Dear moderators and other members
In my last posting I sent a wrong note which had some typo mistakes, inconsistent sentences and incomplete lines. I would like to correct and complete them. Firstly I would like to clarify that using ideas of this forum in conference papers by acknowledging sources is not unethical practice. I am also not challenging the jobs of people in high profile organizations. I am sharing my experiences and understanding that current forest policies and practices at both national and international levels are focused on benefiting affluent societies and elite classes which have harmed local food security and economic activities and marginalized forest based communities and other socially disadvantaged people in developing countries. I pointed international polices and agencies because they have very high influences on determining national policies of forest management and food security in developing countries particularly with weak institutions and bad governance.
1. How do forests contributes food security in developing countries?
Many participants focused on direct contribution of forest on food security and nutrition. Forests also contribute to food security indirectly. Traditionally, many varieties of local vegetables, herbs, spices and other food crops and animal breeds were evolved and sustained on the forest resources based compost such as in Nepal. Some varieties are chemical fertilizer intolerant. The varieties and animals breeds are adaptable to marginal lands and still importance means of food security socially disadvantaged people. Access to products and services of common or public forests are also required for sustaining transhumance livestock practices and utilization of alpine pasture. The resources are important means of food security of people in remote areas and mountain region. Community forests under the international interventions are managed to increase wood supplies to urban users and offset carbon emission produced by developed countries and affluent societies which institutionally locked opportunities of multipurpose uses of forest. Decreasing multipurpose management of forest has reduced local people's visits to forest and diversified product availabilities. It has greatly contributed to eroding local knowledge and practices. The water sources of many communities are springs. People have experienced decreasing of dry season spring water flow in Nepal as forest cover increases in the catchments. International interventions on forest policies in developing countries have hampered the indirect contribution to food security.
2. What is needed for food security policies and strategies to recognize the contributions and value that forests and trees bring?
As I stated in my last posting that the problems are very pervasive and complex to exploit the opportunities that forest and trees contributes on food security and nutrition. International funding practices, working behavior of working in forestry field (national and international levels), changes in national and international forest policies and forestry educational systems are increasingly going against forest management for food security and forest based people. Private land areas of many households are not enough to produce forest or trees for food security. Community forest and public forest resources are means to complement private resources and contribute to food security in the forest based communities. This has received very little recognition from influential agencies or people. Even the facilitators have not recognized these problems in the concept note distributed in this forum for discussion.
3. A question for the facilitators
I would like to ask the facilitators what motivated FAO to work on forest management for food security. FAO policies and working histories are very controversial on this subject. For example, FAO was one of the leading agencies to advise and support Nepal government for reducing forest resource based livestock holding (a principle means of food security) of Nepalese farmers (please read preface of Nepal’s Forestry Sector Master Plan 1988). FAO has also policies to support REDD programme in developing countries. If you work to promote forest management for food security, the policy will conflict with international forest policy other influential donors such as UK, Norway, US, Germany and Australia which reaffirmed their commitment of continuous funding and supports to achieve REDD objectives in developing countries beyond 2012. The forest managed for REDD cannot contribute on food security. The donor agencies are interested to reduce livestock holding of developing countries as I showed evidences in India and Nepal. I request facilitators how the FAO address the conflicts if you like to change. Are you raising the agenda just for formality and show an accomplishment of an activity in your progress report?
4. The problem of international forestry management policy: A kaleidoscopic case
The problem of international forestry management policy is a kaleidoscopic case that can be explained by multiple schools of thought. Some schools of thought are as follow.
a) Proponents of the western hegemony school of thought argue that international policies and practices are founded on the western world’s institutions, values, social preferences and practices which are routed through the place of organizational origin (in the case of INGOs), main source of funding, languages, people’s expertise and pro-western preference in influential job positions. Most of western values and practices are incompatible with conditions and needs of forest based communities in developing countries and in many cases environmentally unsustainable or unfriendly. The practices and values of western world are propagated and imposed through international forums and agencies. The values, ideas and practices of the non- western world are filtered or suppressed. The pervasiveness of the western hegemony has made national professionals powerless to understand and protect the quality of local institutions and practices and real needs of disadvantaged citizen. Therefore forestry resources traditionally used in achieving food security is hampered by increasing western influences on forest management in developing countries.
