CATIE - Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza
Recent publications
Riparian buffers—forests along rivers—generate many essential ecosystem services, and their protection and restoration are the focus of many policy efforts. Costa Rica is a global leader in this regard, where legislative and executive frameworks work in concert to conserve forests that deliver public benefits such as water quality and carbon storage both locally and globally. Yet implementation and enforcement is an urgent challenge, and could benefit from high-resolution targeting with a quantitative understanding of expected benefits. Here, we undertake such an analysis, focusing on the benefits of implementing Forest Law 7575, which specifies the amount of forest to be preserved along rivers. We model changes in sediment retention, nutrient retention, and carbon sequestration from a baseline scenario based on current land use that is in partial compliance with the law. We contrast this with a simulated reforestation scenario, where riparian forest cover is increased to at least a minimum level of compliance (10 m buffers) everywhere. We find that targeted riparian reforestation—increasing national forest cover by 1.9 %—would substantially increase ecosystem services. Water quality regulation would be improved via an increase of 3.9 % in sediment retention (1.4 Mt/year), 81.4 % in nitrogen retention (0.012 Mt/year), and 85.9 % in phosphorus retention (0.0022 Mt/year). Moreover, riparian reforestation would increase the national carbon stock 1.4 % above current levels (7.0 Mt). Our analysis shows where riparian buffers are most beneficial—generally in steep, erosion-prone, and intensively fertilized landscapes. Through a canton-level analysis comparing potential increases in sediment and nutrient retention with demographic information, we find that these benefits would flow to communities that depend on rivers for drinking water and that are otherwise vulnerable. Small increases in riparian reforestation in Costa Rica, implemented via an existing law, could confer large benefits to rivers and all who depend on them.
Virtual reality has obvious potential to help humans developing/recovering brain functions, which operates through modulation of multisensory inputs. Some interventions using VR rely on the need to embody a virtual avatar, which stimulates cognitive-motor adaptations. Recent research has shown that embodiment can be facilitated by synchronizing natural sensory inputs with their visual redundancy on the avatar, e.g., the user’s heartbeat flashing around its avatar (cardio-visual stimulation) or the user’s body being physically stroked while the avatar is touched in synchronized conditions (visuo-tactile stimulation). While different full-body illusions have proven obvious interest in health and disease, it is unknown to date whether individual susceptibilities to illusion are equivalent with respect to cardio-visual or visuo-tactile stimulations. In fact, a number of factors like interoception, vestibular processing, a pronounced visual dependence, a specific cognitive ability for mental rotations, or user traits and habits like empathy and video games practice may interfere with the multifaceted construct of bodily self-consciousness, the conscious experience of owning a body in space from which the world is perceived. Here, we evaluated a number of dispositions in twenty-nine young and healthy participants submitted alternatively to cardio-visual and visuo-tactile stimulations to induce full-body illusions. Three components of bodily self-consciousness consensually identified in recent research, namely self-location, perspective taking and self-identification were quantified by self-reported feeling (questionnaires), and specific VR tasks used before and after multisensory stimulations. VR tasks allowed measuring self-location in reference to a virtual ball rolling toward the participant, perspective taking through visuomotor response times when mentally rotating an avatar suddenly presented at different angles, and self-identification through heart rate dynamics in response to a threatening stimulus applied to the (embodied) avatar. Full-body illusion was evidenced by self-reported quotations of self-identification to the avatar reaching scores in agreement with the literature, lower reaction times when taking the perspective of the avatar and a marked drop in heart rate showing obvious freezing reaction changes when the user saw the avatar being pierced by a spear. Changes in bodily self-consciousness components are not significantly dependent on the type of multisensory stimulation (visuo-tactile or cardio-visual). A principal component analysis demonstrated the lack of covariation between those components, pointing to the relative independence of self-location, perspective taking and self-identification measurements. Moreover, none of these components showed significant covariations with any of the individual dispositions. These results support the hypothesis that cardio-visual and visuo-tactile stimulations affect the main components of bodily self-consciousness in an extent that, in average, is mostly independent of individual perceptive-cognitive profiles, at least in healthy young people. Although this is an important observation at group level, which indicates a similar probability of inducing embodiment with either cardio-visual or visuo-tactile stimulations in VR, these results do not discard the fact that some individuals might have higher susceptibility to specific sensory inputs, which would represent a target to adapt efficient VR stimulations.
