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Non-timber forest products – A key tool to improve food security and nutrition in the drylands of Africa

XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022









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    Article
    Forest natural resource management and non-timber forest products as nature-based solutions for climate adaptation, ecosystem restoration and poverty alleviation in Mali– a case study
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    Climate change, nature loss and poverty are major intertwined crises that mutually reinforce each other. This is particularly true for smallholder farmers in Africa’s drylands: they are the hardest hit by the climate crisis, which contributes to the degradation of the land upon which their livelihoods depend. Further pushed into poverty, rural people are forced to resort to unsustainable land practices for survival, feeding the cycle of environmental degradation and climate change. Intertwined crises need integrated approaches, such as nature-based solutions (NbS) that protect natural ecosystems and address societal challenges. Tree Aid works in Africa’s drylands to unlock the potential of trees to tackle poverty and improve the environment. Here, we present a quantitative NbS case study looking at the impacts of the adoption of forest natural resource management (NRM) and increased production of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) among smallholder farmers in the Segou region in Mali between July 2017 and July 2020. This project was a partnership between Tree Aid, the UK funded Darwin Initiative and local partner Sahel Eco.Its socioeconomic impact was evaluated with focus group discussions, baseline and endline assessments using the Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHoMIS) (https://www.rhomis.org/). Ecosystem restoration impacts were assessed by ecological surveys and data from permanent monitoring plots.We demonstrate that NRM and NTFPs delivered positive outcomes for people (reduction of project population living below the poverty line), biodiversity (+20,404ha of land under improved management), and climate (improved climate resilience through better access to natural resources). This evidences the viability of high-quality NbS in Africa’s drylands and calls for greater long-term restoration investment and deployment in the region informed by and delivered through local communities and organisations. Keywords: NbS, NTFPs, NRM, Mali, forest governance ID: 3622597
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    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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    Article
    Network and knowledge transmission for climate change on a non-timber forestry product in an era of depopulation, shiitake produced in sawtooth oak trees at Kunisaki GIAHS site
    XV World Forestry Congress, 2-6 May 2022
    2022
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    Climate change is disturbing forests and other ecosystems at a global scale. It could affect how foresters, forest owners, and other related actors manage the forests and conduct their daily lives. This also applies to the producers and strategies of collectors of non-timber forestry products (NTFPs). This study examines, “How climate change affects NTFP producers and strategies of collectors? How resilient are their mitigation and adaption measures for forests and forest communities?” The shiitake, Lentinula edodes, produced in lower temperature are more valuable in market price but are facing challenges. We interviewed veteran producers of shiitake mushroom in Kunisaki City, Oita Prefecture, Japan for the period of June to September 2020. They produce shiitake in the forests of sawtooth oak trees, Quercus acutissima, in a site of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). In this GIAHS site, the forests retain water and provide water for the irrigation pond system. Shiitake producers underpin this GIAHS system through participating in forest management and food supply. They cut the trees of about 15 years old and utilize the logs for shiitake production inside the forests. The branches of the cut trees are put to cover and humidify the logs until the fungus of shiitake spreads inside the logs. As shiitake production sustains the livelihoods of the producers in the depopulated society, the production maintains the forests for the centuries. The producers are adapting to the heats and frequent typhoons by countermeasures; for example, with the temperature increased, a producer wonders how much they keep producing shiitake which sprouts at low temperature. They also sprinkle more water to cool the inoculated logs. This study explores how traditional knowledge is changing or adapting to climate change and how they are transmitted. Keywords: Adaptive and integrated management, Climate change, Economic Development, Food systems, Knowledge management ID: 3486707

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