EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter: December 19, 2013
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With Your Support this Holiday Season, Our Second Decade can be Even Better Than Our First
 
An end-0f-year message from EcoAgriculture Partners' 
president Sara J. Scherr

Since our last newsletter, the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw, Poland gave me the opportunity to hear from many in the forestry, agriculture, water, and conservation sectors about their apprehensions and hopes for landscapes. In my opening plenary address I remarked that "There's a buzz about landscapes these days, and to many it seems like a theoretical construct. But landscapes are real things in the world." And I noted that even though we've identified hundreds of integrated landscape initiatives doing incredible work around the world to improve farmer yields, incomes and nutrition while conserving biodiversity and protecting ecosystem services, major efforts are required to implement these practices at the scale we need.

We need your support to provide the compelling evidence and support to policy makers and organizational leaders, farmer leaders and land managers that will truly tip the scales in favor of sustainable land management. We use private donations to: 

  • help build a network and platform for knowledge-sharing between landscape leaders;
  • help analyze and synthesize the findings of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative's ambitious Global Review of integrated landscape initiatives;
  • help connect our researchers and their work with policy makers and institutional leaders at key dialogues on strategic issues, like the ongoing debates about the sustainable development goals;
  • help provide upgrade our systems and provide professional development opportunities for our growing staff;
  • help keep the conservation, agriculture, water, and forestry communities in the know about the latest in landscape science and policy.
Over the next decade, EcoAgriculture Partners will remain an acknowledged independent thought leader on sustainable landscapes worldwide. But to meet the ambitious goals necessary to meaningfully scale up sustainable landscapes, we need you. I know that many of you are already hard at work making sustainable land management a reality from within your own organizations and in your own communities. Thank you for all you do! If you value the work EcoAgriculture Partners has done, and want to see it grow, please consider making a donation to support us as we begin our second decade of research, advocacy and outreach.

Wishing you happy holidays and a prosperous 2014!
 
Warmest regards, 
Sara 
Meeting with Organizers in the Maasai Steppe
EcoAgriculture Creates Dialogue for Action in in the Maasai Heartland of Tanzania
 
Excerpt from "A Dialogue for Landscape Action in the Maasai Steppe" By Chris Planicka, Landscapes and Leaders program associate, EcoAgriculture Partners

The Maasai Steppe Heartland is home to Maasai pastoralist communities, who raise cattle, sheep, and goats across some of northern Tanzania's most important wildlife corridors. Encompassing both Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks, the Maasai Steppe Heartland is home to numerous species of wild animals, including elephants, wildebeest, zebras, buffalo, giraffes, and Thomson's gazelles. At the same time, the landscape is also home to numerous agricultural communities - meaning that farmers, pastoralists, and wildlife all compete for land, water, and other natural resources. As a result, local-level conservation efforts, agricultural interests, and livelihood considerations are often at odds with one another. To achieve success in all three areas, a landscape-level action plan is needed.

To encourage this coordinated action in pursuit of the multiple goals of ecological conservation, agricultural production, livelihood security, and institutional capacity, the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (LPFN) recently organized a Focal Landscape Dialogue. It brought together stakeholders from multiple sectors to reflect on the state of their landscape and identify ways to scale-up positive impacts. Participants from local NGOs, conservation groups, research institutions, and community groups all gathered in Arusha, Tanzania in November to work through some of the challenges and opportunities.

Continue reading...

 

First Global Landscapes Forum Advances Integrated Approaches, Pivots Landscapes from Climate to Sustainable Development Goals discussion
 
GLF 2013 - Opening Plenary Day 1
GLF 2013 - Opening Plenary Day 1
EcoAgriculture Partners and the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative organized a variety of sessions and featured in major speaking roles at the event.  
 