Native tree species and species mixtures are key elements for biodiversity conservation by forest plantations. Yet, introduced species planted in monoculture still dominate plantation forests in many regions around the world and especially in the tropics. In Costa Rica and Panamá, Tectona grandis (teak) is the most planted species, occupying 49% and 64% of the forest plantation area. Here, we analyzed growth performance of four neotropical native species (Dalbergia retusa, Dipteryx oleifera, Hieronyma alchorneoides, Vochysia guatemalensis) in mixture with teak or as an alternative to teak plantations. For the first time, we parametrized a forest growth model for these native, neotropical tree species that was based on a large database which covers different climate, soil and management conditions as well as prolonged monitoring. We parametrized the mixture version of the process-based forest growth model Physiological Principles Predicting Growth (3-PGmix). We then developed management scenarios for pure and mixed plantations, where we simulated mixtures of T. grandis with D. oleifera and D. retusa as well as a mixture of D. oleifera, H. alchorneoides and V. guatemalensis as an alternative to teak plantations. With average 9% of model error, 3-PGmix qualified as a tool for making growth predictions for these native tree species and teak. Except for the very fast growing V. guatemalensis, growth of the native species at harvest age was lower than previously suggested by other studies in pure plantations. With two exceptions, all species showed good growth in mixture and a potential for implementation. Mixture simulations were highly sensitive to the 3-PG fertility rating input parameter. In all our simulated mixtures, we observed a trade-off between volume production and dbh growth, where dbh growth was inversely related to the tree density of the most productive species in the mixture. For mixtures of natives with of a close to baseline thinning T. grandis plantation, diameter growth of the natives was strongly reduced by the presence of teak. When comparing the tree-by-tree mixtures to their respective monocultures, the time of comparison was important, since, in monoculture, fast-growing species can be replanted during the long rotation periods of the slower growing species. This can reverse findings of increased volume production during early ages of plantation development.
A long experiment has been established since 2000 at CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), Turrialba, Costa Rica. Twenty agro-forestry systems with different shade types and managements (organic and non-organic) consisting of an incomplete randomized block-design with shade tree as main effect and subplots represented by management were set up. The effects of different managements and shade types on the aroma and color generation of roasted coffee beans were investigated. The total protein content was significantly higher (P < 0.05) under the intensive conventional (IC) (168 g/Kg) and intensive organic (IO) (167 g/Kg) managements than under the moderate conventional (MC) (153 g/Kg in IC vs. MC group, 157 g/Kg in MC vs. IO group). Comparing with the moderate conventional (MC) management, the intensive organic (IO) management had a stronger ability to generate more flavor and color. The total protein content was significantly higher (P < 0.05) under the full sun system (172 g/Kg) than under the shaded (159 g/Kg) and Erythrina system (155 g/Kg), under the service system (165 g/Kg) than under the timber system (146 g/Kg), under the legume timber system (170 g/Kg) than under the non-legume timber system (152 g/Kg). The full sun system had a greater flavor generation and color after roasting. Comparing with the timber system, the service system produced roasted beans with the more flavor and color. Comparing with the non-legume shade tree, the legume shade tree improved the performance of flavor and color in the roasted coffee beans.