b) Scholars of the institutional school of thought argue that the community unfriendly activities and marginalization are outcomes of bad governance of government agencies of host countries. The government of institutionally weak and bad governance gets easily influenced by vested interest international agencies or governments, and imposes forest policies and practices for the benefit and interest of the international agencies or governments. The policies and practices hamper forestry contribution on food security and marginalize poor people.
c) The proponents of the behavioral school of thought argue that people working in forest and environmental field have been too conservative and narrowly focused by education, professionalization and working practices. They have lost their thinking ability and judgmental capacity in socioeconomic needs and broader environmental problems. The wrong doings of the conservative people have been unchallenged by other professional groups, civil societies and intellectuals due to technically complex field. Forest based and poor people have been victim of the wild behavior of the people working in forestry and environmental field.
d) Proponents of the neocolonial school of thought argue that developed countries, purposely and strategically introduced forestry institutions and management practices to lock the land resources used in food production and destroy livestock farming in developing countries. The restriction on land uses of developing countries increases future market value of agricultural products for developed countries which hold vastly privatized lands and well developed technologies. This can help to influence world policy by controlling food. The controls on the use of forests and the production of livestock in the poor communities also reduce global greenhouse gas emission, which would relieve the pressure on emission intensive businesses in developed countries.
e) The argument of proponents of the gangster school of thought differs from the proponents of the neocolonial school of thought. According to the gang school of thought, an influential ‘gang’ of business people (often termed think tanks, experts and consultants) have socially tactically constructed forest policies and values in the world and sold to influential political actors including governments in developed countries who are desperate of tactical ideas and policy solutions to cool down public outcry for environmental management in home, and keep their symbolic and political existence in overseas. The gang developed the idea to maximize their benefit and did not care who loss and impact in societies. Similar behavioral business groups also are existed at regional and national levels. They have propagated the practices and ideas of the master mind gang and are paid by developed countries. Other people hopped on their bandwagon. The forest are managed poor communities became victim of the working policy of the business groups.
5. Summary international forestry development support is a “Naked Emperor’s” story
Forests used by communities in developing countries are considered inefficiently managed and environmentally degraded, and that international policies, payment and development supports would improve the products and services from the forests, benefit local people and contribute on holistic environmental sustainability. International measures are increased to manage the forests and achieved the objectives. This study used secondary sources of information and the coupled social-ecological system theory, and critically analyzed local issues of international policies and supports on community forest and climate change forest management in Nepal. It showed that the forest management interventions institutionally locked opportunities of multipurpose uses of forest, worsened water yield and local knowledge, and hampered local economic activities. The interventions influenced the host country’s policies and forestry practices which spoiled indigenous forestry systems evolved and practiced over hundreds of years and reduced local food security. The management also reduced habitat diversities for forest based species and resource supplies for sustaining agro-biodiversities. Local people are used to manage forests in the name of community participation but they are oppressed and institutionally and economically marginalized. Some of the forestry systems established by the external interventions are turned too costly to change and will remain affecting local communities and environmental systems and benefiting distance users for long term. It can be best termed a green grabbing of local forestry resources.
Forest and Trees provide tangible and intangible benefits for food and security to man from the existence of man to date; the relationship that occurred between Adam /Hauwa and trees notwithstanding.
The contribution of trees in construction , watershed management , climate change, erosion control Desertification control, fruits, soil fertility enhancements , medicines, environmental amelioration and atmospheric purification are all benefits that lead to increased income, health, employment opportunities , increased food production, nutrition, food security, and increased standard of living to the human race.
Government should legislate and enforce laws on bush burning, and deforestation and encourage and make deliberate policy on tree planting in form of woodlots, trees on farmland, windbreaks and shelterbelts by both males and females.
This will help promote the services of trees for the better, in terms of food and security.
Trees and food security!
