Forest News #6

In this issue, a special mention to our summer events and to the Right Livelihood Awards 2018, bestowed to two people with a long work on land and forest restoration. We then look into a selection of best practices and challenges in adopting agroforestry, move on to forest-based commodities in the supply chain and finish with a book suggestion.

The success of land and forest restoration efforts often depends on its adoption at grassroots level. The work of Toni Rinaudo and Yacouba Sawadogo, awarded the 2018 Right Livelihood Award, gives two inspiring examples of tremendous impact and adoption by local communities.

This month:

Reforestation World Summer Events

  • As the Summer ends, we are glad to report that this year’s public events allowed us to interact with over 1200 people, discussing problems and active organisations, and collected 600 trees under our “Draw a tree, we plant it” action. A brief summary of our events is presented here. More is planned for the coming year, so stay tuned.

The Right Livelihood Award 2018

  • The Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, was created to honour and support people and organisations performing exemplary work to address the root causes of global problems.
  • Amongst the 2018 laureates, there are two we would like to highlight and congratulate: Tony Rinaudo and Yacouba Sawadogo. Both have made an extraordinary and inspiring contribution to forest restoration.
  • Tony Rinaudo is often called the father of Farmer-managed natural regeneration (FNMR), a set of land restoration techniques that have been adopted by farmers in over 5million ha, contributing to the regrowth of over 200million trees in Niger alone.  Tony Rinaudo has shared his decade-long experience in our “Voices” section, with more info at the FNMR Hub.
  • Yacouba Sawadogo is a farmer from Burkina Faso, also known as “the man of stopped the desert”. He has relived the traditional “Zai method” and spread its use in the country. Also used by our platform members newTree and Weforest, this simple method helps the soil to retain rainwater, soil nutrients and biomass, increasing natural regeneration or planting yields. This video documentary portrays his story.


  • Interested to learn more about agroforestry? The European Forestry Federation (EURAF) has published a fact sheet (link to PDF) explaining this method, its environmental services and the benefits it brings to the farmers.  EURAF has also compiled best practices examples in Europe, including a family farm in Hungary and diverse organic silvo-arable systems in the UK.
  • Agroforestry is also helping to transform the lives of small-scale dairy farmers in East Africa. A project from the World Agroforestry Centre and its partners has promoted the introduction of fodder trees in dairy farms. The fodder trees help to improve the diets of cows and goats, and farmers increase their milk yield and incomes.
  • In contrast, many small-holder farmers in Asia are not jumping on the agroforestry bandwagon—despite its well-known socio-economic and ecological benefits. According to a recent study by CIFOR, the main reasons are tenure insecurity (as lands are government-owned, farmers are not motivated to invest in new practices) and lack of capacity (knowledge, technical assistance and capital).


  • Commercial agriculture is a major driver of deforestation. In 2014, as part of the New York Declaration of Forests, more than 190 government, non-governmental and corporate entities pledged to eliminate all deforestation driven by agricultural commodities (palm oil, soy, paper and beef products) by 2020. The goal is ambitious and experts warn that we will miss the target if we do not increase our efforts.
  • The Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 has identified 10 priorities areas to remove tropical deforestation from commodity supply chains, such as making supply chains more transparent, strengthening certifications, addressing land conflicts, etc.

Suggested reading

  • Why Forests? Why Now? The authors, Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch, synthetize the science, economics and politics of tropical forest conservation and finance: how deforestation is a major source of climate emissions, why is mitigating forest-based emissions so affordable compared to other options, and how can the politics of international cooperation help to reduce forest deforestation. You can also read an interesting interview to the author Frances Seymour, where she explains the urgency of stopping deforestation and the progress we have made so far.