The Hondo River is the natural border between Mexico and Belize, and it is part of the distribution area of the Endangered Antillean manatee Trichechus manatus manatus. Currently, the Hondo River does not have any special protection. Employing qualitative research methods, we documented the social perception and local knowledge from riverside communities to assess conservation status and trends of manatees in the area. Fifty semi-structured interviews were carried out to river users in 16 Mexican communities, distributed in six segments along the riverbed. The claims of the inhabitants agree with boat-based surveys: most of the current and historical manatee sightings were reported in segments of the main watercourses, but also in small tributaries, which are usually shallow and rich in aquatic vegetation. Additionally, the local perception about manatee conservation status can be helpful to understand population trends and threats: 48% of the interviewees claimed that nowadays the number of sighted manatees is less than that observed 10 years ago. The responders identified water pollution due to cane cultivation practices, motorized vessels traffic, and presence of fishing nets as potential threats to manatees. This study provides evidence of relevant local knowledge about the manatee ecology and its habitat, critical in the construction of binational conservation strategies for the species. Therefore, local resources users may play an increasingly significant role in manatee management and monitoring. Although manatees are poached for their meat in several areas of their distribution, the most common value attributed to manatees in Hondo River was non-use existence values. Local people recognize the challenges to observe this cryptic species in this river, but also identified manatees as potential flag species, suggesting that it may represent a valuable resource for ecotourism. We suggest that the non-extractive use of manatees has the potential for promoting species conservation and local economic growth.
Forests, trees, and agroforestry (FTA) are ecosystem hotspots. They exemplify the contributions of biodiversity to sustainable and resilient landscapes, green circular economy and to sustainable agriculture and food systems for healthy diets. However, most research on these topics have been performed separately and lack comparison. The International FTA-Kunming Conference 'Forests, trees and agroforestry for diverse sustainable landscapes' 22 nd-24 th June 2021, focused on these contributions, brought together scientists NGOs, and policy makers to further the understanding of tree diversity; provided a communication platform for scientists to share their research results; evaluated the role of tree diversity in agroecology and circular agriculture; assessed benefits of landscape restoration; and explored applied research in mountain ecosystems and food security. The goals were to gather evidence that ground the design of solutions that can contribute to the implementation of the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and towards the UN Food Systems Summit, and the overall implementation of the SDGs. This paper summarizes the outcomes of the international FTA Conference in Kunming 2021 and points out the highlights of research involved in six major themes. Citation: Gitz V, Xu J, Lu Y, Springgay E, Animon I, et al. 2022. Trees as hotspots: Using forests, trees, and agroforestry to foster diverse sustainable landscapes. Circular Agricultural Systems 2:4 https://doi.
The goal of sustainable coffee production requires multiple functions from agroforestry systems. Many are difficult to quantify and data are lacking, hampering the choice of shade tree species and agronomic management. Process-based modelling may help quantify ecosystem services and disservices. We introduce and apply coffee agroforestry model CAF2021 ( The model allows for complex systems with up to three shade tree species. It simulates coffee yield, timber and fruit production by shade trees, soil loss in erosion, C-sequestration, N-fixation, -emission and -leaching. To calibrate the model, we used multivariate data from 32 different treatments applied in two long-term coffee agroforestry experiments in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Without any further calibration, the model was then applied to agroforestry systems on 89 farms in Costa Rica and 79 in Guatemala where yields had been reported previously in farmer interviews. Despite wide variation in environmental and agronomic conditions, the model explained 36% of yield variation in Costa Rica but only 15% in Guatemala. Model analysis quantified trade-offs between yield and other ecosystem services as a function of fertilisation and shading.
Functional diversity and the contribution of functional traits in mangrove ecosystems dynamics in western México remain unknown. In this study, we assessed intraspecific trait variation in three different mangrove zones. We developed and tested the following hypothesis: i. mangrove species vary along trait axes associated with plant size and leaf economics. ii. there is intraspecific trait variation (ITV) in leaf traits related to economic aspects of plant function among mangrove zones. iii. the presence of functional variation in plant traits among mangrove zones is related to physicochemical ground-water gradients. We used 65 permanent plots, distributed across three contrasting mangrove zones to assess morphological functional traits: leaf area, specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry-matter content (LDMC), tree height (H) and wood density; salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature were recorded in each plot. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) examined how mangrove and mangrove-associated species were assembled in the functional trait space; General Linear Models (GLM) to compare mean trait values for each species among mangrove zones and Redundancy Analysis (RDA) to identify the interstitial water variables explaining functional composition. Laguncularia racemosa and Rhizophora mangle were mainly explained by SLA, LDMC and H; both species were associated to a bigger tree height, great leaf dry matter content, and small SLA values. GLM suggested ITV among mangrove zones with spatial patterns related to interstitial water variables. Our findings suggested mangrove species exhibited significant ITV mainly in SLA and H; salinity and pH were relevant to the functional ecology in mangrove ecosystems.