A critical issue particularly for the arid, semi arid and savannahs of sub Sahara Africa. Trees and woodlands provide fruits, livestock feeds and also incomes (charcoal, honey etc) and land/soil protection from degrading forces. Indeed trees on our land are far more important than economists make us believe.
To address regional diversity, it may be important to ensure that regional specific conditions and seasonality’s are thoroughly understood including traditional coping mechanisms associated with trees. It would make sense to probably allow room for adaptable policy frameworks for diverse application. Trees and tree products come in handy when nothing else is capable of supporting livelihoods in the semi dry land woodlands. In Kenya for example, the Baobab tree provides not only food supplements during drought but also enhances the nutritional value of the starch (maize) which is usually the most easily available food. Incorporating small livestock like rabbits and poultry in Agro forestry systems can greatly enhance nutritional value of the food as it addresses food security issues.
Harnessing tree crops for production such gums, frankincense, resins etc can further increase local incomes and so improve food security. This coupled with potential for carbon sequestration can provide additional income and incentives to ensure more are planted and more are conserved.
As an entry point into policy development we agree with the statement that forests and trees provide benefits for food and nutrition security and we would like to accentuate this with a few statements.
Challenges & Bottlenecks
For practical reasons the environment and its services have been defined with different definitions depending on the sector that produces the definition. For example agriculture has been defined simply as cultivation for food (fibre, fodder & fuel) or forests as being land with canopy cover of more than 10 percent. As a consequence the corresponding policies developed through the use of these definitions have become limited by their own specificity. For example, food production has been connected to agriculture (e.g. the government agriculture department) and trees and timber to forest (e.g. forestry department).
Perhaps it is the plethora of benefits, or their sheer diversity that has meant that trees themselves have fallen into categories, in order to be better managed. Fruit and nut trees like cocoa and cashew, were not in the same context as plantation species like pine and fir. However in the context of food security the multiple benefits of trees must be realised.
Concepts such as environment, livelihoods, socio-ecological systems, watersheds or landscapes are absent reflecting that there is a need to move towards a trees & food approach beyond these sectors.
There is a need to characterise both the direct and indirect benefits of trees.
In the context of food security the direct benefits of a tree is the provision of food, commercial products (rubber, palm oil) and carbon storage (in the form of increased biomass or through different climate mitigation initiatives). The indirect benefits are multiple; trees can be a driver of landscape change by creating diverse micro-climates beneath their foliage, blocking direct sunlight, increasing humidity, soil moisture and providing a source of organic matter. Whilst there is little research showing direct causality between trees and food, these effects have been shown to stabilise food production. That has been shown to raise household income leading to greater resilience within rural areas.
In the Maradi/Zinder Sahel region of Niger, a method called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) uses the Faidherbia albida tree for multiple benefits. It defoliates during the wet season leaving crops underneath both access the water without competition from the tree and in the dry season is a source of both fertilizer and fodder for the farmers. Over a wider scale these matrices of trees are contributing to a re-greening of the Sahel, restoring the soil and creating landscapes where agriculture can again be practiced on a large scale, thus contributing to food security. We must look beyond the direct benefits of trees and see how trees can interact within the agricultural system for the enhancement of food security.
The discussion regarding food and forest is very often overloaded with anecdotes, describing cultural rights and flavoured with poverty romanticism. From a policy perspective these ‘stories’ have to be seen as dynamic and useful. The questions which need to be raised are; i) how can these well- adapted, accepted and often durable land use systems combining food and forest be extrapolated and ii) how can these systems stay dynamic?
• There is a need to move towards concepts such as environment, livelihoods, socio-ecological systems, and cross-sectoral approaches to enable landscape management for the benefits of food and nutrition security.
• We must look beyond the direct benefits of trees and see how trees can interact within the agricultural system for the enhancement of food security.
