Forests need to adapt and adaptation needs forests.
Forestry already has a prominent role in climate change mitigation; however links between forestry and adaptation are not often explicitly made by research organisations or development agencies, let alone governments. A CIFOR conference report provides an introduction to forest adaptation in the global climate change framework of the UNFCCC while the FAO advocates for the integration of adaptation, in particular of forest ecosystems, into every national development policy. CIFOR has noted that forests both need and are an asset to climate change adaptation, which can reduce the impact on forest ecosystems and hence, on the communities that live within or around them. Forest ecosystem goods and services, at the same time, can help communities adapt. With the potential to reduce both c arbon emissions and poverty, forests provide an excellent opportunity for linking mitigation and adaptation.
Information resources on forestry
Most of the available resources emphasize the importance of forestry to poverty reduction or climate change mitigation. With regard to the latter, a recent article in ‘Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change’ makes the case for forest adaptation to climate change, arguing that adaptive capacity can be considerably increased with little effort. A World Agroforestry Centre report is more pessimistic, emphasising that the reliance of African farming communities on natural resources severely limits their adaptive capacity. However, there is no disagreement as to the compatibility of adaptation and mitigation efforts within the field of forest management. With regard to poverty reduction, numerous analyses have sought to characterise the social and environmental benefits derived from forestry. IDDRI provides an insight into forest ecosystem goods and services and outlines the difficulties of economic valorisation. The ODI describes how Participatory Forest Management has an impact on the economic, physical, natural, human and social assets of poor communities. A final major issue in forestry and climate change is energy.
A large-scale programme on forestry and adaptation run by CIFOR called Tropical Forests and Climate Change Adaptation (TroFCCA) is being implemented on three continents (in West Africa: in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Mali). CIFOR also hosts a project focused on the Congo Basin. TroFCCA has found that the following three issues are crucial in the context of forests and adaptation: bioenergy, water and food security [CIFOR_TroFCCA_2nRep; CIFOR_TroFCCA_1stRep]. Health is identified as another important aspect and received special attention at the 2008 conference ‘Adaptation of Forests and Forest Management to Changing Climate.
Although a range of Francophone organisations and knowledge sharing facilities are in operation, there is limited access to their resources and websites are often out of date. A document from the Ministry of environment of the Republic of Guinea provides francophone and governmental exception, linking forestry, adaptation and poverty reduction in a review of Guinea’s forest policy aimed at influencing adaptation policy-making at national level