CIFOR, with funding from FAO, collected data from different agroecological zones in Zambia to get a better picture of how rural people use wild foods, which mostly come from forests. This builds on research in 21 African countries that found a positive relationship between tree cover and dietary diversity. To get a clearer idea of how much of a certain food, like caterpillars, is collected and consumed – something that is often difficult to quantify – researchers measured the actual buckets and containers that people use in their households for collection.
Zambia’s Forestry Department has shown interest in the research, noting that it could help raise awareness of forests’ value beyond timber and charcoal. The study shows that it is not so difficult to quantify forest food use, and if more countries do this, we can get a much better idea of the true contribution that forests make to food security.
Find the latest updates on the BMU-supported Collaborating to Operationalise Landscape Approaches for Nature, Development and Sustainability project at cifor.org/colands.
Influencing international policies
Research on the USAID-funded Conservation and Sustainable Use of Tropical Forest Biodiversity project marked several milestones this year.
A joint technical report by CIFOR and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be used as a voluntary roadmap to a sustainable wild meat sector, and was widely cited in the draft chapters of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Thematic assessment of the sustainable use of wild species.
CIFOR is participating in the IPBES Biodiversity Value Assessment, specifically working to provide practical, science-based policy-support tools on the many ways biodiversity benefits people.
CIFOR was also invited to lead an expert panel to develop an indicator on the contribution of forests to food and nutrition security for the UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017–2030. The indicator will form part of a Global Core Set of Forest-Related Indicators to streamline global reporting on forests.
The body of work on wild foods from forests shows that forests are not an obstacle to food security, but are actually an important element of it.
Team Leader, Sustainable landscapes and livelihoods
- Agricultural intensification, dietary diversity, and markets in the global food security narrative
- Dietary intake, forest foods, and anemia in Southwest Cameroon
Wild foods in Zambia
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
CIFOR focal point
Amy Ickowitz, Team Leader, Sustainable landscapes and livelihoods