threatened by climate change. Restoring degraded landscapes and improving land use practices can reduce emissions, increase sequestrations, increase resilience and boost productivity.

Healthy forest cover provides multiple key ecosystem services, including better water management, improved air quality and increased above-ground and soil carbon, which are critical goals in their own right that support surrounding communities and agricultural production. Interventions in agriculture seeking to achieve the “triple wins” of increased productivity, greater resilience and mitigation of GHG emissions simultaneously are typically referred to as “climate-smart agriculture (CSA)”, and often also include increasing tree and shrub cover.7 Adding tree and shrub cover in degraded agricultural landscapes can help to fix nitrogen, increase soil carbon, stabilise soils, increase water retention, improve soil fertility and improve responses to synthetic fertilisers.8

Forest and agricultural landscape conservation and restoration at scale require strong national policies. National or provincial governments are necessarily in the lead. Key policies include those affecting agricultural and forest technology generation and distribution; market access and infrastructure, regulations and other institutions affecting land access; ownership and zoning, the recognition and enforcement of rights to land and the rule of law; codes governing investments, foreign participation and dispute resolution; and the generation, processing and use of information and other ingredients that provide transparency and permit better social management of land for the benefit of all.

While national governments must lead, progress at the global scale requires a much larger financial effort than has been seen
to date, with international partnerships mobilising commitment, skills and finance from a broader constituency. These include people already on the land, as well as private investors, knowledge providers and domestic and international investors in public development and climate. A key theme of this paper will be that scaled-up international and multi-stakeholder partnerships to support landscape restoration and conservation will work best when coordinated within whole landscapes involving forests, water resources and agriculture. Better Growth, Better Climate highlighted key opportunities and calls for governments and development partners to commit to restoring 500 million hectares (ha) of forest and agricultural land through scaled-up investment and adoption of proven landscape-level approaches. It also urged the public and private sectors to work together to eliminate deforestation from agricultural commodities by 2020.

The international community has taken important steps since then. The New York Declaration on Forests, launched at the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, is a pledge to work together to halve natural forest loss by the end of the decade, end it entirely by 2030, and restore more than 350 million ha of forests by 2030.9 It has been endorsed by 36 countries, 20 sub-national governments and 53 companies, as well as indigenous groups and dozens of civil society organisations.

At the same time, 20 countries and many other partners launched the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA).10 Significant regional initiatives have also been launched, such as Initiative 20×20,11 through which seven Latin American countries and other partners have pledged to bring 20 million ha of land into restoration by 2020, and the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance, which aims to engage 6 million smallholders by 2021.12

Realising these political commitments is no small task. The challenge going forward will be to identify good practice and secure the finance to bring it to a large scale. This working paper focuses on three critical areas that require much greater international cooperation, involving both public and private actors: scaling up investments to restore degraded agricultural and forest landscapes, international finance to halt and reverse deforestation, and commitments and support for zero-deforestation commodity supply chains. Countries deal every day with a host of important issues pertaining to rural poverty, agriculture, water, forests and their interactions with climate, and there are always many areas for improving the effectiveness of interventions. The three areas chosen for scrutiny cover only a subset of these, but they are the ones where international partnerships involving both public and private actors are essential to success at scale, where the technical aspects of what to do are fairly well known, and where there are real prospects for significant results in the next 15 years.


Source :The New climate economy

Authors : Christopher Delgado, Michael Wolosin, and Nigel Purvis

See more about the climate economy on RESTORE THE PLANET


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