Forest Restoration with Communities - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Forest Restoration with Communities

Enhancing livelihoods through forest and landscape restoration

2017-2022

A$3M, funded through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Leaders: Professor John Herbohn and Dr Nestor Gregorio

Background

Improving livelihoods of rural poor remains a critical issue for the Philippines, especially in the country's rural uplands. It is estimated that over 24 M people rely on subsistence agriculture, most of whom are below the poverty line. In addition, deforestation and land degradation in the uplands is a major national environmental and social issue. The National Greening Program (NGP) was implemented in 2011 with the objectives of reducing poverty, promoting food security, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation, and enhancing climate change mitigation and adaptation through rehabilitating 1.5 M ha of denuded lands by 2016.

In December 2015, the objective was expanded to rehabilitate a further 7.1 M ha. The NGP is an example of Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), which underlies the Bonn Challenge. In ASEM/2010/050 we developed and pilot-tested best practice in community-based reforestation (see Appendix C). This pilot FLR reforestation initiative has been featured by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as an exemplar for NGP implementation. It has also been featured by IUCN as a real-world example of enhancing livelihoods through FLR and has been used as a basis for training and capacity building of DENR at the local level. Although the general principles of FLR can be applied across various regions, the specific design, approach and activities will vary in different locations.

Little is currently known about how to best integrate agriculture, forestry and forest restoration at a landscape scale (Chazdon et al. 2015). In this project, we will investigate how to best scale out the successful community-based FLR model that we have developed for reforestation in Biliran to other areas in the Philippines. An initial step in this process will be to design FLR systems tailored to the communities that will implement them based on the lessons from our pilot program. In addition, we will undertake further research on key technical issues related to the selection and establishment of appropriate timber tree species and agricultural crops as part of FLR systems.

Aims and objectives  

The aim of this project is to improve rural livelihoods through Forest and Landscape Restoration in the Philippines.

Objectives     
Improve the livelihoods of smallholders involved in Forest and Landscape
Restoration;
Develop and test options for scaling out landscape-scale community-based
reforestation; 
Achieve better economic outcomes for smallholders through improved monitoring,
best practices and policy.

Research team

USC

Research Staff (Philippines)

  • Ofelia Moreno 
  • Nova Parcia 
  • Crisanto Solano 
  • Rogelio Tripoli 
  • Mark Ygana

International Collaborators (VSU)

  • Dr Victor Asio
  • Dr Henry Goltiano
  • Dr Eduardo Mangaoang
  • Yolanda Mangaoang
  • Dr Lilian Nunez
  • Dr Arturo Pasa
  • Dr Dennis Peque
  • Dr Anatolio Polinar
  • Lemuel Preciados
  • Dr Arsenio Ramos

International Collaborators (DENR) 

  • Dr Eugene Bautista
  • Emma Germano
  • Danny Lendio
  • Bonifacio Polinar
Key successes

Pilot studies with the Republic of the Philippines, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), have led to introduction of a national level policy for accreditation of nurseries supplying seedlings to reforestation programs in the country.

The National Policy details: DENR Administrative Order 2010-2011 “Revised Regulation Governing Forest Tree Seed and Seedling Production, Collection and Disposition” Issued on May 5, 2010.

In February 2011, President Aquino announced the establishment of the National Greening Program (NGP), which will reforest 1.5 M ha over the coming five years. There will be around 1.6 billion seedlings required for that program. DENR is responsible for the technical implementation of the NGP, including the oversight of seedling production. The work the Centre formed in previous projects to contribute to the National Policy, DAO 2011-11, invariably had a major impact on how these seedlings were produced. This has subsequently led in December 2015 to increasing the objective to rehabilitate forests to 7.1 M ha.

In the most recently awarded ACIAR project ASEM/2016/103, there will be the opportunity to investigate how to best scale out the successful community-based FLR model that we have developed for reforestation in Bilirain to other areas in the Philippines. An initial step in this process will be to design FLR systems tailored to the communities that will implement them based on the lessons from our pilot program. In addition, we will undertake further research on key technical issues related to the selection and establishment of appropriate timber tree species and agricultural crops as part of FLR systems.