Forests that regrow naturally on abandoned fields are important for restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services, but can they also preserve the distinct regional tree floras? Using the floristic composition of 1215 early successional forests (≤20 years) in 75 human-modified landscapes across the Neotropic realm, we identified 14 distinct floristic groups, with a between-group dissimilarity of 0.97. Floristic groups were associated with location, bioregions, soil pH, temperature seasonality, and water availability. Hence, there is large continental-scale variation in the species composition of early successional forests, which is mainly associated with biogeographic and environmental factors but not with human disturbance indicators. This floristic distinctiveness is partially driven by regionally restricted species belonging to widespread genera. Early secondary forests contribute therefore to restoring and conserving the distinctiveness of bioregions across the Neotropical realm, and forest restoration initiatives should use local species to assure that these distinct floras are maintained.
Entre los científicos que arribaron a Costa Rica en el siglo XIX, el más conocido es el suizo Henri Pittier, debido a sus incontables y ricos aportes, de carácter pionero, en disciplinas como la geografía, la climatología, la cartografía, la botánica, la etnografía y la arqueología. Además, después de partir y permanecer casi 14 años en EE.UU., se instaló en Venezuela, donde también realizó una excepcional labor científica hasta el final de su vida, a los 92 años de edad. Ello explica que, a lo largo de los años, no cesen de aparecer artículos en los que se le cite, así como semblanzas e incluso libros acerca de él, además de que en el año 2020 vio la luz el exquisito y cálido documental La Gyranthera. Traces de Henri Pittier Explorateur, de la cineasta Mürra Zabel. Es de esperar que, en algún momento, se escriba un libro amplio, integrador y comprensivo sobre su vida y su obra completa, en Suiza, Costa Rica, EE.UU. y Venezuela.
Smallholder farms that transition to organic and biodiverse production are increasingly recognized as strongholds of agrobiodiversity, with emerging work identifying important outcomes such as enhancing crop portfolios, mitigating extreme climate events and contributing to farmer well‐being. Yet the emergent herbaceous communities in these organic systems remain understudied, with the functional diversity and management of this stratum relatively unknown. This study identifies the taxonomic and functional diversity of the herbaceous community in organic coffee agroforestry systems, and describes the extent of this diversity with farm, and farmer, attributes. We measured leaf‐level functional traits (e.g. specific leaf area) of the herbaceous community to derive functional diversity indices and collected localized environmental conditions on 15 organic coffee farms in Central Valley, Costa Rica. We also conducted semi‐structured interviews with nine farmers to construct mental models on herbaceous community management using a cognitive mapping approach. In total, 38 species from 20 taxonomic families were present in these organic coffee systems. The herbaceous communities were functionally diverse; however, functional evenness increased with canopy openness, suggesting that farms adopting agroforestry tend to have a more functionally diverse herbaceous stratum. Farmer perception of plant traits in the herbaceous community was differentiated into competitive (weeds) or neutral/positive effects. These perceptions aligned with well‐established functional trait trade‐offs. The mental models representing farmer decision‐making processes were highly variable, with a nearly 30% increase in cognitive map density from the simplest map to the most complex; this complexity in mental models was a key explanatory variable in the level of functional diversity of the herbaceous community. Organic management practices that support agroforestry practices also, in turn, promote a functionally diverse herbaceous stratum. We show that functional trait syndromes in these herbaceous communities in agroforestry systems are linked with farmer perceptions of traits, and that highly interconnected farm decision‐making is related to greater functional diversity in the herbaceous community. Understanding pathways of farmer decision‐making on managing this herbaceous community can appropriately situate on‐farm practice and policy for the transition to organic production, and inform emerging agri‐environmental programs. Las pequeñas fincas familiares que transitan hacia la producción orgánica y biodiversa son cada vez más reconocidas por el resguardo que hacen de la agrobiodiversidad, con notables evidencias de sus aportes en la diversificación productiva, disminuyendo la vulnerabilidad a eventos climáticos extremos y contribuyendo al bienestar de las