Just how can we avoid deforestation?

By Elizabeth Kahurani

According to scientists from the ASB Partnership, single, stand alone approaches will not find sufficient solutions. Not especially if the focus is on forests alone and agriculture, the main driver of deforestation, is not in the picture.  

When looking at how best to address agriculture, the scientists argue that we need to reinforce methods that worked in the past like intensification with new strategies that are in view of current realities. Intensification, which includes maximising yields on a farm area in order to spare more land for forests may have worked in the past when demand for products was lower than the supply. However, today, when the demand is higher than the supply, there is the tendency that people will want to maximise their produce on large farm areas in order to make more profit, thus clearing more forests.

Speaking during this year’s CGIAR Science Forum held from 17-19 October 2011 in Beijing, China , Dr. Peter Minang’, ASB Global Coordinator explained how a combination of multiple strategies, policies and approaches could find us effective solutions.

Key points from his presentation titled ‘addressing agricultural drivers of deforestation: critical reflections on sparing and sharing strategies’ include:

  • Intensification, which includes Increasing yield per hectare, is not a magic bullet and could potentially counter efforts to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)
  • There is need for multiple policy instruments
  • Trees on farms and areas outside forests  are a viable pathway for intensification,  REDD & reducing poverty
  • Economic incentives for ecosystems services such as  Payments/ Rewards for Ecosystem Services should be increased

See full presentation


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