Our Work

Current Projects

Current Projects

Our current research is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from land use change, such as deforestation and agricultural expansion, while enhancing potential for people to improve their livelihoods and the local resource base on which they depend. ASB is working at the interface of science and policy, evaluating how international-level agreements can be translated into appropriate policies and incentives to change behaviour on the ground.

REALU: Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses
Trees outside forests matter for climate change. A broad-based approach of Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses (REALU) can lead to greater emission reductions and larger benefits for local people.
The Africa Biocarbon Initiative
ASB is helping to build the scientific evidence base for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)'s initiative to promote the potential of African agriculture to store carbon and contribute to global climate objectives, while also benefitting local farmers. 

REDD-ALERT ("Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation through Alternative Land-uses in the Rainforests of the Tropics") brings ASB partners together with leading European research institutions to develop policy options that link international commitments for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD-plus) with locally-appropriate policies and incentives that create sustainable social and ecological benefits.

Opportunity Costs of Avoided Deforestation with Sustainable Benefits
ASB is developing and dissemminating new methods for understanding the economic benefits that farmers must give up in order to protect forests, in order to calculate the costs of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).
Support to REDD+ negotiators and land managers
Building negotiation and policy capacity, based on sound science and exchange knowledge between Asia, Africa and Latin America.

REDD Countries Database
The REDD Countries Database is a centralised and collaborative database of the diverse and rapidly evolving range of ongoing REDD activities in tropical forest owning nations.



















Past Work

Past Work

Since 1994, ASB has been working at benchmark sites across the tropics to build understanding on the tradeoffs and relationships between land use and livelihoods. ASB research quantifies the environmental consequences resulting from different land uses and assessed how these consequences can be mitigated with appropriate technological, policy and institutional changes. Central to the research is an analysis of tradeoffs among the different environmental, economic and social objectives. Some of our past research activities are highlighted here.


Review of REDD methodologies (2008 - 2009)

In order to support the implementation of reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries, ASB participated in a global review of methodologies. This project included a global survey of REDD projects and readiness activities.

 Scenarios Project (2004 - 2007)

ASB developed and trained partners to use decision-making tools that could help them assess future uncertainties and workable responses to different possible futures


Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2002-2004)

ASB contributed to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment with a cross-cutting assessment of "Forest and Agroecosystem Tradeoffs in the Tropics".


The Functional Value of Biodiversity ( 2001 - 2003)

  • Including work on Hydrology: Trees and Water



ASB Working Groups (1996 - 2000)

Related Publications: ASB Phase II Reports (2005)

The research program implemented during ASB Phase II  (1996-2003) aimed to better understand how national governments, national and international research organizations, and donor agencies can balance global environmental objectives with economic development and poverty reduction. Summary reports from the ASB benchmark sites can be downloaded here (PDF format).

ASB Impact

ASB Impact


ASB Medium Term Plan 2006-8 ASB Medium Term Plan 2008-10
Sustainable Tree Crops Program (STCP) Sustainable Tree Crops Programme
Negotiation Support Initiative in Indonesia Negotiation Support Initiative in Indonesia


"ASB has created the world's pre-eminent system for use-driven, comparative scientific investigation of human-environment interactions at the forest margin across the pan tropic domain"

Below is an overview of ASB impacts, more information is available at the following links:

During 2005, ASB underwent a comprehensive External Review and Impact Assessment. A central question addressed by the Review was "What is the value added by the ASB Systemwide Programme, over and above other local, national and regional activities?"

  • ASB provides an efficient and effective way to produce international public goods that could not otherwise be generated by any of the ASB partners acting alone.
  • ASB has created the only global network devoted entirely to research on the tropical forest margins. This unique network is a true global public good. Its work is focused on 12 benchmark sites in 6 different countries, on creating multidisciplinary research teams involving the world's top scientists, and on building close relationships with research and development partners working on different aspects of tropical deforestation.
  • ASB's work to generate new knowledge, its contributions to shaping policies and practices, and its capacity building activities all lead to the production of global public goods. Specifically, ASB's investments in capacity building are extremely well received by its partners. One indicator: more than 50,000 downloads of ASB's lecture notes**.
  • ASB's impact comes from a sustained commitment to 'crossing boundaries' regardless of scale (global, regional, national, local). ASB has had its major impacts where staff and partners are committed to activities that link iNRM (integrated natural resource management) science with policy formulation, development initiatives by governments and civil society organisations, and decision making by farmers and other natural resource managers.Two key examples are the Negotiation Support Initiative in Indonesia and the Sustainable Tree Crops Program.
  • ASB's goal is "of great importance for the world, (and is) well aligned with the Millennium Development Goals for the reduction of poverty and hunger (MDG 1) and ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7)." Moreover, The panel concluded that the partnership "...continues to be highly relevant to the CGIAR's goals and is pursuing work that fits well with the CGIAR's new research priorities, notably Priority 4a, 'Integrated land, water and forest management at landscape level'." The 2004 CGIAR review of system-wide programmes ranked ASB in the top category of highest potential impact.
  • Clear communication strategies are central to achieving wider impact, and"...excellent opportunities for high returns on future dissemination investments."ASB is working on a new communications strategy, which will assess the needs of different groups of users and develop and implement enhanced communications to reach wider audiences.

The Review Panel's Final Report is available at: www.sciencecouncil.cgiar.org/publications/pdf/ASB_REPORT_website.pdf

Read more about ASB External Review and Impact Assessment


  Key ASB partners from SE Asia, Latin America and West and Central Africa are part of the only global network devoted entirely to research on the tropical forest margins

*William Clark (Harvard University), Chair of the 2005 ASB External Review and Impact Assessment.

** Data from mid 2005.