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Agriculture group to spend 10 years on forest research

 Forest destruction for cattle ranching in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Forest destruction for cattle ranching in the Peruvian Amazon. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

Recognizing the global importance of the world’s vanishing forests, a 10-year-long research program will focus on the interconnection between agriculture and forests. Conducted by CGIAR, a global agriculture group concerned with sustainability, the research program will look at ways to decrease forest loss and degradation.

“We urgently need a strong and sustained effort focused on forest management and governance, given the crucial role of forests in confronting some of the most important challenges of our time: climate change, poverty, and food security,” said Frances Seymour, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which is collaborating on the project.

According to recent updated analysis from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the world lost 72.9 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2005, an area twice the size of Germany.

Along with Indonesia-based CIFOR, CGIAR will also work with the Kenya-based World Agroforestry Centre, the Colombia-based International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Italy-based Bioversity International.

“We risk the further impoverishment of the billion people who depend on forests and trees for their livelihoods, continued carbon emissions from forest destruction and degradation that already are a significant source of greenhouse gases, and loss of ecosystem services crucial to sustained agricultural productivity,” adds Seymour.

The research program, called “Forests, Trees, and Agroforestry,” is starting with an initial three-year-budget of $233 million. It will focus on smallholder production, management of forest areas, forest conservation for mitigating climate change, forest ecosystem services, and the impacts of trade on forests.

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