comunidades rurales. Sin embargo, poco se ha estudiado de la comunidad de especies herbáceas, su diversidad funcional y cómo son manejadas por los productores. El presente trabajo identifica la diversidad taxonómica y funcional de comunidades de especies herbáceas en cafetales bajo sombra, relacionando esta diversidad con características de las fincas y de los productores. Se midieron rasgos funcionales de las hojas (por ejemplo el área foliar específica) para generar índices de diversidad funcional, así como parámetros ambientales en quince cafetales orgánicos en el Valle Central de Costa Rica, donde también se realizaron nueve entrevistas con caficultores para elaborar un modelo conceptual sobre el manejo de comunidades de herbáceas a través de un enfoque de mapeo cognitivo. Se encontraron un total de 38 especies pertenecientes a 20 familias botánicas en estos cafetales. Las comunidades de especies herbáceas fueron funcionalmente diversas, aunque se encontró que la uniformidad de las funciones aumentó a medida que hubo menos cobertura arbórea, lo que significaría que las fincas con mayor complejidad en su estrato arbóreo tienden a tener una mayor diversidad funcional en su estrato herbáceo. Los productores distinguen entre especies herbáceas competitivas (malezas) y aquellas con efectos neutros o positivos. Esto concuerda con disyuntivas ya conocidas sobre rasgos funcionales. Los modelos conceptuales que representan la toma de decisión de los productores fueron muy distintos, aumentando casi un 30%, desde el mas sencillo al más complejo, en la densidad de mapas cognitivos. Este nivel de complejidad en los modelos conceptuales fue una variable clave para explicar el nivel de diversidad funcional de las comunidades de herbáceas. Las practicas de manejo orgánico vinculadas a las prácticas de manejo agroforestal promueven un estrato herbáceo funcionalmente diverso. Se muestra que los síndromes de rasgos funcionales de las herbáceas en sistemas agroforestales se relacionan con la percepción de los productores, así como la toma de decisiones en el manejo agrícola se relaciona con una mayor diversidad funcional de las comunidades de especies herbáceas. El entendimiento del proceso de toma de decisiones de los productores sobre las especies herbáceas puede aportar tanto a las prácticas como a las políticas para la transición hacia fincas orgánicas, brindando información a los programas emergentes agroecológicos. Smallholder farms that transition to organic and biodiverse production are increasingly recognized as strongholds of agrobiodiversity. Yet the emergent herbaceous communities in these organic systems remain understudied, with the functional diversity and management of this stratum relatively unknown. Using coffee agroforestry systems, and taking a social–ecological approach, we show that trait syndromes in herbaceous communities are linked with perceptions of traits by farmers, and that highly interconnected decision‐making is related to greater functional diversity in the herbaceous community. Understanding pathways of farmer decision‐making on managing this herbaceous community can appropriately situate on‐farm practice and policy for the transition to organic production, and inform emerging agri‐environmental programs.
While integrating trees into agricultural systems (i.e., agroforestry systems) provides many valuable ecosystem services, they can also interact with plant diseases. We demonstrate that a detailed understanding of how plant diseases interact with trees in agroforestry systems is necessary to identify key tree canopy characteristics, leaf traits, spatial arrangements, and management options that can help control plant diseases at different spatial scales. We focus our analysis on how trees affect coffee leaf rust, a major disease impacting one of the world’s most significant crop commodities. We show that trees can both promote and discourage the development of coffee leaf rust at the plot scale via microclimate modifications in the understory. Based on our understanding of the role of tree characteristics in shaping the microclimate, we identify several canopy characteristics and leaf traits that can help manage coffee leaf rust at the plot scale: namely, thin canopies with high openness, short base height, horizontal branching, and small, dentate leaves. In contrast, at the edge of coffee farms, having large trees with high canopy volume and small, thick, waxy leaves is more useful to reduce throughflow wind speeds and intercept the airborne dispersal of urediniospores, an important consideration to control disease at the landscape scale. Seasonal pruning can help shape trees into the desired form, and trees can be spatially arranged to optimize desired effects. This case study demonstrates the added value of combining process-based epidemiology studies with functional trait ecology to improve disease management in agroforestry systems.