SIANI is the Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative
Focali is the Forest, Climate and Livelihood research Network
Contact persons: Matthew Fielding (SIANI) & Madelene Ostwald (Focali)
We must say forests, tress and rangelands in our area “Kachho” in Sindh province of Pakistan are the only source of our livelihood. Grazing lands provides fodder to our livestock and livestock provides milk, butter, meat, other milk products and hard cash by selling our livestock and its products. Many fruit trees are also found in our area and provide nutrition. Honey is also found in our forests, some of the fruits of trees and bushes are used as vegetable.
Without tress, forests and rangelands we are nothing! That’s the reason we, SEARCH [Society for Environmental Actions, Re-Construction and Humanitarian response] are actively working and mobilizing communities for social forestry, conservation and protection of environment.
But, feudalism and land grabbers are the major threat and Government departments are not much active to stop them! Hence; we are helping communities and motivating them to conserve their resources with the support of local departments and by managing communities.
Forest resources are a form of natural capital assets owned by communities and nations. Beside protecting our soil against the devastation and vagaries of climate change they form part of the solution to the re management of the prevention of soil erosion and desert encroachment for the vast advancement of desert to the south of the sahara in africa. Forest and tree planting have eternity opportunity cost equivalent to the cost of mitigation of the. effect of climate change on soil integrity in climate change disasters. Forest is a natural bank for our natural food profile and medicinal resources that we must keep and value its inventory for posterity. Every nation and government at every level must invest in keeping inventory of forest and trees of biological and nutritional value to the community. Moringa oleifera as a tree is wealth food and health provider to the poor communities of the world as well as a viable source of livelihood. This tree can also replenish soil nutrient thereby is very appropriate as a soil replenished fertiliser. There is a need to work more on these categories of trees as global tree resources needed for mitigating the effect of climate change on our soil as well as providing food medicine and nature fertilizer for our forest sustanability and animal industry growth. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to add this contribution.
Thanks and god bless you all.
Dr Stephen Adejoro
Dr Stephen Adejoro contributes from Nigeria and he is currently head of marketing and research of Zartech limited an integrated value chain poultry project working toward sustainable animal food security.
Dear members of FAO FSN Forum,
Current societies faces many global challenges that affect (and in some cases is already affecting directly), the lifestyles of citizens and communities. Climate change, for example, represents a potential threat to all sectors of a country, including the economy, politcy and culture.
According to official data from the UN (2012) by 2050, world population reached 9,000 million, which further compromises the food and water security globally. If still maintaining the same agricultural practices, increasing urbanization and current diets, the amount of water needed for agriculture (in terms of potential evapotranspiration ) that is currently of 7130 km3 of water, increased from 70% to 90% between now and 2050 (UNEP, 2011).
Moreover, the negative effects of climate change, commit to accentuate the periods of droughts and floods, which only in Africa, could reduce agricultural production by 15% and 30%.
According to official data from FAO (2012), currently more than 870 million people worldwide suffer from hunger, a directly affected their quality of life and development of their communities, these being more vulnerable to adverse effects of climate and poverty, which latter is a fundamental aspect that directly affects social welfare.
In this case, forests contribute in a direct way, to improve the quality of life of the people and at the same time, the preservation of ecosystems and natural resources. Ecologically speaking, forests are ecosystems of great environmental importance, since they contribute to the area's ecological holism, protecting thousands of animal and plant species and strengthening relations between them.
At present, the increase in temperature in the climate system is clear and unambiguous, according to which so much evidence pose. According to the IPCC (2007), the current global climate change is being caused by anthropogenic activities, framing man's daily habits that degrade the environment and have become increasingly vulnerable.
High levels of deforestation, intensive agriculture and livestock, dependence on fossil fuels and exorbitant development model based on policies that disrupt economies and the environment, are just some specific causes of current climate change.
According to Andrew Mitchel (Founder of the Global Canopy Programme), “forests offer a onetime opportunity to mitigate and adapt us to climate change. Approximately 20% of the emissions reductions needed by 2020 to prevent global temperatures rising above 2°C can be achieved by reducing deforestation and forests degradation”.
Emissions from deforestation account for around 17% of global GHG emissions, more than the entire transport sector (IPCC, 2007). An agreement is currently being negotiated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to include reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) in a future climate change regime.
