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The protective functions of forests in a changing climate - European experience












Makino, Y. and Rudolf-Miklau, F. 2021. The protective functions of forests in a changing climate – European experience. Forestry Working Paper No. 26. Rome. FAO and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism.




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    Meeting
    Regional Implementation Plan for the African Soil Partnership 2016
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    Land, or soil, is the main resource base for many people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is especially important for the rural population. With an estimated population growth for SSA from the current 900 million to 1.4 billion in 2030, the region’s soils will experience increasing pressure as a natural resource to provide for the needs of its people. With an estimated 65% of arable lands, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests already degraded in Africa, the region has the potential to position itsel f as champion in terms of increasing food production and security, achieving land restoration, and increasing agricultural resilience to climate change. Sustainable soil management is vital to achieving these goals and, for this reason, is one of the cornerstones of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). The African Soil Partnership caters for the Sub-Saharan Africa which includes 45 African countries. The AfSP Implementation Plan is based on regional priorities in terms of the Pillar recommendation s in their respective Plans of Action. This document is the product of a collaborative effort, mostly via email, involving participants from the two sub-regional launch events, as well as later participants in digital soil mapping training, representatives from regional institutions involved as partners and, finally, national GSP focal points as nominated by the respective country representatives. The main challenges associated with sustainable soil management in SSA were identified as:  Inade quate capacity, knowledge and experience to plan and implement SSM and optimally manage, mitigate and monitor the productive and degradation status of the soils; especially under intensive cultivation.  Where regional and national SSM policies exist, financing is often not a priority and/or implementation can be ineffective due to a lack of political will or a lack of implementation capacity. In many countries, policies regulating soil use are lacking.  Soil information/data at national level is often inadequate, outdated, not in digital format and not georeferenced. Data availability is further restricted by intellectual property often held by private institutions that are not willing to share data for national use, or data needs to be paid for prior to use.  Lack of national or umbrella organizations leading the campaign to promote and create awareness of SSM.  Weak linkages between researchers, farmers and extension services to optimize information exchange. Addressing these cha llenges and increasing SSM implementation encompasses various aspects that are crucial to its success. Under the five Pillars of the GSP, the various components of sustainable soil management can be addressed and managed to enable a holistic approach to improved soil management for long term soil protection while simultaneously providing for human livelihoods. In SSA, crop production often occurs on already underperforming and poor quality soils using poor management practices and low use of ext ernal inputs. Over time, this leads to further decreases in soil quality, degradation of soil resources and resultant declines in food production and quality. The region’s soils are especially vulnerable to degradation, especially in drier climates. During the launch workshop of the African Soil Partnership, most countries reported the occurrence of both chemical and physical soil degradation which leads to low soil productivity and yield gaps in many countries 4 which in turn leads to fo od imports. The development of SSM solutions should not only consider the implementation environment, site specific characteristics and the necessary enabling environment, but also the causes of improper soil management to date in order to develop cause-driven rather than symptom-driven solutions. This Implementation Plan sets out the road map for the next 5 years to achieve SSM over the longer term and includes a large number of outputs and activities which are considered priority in this first phase of establishing the AfSP. It is envisaged that funding for these activities will be secured by capitalizing on existing in-country initiatives and activities, as well as by actively sourcing additional external funding. Since the GSP is a voluntary initiative, it calls for the strong support of national governments, as well as national and regional entities involved in natural resource management to contribute to achieving the common goal of improved and sustainable soil management. Under Pillar 1 (Promote sustainable management of soil resources and improved global governance for soil protection and sustainable productivity) the implementation plan proposes that soil degradation and restoration hotspots, as well as soil potential for agriculture be mapped for major agro-ecological zones. This will enable the identification of priority areas for SSM implementation to be initiated under this plan. A SSM implementation monitoring system is further proposed to measure success of SS M initiatives and monitor the status of the soil resources. Under Pillar 2 (Encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, education, awareness and extension in soil) it is proposed that SSM partner platforms be established to foster awareness and investment towards SSM implementation. To