Approach a landscape from the ground or lose your way in words


A ‘landscape approach’ has been bandied about by researchers and development practitioners for decades. But what exactly is it? Does it work? It’s time to start finding out, on the ground.

The term ‘landscape approach’ was first coined back in 1992 and has gained popularity ever since with researchers, academics, development workers and governments, so much so that it seems often to be used as if everyone knows what it means; no one is actually defining what is meant, what it does and what the results are of using it.

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Forests need people, and strong organizations

MCDI Photo

Community members carry out forest monitoring activities
in their Village Land Forest Reserve

 “Organizations matter. They make it possible for us to pool the strengths we have as individual human beings to achieve things that we could not do alone. They enable us to collectively mobilize our individual powers to face our human challenges with greater possibility.”

-The Barefoot Collective (2009)

The theme of the XIV World Forestry Congress, which kicked off today in Durban, South Africa, is, “Forests and People: Investing in a Sustainable Future.” Such a theme is welcome, as it acknowledges the critical role that forests play in people’s lives, particularly those who live alongside forests, and highlights the need to find innovative and sustainable solutions that will benefit both forest ecosystems and livelihoods. But forests and people need something even more – strong organizations. Sure, organizations are made up of people, but it is the collective action of these people – their shared vision and strategies – that can help shape a sustainable future, for people and forests.

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Strengthening bamboo-water interactions


Research on bamboo is feeding into a new global initiative to safeguard the vital role that forests play in the provision of safe and reliable freshwater.

Bamboo demonstrates important water conservation properties – it has a high water absorption capacity, a canopy that reduces evapo-transpiration and conserves soil moisture, and a dense root system that enhances water infiltration. But, its ability to conserve water resources is often overlooked – even by those that benefit most from its application.

To address this, research on bamboo is feeding into a new five-year plan to be launched at the
World Forestry Congress 2015 – an initiative designed to enhance knowledge about forest-water interactions and ensure this evidence informs national and international policies and agreements.

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Forests are sacred!


Tshilidzi Netshidzivhe, from Vhongwaniwapo, Clan of the Sacred Forest, will take part in the (“intergenerational-interviewee” slot during the youth special event) 9 September 2015, 16:15 – 18:15.

Tshilidzi’s intervention focuses on indigenous youth’s perceptions of forests, and the traditional knowledge and values associated with them. Tshilidzi shares her experiences ahead of the youth session which you can join onsite or via the webcast.

The forest is a sacred site, belonging to a certain clan. It is a “no go” area, and only the clan may go there during a certain period, and not every day. We go there during the times of the rituals.

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Give me hope, give me action


The invited guests in my arena

I have the number “14” in my age, somewhere, though I was born in 1926, in Rome. Guess who I am? I occur every six years and I deal with jungles. This year I found myself where wildlife and big forests reside: Durban, South Africa. I have been looking for a land like this for almost a century now, and this year my dreams have come true.

I am the World Forest Congress, and I have finally come to Africa.

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Leave no-one behind…


“No one is left behind”. In war movies we always hear this phrase. And when we talk about sustainable development we must leave no-one behind either.

Reaching Sustainable Development Goals could be compared to a war, a war against time. If we want to have any possibilities of winning this war, we all need to go all together and think out of the box.

Everybody should empty their boxes into a big one, where all the interactions and exchanges are easier and fast, and all the skills and capacities will be together.

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Completing the Millennium Development Goals round: Recognition of South Africa’s achievements in the fight against hunger


His Excellency Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa received a Food Security Recognition Award from His Excellency Graziano da Silva, Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The award pays tribute, recognises and celebrates the Republic of South Africa’s achievement in the fight against hunger.

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UN report finds deforestation slowing, but not fast enough for forest communities or the climate

epa00182685 A small village where rice and opium farmers live is seen behind a large hill which has been cleared of timber by slash and burn methods ready for agriculture, in north-eastern Myanmar (Burma), close to the Chinese border, Monday 26 April 2004. Unchecked logging fuelled by the huge growth in the Chinese economy has taken its toll on the area. Deforestation is acute in Myanmar as a consequence of timber exploitation and poor agricultural methods and it is one of the least environmentally protected countries in South East Asia. Myanmar supplies 60 per cent of the world's teak wood consumption, and derives nearly 10 percent of it's foreign income from timber exports. EPA/BARBARA WALTON

FAO has released the 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA2015) at the XIV World Forestry Congress. Updated every five years, the report shows how forests have changed over the last 25 years, the state of sustainable forest management, and other trends. This is a statement from Rod Taylor, Director, WWF Global Forest Programme, reacting to the report.

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