Seeing the big picture of land restoration

Presentation by Deborah Bossio at “Putting pledges into practice in Latin America – an early assessment of Initiative 20×20 from science, policy and finance perspectives”
Discussion Forum on the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21. For more information go to: www.landscapes.org.

Restoring grasslands in Patagonia

Presentation by Paul McMahon at “Putting pledges into practice in Latin America – an early assessment of Initiative 20×20 from science, policy and finance perspectives” Discussion Forum on the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21. For more information go to: www.landscapes.org.

Walter Vergara at “Putting pledges into practice in Latin America”

Presentation by Walter Vergara at “Putting pledges into practice in Latin America – an early assessment of Initiative 20×20 from science, policy and finance perspectives” Discussion Forum on the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21. For more information go to: www.landscapes.org.

The Peru Cocoa Alliance: 28,000ha of fine and flavor cocoa under Agroforestry Systems Experiences

Presentation by Jose Iturrios at “Putting pledges into practice in Latin America – an early assessment of Initiative 20×20 from science, policy and finance perspectives” Discussion Forum on the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2015, in Paris, France alongside COP21. For more information go to: www.landscapes.org.

Power and political interest pervade Peru’s land sector

Who has power over land use in Peru? Click here for an interactive infographic that shows just how complex the situation is.
Who has power over land use in Peru? Click here for an interactive infographic that shows just how complex the situation is.

By Michelle Kovacevic, originally published at Forests Climate Change

Madre de Dios, a region of Peru best known for its gold fever, is not the only place in the country where a piece of land can be classified as a mining concession and farmer’s field at the same time.

Millions of hectares of land in Peru are subject to overlapping claims, giving some indication of the complexity of land-use classification and titling in the country. Decentralization is one of the reasons for this; land-use powers and responsibilities have started to be distributed across government agencies and directorates that often have competing mandates and powers related to land use.

A case in point is Peru’s Ministry of Environment, researchers and legal experts say. While it is tasked with advancing REDD+ and other environmental conservation agendas, it doesn’t have many of the powers and responsibilities necessary to fulfill that mandate (see our interactive infographic to explore this for yourself).

“Most key powers related to land-use classification, planning, titling, and permitting are housed in other ministries. This makes it challenging for the Ministry of Environment on its own to change business as usual and move the country towards lower emissions development,” said Ashwin Ravikumar from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), author of a forthcoming report on decentralization and land-use policy in Peru.

While Peru has shown enthusiasm and increased political will to address environmental and forestry issues in recent years, it also faces challenges of balancing priorities of economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable land use.

The national government’s priorities have become clear in recent months, with the Ministry of Finance’s approved economic stimulus package or paquetazo (endorsed by Peru’s President Ollanta Humala) aiming to set the country clearly on a path of 5% economic growth per annum in the wake of an economic slowdown associated with lower mineral prices. The package also waters down the Ministry of Environment’s ability to enforce territorial planning for economically optimized and holistically designed land-use activities.

Institutions have been set up to improve coordination and resolve overlapping or conflicting power disputes between national, regional and local governments and across sectors but have had limited success, according to Pablo Peña from the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA).

“Some were set up with an initial excitement that has slowly faded away…they still formally exist but haven’t convened in years,” he said.

Peru will host the U.N. climate change negotiations in December, where the first draft of a post-2020 climate agreement is likely to emerge. Following intense discussion at a UN climate body meeting in June about how greenhouse gas emissions from land sectors can be addressed, it’s likely these issues will be at the forefront of the Peru meeting.

Why does land use matter?

The growing demand for resources in Peru and globally has seen the government introduce a range of policies to encourage agricultural production (palm oil, soybean) for national and international markets. This is the biggest cause of deforestation in the country and subsequently has led to an increase in carbon emissions; 61% of Peru’s emissions come from forestry, agriculture and land-use change.