Over the past ten years, EcoAgriculture and partners have worked to steadily mainstream the concept of integrated landscape management, including 'climate-smart agricultural landscapes.'. This year, the international agriculture, conservation, and forestry communities showed that they heard this growing drumbeat by integrating Forest Day, Mountain Day, and Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day associated with the annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) into one two-day event. The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), held in Warsaw, Poland alongside COP19 in mid-November, brought together more than 1200 practitioners, scientists and policymakers to discuss the role that land use plays in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

EcoAgriculture Partners contributed in a wide variety of ways to the GLF, both as the secretariat of the Landscapes for Food, People and Nature Initiative, and in its own right. EcoAgriculture Partners president Sara Scherr served as a featured speaker in the opening plenary. Raffaela Kozar facilitated a technical session that brought together leading practitioners and scholars to discuss best practices for landscape governance, in advance of a paper to be released early next year. Seth Shames and collaborators, supported by UN-REDD, presented a policy focus working draft on integrated financing strategies for landscape initiatives and their implications for climate policy. Sara served as a panelist in a discussion forum organized by the UN Environment Program, UN-REDD and EcoAgriculture Partners on landscapes, REDD+ and the green economy, where participants discussed how integrated action at different scales can create green jobs, sustainable livelihoods and restore ecosystems. Sara also moderated a sub-plenary organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization titled "Building resilient landscapes for food security and sustainable livelihoods.

Although it is clear that the landscape approach is making great headway on the ground, policymakers are still dragging their feet. GLF took place on the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's 19th Conference of the Parties, where efforts to establish a work program on agriculture within the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) fizzled, despite agriculture's contribution of nearly 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. By the end of the Forum the focus had pivoted from climate negotiations to the upcoming debates about the structure of the Sustainable Development Goals. Participants largely agreed that landscape-scale integration must be included in the development of the SDGs.

New Ecoagriculture Discussion Papers Explore Scaling Up Tree Based Ecosystem Approaches and Collaborative Action
 
November and December saw the 
release of two new Ecoagriculture discussion papers: "Pathways to Collaborative Action" and "Taking Tree-based Ecosystem Approaches to Scale".

 

"Pathways to Collaborative Action," by Fiona McKenzie of the Australian Futures Project, aims to reduce some of the anxiety and pathos of the public debate over the food system by focusing on how collaboration can help us break free of stagnated ways of working. By first showing the existence of potentially fruitful linkages between between agriculture, land, food and other systems and sectors and discussing some of the common institutional and personal barriers to successful collaboration, the paper makes it apparent that collaborative action must be a conscious process, carefully considered. Then, presenting some examples of existing collaborations in agriculture, land and food 

systems and looking at some of the common threads between various technical methods for sparking and sustaining collaboration, McKenzie moves the reader to see the possibilities, indeed the pathways, for collaborative action on global issues.

 

"Taking Tree-based Ecosystem Approaches to Scale," shares the results of a recent literature review that identified, classified and analyzed accounts of tree based ecosystem approaches around the world. Written by Louise Willemen, Abigail Hart, Christine Negra, Celia Harvey, Lars Laestadius, Bastiaan Louman, Frank Place, Robert Winterbottom, and Sara Scherr, and supported by the World Bank's Program on Forests (PROFOR), the study looked at more than 90 published papers and "grey" literature covering one hundred and eleven different sites where tree-based systems were employed.

 

The findings elucidate the wide range of benefits from systems such as agroforestry, evergreen agriculture, silvopastoralism and social forestry, particularly for food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation. They also demonstrate the diverse drivers of scaling up these systems among farmers in the developing world. The paper should provide a strong guide for future research on TBEAs.

 

Getting Grantees Together for Outreach at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
 
EcoAgriculture Staff promote landscape-scale tools for monitoring & evaluation and smallholder capacity building to industry reps and others on recent visit to Indonesia for RSPO conference.

At the most recent Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) meeting, RT11, in Medan, Indonesia, EcoAgriculture Partners' Lee Gross and Kedar Mankad joined grantees to promote the achievements of the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP). Over the last six years, EcoAgriculture Partners has served as the Monitoring & Evaluation unit of the BACP, which has provided more than US$6 million in support to projects improving biodiversity outcomes in commodity landscapes. Gross and Mankad, who have been hard at work finalizing the program report of the BACP (to be published online in early 2014), also coordinated an exhibition booth where grantees shared their accomplishments with conference participants.

