Session 1.4 cultivating resilient landscapes

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  • My name is Matilda Palm very happy to be here today. I’m going to present a research project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency analyzing the restoration of degraded lands with agroforestry systems. The work is ongoing and today I will present a overview of the project exemplified with a case study from the north central Vietnam. My co-author, Eskil Mattson will present a deeper analysis of the Sri Lankan case study, during the afternoon session on homegardens.
  • To put the project in a context, a very large context, the global population is facing large scale challenges. And if not climate change was enough our globe is degrading. Roughly 24% of the world’s land area is degrading, including more than a fifth of the cropland and nearly a third of the forests – yet 1.5 billion people directly depend on degraded areas. In China, over 450 million people are affected by land degradation.This has made conserving and restoring land a priority in many countries. Still, much greater efforts are needed to protect vital ecosystems, preserve resources and ensure there is enough productive land.The combination of both climate change and land degradation demand a joint effort. Meaning that there is a need for practical interventions that can be both effective on a national scale as well as possible to implement on a local scale.
  • Because these challenges have local implications. Lets take the example Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Regarding land degradation, which is a major environmental problem for both Sri Lanka and Vietnam affecting current livelihoods as well as the prospects for future development. In Sri Lanka, 32% of the land is degraded, affecting more than a quarter of the population; in Vietnam, 41% of the land is degraded, affecting more than a third of the population.The forest cover of Sri Lanka has been decline rapidly over the decades although the rate of deforestation has has now slowed down, forests are still lost every year due to development and human settlements. To mitigate the effects of the deforestation the government has focused on promoting tree-planting and intensification of home gardens, an agroforestry system kept by both urban and rural population.In Vietnam, on the other hand, forest cover declined for many decades, but has actually been recovering in recent years, driven by national programs for reforestation including farmers and private enterprises. For both countries, agroforestry has become a key element of policies aimed at restoring degraded land while improving human well-being.
  • The restoration of degraded land, will be absolutely crucial to meeting the needs of the future generations. The restoration process can either aim at restoring the land to its natural state (or as close as possible) or it can aim for increasing the productivity of the land.Restoring degraded land involves a wide range of approaches: from putting an end to harmful agricultural practices such as excessive tillage and overgrazing to reforestation. In 2011, the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration published a map of forest restoration opportunities, the results showed a potential of 2 billion hectares. Up to 1.5 billion hectares, were best-suited for “mosaic restoration”, in which forests and trees are combined with smallholder agriculture, settlements and other uses.
  • By using agroforestry, the option of growing trees together with crops, and sometimes with animals – can advance land restoration and conservation while also strengthening livelihoods for local communities and society as a whole. In comparison with pure plantation projects, from an ecosystems perspective agroforestry is a more beneficial alternative. Such an approach may also ensures an improved biodiversity, ecosystem services and carbon capture as well as benefiting the adaptation to climate change.Agroforestry also offers a more viable option in densely populated landscapes where arable land is in high demand, and complete reforestation may not be feasible from a socio-economic standpoint.
  • Investigating the utilization of homegardens as multipurpose agroforestry system and the opportunities and constraints of extending homegarden-like systems to degraded lands.An agroforestry system such as home gardens are planted close to the house, and kept primarily for the food production, but the combination of trees, shrubs and crops can bring many other benefits as well. For example multi-layered gardens can provide crucial protection during storms, buffering the impact of heavy winds and rains. Just like many agroforestry systems, home gardens can also provide a wide range of environmental services. This project include a comparative study from Sri Lanka and Vietnam and is based on empirical field data. We have focused on both biophysical parameters such as biomass or carbon stock, soil characteristics and biodiversity, and socioeconomic parameters such as income, work load and land management as well as adaptation strategies.
  • This picture shows a good example on a multi-strata home garden in north central Vietnam. It shows the characteristic multilayer vegetation structure with a combination of annual crops and perennials. In most cases the homegardens include some livestock and in many cases a pond for aquaculture.
  • Vietnam has explicitly used forestry policies to improve the quality of degraded land. Land allocation of degraded land to farmers have resulted in an increase of farm-based agroforestry systems, or “forest gardens”.This allocation system, has given the farmers the user right of the land for at least 50 years. This is the kind of certainty necessary to make longer-term investments such as planting trees. As a result, this have improved rural livelihoods in many places both in terms of both flow and resilience to stresses such as climate change.
  • This picture show an example of a forest garden allocated to local farmers between 10-20 years ago.In this study all the allocated forest land was either barren land, degraded forest land (very poor forest) or previously slash and burn forest before the land was allocated to the farmers.
  • Almost all farmers have both a home garden and a forest garden and when we compare the two land use systems – the differences of the home garden and the forest garden become clearly visible. The preliminary results from our study show that the farmers spend over double the amount of man days working in their forests garden compared to their homegardens. This seems reasonable since the mean area of the home garden is only 0.18 ha while the mean area of allocated forest is 2.2 ha. The forest garden provide the households with a large share of their income. The results also show that almost 100 % the crops and trees cultivated in the forest garden were planted for commercial purposes, compared 10 % of the species in the home garden. On the other hand, the homegardens showed a large diversity of useful plants with an average of 37 species in their home garden compared to 5 in their forest garden.
  • The results show that the forest garden and the land restoration practices in the area are efficient and profitable, and also highlight the differences between the traditional home garden structure and the more recent forest garden system. Both land use system are highly valued by the farmers and the differences should be seen as yet another piece of the multifunctional landscape puzzle.“the farmers in this region are dependent of their forest gardens, earlier years we collected timber, firewood and NTFPs from the natural forest. That was a hard life. Now we can invest in our forest and have the resources closer at hand” Nguyễn Xuân Thụy age 29, Ky Son commune, Ha Tinh proviceThank you for listening!
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  • Session 1.4 cultivating resilient landscapes