The impacts of climate change are felt the most strongly in developing countries and it's the poorest countries that are least equipped to adapt to the effects of climate change. Financing REDD+ will be an essential part of the Bali Action Plan, since forests account for nearly 40% of developing country mitigation potential and can play a crucial role in developing countries ability to adapt to climate change.
According to the World Bank (2004), forests therefore are an essential component of developing countries efforts to combat climate change. Tropical rainforests also directly support the livelihoods of 90% of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty. The loss of forests therefore jeopardises the livelihoods of the poor and the ability of the world’s poorest to adapt to climate change.
The negative effects of the challenge of this century, are visible worldwide. No nation is one hundred percent prepared to tackle climate change, with those most vulnerable developing countries or with very high poverty rates.
According to the report "An ecosystem approach to water and food security" published by UNEP and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in 2011, the main objective is to ensure the sustainability of natural resources to meet the future food and water challenges. The document states that 1,600 million people currently live in areas already affected by water shortages and if nothing changes, that number could soon reach 2,000 million.
To reverse this situation, the report proposes the establishment of agro-ecosystems, seeking a balance between ecology and agriculture that increase agricultural productivity, conserve water and ecosystem protection.
Similarly, the creation and consolidation of international, national and local holistic policies which promote the conservation of natural resources, which enable sustainable agricultural production and water conservation. This could allow better adaptation to the communities most vulnerable to climate change and at the same time, could improve the living conditions of these people.
Sustainable development, it becomes a "shield" against the negative effects of climate change, becoming less fragile communities and populations most in need. Recent studies by UNICEF, have shown that the most affected to suffer the consequences of global climate change are children and women, which is essential for the empowerment of education and decent employment to be able to better adapt to changes to come. Joining equity ties, strengthening endogenous development is to mitigate the consequences of the serious problems in the world, including extreme poverty, food insecurity and climate change.
Thank you so much.
Eva, Fred and friends,
In 2006, it was reported that atmospheric aerosols ("monoterpenes") rising from the boreal forests protect the Earth from solar UV-B radiation in several ways. During our lifetimes, half of the boreal forests have disappeared, from logging and pest infestation. That means half the quantity of monoterpenes that used to be produced by the forests are gone. Present global temperature and increasing demands for paper made from trees do not favor recovery of the boreal forests. UV-B radiation has more than doubled in the past twenty years.
Increasing UV-B is a vastly under regarded danger, as it contributes to epidemic health problems, global warming, reduced harvests and increased solubility of mercury. Even the UN report released last month, entitled "Mercury : Time to Act 2013" did not mention increased solubility of mercury in relation to increasing UV-B.
Recognizing the impact of boreal deforestation on UV-B levels, and the effects on food security is of major relevance.
Cannabis agriculture is unique in production of the same monoterpene aerosols as are produced by the boreal forests. Since it is an urgent priority to block UV-B radiation, it has become an urgent global priority to cultivate Cannabis to produce monoterpenes. Fortunately, Cannabis is also unique and essential in producing complete nutrition and sustainable biofuels from the same harvest. Cannabis is the only crop that increases food security and nutrition, while providing sustainable biofuels production and shielding the Earth from the Sun at the same time.
Secondly, the suppressive, initimidating influence of Cannabis prohibition has precluded Cannabis agriculture from objective consideration and crippled the free organic agricultural market. What's needed is for people to suspend the irrational prejudice imposed on society against the world's most useful agricultural resource in order to resolve climate imbalances that threaten us all with imminent systemic collapse.
Dear Forum members,
I would like to share my experience as a case study for your thoughts.