 
The activity in the booth generated opportunities for Mankad and Gross (and grantee representatives) to speak directly with industry representatives, government officials, and conservationists about how to use the tools and training manuals developed with BACP support to improve biodiversity outcomes both at farm and landscape scales, achieve compliance with RSPO standards, and more effectively reach smallholder farmers. "Through our work with the BACP team we've helped amplify the impact of NGOs working with the private sector to improve biodiversity outcomes in the palm oil industry," says Mankad..


World Resources Institute (WRI) navigated stakeholders through its web tools for identifying suitable degraded lands and forest cover change, the Forest Cover Analyzer & Suitability Mapper. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) also presented a web based tool, its HCV Threat Monitoring Protocol, which gives companies a low-cost standardized monitoring system for HCVs. Alongside these web based tools, grantees also presented the vast array of reports and training manuals that have been produced. Proforest presented a poster describing its RSPO Roadshow palm oil training activities in West Africa, and shared copies of its recent publication, 
"Smallholders and the RSPO: Meeting the RSPO certification requirements for the management and monitoring of biodiversity and 

High Conservation Values." PanEco presented its Bahasa smallholder manual and other tools for responsible palm oil development in Indonesia, and presented related outputs at its own booth. ZSL presented multiple reports, including their "Practical Handbook for Conserving High Conservation Value Species and Habitats within oil palm landscapes."

 

"The grantees' projects have achieved a lot to strengthen the biodiversity components of the RSPO standard that would not have happened without them," says Gross. For more information about the BACP, visit www.ifc.org/bacp

 

While in Indonesia for the RSPO meeting in Medan, EcoAgriculture Partners and the BACP Program team, along with ZSL and a representative from the RSPO visited PT Musim Mas in Central Sumatra to share experiences on HCV assessment and monitoring. This was one of the first plantations in Indonesia to be certified through the RSPO, and is engaged in various farm level sustainability measures that go beyond the requirements of the standard, including methane capture 

   

Chris Planicka joins team to support our Landscapes and Leaders Program.
 
Staff continues to grow as we begin our 10th year. 
 
Chris Planicka joined EcoAgriculture Partners as a program associate in November to support the Landscapes & Leaders Program and the Landscape Strengthening Working Group of the LPFN Initiative. Chris has previously researched business opportunities in seed production for farmers in Timor-Leste and developed a business plan for a mobile soil-testing kit to be deployed in sub-Saharan Africa. Chris was born in the United States and is a former US Peace Corps Environment and Agroforestry volunteer, where he served in Madagascar, working with farmers to improve their agricultural yields while conserving the surrounding rainforest environment. Chris holds a BA in History from the University of Notre Dame and an MPA in Development Practice from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

 

World Bank Calls for "Shades of Green" Case Studies: Applications due January 7th, 2014.

 

The World Bank is compiling a series of short case studies that draw on experiences of partnerships - involving government entities, the private sector, NGOs, development/international agencies, and/or others- and are designed to prevent or reduce adverse environmental impacts of commercial agricultural production. The case studies series, Shades of Green, aims to gain a better understanding of what is 'working' and why and what options are available to developing country governments to encourage, facilitate, and regulate more environmentally sustainable practices in relation to commercial agriculture.

 

EcoAgriculture Partners is collaborating with the World Bank to analyze policy and institutional arrangement experiences in East Asia to improve environmental performance in export agriculture. These case studies will complement that work. 

 

"Practitioners working in the field of agriculture and the environment - as individuals or teams, firms, NGOs, public officials and academics" are invited to apply. For more details, see the full description on our recent announcements page.

 

Still Adjusting to our New Look?
Like it? Hate it? Wonder where a familiar feature went? Please email communications manager Louis Wertz. 

This new format for EcoAgriculture Partners' newsletter debuted in our May 2013 issue. Items previously featured in our newsletter that covered ecoagriculture-related happenings, new reports by our partner organizations, calls for papers and proposals, and upcoming events have moved to the EcoAgriculture Partners or Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative websites, the Landscapes Blog, and our Facebook and Twitter pages. Plus, you can now also keep track of us on Google Plus!

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