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Forests, food and nutrition: A policy perspective


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Presented by Terry Sunderland, from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), at the 125th Anniversary Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), on September 18, 2017 in Freiburg, Germany.
Panel: Multifunctional tropical forest landscapes: Finding solutions in science and practice. Applying ecosystem service approach in navigating forest contributions to rural livelihoods.

Published in: Environment
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Forests, food and nutrition: A policy perspective

  1. 1. Terry Sunderland, Principal Scientist, CIFOR IUFRO 125th Anniversary Congress, 18-22 September, 2017 Freiburg, Germany FORESTS, FOOD AND NUTRITION: A POLICY PERSPECTIVE
  2. 2. FORESTS IN LANDSCAPES: WHAT DO WE KNOW? • One billion+ people rely on forest products for consumption and income in some way (Agrawal et al. 2013) • Safety-net during times of food and income insecurity (Wunder et al. 2014) • Wild harvested meat and freshwater fish provides 30-80% of protein intake for many rural communities (Nasi et al. 2011; McIntyre et al. 2016) • 75% of world’s population rely on biodiversity for primary health care (WHO, 2003) • 40%-80% of global food production comes from diverse smallholder agricultural systems in complex landscapes (FAO 2011; IFAD 2016) • Long tradition of managing forests for food – e.g. shifting cultivation (van Vliet et al. 2011) • Forests sustaining agriculture through ecosystem services provision (Reed et al. 2017)
  4. 4. “Forests are a major repository of food and other resources that play a crucial role in food security. In addition, maintaining diversity in agricultural production systems leads to increased resilience to shocks particularly in the context of a changing climate”. Editorial: Arnold et al. 2011
  5. 5. “Our main findings can be summarized as follows: there is a statistically significant positive relationship between tree cover and dietary diversity; fruit and vegetable consumption increases with tree cover until a peak of 45% tree cover and then declines; and there is no relationship between animal source food consumption and tree cover. Overall our findings suggest that children in Africa who live in areas with more tree cover have more diverse and nutritious diets”. Ickowitz et al., 2014
  6. 6. “The relationship between biodiversity and nutrition, suggests that we need to pay close attention to the potential of integrated approaches. We must also seek to understand what the implications are for policy and what the messages to policy makers should be. Primarily, it suggests there is a need for more systems and multi-sectorial approaches to address the contemporary concurrent challenges of sustainable food systems that include forestry, conservation, agriculture, food security and nutrition”. Powell et al., 2015
  7. 7. “Areas of swidden/agroforestry, natural forest, timber and agricultural tree crop plantations were all associated with more frequent consumption of food groups rich in micronutrients. The swidden/agroforestry land class was the landscape associated with more frequent consumption of the largest number of micronutrient rich food groups. Swidden cultivation in is often viewed as a backward practice that is an impediment to food security in Indonesia and destructive of the environment. If further research corroborates that swidden farming actually results in better nutrition than the practices that replace it, Indonesian policy makers may need to reconsider their views on this land use”. Ickowitz et al., 2016
  8. 8. "Our findings suggest that deforestation and land use change may have unforeseen consequences on the quality of local people’s diets. A better understanding of the contribution of forest foods to local diets is needed to understand the true impact that the loss of forests may have for nutrition in the face of agricultural expansion. If indeed forests substantially contribute to dietary quality in some areas as the results here imply, forest loss may result in unforeseen, adverse consequences on nutrition for local people." Rowland et al. 2016
  9. 9. FORESTS SUSTAINING AGRICULTURE How does landscape configuration maximise the provision of these goods and services for both forestry and food production??? Water regulation Climate regulation Pollination Pest control
  10. 10. “When incorporating forests and trees within an appropriate and contextualized natural resource management strategy, there is potential to maintain, and in some cases, enhance agricultural yields comparable to solely monoculture systems”. Reed et al. 2017
  11. 11. IUFRO GLOBAL FOREST EXPERT PANEL REPORT - 2015 “The assessment report provides comprehensive scientific evidence on how forests, trees and landscapes can be – and must be - an integral part of the solution to the global problem of food security and nutrition”.
  12. 12. SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION REPORT • Much of the recent work on forests and food security has influenced the drafting of the HLPE Report: “Sustainable forestry for food security and nutrition” for the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) • At e-consultation stage, many individuals, civil society and governments provided formal review and feedback: e.g. Russian Federation, Australia, Brazil, Nigeria, India, US & the Netherlands • Report released in June 2017; policy review at CFS Annual Congress in October • Probably greatest opportunity to get forests and food security and nutrition onto global food security agenda and policy arena
  13. 13. KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE: SHARING THE EVIDENCE • IUFRO: Getting the forestry community to understand the importance of forest management for food security and nutrition • CFS: Getting the nutrition and food security community to understand the role of forests for food security and nutrition • Next stage: How to influence the policy arena? • SDG’s??
  14. 14. FORESTS AND FOOD SECURITY: WHAT VISION? • Diverse forest and tree-based production systems offer advantages over monocropping systems because of their adaptability and resilience. • There are a multitude of ecosystem services provided by forests and trees that simultaneously support food production, nutrition, sustainability and environmental and human health. • Managing landscapes on a multi-functional basis that combines food production, biodiversity conservation and the maintenance of ecosystem services can contribute to food and nutritional security • Forests and trees alone will not achieve global food security, but can play a major role: discourse has started to change • The right to food? How does this interplay with conservation?
  15. 15. THINKING beyond the canopy @TCHSunderland