Ingenious Innovations

Top 11 FTA tools for forest and tree-based landscapes

By The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

Analyzing a tree (2019-04-27) by Axel Fassio/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

Innovation drives sustainable transitions

New ideas, tools, methods or devices are needed to find solutions for balancing human development with environmental protection. We need innovations that support people and the planet.

Equipment of the Congoflux tower (2020-09-27) by Fiston Wasanga/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

Forest and tree-based innovations can promote:

1) New jobs in green sectors
2) Increased agricultural productivity, profitability and sustainability
3) Increased resource efficiency and reduced waste
4) Resilient landscapes that help mitigate and adapt to climate change
5) Improved biodiversity

Yangambi Pôle Scientifique (YPS) 2 (2020-11-25) by Axel Fassio/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

Keep reading to learn about 11 ingenious innovations

From research partnerships and platforms to apps and other monitoring technologies, these FTA tools help researchers, policy makers and farmers better manage and monitor forest landscapes and agroforestry systems

Regreening Africa app (2021-11-11) by ICRAFThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

1. Regreening Africa App

This free mobile-based app collects landscape restoration data from farmers in eight African countries using crowd-sourcing. Compiled by CIFOR-ICRAF, it offers four modules to help smallholders log and track information on their farms. 

Watch the video to learn more about the app's features! Once researchers have the citizen-science observations from farmers, they can use these data to study restoration and species biodiversity across large land areas. 

Shade motion rendering (2020-01-01) by UnknownThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

2. Shade Motion

Developed by CATIE, this free online software lets users calculate the number of hours of shade different trees will cast on agroforestry farms. Shade on farms is critical for crop development, animal shelter, water conservation and more.

Chicamocha canyon covered in mist (2013-04-19) by M. Beltran/Bioversity InternationalThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

3. Diversity 4 Restoration (D4R)

This online tool from Bioversity Alliance and CIAT was designed to assist with forest landscape restoration in Colombia's tropical dry forests. Based on the user's inputs, it suggests tree species' and quantities that would be ideal to restore forests at the location specified. 

Bamboo charcoal for bioenergy (2017-02-15) by INBARThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

4. Bamboo for community energy provision

The International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) has pioneered energy-dense (4500 kcal kg-1) bamboo-charcoal briquettes to use in wood stoves. Bamboo charcoal is a renewable energy source that is more environmentally friendly and cost effective than wood from many trees. 

Aerial view of pilot farm. (2020-06-26) by Fiston Wasanga/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

5. Vegetationmap4africa

This CIFOR-ICRAF tool maps potential natural vegetation (PNV) areas (forests, grasslands etc.) in eight southern and eastern-African countries. These maps can help smallholder agroforestry farmers find trees that improve their crop productivity and livelihoods in their region. 

Peat landscape (2015-05-04) by Kristell Hergoualc'h/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

6. Tropical managed forest observatory (TmFO)

Coordinated by CIRADTmFO is a network of 18 research institutions that cross-correlates and analyses data from tropical logged forests at over 600 sites. The TmFO database helps users understand the long-term effects of deforestation and forest change on these ecosystems. 

Bushmeat market (2012-08-02) by Ollivier Girard/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

7. Landscape Analysis of Financial Flows (Inclusive Method)

IMLAFF is a tool that helps developing communities finance their sustainable development goals. Created by Tropenbos, the tool takes social, economic and environmental factors into account while developing financial action plans. 

H'mong apple (2015-07-01) by Lua Hoang Thi/ICRAFThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

8. Domestication of H'mong apples

H'mong apples (also son tra) are a native species ideal for land restoration and food farming. CIFOR-ICRAF is working with locals at 13 sites to identify fruits with the best taste, appearance and yields. Selected trees can be grafted to improve commercial returns for farmers. 

Tanzania agroforestry (2014-10-21) by Georgina Smith/CIATThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

9. Options by Contexts (OxC)

These performance metrics from CIFOR-ICRAF allow farmers and researchers to identify the best options for agricultural development and land restoration in local contexts. Already, OxC has impacted over 5 million people and influenced policies across three continents.

Agroforestry India app (2021-11-11) by ICRAFThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

10. Agroforestry App for India

This app, developed by CIFOR-ICRAF, gives recommendations of suitable crops, trees, agronomic practices and more that farmers can benefit from. Once it is out of its testing stage, it will allow smallholder agroforestry farmers in India to reap better returns. 

Cassava buds (2010-06-25) by Niel Palmer/CIATThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

11. Tree Genomics

FTA works with CIFOR-ICRAF on tree-genetic resources to bridge production gaps and promote resilience. Scientists have recently sequenced the reference genome of the shea tree (Vitellaria Paradoxa). Read an interview with the lead scientist of the study.

Flux tower's solar park (2020-11-25) by Axel Fassio/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

These innovations must be inclusive for long-term success

On their own, innovations are not enough. The way information is communicated and shared matters too. Participation from women, youth and indigenous groups is needed to bring forward new ideas and technologies that work to balance human development with ecological conservation.

Peatland analysis (2017-11-16) by Sigit Deni Sasmito/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

FTA looks to young innovators

In Oct. 2020, FTA and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched an open call for young scientists from the Asia-Pacific region to share their innovations for forests and trees. The best submissions are collected here.

Yangambi Pôle Scientifique (YPS) (2020-09-27) by Fiston Wasanga/CIFORThe CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

Creativity and collaboration for a brighter tomorrow

Innovative tools and resources like those outlined here are an important step toward redesigning our unsustainable global systems. The context-specific data they generate from forests and farms supports collaborative decision-making processes for people and the planet. 

Credits: Story

1. Regreening Africa App: developed by The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF)
2. Shade Motion: developed with the support of the Centro Agronómico Tropical de      Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)  
3. Diversity for Restoration: developed by Bioversity Alliance and CIAT
4. Bamboo for community energy provision: coordinated by International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
5. Vegetationmap4africa: developed by CIFOR-ICRAF
6. Tropical Managed Forest Observatory (TmFO): coordinated by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)
7. Inclusive Method for Landscape Analysis of Financial Flows (IMLAFF): developed by Tropenbos International
8. Domestication of H'mong Apples: led by CIFOR-ICRAF
9. Options by Context (OxC): developed by CIFOR-ICRAF
10. Agroforestry India App: developed by CIFOR-ICRAF

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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