In 2015, we were invited to present our research work in Philippines at the International Union of Forest Research Organisations Conference “International IUFRO Symposium "Small-scale and Community Forestry and the Changing Nature of Forest Landscapes"

From this symposium, our Centre researchers were invited in 2016, to submit an article to portray the work in Philippines at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Of the 118 articles submitted from researchers across the world, only seven were accepted. Due to the nature and impact of our work the paper was one of the seven chosen for publication.
From our work and interaction with international researchers and organisations across different forums we have forged a new collaboration with WeForest UK who are exploring ways of using our research findings to help other communities in Asia Pacific region to sustainably manager their forest landscapes and address climate change, enhance livelihoods, increase resilience and safeguard biodiversity.
FAO will also use the guidelines and materials collated from all research across the multiple projects to form best practice in guiding other Asia-Pacific regions with Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) 
We will continue our research in ASEM/2016/103 with the goal of improving the livelihoods of the rural poor and contribute to the Forest and Landscape Restoration across the Philippines to support the DNR’s National Greening Program to reach their target of rehabilitating 7.1 M ha of forest.

We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with educators, government bodies, community groups and agencies across the Philippines. We are keen to test existing theory and research, explore new innovations and ensure evidence based programs are implemented across community groups and supported through government policy at all levels of government. We continue our research with the goal of improving the livelihoods of the rural poor and contribute to the Forest and Landscape Restoration across the Philippines to support the DNR’s National Greening Program to reach their target of rehabilitating 7.1 M ha of forest.

Get involved  

There are a number of ways you can be involved in our research work, including:

  • Receiving updates on project progress
  • Attending workshops and/or events held on Indigenous forestry
  • Becoming a potential partner
  • Becoming a research student with the group
  • Being a visiting scholar/student (spending a short period of time with the group working on different parts of the project - may include field work)
  • Volunteering
  • Community member feedback and participation
  • Government department representatives feedback and participation
  • Policy makers feedback and participation
  • Industry members feedback and participation
  • General ideas and feedback for group

You can get involved by emailing ResearchCentres@usc.edu.au or emailing John Herbohn or Nestor Gregorio directly.

Enhancing returns from high-value agroforestry species in Vanuatu

2017-2021

$1.53M, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Leader: Dr Tony Page

Background

In Vanuatu there is great potential for a smallholder led planted forest industry, based on high value timbers and non-timber products such as canarium (Canarium indicum) nut, sandalwood oil (Santalum austrocaledonicum) and whitewood (Endospermum medullosum) timber.

This project seeks to improve adoption of planted forestry by addressing the knowledge and resource gaps for these three key commercial species (canarium, sandalwood and whitewood).

Aims and objectives

The aim of the project is to advance the Vanuatu planted forestry sector by improving availability of new and existing technologies and facilitating wider smallholder adoption of three high-value forestry species: Canarium, sandalwood and whitewood. To achieve this aim, the following objectives are proposed:

Enhance availability of improved quality Canarium seed through evaluation and capture of wild resources;
Improve the value of plated sandalwood by widening the deployment of improved genetic resources;
Enhance knowledge and capacity within whitewood value chain stakeholders, of growing, processing and marketing of high and lower value wood products;
Increase adoption of existing technologies for planted forests through improved knowledge development and transfer among stakeholders.

Key successes

This project has conducted research for development with several current and future impacts including the following:

Detailed characterisation of wild Canarium resources and single tree seed collections undertaken across the best performing families to establish genetic conservation resource.
Canarium grower’s manual drafted for consolidated document to support growers.
Produced national sandalwood domestication strategy to guide future improvement.
Establishment next generation genetic resources and deployment of improved clones for sandalwood.
Inventory of planted whitewood conducted in Santo with an estimated 10,000 cubic meters available across 500 smallholder sites.
Visual grading system for whitewood further refined with five defined grades. The system offers simplified structural and decorative specifications.
Increased promotion of forestry information to stakeholders through social media.
Implementation of four Master TreeGrower workshops with stakeholders in Efate, Malo, Santo and with national group of sandalwood growers.

