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Forests, food security and nutrition: an update


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Presented by Terry Sunderland

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Forests, food security and nutrition: an update

  1. 1. THINKING beyond the canopy Forests, food security and nutrition: an update Terry Sunderland and Bronwen Powell IALE meeting, Portland, OR, USA 9th July 2015
  2. 2. THINKING beyond the canopy Are forests and trees important for food and nutritional security?  Collection of nutritious NTFPs  Farm/forest mosaics may promote more diverse diets  Agroforestry and farming systems  Ecosystem services of forests & trees for agriculture  Availability of fuel wood  Provision of ‘back up’ foods for lean season = safety nets
  3. 3. THINKING beyond the canopy Forests and livelihoods: the evidence • One billion+ people rely on forest products for nutrition and income in some way (Agrawal et al 2013) • One fifth of rural income derived from the environment (Wunder et al 2014) • Wild harvested meat provides 30-50% of protein intake for many rural communities (Nasi et al 2011) • 80% of world’s population rely on biodiversity for primary health care (IUCN 2013) • 40% of global food production comes from diverse small-holder agricultural systems in multi-functional landscapes (FAO 2010) • Long tradition of managing forests for food (IUFRO 2013) • Forests sustaining agriculture: ecosystem services provision (Foli et al. 2014)
  4. 4. THINKING beyond the canopy Some History • 1990 – FAO Special Issue (Forests and Food Security) • 2006 – Unasylva Special Issue (Human Health) • 2008 – Colfer et al / CIFOR (Human Health) • 2011 – International Forestry Review / CIFOR Special Issue (Food Security) • 2013 – FAO Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition (and 7 background papers, became a Unasylva Special Issue + 1 summary report) Forests and trees outside forests are essential for global food security and nutrition Summary of the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy, 13–15 May 2013
  5. 5. THINKING beyond the canopy • Study integrating USAID’s DHS data from 21 countries in Africa, integrated with GIS (Modis) data on % tree cover to test the relationship between tree cover and diet of children under 5 years Dietary data from DHS data:  Dietary diversity  Fruit and vegetable intake  Animal source food intake (Ickowitz et al. 2014 Global Environmental Change) Forest cover and Diet
  6. 6. THINKING beyond the canopy • There is a statistically significant positive relationship between % tree cover and dietary diversity • Fruit and vegetable consumption first increases and then decreases with tree cover (peak tree cover is ca. 45%) • There is no statistically significant relationship between tree cover and animal source foods (Ickowitz et al. 2014 Global Environmental Change) Results
  7. 7. THINKING beyond the canopy • Low- to medium forest food use occurs in most countries; • High-level forest food use occurs in significant subset of countries • Forest foods not only contribute significantly towards adequate nutrition, but evidence suggests forest food users in certain sites may enjoy more nutrient rich diets than their average national counterparts: regardless of poverty • In five of the sites, the top quartile of forest animal food users in our study consumed more than 50% of the national average average for meat consumption • In many sites the amount of forest fruits and vegetables contribute substantially recommended amounts (Rowland et al. in review, Env. Cons.) Poverty and Environment Network (7,569 HH’s; 24 countries)
  8. 8. THINKING beyond the canopyPowell et al. 2015, Food Security Improving diets with Biodiversity
  9. 9. THINKING beyond the canopyPowell et al. 2015, Food Security Improving diets with Biodiversity
  10. 10. THINKING beyond the canopy Forests sustaining agriculture Nutrient Cycling: Studies conducted in agroforestry systems (AFS): 79% showed a positive effect of tree presence Pollination: 87% of studies showed a positive effect of nearby (0.3 – 1.6km) forest/forest fragment Pollination and nutrition linkages Climate regulation: Yields of some tree crops diminish, further from forests Forests, trees = resilience (Foli et al. 2014 Env. Evidence; Ellis et al 2015, Plos One)
  11. 11. THINKING beyond the canopy • Ideal for managing conservation needs and food security and nutrition outputs of a landscape simultaneously. • 10 Principles for Landscape Approaches (Sayer et al. 2013, PNAS) • Include: Adaptive Management, Multiple Sectors, Stakeholder Involvement, Multi-functionality, Multiple Scale, Resilience • Systematic Review: “What are Landscape Approaches and How Effectively have they been implemented in the tropics?" • Online interactive map of projects included in the Systematic Review ( Landscape Approaches
  12. 12. THINKING beyond the canopy • Results give an indication that there are interesting relationships, but we need more evidence • Data can’t explain WHY people in areas with more trees have more diverse diets / don’t know source of foods (wild food vs. tree-based agriculture?) • The GIS data don’t tell us the type/configuration of trees/forests • PEN doesn’t tell us which people are eating forest foods • Major gaps in knowledge / more empirical evidence is needed • So…. we are doing further studies on the ground What do we know and what do we still need to find out?
  13. 13. THINKING beyond the canopy Some on-going Research • Nutrition and trees in sub-Saharan Africa. Dietary information N=500 mothers and kids in high / low forest cover communities (Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Cameroon and Burkina Faso). • Nutritional and Ecological Benefits of Forest and Tree Cover on Vegetables in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. • Land use change, biodiversity and food security (in 6 tropical landscapes undergoing a transition from forest to intensive agriculture (Indonesia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Cameroon, Nicaragua) • Forests, fisheries and nutrition in Zambia • Multiple systematic reviews
  14. 14. THINKING beyond the canopy Influencing the agenda? • IUFRO Global Forests Expert Panel on Forests and Food Security • Invitation to lead the High Level Panel of Experts by the Committee on World Food Security: “Sustainable forest management and food and nutritional security” • Background paper prepared for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN 2014) • Principles for Landscape Approaches “Taken note of” at CBD COP (Hydrabad, India) • Global Landscapes Forum at COPs • Engagement with wider CGIAR Consortium Research Programmes A4NH, AAAS • Member of the Landscape Partners for Food and Nature (LPFN) • Listed as one of the 101 “Institutions to watch” in 2015 by FoodTank
  15. 15. THINKING beyond the canopy Key conclusions • 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
  16. 16. THINKING beyond the canopy @TCHSunderland
  17. 17. THINKING beyond the canopy Global trends in food production • Agriculture began around 12,000 years ago • Approx. 7,000 plant species and several thousand animal species historically used for human nutrition and health • Since 1900, global trend towards diet simplification • Today, 12 plant crops and 14 animal species provide 98% of world’s food needs • Wheat, rice and maize: represent more than 50% of global energy intake (Sunderland 2011, IFR; Khoury et al. 2014, PNAS)
  18. 18. THINKING beyond the canopy Effects of diet simplification • More than 800 million people are under-nourished and 200 million children are under-weight • In 2009, more than 1 billion people were classified as “hungry” • One billion people obese: greater incidence of Type II diabetes among urban dwellers • Environmental degradation: agriculture significant driver of deforestation & GHG emissions • Vulnerability to catastrophic events: climate-related, pests and diseases, market forces (Sayer et al. 2013, PNAS: Powell et al. in press, Food Security)