DG's blog
Forests and food security: What we know and need to know

CIFOR POLEX screenshot This month CIFOR's Director General Frances Seymour posts on the importance of forests for food security. With an estimated 3 billion more people to feed by 2050, 'there is an urgent need to accelerate the complementary research agenda on the relationship between forests and food security,' she writes. An earlier posting this month reviewed a special report in The Economist about food security and why biodiversity is important.

'Win-win' is too simplistic a description for REDD+
– and possibly wrong

CIFOR POLEX screenshotFor this month's POLEX, CIFOR senior scientist Dr Terry Sunderland writes about REDD+ and its implications for long-term forest and biodiversity conservation. 'Since the UN climate change conference in Bali in 2007, REDD, in all its forms, has been embraced with a fervour rarely witnessed in environmental or academic circles. However, a study by Jacob Phelps and colleagues, along with a paper by Paul Hirsch and colleagues in Conservation Biology, suggest such optimism needs tempering. Both provide a reality check: Can REDD+ live up to expectations as a tool to achieve long-term biodiversity conservation?'

New website on REDD for Indonesia

What it is take REDD-Indonesia, a new website in Indonesian launched 14 April 2011, elaborates the latest developments in REDD+ as well as forest and climate change in the country. It helps decision makers in Indonesia with access to research findings, pilot projects and new regulations. The website was developed by the Forestry Research and Development Agency, the Ministry of Forestry's research arm, in cooperation with CIFOR.

Do high oil prices increase demand for biofuels?

Why I am woman at the table? With oil prices nearing historic highs, CIFOR scientist George Schoneveld talks to reporter Angela Dewan about suggestions that crude prices are driving speculative investment in biofuel feed stocks, such as oil palm and soya. 'Crude oil at the moment is about US $120 per barrel, which translates to about 75 cents per litre. Soya oil at the moment is selling for more than $1 per litre. So for soya producers, why would they produce biodiesel when they can make more money selling to the food market? Of course, when market distortions, such as government mandates and subsidies, come into play, there's an incentive to produce biofuel,' says George. Read Angela's story here and watch an interview with George here.

New research finds mangroves key to climate change

Redd News Update: Indonesia CIFOR scientists have published new findings in Nature GeoScience which show that mangroves store exceptionally more carbon than most tropical forest types. But these coastal forests are being destroyed at a rapid rate, causing significant emissions of greenhouse gases. CIFOR also hosted a workshop on the topic in Bali for more than 80 scientists from around the world, as well as a media training for 17 Indonesian journalists. Read a blog story from the wetlands workshop and a posting in Indonesian from the journalists' training.

Forests blog
Could orangutan conservation be helped by the heavens?

Why I am woman at the table? CIFOR is working with local NGO Riak Bumi in Danau Sentarum National Park in Central Kalimantan to raise conservation awareness and provide policy recommendations to significantly reduce rates of deforestation and land conversion. The 3-year project also looks at ways to secure long-term protection for the remaining orangutan population. The work brings together local communities, governments and the National Park Authority to educate local people and government officials. Read the blog story and watch the video about the project and the indigenous Dayak folklore being used to raise awareness for conservation.

REDD+ climate challenge: Who owns forested land?

What it is takeWith billions of dollars on offer for developing nations to protect their forests because of their role in slowing climate change, renewed attention is being paid to who owns the land on which the trees stand – and who owns the carbon in the trees and the soil. This blog story quotes CIFOR scientists working on land tenure challenges in tropical forests.

Cameroon's hidden domestic timber market exposed

What it is takeCIFOR began researching illegal logging in Cameroon in 2003. Originally, the focus was on the industrial timber sector, including comparing export figures with production on large-scale forestry concessions. However, it soon became apparent that something was missing from the reams of data – the domestic timber market. 'We were amazed by what we found,' CIFOR scientist Paolo Cerutti says. 'The amount of timber traded was much higher than we anticipated, with the entire sector operating as a parallel economy outside the law.' Writer Charlie Pye-Smith travelled around Cameroon with Cerutti and penned this informative account.

Hot Download
The context of REDD+ in Brazil: Drivers, agents, and institutions

What it is takeAs part of CIFOR's 4-year Global Comparative Study on REDD+, nine countries in the study are being profiled at the national level to understand the contextual conditions that effect REDD+ policies. Brazil has the most remaining forests of any country in the world and therefore has the highest potential to mitigate climate change from REDD+. The Brazil country profile, The context of REDD+ in Brazil: drivers, agents, and institutions, is this month's hot download. 'This publication is very timely,' says CIFOR scientist Maria Brockhaus. 'It can inform the REDD+ policy process in Brazil because it comprehensively covers several aspects – drivers of deforestation, institutional issues in the forest margins, the political economy around deforestation and REDD+, and the ongoing REDD+ process itself.'

Help us survey barriers to multiple-use forest management

What it is take CIFOR, FAO and CIRAD are conducting a survey to obtain baseline information on barriers hindering the implementation and viability of multiple-use forest management (MFM) in the humid tropics. If you are directly or indirectly involved in MFM initiatives, please contribute your experiences and views. The online survey, available in five languages, will take at most 15 minutes to complete. It closes on 27 May 2011. Choose your preferred version: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Indonesian.

How important are forests for rural livelihoods?

What it is take Learn the news-breaking results of CIFOR's 7-year Poverty Environment Network (PEN) global study, arguably the largest and most comprehensive global analysis of tropical forests and poverty. It has a global database containing 8000+ households in 40 study sites in 25 developing countries. The results will be presented at a conference on 15 June at The Royal Society in London. The event will be a global forum on the role of environmental income and forests in rural livelihoods and poverty alleviation. For more information, including the line-up of speakers, and registration, visit PEN's website.

Upcoming events

Business for the Environment Global Summit 2011 - Delivering transformative solutions for our planet
27 – 30 April 2011 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia. more

Investment Forum - Mobilizing Private Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa
25 – 27 May 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. more

'Climate Change Indonesia 2011' Education Forum and Expo
26 – 29 May 2011 at the Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, Indonesia. more

Event calendar


CIFOR advances human wellbeing, environmental conservation and equity by conducting research to inform policies and practices that affect forests in developing countries. CIFOR is one of 15 centres within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Go to CIFOR's website
Go to Forest Climate Change
Go to CIFOR's new blog


The context

From subsistence to safety nets and cash income: exploring the diverse values of non-timber forest products for livelihoods and poverty alleviation

The context

Building a holistic picture: an integrative analysis of current and future prospects for non-timber forest products in a changing world

The context

Timber and non-timber forest product extraction and management in the tropics: towards compatibility

The context

From the forest to the stomach: bushmeat consumption from rural to urban settings in Central Africa

The context

Evolving Perspectives on Non-timber Forest Products

The context

Non-timber forest products and conservation: what prospects?

Standards and methods available for estimating project-level REDD+ carbon benefits: reference guide for project developers

Tata kelola keuangan dan dana reboisasi selama periode Soeharto dan pasca Soeharto, 1989-2009: suatu analisis ekonomi politik tentang pembelajaran untuk REDD+

Tropical forest susceptibility to and risk of fire under changing climate: a review of fire nature, policy and institutions in Indonesia

The context

El aprovechamiento de madera en las concesiones castañeras (Bertholletia excelsa) en Madre de Dios, Perú: un análisis de su situación normativa

Vacancies at CIFOR

Director, CGIAR Research Program, Forests, Trees and Agroforestry


Scientist, Global Comparative Study on REDD+


Scientist, Carbon Monitoring


Senior Scientist, Landscape Ecologist


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