Partners
  • Godfrey Bome, Vanuatu Department of Forests

  • Joseph Tungon, Vanuatu Department of Forests

  • Michael Tabi, Vanuatu Department of Forests

  • Mesek Sethy, Vanuatu Department of Forests

Research team
Contact

Dr Tony Page 
Senior Research Fellow

Tel: +61 408 889 684
Email: tpage@usc.edu.au

Enhancing community-based commercial forestry in Indonesia

2016-2021

$1.3M, funded through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Project partners = A$950,000

Leader: A/Prof Digby Race

Background

Forestry is a vital component of the livelihoods of about 80 million people across Indonesia. Many millions of small-scale farmers (smallholders) also cultivate trees as an integral part of their farming systems. However, most smallholders fail to realise the full commercial potential of the forests they manage, or the trees they plant – leading to supplies of poor wood quality to industry. The changing dynamics of rural economies make it difficult for smallholders to understand the commercial value of forestry compared to other land-uses, so often they under-invest in their forest enterprises.

Indonesia has a growing population and an expanding economy, with development of the country’s natural resources, including the forestry sector, a key aspect of the government’s development strategy. Australia has a strong connection to Indonesia’s forestry sector, importing Au$50 million of wood-based furniture in 2014-15, and increasingly seeking timber imports from ‘certified’ sustainable sources. This project, which builds on two previous ACIAR projects, will focus on land privately owned by smallholders (hutan rakyat, HR) and state-owned land leased to smallholders (hutan tanaman rakyat, HTR), that account for the majority of CBCF across Indonesia.

Expected outcomes

This project has an operating period of 1st July 2016 to 31st December 2020 (4.5 years). It aims to identify how community-based commercial forestry (CBCF) can increase the incomes of smallholders and how the broader benefits from it to local communities and industries can be scaled out. The three main research objectives are:

  1. To enhance the commercial benefits from CBCF for smallholders by strengthening their business networks.
  2. To increase the capacity and number of smallholders able to make informed decisions about their silvicultural approach and likely returns from CBCF.
  3. To analyse the policy context for CBCF and support policy reform that enables it to become a profitable investment choice for smallholders.
Research partners

The University of the Sunshine Coast is leading the project with:

  • Indonesia’s Forestry and Environment Research Development and Innovation Agency (FOERDIA)
  • The University of Gadjah Mada
  • The University of Mataram
  • Trees4Trees (an Indonesian-based NGO)
  • Australian Agroforestry Foundation (an Australian-based NGO).

The project works closely with a wide range of local partners at five study sites.

Regions in Indonesia

The project has a range of study sites to explore some of the biophysical, commercial and socio-economic diversity in Indonesia. The study sites are located in:

  • Boalemo (Gorontalo)
  • Bulukumba (South Sulawesi)
  • Gunungkidul (Yogyakarta)
  • Pati (Central Java), and
  • South Lampung (Lampung)
Research team in the field

Agricultural Innovations for Communities for intensified and sustainable farming systems in Timor-Leste (AI-Com)

2016-2021

A$228,000, funded through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Leader: Dr Tony Page

Background

Opportunities identified for productive research to support rural livelihoods includes production of selected non-timber tree products (tree legume fodder and their companion sandalwood, native to T-L). Their adoption can diversify farm income and act as a buffer to climate variability, and is likely to require:

(i)   cultural change within the community,

(ii)  reliable identification of appropriate species, varieties, agronomic methods, and

(iii) sustainable water and land management practices.

The research encompasses socio-cultural as well as economic and technical aspects in the relevant research areas. It is being undertaken in two defined agro-ecological zones, covering a quarter of the country’s population.