build soil science capacity, a regional tertiary soil science training exchange programme is proposed to increase the number of soil scientists trained at tertiary level. In addition, it is proposed that soil science education be included at secondary school level to educate learners from a young age about the importance of soil. The importance of soil extension services is highlighted, as well as the need for region-specific policy recommendations to support SSM development and implementation. Pillar 3 (Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities, and synergies with related productive, environmental, and social development actions) focuses on soil rese arch for development. Under this Pillar it is proposed that an African Soil Research for Development Platform be established to bring soil research for development partners. Its main aim is to align efforts and resources towards improving the management of soil fertility and soil health, increasing productivity while protecting the soil resources and restoring productivity on degraded soils. This would include identifying soil-related research gaps and establishing regional research working grou ps to collaboratively address on these gaps. Under Pillar 4 (Enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information: data collection [generation], analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines) addresses the need for soil data and information to support decision making and monitoring. The implementation plan proposes that an inventory be developed of all soil and related data in the region and an African soil database be developed and maintained. Train ing in digital soil mapping is proposed to increase soil mapping capacity in an effort to produce new and updated maps for the region. Under Pillar 5 (Harmonisation of methods, measurements and indicators for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources) the implementation plan calls for the development of 5 a harmonization procedure for soil classification and soil description. In addition, it proposes that regional reference laboratories be identified and supported to en able soil analysis towards increasing national and regional soil data. Outcomes and activities are presented in separate log frames per Pillar, along with the associated budgets and time frames. Since the GSP is a voluntary initiative, it calls for the strong support of national governments, as well as national and regional entities involved in natural resource management to contribute to achieving the common goal of improved and sustainable soil management. The list of outputs may be considered optimistic, considering the 5-year timeline, but it is the view of the AfSP that these outputs are essential to moving forward towards achieving SSM in the region over the longer term. The aim of this implementation plan is therefore to solicit buy-in, support and active participation from additional partners to increase collaboration in soil management activities
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    Booklet
    Climate-Smart Agriculture in Seychelles 2019
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    The climate smart agriculture (CSA) concept reflects an ambition to improve the integration of agriculture development and climate responsiveness. It aims to achieve food security and broader development goals under a changing climate and increasing food demand. CSA initiatives sustainably increase productivity, enhance resilience, and reduce/remove greenhouse gases (GHGs), and require planning to address trade-offs and synergies between three pillars: productivity, adaptation and mitigation. The priorities of different countries and stakeholders are reflected to achieve more efficient, effective, and equitable food systems that address challenges in environment, social, and economic dimensions across productive landscapes. The country profile provides a snapshot of a developing baseline created to initiate discussion, both within countries and globally, about entry points for investing in CSA at scale. Seychelles is a small island state in the western Indian Ocean, which has developed a high-income economy and eliminated extreme poverty. Agriculture contributes about 2.2% of the country’s gross domestic product with tourism and the fisheries and seafood industries serving as the main pillars of the economy. Agricultural land occupies about 3.4% of the total land area of the country. A large portion of the land area (88.4%) is covered by forest mainly natural and established plantations for commercial purposes. Seychelles is divided into two large agro-climatic zones based on biophysical characteristics- mountainous/forest zone high ground and coastal plateau. In terms of agriculture, two agroecological zones can be distinguished mainly based on soil: upland and sandy soil. Main cropping systems includes food crop-based systems and perennial crop-based systems. Livestock production include goat, pig and chicken. Most crop production is under rainfed or irrigation system. Most farms are under 2 ha with backyard farming done to supplement household food or income. The main crops and products include coconut, cinnamon, vanilla, sweet potato, cassava, banana and tuna. Seychelles has the highest rate of overweight and obesity in Africa due to the shift from predominantly unprocessed traditional foods to a more westernised dietary intake consisting mainly of refined and processed foods. most greenhouse gas (GHG) emission come from the energy sector, followed by waste and agriculture which contributes 0.79% of the total. Seychelles has outlined in its nationally determined contributions mitigation actions in the forestry, energy and transport, and waste sectors. In agriculture, actions to mitigate climate change include: promotion of agricultural practises such as agroforestry