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Trees, tree genetic diversity and the livelihoods of rural communities in the tropics

State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources – Thematic study










Dawson, I.K., Leakey, R., Place, F., Clement, C.R., Weber, J.C., Cornelius, J.P., Roshetko, J.M., Tchoundjeu, Z., Kalinganire, A., Masters, E., Orwa, C., McMullin, S., Kindt, R., Graudal, L. & Jamnadass, R. 2020. Trees, tree genetic resources and the livelihoods of rural communities in the tropics. State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources – Thematic study. Rome, FAO.




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    Article
    Protecting special wild tree species and traditional knowledge towards securing livelihoods of rural communities: A study on Kithul (Caryota urens) industry in Sri Lanka
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    People in tropical island countries have long-lasting connections with wild trees that help securing their livelihoods. Deforestation, extensive use of chemicals and unsustainable forest resource management have resulted in losing tree-based natural products and rural livelihoods based on such trees. As a tropical island country, Sri Lanka is a home for many different native palm tree species. When considering the economic value, Kithul (Caryota urens) has the highest potential and economic viability among the non-timber forest product categories in Sri Lanka (Senaratne et al, 2003). Rural communities use Kithul as a multiple-use tree with a considerable economic value through processing the Kithul sap into toddy, treacle and jaggery that have a high market demand locally and abroad (De Zoysa, 2017). However, it can be observed that the present consumerism and monocultural practices affect the traditional Kithul industry. The Kithul product supply is insufficient to accommodate the market demand and the products indicate a low quality. Hence, this research investigates the causes for the low quality of products and the discouragement of rural communities to involve in Kithul industry, and finds ways to secure rural economies and livelihoods based on such industry. Based on Sinharaja, Dediyagala and Peak Wilderness lowland rainforests, the primary data of this research were collected conducting semi-structured interviews with the villagers who involved in Kithul industry. The Kithul products were observed and tasted during field visits to collect additional information. The government introduced chemicals to increase Kithul sap harvests and the forest conservation laws prohibiting access to forests have resulted in declining Kithul industry. If the rural communities given limited access to forests and encouraged to grow Kithul trees in their home gardens they could practice their traditional knowledge related to Kithul industry to sustainably re-assure their livelihoods. Keywords: Kithul (Caryota urens) industry, traditional knowledge, rural communities, livelihoods, Sri Lanka ID: 3486467
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Sustainable management of Miombo woodlands
    Food security, nutrition and wood energy
    2018
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    The Miombo woodland is a vast African dryland forest ecosystem covering close to 2.7 million km2 across southern Africa (Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The woodlands are characterized by the dominance of Brachystegia species, either alone or in association with Julbernardia and Isoberlinia species. It is estimated that the woodlands – through their numerous goods and services which include various non-wood forest products (NWFPs) (e.g. insects, mushrooms, fruits, tubers, medicine, fodder, honey, seeds) and woodfuels, which, for simplicity, will be referred to as non-timber forest products, or NTFPs, throughout the publication – sustain the livelihoods of more than 100 million rural poor and 50 million urban people. The charcoal sector alone employs vast numbers of rural people and offers additional income to many poor rural families. Communities moreover rely directly on the woodlands for food and nutrition. NWFPs add vital micro- and macronutrients to local diets and contribute to diversified food systems, while woodfuel is essential for cooking and sterilizing, thus ensuring proper nutrient absorption and providing clean water for drinking. Forests and trees, if managed sustainably, are an important source of resilience for rural people in the Miombo woodlands, supporting households to absorb and recover from climatic or economic calamities and contributing to resolving the underlying causes of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty by providing nutritious edible products and woodfuel for cooking in addition to conserving biodiversity and water resources, buffering extreme weather conditions and preventing land degradation and desertification. Generally speaking, it is now accepted that forests managed for both timber and NTFPs retain more biodiversity and resilience than forests managed solely for one aspect, e.g. timber and exotic timber plantations. However, a growing population in high need of agricultural land and unsustainable use and overharvesting of natural resources in parts of the Miombo woodlands, combined with climate change impacts (e.g. drought, fires), leave insufficient time for many trees and associated species to regenerate naturally, posing a serious threat to the products and services of the woodlands, and to the livelihoods depending on them. Compounding the problem and hindering development of the Miombo ecosystem, are: i) lack of an enabling policy environment; ii) unsustainable management; iii) limited willingness and ability to pay for and access to energy-efficiency technologies; iv) inadequate awareness and information, including technical capacity; v) high poverty levels; and vi) limited access to microcredit facilities. With the Committee on World Food Security’s endorsement of the recommendations presented in the High Level Panel of Experts Report on Sustainable Forestry for Food Security and Nutrition in late 2017 – which include promoting multifunctional landscapes, integrated food-forestry systems, and research on associated linkages, among other things – forests and trees are expected to play a greater role in future land-use decisions and related policies. This paper provides an overview of these linkages in the context of the Miombo woodlands, in the hope that future land use, policy decisions and financial investments are shaped to support the contributions of forests and trees to the health and livelihoods of communities in the ecoregion. The following key messages were formulated: • Forests and trees, if managed sustainably, are an important source of resilience for rural people in the Miombo woodlands, supporting households to absorb and recover from climatic or economic calamities and contributing to resolving the underlying causes of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty by providing nutritious edible products and woodfuel for cooking in addition to conserving biodiversity and water resources, buffering extreme weather conditions and preventing land degradation and desertification. • Current data bases referring to the value of the Miombo must be analysed and used as evidence to improve policy-making. • Miombo woodlands may be dominant (spatially), but they have not been addressed as a single unit but as part of the region’s forests. They form part of the overall forestry strategies and no specific mention in the conventions does not suggest that their importance is underplayed. • The management of Miombo will require some changes in management structures, especially in providing benefits emerging from trade in forest products to local managers. • Local forest managers should play a greater role in allocating resources for feedstock for charcoal production.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Indicators of the genetic diversity of trees – State, pressure, benefit and response
    The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources – Thematic study
    2020
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    This study, prepared within the ambit of The State of the World’s Forest Genetic Resources, reviews issues related to the development of indicators for tree genetic diversity. It includes a historical account of the development of science-based indicators for tree genetic diversity that embrace ecological surrogates for genetic diversity, the genealogical approach, genetic monitoring of management units, the use of molecular markers, as well as relevant experience from other organisms and policy processes. It also includes a section on relevant data, data sources, and databases. Finally, the study proposes a set of four operational indicators for monitoring tree genetic diversity. The proposed indicators could support efforts towards sustainable forest management, as well as the development of indicators for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

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