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Enhancing adaptation of forests and people in Africa

Item

Title

Enhancing adaptation of forests and people in Africa

Description

Commissioned by the Sector Network Rural Development of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development), forest scientists of the Forestry Research Network of Sub- Saharan Africa (FORNESSA) conducted the present study on adaptation of forests and people to climate change at two localities in Ghana and Malawi, respectively.

Creator

Foli, E.; Makungwa, S.

Date

2011

Language

English

Abstract

Commissioned by the Sector Network Rural Development of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development), forest scientists of the Forestry Research Network of Sub- Saharan Africa (FORNESSA) conducted the present study on adaptation of forests and people to climate change at two localities in Ghana and Malawi, respectively. The objective of the study (Section 2) was to identify elements of adaptation strategies in order to define concrete, resilient adaptation measures that can be implemented on the ground within the selected pilot areas. These and the applied methodological approach may serve as guidance and recommendation for the development of adaptation projects in Africa. The selected pilot area in Ghana (West Africa) is situated in the High Forest Zone (tropical high and transition forests) representing a heavily degraded savannah landscape while the pilot site in Malawi (Southern Africa) is dominated by an agricultural landscape with highly degraded watershed protection forests. Both areas represent typical examples of the ecological and socio-economic situation prevalent in the region. The methodology applied in this study (Section 3) is based on a three-tiered approach involving (a) a global assessment of adaptation of forest and people to climate change conducted by IUFRO; (b) an African assessment of the latest science available on climate change and its impacts on forests and people in Africa; and (c) the development of concrete adaptation measures for a specific project site based on a detailed assessment and evaluation by means of compilation of existing information and consultations with local communities, followed by a priority setting exercise for identifying adaptation strategies and activities. Section 4 of this report provides information on the two pilot areas including geographic location, ecological conditions, socio-economic situation, and current pressures on the natural resources. These pressures have resulted in large-scale environmental degradation, including soil erosion, loss of forest area, and significant reduction in the provision of important goods and services from forests and trees. The study then analyses available data on the trends in local climate parameters over the past decades such as temperature and precipitation (Section 5). From this analysis it is evident that there are observable changes in local climate in both pilot areas. These climatic changes in combination with past and present land-use practices have negative impacts on ecosystem functioning and productivity. These effects are clearly visible as various levels of resource degradation. The most pressing issues related to resource degradation are described for each pilot area in more detail in Section 6. Major aspects addressed include forest losses due to wildfire, decline in the availability of non-timber forest products, poor productivity of trees on farm, loss of indigenous tree species, reduction in agricultural crop yields, decline in fish catch, and declining potable water supply and the associated risk of water-borne diseases. The section concludes with a summary table for each pilot area linking priority issues related to resource degradation and associated vulnerabilities described in this section with appropriate adaptation measures outlined in greater detail in Section 7 and 8. The two tables are intended to highlight the fact that designing meaningful adaptation projects on the ground is about setting priorities involving the selection of a few but most effective adaptation measures. In Section 7 and 8 adaptation measures are presented separately for each pilot area. The outline is structured according to the priority issues explained in Section 6. For each priority issue past and ongoing adaptation measures are described, followed by new measures to be undertaken, in order to better cope with the consequences of resource degradation and/or reduce or even reverse such degradation. These adaptation measures are presented in tabulated format linking them to key vulnerabilities identified earlier in the analysis. In this way, the rationale for recommending a particular adaptation measure is highlighted. Finally, in Section 9 a summary is provided on lessons learned in conducting this study and working through the process of developing adaptation measures and strategies for specific local situations. These lessons learned are intended to contribute towards developing appropriate standards for designing adaptation projects.

Bibliographic Citation

Foli, E., & Makungwa, S. (2011). ENHANCING ADAPTATION OF FORESTS AND PEOPLE IN AFRICA

Collection

Citation

Foli, E.; Makungwa, S., “Enhancing adaptation of forests and people in Africa,” CSIRSpace, accessed June 13, 2024, http://cspace.csirgh.com/items/show/2288.