Read more at Forests Climate Change

Shifting cultivation and fire policy: insights from the Brazilian Amazon

Fires in humid tropical forests are increasingly frequent due to severe dry seasons, forest degradation and agricultural expansion. One agent implicated in current discourse surrounding tropical forest fires is the small-scale farming peasantry who rely on fire in swidden (shifting cultivation, slash-and-burn) agriculture. The environmental degradation associated with fire has led to government responses at multiple scales (international, national, state, regional) via policies aimed mainly at managing ignition sources. However, continued increase in forest fires suggests that these policies may be having limited impact and a fresh evaluation of current policy approaches to fire management is needed. We review fire policy measures with insights of caboclo farming practices and perspectives from Eastern Amazonia and examine the congruence between policy and practice. We demonstrate a significant disparity between policy requirements such as firebreaks and actual fire management practices, in which measures rarely meet requirements outlined in legislation. We explore the origins and the impacts of these disparities, focussing on smallholder farm-level management measures and local capacity. Incomplete knowledge coupled with marginal awareness of legal requirements served to propagate widespread erroneous beliefs in what these are. This analysis at multiple scales (international, national, state, regional) will contribute to developing greater congruence between fire policies and smallholder farming practices.

Export-oriented deforestation in Mato Grosso: Harbinger or exception for other tropical forests?

The Brazilian state of Mato Grosso was a global deforestation hotspot in the early 2000s. Deforested land is used predominantly to produce meat for distal consumption either through cattle ranching or soya bean for livestock feed. Deforestation declined dramatically in the latter part of the decade through a combination of market forces, policies, enforcement and improved monitoring. This study assesses how representative the national-level drivers underlying Mato Grosso’s export-oriented deforestation are in other tropical forest countries based on agricultural exports, commercial agriculture and urbanization. We also assess how pervasive the governance and technical monitoring capacity that enabled Mato Grosso’s decline in deforestation is in other countries. We find that between 41 and 54 per cent of 2000–2005 deforestation in tropical forest countries (other than Brazil) occurred in countries with drivers similar to Brazil. Very few countries had national-level governance and capacity similar to Brazil. Results suggest that the ecological, hydrological and social consequences of land-use change for export-oriented agriculture as discussed in this Theme Issue were applicable in about one-third of all tropical forest countries in 2000–2005. However, the feasibility of replicating Mato Grosso’s success with controlling deforestation is more limited. Production landscapes to support distal consumption similar to Mato Grosso are likely to become more prevalent and are unlikely to follow a land-use transition model with increasing forest cover.

Local ecological knowledge and incremental adaptation to changing flood patterns in the Amazon delta

The need for understanding the factors that trigger human responses to climate change has opened inquiries on the role of indigenous and local ecological knowledge (ILK) in facilitating or constraining social adaptation processes. Answers to the question of how ILK is helping or limiting smallholders to cope with increasing disturbances to the local hydro-climatic regime remain very limited in adaptation and mitigation studies and interventions. Herein, we discuss a case study on ILK as a resource used by expert farmer-fishers (locally known as Caboclos) to cope with the increasing threats on their livelihoods and environments generated by changing flood patterns in the Amazon delta region. While expert farmer-fishers are increasingly exposed to shocks and stresses, their ILK plays a key role in mitigating impacts and in strengthening their adaptive responses that are leading to a process of incremental adaptation (PIA). We argue that ILK is the most valuable resource used by expert farmer-fishers to adapt the spatial configuration and composition of their land-/resource-use systems (agrodiversity) and their produced and managed resources (agrobiodiversity) at landscape, community and household levels. We based our findings on ILK on data recorded for over the last 30 years using detailed ethnographic methodologies and multitemporal landscape mapping. We found that the ILK of expert farmer-fishers and their “tradition of change” have facilitated the PIA to intensify a particular production system to optimize production across a broad range of flood conditions and at the same time to manage or conserve forests to produce resources and services.