Agroforestry Landscapes contributing to the Future we Want

By Paul Stapleton and Meine vanNoordwijk

The Rio+20 meetings started a process for the world to articulate the future we want through a set of Sustainable Development Goals. Landscapes with forests, trees and agroforestry will be central to achieving many of these goals. As part of its annual Science Week, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)  is staging the Nairobi Landscape Day at its headquarters on Friday 13 September 2013.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has been working at the landscape level for many years and has accumulated a depth of knowledge and expertise in the approachLandscapes combine 1) people and their ambitions and livelihoods, 2) land use systems with and without trees, 3) patterns of tree cover in space and time, interacting with the topography, soils, climate, water flows, flora and fauna, 4) ecosystem services, or the benefits humans derive from functioning (agro)ecosystems, 5) stakeholders who care about what happens with the services and the underlying natural and social capital, 6) governance mechanisms by which stakeholders can influence, in positive or negative ways, what people do. This completes the circle, or logical loop, leading to overall degradation (in many of our landscapes), restoration or gradual improvement. The future earth we want will have zero (net) degradation, as one of the proposed sustainable development goals articulates. A large new scientific effort coordinated by all academies of science in the world is now zooming in on this FuturEarth concept.

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has been working at the landscape level for many years and has accumulated a depth of knowledge and expertise in the approach. Nairobi Landscape Day will have four events: an eye-opening lecture on future earth, sustainable development goal, agroforestry and experience with landscape approaches so far; a virtual fieldtrip around the world, visiting live examples of how people and landscapes  interact across the 6 aspects;  an open house, where we show our various approaches to landscapes; a discussion panel on the demand for and supply of scientific analysis to support these feedback loops.

ICRAF scientists Cheikh Mbow, Sara Namirembe and Peter Minang will talk about “Agroforestry Landscapes, Sustainable Development Goals and the Future Earth We Want.”

In 2015 world leaders will take stock of the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and will see evidence that concrete targets that have the support of the global policy community can actually help in reducing poverty. However, the MDG on sustainable development will have little progress to show. In anticipation of this discussion, a UN-lead process has started to come up with a set of Sustainable Development Goals that build on the MDGs but give more operational clarity on the environmental side. Current drafts of the goals suggest that agroforestry can be relevant in meeting many of these SDGs. The lecture will introduce the Future Earth initiative, give an update on the development of the SDGs and start a discussion how agroforestry at large and ICRAF specifically can best participate.

After the lecture, participants will be taken on a virtual tour of the landscapes in Asia, Africa and Latin America where ICRAF works on integrated approaches. Since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, we have become increasingly aware of the wide range of ecosystem services derived from landscapes. These include things like clean water, flood, droughts and soil erosion control, land and biodiversity conservation, in addition to agricultural and forest production. This session will answer the questions: Who is involved in farming, cutting and planting trees? What benefits do farmers get from trees, agroforestry practices and agroforestry land use? Which trees are where in the landscape? How do trees contribute to ecosystem services? Who cares and is a stakeholder of positive or negative change in landscape performance? How can stakeholders influence and have average on the drivers of change to which farmers respond?

A key feature of the landscape approach is that it integrates land and soil , agriculture, forests, trees, people, animals and water rather than treating them separately.  The landscape approach embraces these various landscape functions and seeks to manage land at the range of scales necessary to ensure sustainable development. After the tour, a summary will be given of the tools and approaches that have been developed during Science Week for integrated approaches, welcoming partners to share their work related to the landscape.

Adopting a landscape approach will have a range of impacts, such as preserving forests, raising the number of useful trees in the landscape, increasing agricultural production and food security, restoring degraded land and halting further land degradation and desertification, conserving biodiversity, contributing to poverty eradication, mitigating the effects of climate change and promoting a greener economy. The mix of these outcomes will vary according to context and local needs and aspirations.

As an essential part of the Day’s activities, there will be a panel discussion on the demand for scientific agroforestry knowledge for sustainable development goals, and the supply of such knowledge by the CGIAR and Future Earth academic science, chaired by ICRAF Deputy Director General, Research, Dr. Ravi Prabhu.