Coffee berry borer (CBB) (Hypothenemus hampei; Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) is a major insect pest affecting coffee cultivation that causes large economic losses worldwide. Characteristics related to its life cycle makes it very difficult to control. Usually, CBB control measures are carried out at plot scale, with almost no actions taken at wider landscape scales. It is unclear how plot level control strategies and landscape factors act alone or in combination to influence CBB infestation levels. We evaluated the joint effects of crop management at the plot level, of farm features, and of landscape structure at different spatial scales on CBB infestation in 50 Costa Rican coffee farms. On five plants in each farm, we estimated the maximum number of infested berries during the fruiting period. We measured three separate groups of variables related to plot management practices, farm features and landscape structure. To assess their single and joint contributions, their relative importance and the effects of these variables on the number of infested berries we used the variance partitioning approach of the RandomForest algorithm. When evaluating the groups of factors separately, we found that crop management explained 35% of the variability of number of infested berries, farm features 42% and landscape structure 27%. The joint contribution of all three groups of variables explained 48% of variability of the number of infested berries. However, when we assessed the single contributions of each set of variables, i.e., when controlling the other two set of variables, we found that farm features explained 17% of the variance of the number of infested berries, landscape structure 6% and crop management practices only 3%. The larger amount of the variance explained by the joint effect of crop management practices, farm features, and landscape structure suggests that to develop a pest management strategy at a local scale it is important to consider the effect of both local and landscape factors affecting pest abundance. The integrated CBB management plan should consider influences at multiple spatial scales and a coordinated action among farmers that share the same landscape would be beneficial.
Frosty pod rot disease of cacao (FPR), caused by the fungus Moniliophthora roreri, has severely impacted the production of cocoa in Latin America since its discovery. Prior to the 1950s, FPR was known only from Colombia and Ecuador. However, beginning in the 1970s, its geographical range has dramatically expanded throughout most of the chocolate‐producing regions of the Americas. The origin of the pathogen remains unknown. In this study we evaluated the genetic diversity of M. roreri from areas spanning, as much as possible, its current geographical range using simple sequence repeat markers and a publicly available single nucleotide polymorphism dataset. Two hotspots of genetic diversity were found: coastal Ecuador and the inter‐Andean Magdalena Valley of Colombia, neither of which correspond to the Amazonian origin of the host. However, both areas were early centers of intense cultivation of cacao. Our results indicate that M. roreri was introduced into both areas from its center of origin, where intensive cacao cultivation likely led to the increase of inoculum and further dissemination of the disease. Current invasions can be traced to two genotypes responsible for all known instances of the pathogen in Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, and Bolivia. We also report for the first time M. roreri in Maynas (Peruvian Amazon), which is likely the result of a recent introduction from Colombia.
The least‐cost economic theory of photosynthesis shows that water and nitrogen are mutually substitutable resources to achieve a given carbon gain. However, vegetation in the Sahel has to cope with the dual challenge imposed by drought and nutrient‐poor soils. We addressed how variation in leaf nitrogen per area (Narea) modulates leaf oxygen and carbon isotopic composition (δ18O, δ13C), as proxies of stomatal conductance and water use efficiency, across 34 Sahelian woody species. Dryland species exhibited diverging leaf δ18O and δ13C values, indicating large interspecific variation in time‐integrated stomatal conductance and water use efficiency. Structural equation modelling revealed that leaf Narea is a pivotal trait linked to multiple water use traits. Leaf Narea was positively linked to both δ18O and δ13C suggesting higher carboxylation capacity and tighter stomatal regulation of transpiration in N‐rich species, which allows them to achieve higher water use efficiency and more conservative water use. These adaptations represent a key physiological advantage of N‐rich species, like legumes, that could contribute to their dominance across many dryland regions. This is the first report of a robust mechanistic link between leaf Narea and δ18O in dryland vegetation that is consistent with core principles of plant physiology.
