Agroforestry as an effective means to implementing REDD+ in Africa

ICRAF session on agroforestry and REDD+ in Africa at the Paris COP21. Photo ICRAF/Susan Onyango

ICRAF session on agroforestry and REDD+ in Africa at the Paris COP21. Photo ICRAF/Susan Onyango

A key outcome of the UNFCCC Scientific Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) talks in June 2013 was consensus on the draft text on REDD+ that addressed longstanding issues on safeguards, non-carbon benefits and implementation approaches.

As countries strategize viable ways to incorporate the REDD+ agreement into their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), we propose agroforestry as a key tool for its implementation in Africa. A study titled Prospects for agroforestry in REDD+ landscapes in Africa reviewed REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposals for eleven African countries. All countries mentioned agroforestry as part of a strategy to address agriculture as a driver of deforestation.

However, for effective implementation, the following challenges need to be addressed.

i) Agroforestry, on its own, is not recognized within the UNFCCC

ii) Rights and ownership of trees, products and services such as carbon are not clarified and guaranteed

iii) Investment barriers are high given that there is an initial period during which trees do not yield any income but require time and resources to tend them

iv) An appropriate market infrastructure that allows for greater benefit from and value-added for tree products is currently missing.

A side event hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre at the 2015 UN climate talks in Paris discussed various opportunities to tackle these challenges, including policy pathways through which agroforestry can be implemented within the REDD+ framework. The meeting largely focused on how agroforestry can become part of the REDD+ discourse and implementation in Africa.

Lalisa Duguma of the World Agroforestry Centre gave the keynote presentation highlighting the potential of agroforestry and the associated challenges in implementing it on a wider scale. He outlined slash-and-burn agriculture, unsustainable logging, livestock rearing and charcoal and fuelwood as major causes of deforestation and degradation in Africa.

“Agroforestry can help achieve REDD+ objectives by minimizing the extent of deforestation,” said Duguma. “About 400,000 hectares of degraded and deforested land in the Miombo woodlands have been restored using agroforestry and other traditional fodder management systems. We have also seen success in land restoration through farmer-managed natural regeneration efforts in Niger.”

Community consultation on REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diversified AF systems can address all REDD+ objectives such as climate change mitigation, poverty reduction and reduced deforestation if designed appropriately. Photo: ICRAF/ Olivia Freeman

Community consultation on REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diversified AF systems can address all REDD+ objectives such as climate change mitigation, poverty reduction and reduced deforestation if designed appropriately. Photo: ICRAF/ Olivia Freeman

Farmers can benefit from agroforestry through appropriate market infrastructure that allows for greater gain from tree products. Florence Bernard of the World Agroforestry Centre cited the example of the Democratic Republic of Congo where agroforestry has been identified as a means to address land degradation and deforestation, mitigate climate change and improve livelihoods through REDD+. Acacia for charcoal and nitrogen fixing, and cassava are the two species selected for REDD+ in the Democratic Republic of Congo with potential to sequester carbon, generate income and produce energy in the Kinshasa basin.

Endeshaw Kassa presented a case study highlighting the strong potentials of agroforestry systems in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Legambo, Ethiopia.

The following key messages came out of the panel discussion:

  • Agroforestry has a strong potential to reduce the pressure on remnant forests of Africa.
  • There is a strong need to sensitize and engage policy makers who make decisions on the framework of integration of the agroforestry systems into REDD+ schemes
  • The choice of agroforestry practices that could be adopted in the implementation of REDD+ should be made in a participatory and inclusive process
  • There is need for incentives, especially initial capital, to enable smallholder farmers adopt agroforestry practices as they often lack the financial resources to take up new forms of agriculture. Besides, tenure and tree rights should be clarified so that smallholders can be aware of they can benefits from agroforestry
  • Where agroforestry practices result in profitable products, market access and infrastructure should be part of the discussion.

The session titled Agroforestry and REDD+ in Africa was held on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Paris on 11 December 2015.

Presentations:

Agroforestry and REDD+ in Africa- potentials, challenges and the way forward

Land use transformation hillside farming

REDD+ and agroforestry potential in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Also see:

World Agroforestry Centre at the Paris COP21

 

 

 

 

Share
Susan Onyango

Susan Onyango

Susan Onyango is the communications specialist for climate change for the World Agroforestry Centre and is based at the headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. With over 12 year’s experience in communication, she promotes the World Agroforestry Centre’s work on climate change, writes blogs and provides communication advice and support to scientists. Susan holds a MA communication studies and a BA in English. Twitter: @susanonyango

You may also like...