Sustainable landscapes and livelihoods

CIFOR is building evidence to show how forests and tree-based agricultural systems can contribute to healthy and diverse diets, resilient livelihoods, and biodiversity.

Forests and tree-based agricultural systems contribute directly and indirectly to the secure livelihoods, food security, and nutrition of an estimated one billion people globally. Forests affect, and are affected by, the interlinked challenges of poverty, climate change, food insecurity and declining biodiversity.

In an effort to break down the barriers between sectors, disciplines, scales and actors, CIFOR is researching and supporting the implementation of a ‘landscape approach’ to development and conservation – one that harmonizes livelihood and environmental values and objectives through cross-sectoral and locally adapted solutions to challenges.

About this team

CIFOR is building evidence on how forests and trees contribute to people’s diets, livelihoods and well-being, while providing essential ecosystem services and habitat for biodiversity. We also research how changing patterns of land use and productive activities at the landscape scale are affecting local diets and livelihoods in many places.

This work is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 1: No poverty, Goal 2: Zero hunger, Goal 3: Good health and well-being, Goal 5: Gender equality, Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation, Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities, Goal 14: Life below water and Goal 15: Life on land.


We are working with local communities and national and international partners to support and where necessary improve local livelihoods, and food and nutrition security while conserving and enhancing biodiversity and responding to the climate crisis.

Research priorities:

  • Identifying policies that integrate forestry and agriculture – studying agrarian change, agroforestry and the role of gender in the management of forest resources.
  • Increasing the availability of diverse nutrient-rich foods and enabling vulnerable populations to access them – looking at forests and nutrition, bushmeat, fish and forests in the Congo Basin, how diets are influenced by oil palm in Indonesia, and the importance of wild foods in Zambia and Burkina Faso.
  • Effects of migration, urbanization and remittances on gender and forest dependence – better understanding the changing patterns of migration from forest lands in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Peru and Tajikistan.
  • The forest–farm interface – building evidence to inform conflicting agricultural and forest policies in multi-use landscape mosaics in West Africa, and understanding land use changes on the borders of Ethiopia’s natural forests.
  • Sustainable wildlife management – studying how communities can hunt sustainably to meet their dietary and cultural needs without depleting vulnerable species.
  • Implementing a ‘landscape approach’ in practice – researching how landscape approaches can help meet socioeconomic and environmental challenges in Indonesia, Zambia, and Ghana.

Team members

Our researchers work with national partners and communities in tropical landscapes, detailing people’s livelihood opportunities, how they collect forest foods and non-timber products, why they migrate, and how they can adapt to changing climates and conditions.

Scientific group

Research sites

From Burkina Faso to Peru, and East Africa to Indonesia, our researchers are building connections with partners in landscapes across the tropics.

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Research projects

This team covers a range of research projects, from analyzing international restoration commitments, to finding concrete ways to apply the landscape approach, to documenting how communities use forest resources.

Active project list

Completed project list