Re-Thinking the Sectoral Approach to Land Use in Climate Strategy
To date, land use related climate policy and programs have tended to separate forestry and agriculture. In reality, the interface between these sectors is highly diverse and dynamic. With the influx of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) finance, and the rising attention to agriculture within climate change discussions, an opportunity is emerging to re-shape the relationship between forestry and agriculture to address these interactions for the benefit of not only the climate, but for people and ecosystems throughout rural landscapes.
This paper identifies the critical issues for understanding the relationship between forestry and agriculture and applies them to develop recommendations for action to support effective and equitable climate change interventions in mixed forest-agriculture landscapes
Agriculture, Forests and Climate Change: The Interconnections
Many agriculture and forest policy circles, including within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), assume that intensification of farming through use of additional or improved inputs is the key to reducing agriculture-led deforestation. While intensification is certainly an important component of a landscape management strategy under many conditions, as a generalized principle there is not a direct relationship between intensification and forest protection for a variety of reasons, including the fact that many markets are not local, demand for agricultural products is elastic, farmers diversify their crops in response to market signals, and agricultural productivity can attract in-migration.
In most cases, forest and agriculture in a given landscape have distinct tenure and access rights regimes; the development rights to carbon stocks and emission offsets add further complication and potential conflicts to these systems. The effectiveness of climate mitigation initiatives will depend upon clarifying and securing agriculture, forest and carbon rights.
A Landscape Approach to Integrating Agriculture, Forestry and Climate Needs
The complicated interactions between agriculture, forests and climate mean that efforts to manage any of these in isolation to achieve the inter-related objectives of food security, livelihood development and climate change mitigation will be difficult.
A landscape approach provides a framework to develop synergies between all stakeholders, project and program designers, and policy makers, by encouraging a spatial understanding of land uses and their interactions as well a process for coordination that reflects the institutional diversity of forest-agriculture mosaics. Landscape strategies will require changes in programs and policies guided by three basic principles:
- A shift from sectoral focus on forests, agriculture and climate to cross-sectoral frameworks;
- Support for multi-stakeholder processes for policy development and planning;
- Reconciling and securing the tenure and rights regimes for agriculture, forest and carbon