While the scientific community documents environmental degradation and develops scenarios to identify the operational margins of system Earth, less attention is given to how decisions are made that steer the system in one direction or the other. We propose to use strategy games for this purpose, increasing the representation of human agency in scenario development and creating spaces for deliberation between different worldviews. Played by the right people, strategy games could help break free from established norms and support more transparent democratic dialogues, responding to the human and social limitations of current decision-making. The question is, who gets to play? Scholars develop scenarios to identify the operational margins of system Earth, but focus less on how decisions are made that affect the system one way or another. Strategy games can help increase the representation of human agency in scenario development, allowing for deliberation among diverse worldviews.
Blue Carbon Ecosystems (BCEs) help mitigate and adapt to climate change but their integration into policy, such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), remains underdeveloped. Most BCE conservation requires community engagement, hence community-scale projects must be nested within the implementation of NDCs without compromising livelihoods or social justice. Thirty-three experts, drawn from academia, project development and policy, each developed ten key questions for consideration on how to achieve this. These questions were distilled into ten themes, ranked in order of importance, giving three broad categories of people , policy & finance , and science & technology . Critical considerations for success include the need for genuine participation by communities, inclusive project governance, integration of local work into national policies and practices, sustaining livelihoods and income (for example through the voluntary carbon market and/or national Payment for Ecosystem Services and other types of financial compensation schemes) and simplification of carbon accounting and verification methodologies to lower barriers to entry.
Degradation, fragmentation, and loss of tropical forests has exponentially increased in the last decades leading to unprecedented rates of species extinctions and loss of ecosystems functions and services. Forest restoration is key to recover ecosystems health and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, restoring forests at the landscape scale presents many challenges, since it requires balancing conservation goals and economic development. In this study, we used a spatial planning tool (Marxan) to identify priority areas for restoration satisfying multiple objectives across a biological corridor in Costa Rica. Biological corridors are critical conservation instruments promoting forest connectivity while acknowledging human presence. Increasing forest connectivity requires restoration initiatives that will likely conflict with other land uses, some of them of high national economic importance. Our restoration plan sought to maximize the provision of forest-related services (i.e., seed dispersal, tourism and carbon storage) while minimizing the impact on current land uses and thus avoiding potential conflicts. We quantified seed dispersal and tourism services (birdwatching potential) using species distribution models. We used the carbon sequestration model of InVEST to quantify carbon storage potential. We tested different restoration scenarios that differed in whether land opportunity costs of current uses were considered or not when identifying potential restoration areas, or how these costs were estimated. We showed how a landscape-scale forest restoration plan accounting for only forest connectivity and ecosystem service provision capacity can greatly differ from a plan that considers the potential impacts on local livelihoods. Spatial planning tools can assist at designing cost-effective landscape-scale forest restoration plans, identifying priority areas where forest restoration can maximize ecosystem provision and increase forest connectivity. Special care must be paid to the use of adequate estimates of opportunity cost, to avoid potential conflicts between restoration goals and other legitimate land uses.
We have read with interest an opinion paper recently published in the European Journal of Soil Science (Berthelin et al., 2022). This paper presents some interesting considerations, at least one of which is already well known to soil scientists working on soil organic carbon (SOC), i.e. a large portion (80-90%) of fresh carbon inputs to soil is subject to rapid mineralization. The short-term mineralization kinetics of organic inputs are well-known and accounted for in soil organic matter models. Thus, clearly, the long-term predictions based on these models do not overlook short-term mineralization. We point out that many agronomic practices can significantly contribute to SOC sequestration. If conducted responsibly whilst fully recognizing the caveats, SOC sequestration can lead to a win-win situation where agriculture can both contribute to the mitigation of climate change and adapt to it, whilst at the same time delivering other co-benefits such as reduced soil erosion and enhanced biodiversity.
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370 members
Laura Benegas
  • Research and Development Division
Eduardo Jose Somarriba
  • Program in Agroforestry and Sustainable Agriculture
Olivier Deheuvels
  • Research and Development Division
Fernando Casanoves
  • División de Investigación para el Desarrollo Verde e Inclusivo
Ronnie V. de Camino
  • Productiin and Conservation in Forests
CATIE, 7170, 30501, Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
Head of institution
Muhammad Ibrahim
+506 2558 2000