Aims and objectives 

The aim of this project is to design and evaluate methods and practices for communities to increase forage supply from forage tree legumes (FTL) and sandalwood production to provide both short-term and long-term economic opportunities .

Objectives   

Site suitability & FTL/sandalwood agroforestry demonstrations;
Nursery research with MAF to develop quality seedling production systems for transfer to community-based nursery; 
Sandalwood rejuvenation for domestication & smallholder agroforestry.

Research team
  • Dr Tony Page, USC
  • William Erskine, Liz Barbour, Amin Mugera, UWA
  • Robert Williams, Luis Almeida, AiCom
  • Adalfredo Ferriera, Luis Patrocinio, Ida Pereira, MAF
Key successes

This project has conducted research for development with several current and future impacts including the following:

Establishment of sandalwood demonstration / management plots with forage tree legumes (FTL) Leucaena/Sesbania across ten locations.
Wild sandalwood characterisation in 11 populations across its environmental range to support species domestication.
Development and documentation of improved germination and nursery protocols for smallholder seedling production.
Establishment of provenance trials in Natarbora with FTLs and Atabae as forest enrichment. The blocks have been planted at high density for future conversion into seedling seed orchards.
Publication of sandalwood awareness (Sandalwood in Timor-Leste – Past, present and future) and host species booklets in English and Tetun.
Drafting of financial analysis of sandalwood production towards a decision making tool.
Timor-Leste project staff presented at Sandalwood Regional Forum in Vanuatu and participated in the Study Tour of Tanna in November 2019.

Contact

Dr Tony Page 
Senior Research Fellow
Tel: +61 408 889 684
Email: tpage@usc.edu.au

Enhancing returns from High-value Agroforestry Species in Vanuatu

2017-2021

$1.53M, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Leader: Dr Tony Page

Background

In Vanuatu there is great potential for a smallholder led planted forest industry, based on high value timbers and non-timber products such as canarium (Canarium indicum) nut, sandalwood oil (Santalum austrocaledonicum) and whitewood (Endospermum medullosum) timber.

This project seeks to improve adoption of planted forestry by addressing the knowledge and resource gaps for these three key commercial species (canarium, sandalwood and whitewood).

Aims and objectives

The aim of the project is to advance the Vanuatu planted forestry sector by improving availability of new and existing technologies and facilitating wider smallholder adoption of three high-value forestry species: Canarium, sandalwood and whitewood. To achieve this aim, the following objectives are proposed:

Enhance availability of improved quality Canarium seed through evaluation and capture of wild resources;
Improve the value of plated sandalwood by widening the deployment of improved genetic resources;
Enhance knowledge and capacity within whitewood value chain stakeholders, of growing, processing and marketing of high and lower value wood products;
Increase adoption of existing technologies for planted forests through improved knowledge development and transfer among stakeholders.

Key successes

This project has conducted research for development with several current and future impacts including the following:

Detailed characterisation of wild Canarium resources and single tree seed collections undertaken across the best performing families to establish genetic conservation resource.
Canarium grower’s manual drafted for consolidated document to support growers.
Produced national sandalwood domestication strategy to guide future improvement.
Establishment next generation genetic resources and deployment of improved clones for sandalwood.
Inventory of planted whitewood conducted in Santo with an estimated 10,000 cubic meters available across 500 smallholder sites.
Visual grading system for whitewood further refined with five defined grades. The system offers simplified structural and decorative specifications.
Increased promotion of forestry information to stakeholders through social media.
Implementation of four Master TreeGrower workshops with stakeholders in Efate, Malo, Santo and with national group of sandalwood growers.

Partners
  • Godfrey Bome, Vanuatu Department of Forests
  • Joseph Tungon, Vanuatu Department of Forests
  • Michael Tabi, Vanuatu Department of Forests
  • Mesek Sethy, Vanuatu Department of Forests
Research team
Contact

Dr Tony Page 
Senior Research Fellow

Tel: +61 408 889 684
Email: tpage@usc.edu.au