When l was growing up, my siblings and l enjoyed a good variety of fruits such as gooseberries and wildberries and other wild fruits from the forest woods. There were also loquats, guavas, and sweet bananas too. We climbed over the trees and reached onto the bushes and had unlimited access to fruits of all kinds. Little did we know that we were contributing to our own nutrition security which enabled us to get all the micronutrients, calories, and antioxidants, all necessary for good health, cognitive and physical development.. This also gave us reason to mingle with neighbouring children, make friends and develop our psychomotor skills. I look back and thank the times when forests were real and fruit trees were part of the culture of object-people relationships. We bonded with the bushes and the trees as we carefully picked fallen wood fuel sticks from the woods to take home to our mother to make the next meal. We looked forward to going back to the woods more often than not. All this is no more. I have recently embarked on rebuilding this experience for todays children to experience this wealthy and healthy cultural experience. It is important to rebuild diversity and conserve forests and practice agrofruitistry for the sake of both urban and rural children. Keep children healthy by providing for them creative ways of growing up and linking and gaining from the environment that they live in, educating them why it is important, for a sustainable ecosystems approach.
Introduction: Cocoa cultivation has proven significantly to increase rural household income, reduce fuel wood energy consumption, conserve forests biodiversity and their watersheds, reduce land degradation, deforestation, open bush fires, and provide options to adaptation mitigation to climate change challenges. It continues to be the better side of the hidden agenda in curbing CO2 emissions from land degradation and deforestation, a concept which is farfetched in the United Nations agenda, instead concern is diverted into unjust initiatives in curbing CO2 emission from deforestation and forests degradation. Cocoa cultivation has for long shaped food insecurity challenges and improves food security dialogue among forests and Cocoa producing communities in Cameroon. However, there are some challenges which affect its production, processing and marketing including poverty, lack of capacity and liberalization policy.
Poor Knowledge; Poor Knowledge on liberalization policy implemented by governments, Poor knowledge to bargain and search better markets, Poor knowledge of pest and pesticides application, Poor knowledge to engage in alternative income generating activities, lack of education on modern farming methods and research advancement, Poor knowledge of processing and marketing of Cocoa and Cocoa products, Poor knowledge on their rights to land and the environment.
Poverty: Lack of inertial capital has had huge impact on cocoa production and access to credits and loans to purchase agricultural inputs and influence quality, organic or fair-trade production, for example purchase of transportation equipments to reduce child labour and long working hours, build Warehouses to store dried Cocoa Beans and to construction of farm-to-market roads.
The impacts of these factors have been vast, including resistance to insect pests to particular chemicals. There has been a big push to rural - urban migration by the youths and working population to search for better opportunities around the world leaving the old and the young back home helpless.This has helped to promote;
Child labour, prostitution and trafficking, poor hygienic and sanitation conditions, disease prevalence, Malaria and HIV/Aids, Hunger and malnutrition.
Damages and wastes in Cocoa production is a common experience among the farmers, with an annual loss of over 30% of production.
From insect pests like the Capsides Bugs causing ripening of immature Cocoa pods, damages from Parasites causing death of Cocoa trees e.g. mistletoe, damages from Coco Yam, Cassava cultivators who by the cause of tilling the ground cut the roots of Cocoa trees, damages caused by Black pod Cocoa disease when fungicides are applied at the wrong times and especially during heavy storms. Sometimes these pesticides are labeled to give a different image of a particular product where as they may be dangerous to crops and farmers.
Damages caused by Overheat when trees are exposed to direct sunlight.
Cocoa agro forestry sector in Cameroon remains the best means of managing and protecting forests, land, water and all other issues of biodiversity as a means to promote sustainable development and combat rural poverty and hunger especially as 75 % of the country's population depends on its production. Solutions will be to:
Provision of loans and pre-financing to farmers to assist promote cultivation and trade, Increase capacity building within these communities,
Provide market and fair-trade opportunities for agricultural production,
Build infrastructural development for farm to market roads, farm-to-farm roads and warehousing and drying facilities, Support for agricultural inputs like, spraying machines, fungicides, transportation vehicles (trucks)
The Green Economy is fundamental but except key players appear the development agenda, it becomes difficult to ascertain from the reality of Climate Change.
Key words: CO2, sustainable development, green economy, food security, climate change
Links and resources:
International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition
FAO Forestry Department
Learning event on Agroforestry
The FSN Forum is supported by the project Coherent food security responses: incorporating right to food into global and regional food security initiatives.