The CIFOR-ICRAF approach

People everywhere recognize that forests and trees help combat climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation. Many also understand their importance to rural livelihoods. Getting trees in the ground, keeping them there, and ensuring that the potential benefits materialize are not easy.

In 2019, two of the world’s leading organizations focused on forestry and agroforestry, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) embarked on a bold merger venture in order to provide the evidence and innovative solutions needed to scale up investment in sustainable development and address the global challenges of our time.

Uniquely equipped to deliver transformative science thanks to the diverse skills of our more than 700 staff and long-established partnerships, CIFOR-ICRAF is better placed than ever before to address local challenges and opportunities while solving global problems.

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CIFOR is one of 15 CGIAR Research Centers and works closely with the CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), and Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

CIFOR leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), the world largest research for development program to enhance the crucial role of forests, agroforestry and tree resources across the landscape and along value chains, towards the overarching objectives of sustainable development, food security and nutrition, and to address climate change. FTA brings together more than 200 scientists within an overall research portfolio of approximately USD 80 million/year. FTA develops, provides and promotes evidence-based technical, policy and institutional solutions and innovations for farmers, foresters, practitioners, value chain actors and policy makers. foreststreesagroforestry.org.

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Forests in a
time of crises


In 2019, the world witnessed some of our greatest challenges shift gears from urgent to emergency – from climate crisis to landscape degradation to the wildfires that devastated ecosystems across several continents. But it also saw momentum build with the announcement of the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration, a focus on nature-based solutions, and the recognition of local forest communities and Indigenous Peoples are the best land managers for forest conservation.

Another exciting development – the merger of CIFOR and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) – set the stage for more evidence and solutions that will improve people’s lives, help to conserve and restore the ecosystems that support people and nature, and respond to the global climate crisis.

Our scientists advanced critical knowledge on forest landscape restoration, wild foods and timber legality in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and peatland fires, biofuel, oil palm and wetland ‘blue carbon’ in Indonesia – with clear policy impacts in Southeast Asia from 10 years of social forestry research and engagement. Our ongoing Global Comparative Studies – GCS REDD+ and GCS Tenure – continued to bring science to policy makers across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Gender researchers looked deep into a myriad of topics, and we mourned the loss of principal scientist and Nairobi hub leader Esther Mwangi, whose legacy of achievements in gender and land rights won’t be soon forgotten. Finally the Global Landscapes Forum brought even more people together, both at events from Accra to Luxembourg as well as through exciting new digital innovations.