This should highlight ways to meet development challenges that do not jeopardize how future generations will be able to derive benefits from the products and services of the landscapes that support us today.

 Venue:      ICRAF Conference Hall                             

Day:          Friday 13th September, 2013

Time:        08:30 – 17:30hrs

Please plan to attend and distribute widely.  For further details on the event, contact Stella Muasya at  or Elizabeth Kahurani

‘Rainbow water’ – new evidence on the impacts of land evaporation on regional climate

During the UNFCCC technical meeting in Bon, Germany, ASB Partnership and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) scientists organized a side event held in Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (ZEF), University of Bonn where they introduced a new dimension to evidence on climate change science known as ‘rainbow water’. This is actually an acronym that

BNPP Links

Project Partners

ICRAF Main Page   I   South East Asia
World Bank Development Economics   I   Environment
University of New Hampshire Water Systems Analysis Group
University of Washington River Systems Research Group
CIAT Land Use Group

Email Addresses

ASB-BNPP List Server

BNPP Documents

Phase I discussion

  Phase II research priorities Scale effects of land cover change on watershed functions (draft)
  WWF Literature Review Creating Incentives for River Basin Management as a Conservation Strategy
  BNPP issues papers Suggestions for 3 BNPP issue papers
  SLUM meeting, Chiang Mai 2001 Symposium CD-ROM, presentations and discussions
  South East Asia  
  FALLOW model Watershed functions in dynamic landscapes
  Rainfall Generator Rainfall Map Generator
  Thematic Maps Slideshow of basic themes for South East Asia
  Central America  
  Datasets in C. America Slideshow of some example maps
  Upper Watersheds? How to define upper regions of watersheds
  Guatemala maps Simple municipal statistics in Guatemala
  Watersheds in Guatemala Comparing watershed methods in Guatemala
  Poverty Map - Nicaragua Final Report on Nicaragua poverty map. (English/Spanish)
  Poverty Map - Guatemala Final Report on Guatemala poverty map (Spanish)
  Rio Paz, El Salvador  
  Rio Paz, Overview Summary of the Rio Paz Development Plan (Spanish)



Phase II discussion

  Report Nomogram for maintaining forests to avoid watershed function problems
  Report Example Interface for the TYGRIS (Typology of Global River Systems) River Basin Analysis Tool
  Progress Presentation Progress report to BNPP, WB, September 12, 2002.  [4Mb]
  Nomogram Archive Documents related to the Nomogram [2 Mb]
  Typology Archive Documents relates to the Terrain Typologies
  Pan-tropic Analysis Slideshow from DC Meeting June 20/21 [2 Mb]
  FAO Global Forest Data Slides of initial analysis of FAO Forest 2000 data [1 Mb]
  South East Asia  
  Central America  
  Working Paper - Text Forest/Hydrology/Poverty-Nexus Working Paper
  Working Paper - Figures Working Paper Figures [2Mb]
  Central America Analysis Slideshow from DC Meeting June 20/21 [7 Mb]
  Cross Scale analysis Slideshow of 'critical' watersheds at various scales [1.4Mb]
  Rio Paz, El Salvador  


Phase II Work-plan and T.O.R.

Workplan for Phase II

Phase II Outputs


  Web based management tool

Documents the project having the implementation protocols as base. 


  ASB BNPP Summary of Findings

Documents the key findings of the Functional Values of Biodiversity project. 


  ASB BNPP Phase II Project completion report (updated)

Documents that all project deliverables are completed according to the contract. 

ASB BNPP Policybriefs 

  ASB BNPP Policybrief #1, Tropical Forests and Water Supply

  ASB BNPP Policybrief #2, Local Hazards of Tropical Deforestation

Main synthesis products, translate the technical activities into policy relevant products. 


Freely available datasets used in the project.

Implementation Protocols

  Activity 1

  Activity 2

Final versions reflect the state of development of the project through October 2003.

Technical Reports

  Activity 1

  Activity 2

Details the methodologies and results of both activities of the Project. 

Disclaimer: "This work was supported [in part] by the Bank-Netherlands Partnership Program. The findings and interpretations are the authors' and do not necessarily reflect the views of the World Bank, its Executive Board of Directors, or the countries they represent."

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