    1. 1. Cultivating resilient landscapes – opportunities for restoring degraded and vulnerable land with agroforestry systems Matilda Palm and Eskil Mattsson Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden Trees for Life – Accelerating the Impacts of Agroforestry World Congress on Agroforestry, New Delhi 2014
    2. 2. Global challenges… BILDER
    3. 3. …with local implications Vietnam • Land degradation – Increasing forest cover – 41% of the land is degraded – Promotes tree-planting and land restoration partly through land allocation Sri Lanka • Land degradation – Declining forest cover – Slowed down, but continues – 32% of the land is degraded – Promotes tree-planting and intensification of homegardens Photo Matilda Palm
    4. 4. Restoring degraded land – multipurpose option “Land restoration is the process of cleaning up and rehabilitating a site that has sustained environmental degradation, such as those by natural cause and those caused by human activity” • • Global restoration potential - 2 billion Ha – 0.5 billion Ha for wide-scale restoration of closed forest – 1.5 billion Ha for mosaic restoration Restoration covers a wide range of approaches – reforestation – agricultural interventions to reduce harmful practices
    5. 5. Restoring degraded land with agroforestry • Restoration through agroforestry – Potential for multifunctional land use systems • • Improved livelihoods – i.e. increasing the potential of the land to sustain production • Ecosystems services – i.e. decreased erosion, biodiversity conservation, watershed protection • Mitigation – i.e. carbon capture in biomass and soils • Adaptation – i.e. increase resilience of extreme weather events Combining production and protection – Sustain the overall productivity of marginal land
    6. 6. Aim of the project Investigating the utilization of homegardens as multipurpose agroforestry system and the opportunities and constraints of extending homegardenlike systems to degraded lands. • • Comparative study from Sri Lanka and Vietnam Based on empirical field data – Biophysical parameters • Biomass/carbon • Soil characteristics • Biodiversity – Socioeconomic parameters • Land use, income • Adaptation strategies Photo Matilda Palm
    7. 7. Multi-strata homegarden, Ky Son Commune, Vietnam Photo: Matilda Palm
    8. 8. Acacia plantations on degraded forest Degraded forest, Ky Son Commune, Vietnam Photo Matilda Palm
    9. 9. Forest garden, Ky Son Commune, Vietnam Photo Matilda Palm
    10. 10. Mean (n=38) Home garden Forest garden Man days 58.5 120 Area (ha) 0.18 2.23 Income (million VND) 5 27 Plant diversity (no of species) 37 5 Cash crops (no of species) 3.4 4.9 Forest garden, Ky Son Commune, Vietnam Photo Matilda Palm
    11. 11. Way forward… “the farmers in this region are dependent of their forest gardens, earlier years we collected timber, firewood and NTFPs from the natural forest. That was a hard life. Now we can invest in our forest and have the resources closer at hand” Nguyễn Xuân Thụy age 29, Ky Son commune, Ha Tinh provice Thank you for listening! Contact details: matilda.palm@chalmers.se
    12. 12. Way forward… Thank you! Contact details: matilda.palm@chalmers.se Photo Matilda Palm
    13. 13. Preliminary results Mean (n=38) Home garden Forest garden Man days 58.5 120 Income( MVND) 5 27 Area (ha) 0.18 2.23 h Plant diversity (no of species) 37 5 Cash crops (no of species) 4.9 3.4

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