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Unasylva: Forests, Trees and Disasters

No. 243/244. Vol. 66 2015/1-2












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    Book (stand-alone)
    Building resilience to climate change-related and other disasters in Ethiopia
    Challenges, lessons and the way forward
    2022
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    Ethiopia is exposed to a wide range of disasters associated with the country’s extensive dependence on rainfed subsistence agriculture, climate change, resource degradation, diverse geoclimatic and socio-economic conditions and conflicts. Drought and floods are the major challenges, but a number of other threats affect communities and livelihoods. These include conflict, desert locust, fall armyworm, frost and hail, crop pests and diseases, livestock diseases, human diseases, landslides, earthquakes, and urban and forest fires. Every source of evidence suggests that Ethiopia would feel the human and economic impacts of climate change intensely, and the impacts will only continue to grow if the country continues a business-as-usual approach to crisis response, and will not be able to manage the increasing scale of the challenges. Thus, there is call by all stakeholders for a paradigm shift in the way the country deals with communities at risk, in order to take preventive actions to reduce exposure, vulnerability and impact at local level. This requires moving away from a reactive system that solely focuses on drought and supply of life-saving humanitarian relief and emergency responses during disasters to a comprehensive proactive disaster and climate risk management approach, including climate change adaptation, among which are interventions to enhance livelihood diversification, social protection programmes and risk transfer mechanisms. Furthermore, resilient agrifood systems support should include a range of proven interventions that are context-relevant and cover the whole agrifood system, such as increase in fertilizer use where appropriate and high-yielding and drought-tolerant seeds, strengthened extension and advisory systems at the kebele (local) level through the use of farmer field schools and pastoral field schools, expansion of access to credit, livelihood diversification, risk transfer mechanism and institutional development that link short-term emergency relief to long-term development pathways. This approach is essential for building resilience to natural hazard and human-induced disasters resulting in food insecurity challenges. Much progress has been made in the last 50 years in the way of managing mainly drought disaster risks. Large-scale prevention and mitigation programmes have been designed, incorporating a focus on vulnerabilities, household asset-building, and public works for environmental rehabilitation and generation of livelihoods. Preparedness has been enhanced by the development of various policies and strategic documents for assessment and intervention, early warning and response systems, and economic, social and physical infrastructure to strengthen the local economy and household livelihoods. An attempt has also been made for humanitarian response to count on an established risk-financing.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Forests for resilience to natural, climate and human-induced disasters and crises
    Forests and trees outside forests play important roles in protecting and supporting livelihoods and serving as vital safety nets during disasters and crises
    2019
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    Forests and trees play a significant role in supporting livelihood and when sustainably managed are vital safety nets and life-supporting assets and act as buffers that help communities to withstand extreme weather and other shocks. Forests and trees already contribute to both building resilience to threats and crises as well as resolving the underlying causes of food insecurity, undernutrition and poverty in multiple ways – by providing woodfuel for cooking, edible products, material for shelter, conserving water resources and buffering extreme weather conditions. Wood for instance is expected to remain a primary source of energy for cooking in the foreseeable future for rural people, especially in displaced populations, as alternative sources are typically associated with higher costs, and changing user behavior can be a lengthy process. When looking at how forests can contribute to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises, it is important to consider how they are managed through a landscape approach to conservation and restoration of ecosystems for disaster risk reduction (DRR). Planning and achieving a sustainable forest resource management in emergencies and protracted crises, including afforestation, reforestation and restoration interventions, provide a fundamental contribution to reduce the environmental impact, to enhance the supply of forest products, such as woodfuel, and services and respond to climate change mitigation and adaptation needs. This in turn will contribute to more durable livelihood opportunities bridging humanitarian response and longer-term development goals through a practical integrated approach.
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    Book (series)
    Forest-related disasters – Three case studies and lessons for management of extreme events 2020
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    This report examines how forests contribute to or suffer from disasters. Three events are examined: the tempest Gudrun (Sweden, 2005); the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami (Japan 2011); and the 2017 firestorm in Chile. Forests are “victims” of disaster when unable to provide services required by society and cannot recover within a relevant timeframe. Trees damaged may host insect pests that may kill healthy trees or become fuel for forest fires. Fallen trees also damage infrastructure. Extreme events can change the cultural and economic life of small states/islands and/or cause the breakdown of societal services. Disasters affect timber supplies, distorting market functioning. Damaged timber is susceptible to attack from insects and fungi, quickly losing value, and insect attacks may spread to healthy trees. Forests can mitigate disasters by e.g. reducing the intensity of tsunamis or stabilizing slopes. Single trees may become important refuges for people during floods. Key messages include: • Responses require planning and training to enable efficient response also in the absence of key personnel. • Information about the location of critical resources is important, e.g. key staff, forestry equipment, access routes, and timber storage sites. • It is impossible for many small countries to be resilient on their own. Development of regional response capacity is desirable, e.g. pools of qualified operators, equipment resources, and training. • Salvage timber is a resource and an economic asset. Planning on the use of forest resources after disasters is rarely undertaken, and policies or regulations covering this type of use are often missing. • Salvaging timber is dangerous and requires training.

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