which would involve mainstreaming strategies to limit deforestation and increase the sink capacity of forests. Challenges for the agricultural sector include (i) deforestation and unsuccessful intensification, (ii) uncontrolled urbanisation, land clearing, bush fires and population pressure, and (iii) high reliance on food imports. Agriculture in Seychelles is limited by a lack of arable land and extreme rainfall patterns and meteorological events like tropical storms, floods and droughts. Climate change poses serious challenges to the country such as uncontrolled economic and social consequences of floods, land degradation, sea-level rise, coastal erosion, declining agricultural yields, health vulnerability, and increased occurrence of drought. CSA technologies and practises present opportunities for addressing climate change challenges as well as for economic growth and development of the agriculture sector. Identified CSA practises in use in the country include: crop production under shade houses, inter cropping, use of organic manure and mulch, use of weather information, water control through irrigation, anti-erosion arrangement, windbreak and shelter, and use of climate-adapted seeds. Seychelles has several key institutions and policies aimed at supporting and increasing agriculture productivity and advancing CSA practises. These include government ministries and agency structures of ministries, firms operating in the agricultural sector, academic institutions, specialised laboratories and agricultural research institutes and training centres. The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (MEECC) serving as the country’s UNFCCC focal point and nationally designated authority to the Green Climate Fund is responsible for country’s climate change plans and policies. On the agriculture front the ministry of agriculture and fisheries is the key government institution for partnerships for climate-smart agriculture work in the communities as well as for policy and investment related issues through the national agricultural investment plan. A number of csa-related policies and strategies have been developed: National Programme on climate change strategy, national strategy for disaster risk management, national biodiversity strategy and action plan and the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation into the country’s strategic plan- a definitive document intended to guide land-use management up to the year 2040. A number of projects that foster the development of knowledge and evidence on the effectiveness of climate smart agriculture in improving food security, mitigating climate change and improving the adaptive capacities of production systems and populations in Seychelles have received support from various donors and financing schemes. In addition, AfDB, COMESA, FAO, EU, IFAD, etc. have invested hugely in several aspects of the climate/agricultural sector of Seychelles which also include the development and promotion of csa innovations. From various sources of climate finance available internationally, Seychelles is currently eligible for only a limited number of these and has not wholly accessed major funding instruments such as the Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund. The county is a small island nation whose prospects rely heavily on external demand, especially tourism. This poses major challenges for diversification and resilience. Its commitment to csa is relatively new with limited institutions and sources of funding.
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    Document
    Preserving biodiversity in a warming climate: adapting strategies in forestry and nature conservation
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    It is a challenge for today’s conservation managers to adapt their strategies to a changing climate. We systematically compiled recommendations from scientific literature reviews regarding adapting biodiversity conservation to climate change in boreal and temperate regions. Both direct (changed temperature, precipitation, sea level) and indirect effects (such as increased natural disturbances and changed land use) of climate change were considered. Most recommendations belonged to eight dominating categories: (i) Promote both connectivity that facilitates dispersal through the landscape and connectivity that maintains populations within the landscapes; (ii) Focus on certain types of sites, especially those that can act as climate refugia, since they have heterogeneous climatic conditions; (iii) Protect a few large areas rather than many smaller, since then species can to a higher extent persist within the protected areas at climate change; (iv) Consider the regional location, especially by locating conservation measures at sites predicted to become important for biodiversity in the future, such as sites located at higher elevations and closer to the poles; (v) protect areas also temporarily, as a response to extreme events or changes in range distributions; (vi) increase habitat diversity over landscapes by protecting many different habitats; (vii) mitigate habitat deterioration caused by climate change and restore degraded habitats in production landscapes, and (viii) decrease the intensity and adapt practices in forestry to climate change, for example by increasing the ecological resilience to climatic stresses.
    Climate change implies that more conservation efforts are required to reach conservation goals. To protect forest biodiversity in the future, both traditional conservation strategies and strategies adapted to climate change are needed; in addition, novel approaches developed as a response to climate change will become increasingly relevant. Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, Climate change, Landscape management ID: 3621863

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