Trees and Dietary Diversity in Africa
Amy Ickowitz
September 23, 2013
Presentation for Science Forum 2013, Bonn, Germany
Hypothesis: Trees and Forests are important
for dietary quality (dietary diversity)
Collection of nutritious NTFPs
Farming...
Some implications, if true

• Forests may be relevant for food security/nutrition discussion not
only because of potential...
Is there evidence?

Several recent papers discussing some of these plausible links
(Colfer et al., 2005; Vinceti et al., 2...
Testing the hypothesis
• Study using DHS data from 21
countries integrated with GIS
data on % tree cover to
estimate the r...
Study using DHS data
We Integrate:
• nutrition data from Demographic Health Surveys
with
• % tree cover data from GLCF (20...
Sample: about 93,000 children between ages 13
and 59 months in over 9,500 communities
(21 countries )
Regressions
• 3 Dependent Variables:
DDS; Fruit & Vegetable consn; Animal Source
Food consn
• Independent Variables:
% Tre...
Results

• There is a statistically significant positive relationship between % tree
cover and Dietary Diversity (as proxi...
Where are we now?
• The results of the DHS study give
an indication that there are
interesting relationships, but are
far ...
Nutrition and trees in sub-Saharan Africa: A
Regional Comparative Study
• Collect data with more detailed
dietary info. an...
Conclusions
We have found a statistically significant relationship between
tree cover and dietary diversity in a large sam...
Influencing the agenda?
•
•

•

•
•

Discussion Paper: starting
point for engagement
Representation at numerous
internatio...
Thank you!
THINKING beyond the canopy
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Trees and-dietary-diversity-in-africa

  1. 1. Trees and Dietary Diversity in Africa Amy Ickowitz September 23, 2013 Presentation for Science Forum 2013, Bonn, Germany
  2. 2. Hypothesis: Trees and Forests are important for dietary quality (dietary diversity) Collection of nutritious NTFPs Farming mosaics may promote more diverse diets Agroforestry and fruit production Ecosystem services of forests for agriculture Availability of fuel wood May provide ‘back up’ foods for lean season
  3. 3. Some implications, if true • Forests may be relevant for food security/nutrition discussion not only because of potential conflicts with another SLO, but because might be of direct importance to nutrition as well • Choices that are framed as food security/nutrition or conservation are more complex (especially relevant for govt policy) • We may need to fundamentally rethink the way we do our research ….title of this Science Forum
  4. 4. Is there evidence? Several recent papers discussing some of these plausible links (Colfer et al., 2005; Vinceti et al., 2008; Arnold et al., 2011), but little data to support Recent paper by Johnson et al. (2013) finds that net forest loss associated with less dietary diversity in Malawi Also, it is plausible that there might be a negative association
  5. 5. Testing the hypothesis • Study using DHS data from 21 countries integrated with GIS data on % tree cover to estimate the relationship between tree cover and child nutrition indicators (Ickowitz, Powell, Salim, Sunderland, under review) • CIFOR project collecting dietary intake information from mothers and children in study sites in 5 African countries
  6. 6. Study using DHS data We Integrate: • nutrition data from Demographic Health Surveys with • % tree cover data from GLCF (2003 and 2010 MODIS data at 250 m resolution) (as well as other sources for other controls) to investigate whether there is a statistically significant relationship between indicators of dietary quality and tree cover
  7. 7. Sample: about 93,000 children between ages 13 and 59 months in over 9,500 communities (21 countries )
  8. 8. Regressions • 3 Dependent Variables: DDS; Fruit & Vegetable consn; Animal Source Food consn • Independent Variables: % Tree Cover and % Tree Cover2 Mother’s education Father’s education Wealth Index Rural Dummy Child age & age2 & age3 Distance to Rd Distance to closest city of 10,000 Aridity Index Elevation Sex of child Currently breastfeeding Month of interview Country dummy
  9. 9. Results • There is a statistically significant positive relationship between % tree cover and Dietary Diversity (as proxied by DDS) • Fruit and Vegetable Consumption first increases and then decreases with tree cover (peak tree cover is about 45%) • There is no statistically significant relationship between tree cover and Animal Source Foods
  10. 10. Where are we now? • The results of the DHS study give an indication that there are interesting relationships, but are far from offering an explanation • DHS data are coarse • The GIS data don’t tell us the kinds of trees • Data can’t explain WHY children in areas with more trees have more diverse diets • Country level regressions give heterogenous results • So….
  11. 11. Nutrition and trees in sub-Saharan Africa: A Regional Comparative Study • Collect data with more detailed dietary info. and on where the food actually comes from (forests, fallows, agro-forests, farms, etc.) • Compare diets in villages with varying % of tree cover in different regions of Africa: Uganda, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, Burkina Faso • Two year project • Already begun; preliminary results available by end of 2014
  12. 12. Conclusions We have found a statistically significant relationship between tree cover and dietary diversity in a large sample of African children This gives preliminary support to the hypothesis that forests are important for nutrition in Africa We need more detailed and fine-grained data to help us to understand how and why children in more forested areas in Africa have higher dietary diversity We hope that our findings, in conjunction with recent findings from Bioversity, WorldFish, USAID, and ICRAF can help to convince the CG to look at the wider landscape (in addition to agriculture) in thinking about nutrition and health
  13. 13. Influencing the agenda? • • • • • Discussion Paper: starting point for engagement Representation at numerous international events (FAO, Leverhulme, IUNS, CGIAR Science Meeting) Collaboration with CRP4 – flagship proposal on “nutrition-sensitive landscapes” Clear contribution to SLO’s Engaging with the wider CGIAR! THINKING beyond the canopy
  14. 14. Thank you! THINKING beyond the canopy
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