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Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes

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For the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, it will no longer be sufficient to seek to limit biodiversity loss through agriculture. Instead, agriculture must become an integral element of sustainable landscapes a force for conserving biodiversity and providing vital ecosystem services to local populations and securing livelihoods. Trees on farms (TonF) play a critical role in contributing to biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes through in-situ conservation, by connecting fragmented wild habitats and providing stepping-stones between protected area networks and conserving soil biodiversity and agrobiodiversity. TonF are one of the key nature-based solutions to the conservation and food production challenges we face as they also play a critical role in achieving the Aichi Target 7. However, they are invisible in most National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).
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Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Summary & key messages
For the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, it will no
longer be sufcient to seek to limit biodiversity loss through
agriculture. Instead, agriculture must become an integral
element of sustainable landscapes a force for conserving
biodiversity and providing vital ecosystem services to local
populations and securing livelihoods.
Trees on farms (TonF) play a critical role in contributing to
biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes through
in-situ conservation, by connecting fragmented wild habitats
and providing stepping-stones between protected area
networks and conserving soil biodiversity and agrobiodiversity.
TonF are one of the key nature-based solutions to the
conservation and food production challenges we face as
they also play a critical role in achieving the Aichi Target 7.
However, they are invisible in most National Biodiversity
Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). As NBSAPs will be
a key instrument for the implementation of the Post-2020
biodiversity framework, we propose to the following actions
be taken to incorporate TonF under agricultural biodiversity
strategies in NBSAPs:
1. Recognise the benets that TonF generate for biodiversity
and expand the scope of strategies and actions
related to the agricultural sector to include the range
of opportunities they offer in the conversation in the
post-2020 global biodiversity framework. For instance,
orchards, woodlots, hedges, silvopastoral systems need
to be promoted to enhance biodiversity outcomes.
Policy Brief
No. 47, 2020
Trees on Farms as a Nature-based Solution for Biodiversity
Conservation in Agricultural Landscapes: Policy Considerations
and Proposed Indicators Focused on Trees on Farms for an
Enhanced New Aichi Biodiversity Target 7Ke
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conserbvation in agricultural landscapes
2. NBSAPs are the main instruments to implement the post-
2020 global biodiversity framework. To strengthen and
accelerate their implementation to achieve, among other
outcomes, a transformational change of the agricultural
sector through the trees on farms, a proposed rst step
is that countries assess the readiness of their NBSAPs to
deliver agricultural biodiversity targets in the Post-2020
framework.
3. This assessment can be carried out in three-step
approach: i) identify and analyse activities selected
for the implementation of biodiversity targets for
agricultural biodiversity and trees on farms, ii) assess
how well the NBSAPs address key components of
the policy implementation process i.e., best practice
options, monitoring, incentives, platforms, and
knowledge management, and iii) evaluate the scope and
specicity of the activities and their potential to guide
implementation.
4. We carried out NBSAP assessments using this approach
in the Honduras, Indonesia, Peru, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The analysis shows that only 13% of the activities are
related to implementation and impacts on the ground.
This shows a gap in the level of ambition that countries
have set out regarding agriculture-related targets but also
represents an opportunity to ensure that all the different
types of enabling activities are carried out in a way that
maximises results on the ground.
5. Several of the current set of indicators to report progress
on Aichi Target 7, adopted by Decision XIII/28, such as
the area of land under organic farming and conservation
agriculture, are proxies to biodiversity references.
However, without any quantication, it is challenging to
measure the actual biodiversity gains. Further, the IPBES
global assessment report (2019) showed poor progress in
implementing Aichi target 7 and strongly called for more
specic and measurable indicators.
6. This brief proposes a set of indicators based on three
dimensions of biodiversity conservation that trees on
farms contribute to: in situ conservation, landscape
connectivity and ecosystem services to help track
progress, support national monitoring and reporting, and
inform outcome-based policy-making for mainstreaming
the contribution of trees on farms in biodiversity
conservation. The table below summarises indicators
proposed for the three dimensions of trees on farms.
Table 1. Proposed set of indicators to measure trees on farms’ contribution to biodiversity
Based on the information presented above, we urge Parties
to integrate trees on farms in future NBSAPs as a priority
strategy and action item to improve agriculture biodiversity.
Parties can adopt indicators as applicable across all countries
or recommend that they be to determined at the national
level in the Post-2020 biodiversity framework.This will help
measuring progress consistently and comprenhensively
towards the new target on agriculture.
Proposed set of indicators to measure trees on farms’ contribution to biodiversity
Generic indicator Specic indicators
In-situ conservation
(of forest and farm adapted species)
1. Cumulative basal area vs diameter
2. Rareed species richness of trees (total and native)
3. Species of conservation concern (both farmland and forest species)
Landscape connectivity
4. Tree cover (total and native)
5. Intactness index (trees and birds)
6. Trend in habitat connectivity (Frag Stat metrics)
Ecosystem services
7. Above Ground Biomass (Total and Native)
8. Use diversity of trees, species per use (also contributes to AT13)
9. Insect abundance/biomass (Pollinators and natural enemies)
10. Soil health (Biomass and diversity)
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Rationale of this brief
Biodiversity in agricultural systems is the variety of life at
the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels (FAO, 2019)¹.
Maintaining optimal biodiversity levels in agricultural lands
ensures sustainable sources of food, livelihoods, and species
existence. The Lancet EAT Commission report (2019)² points
to the devastating effects of agriculture on biodiversity to
the extent that the capacity of biodiversity to support food
production, gene ow, and other ecosystem services has
been severely affected. It also calls for a shift to biodiversity
enhancing agriculture. Unsustainable agricultural production
affects biodiversity along three dimensions: (a) land cover
change whereby agriculture replaces natural ecosystems
such as forests (agricultural expansion); (b) diminishing
ecosystem services, including water, soil and climate; and,
(c) intensication where monoculture replace mixed cropping
systems. Yet, with over 35% of the world’s area under
agricultural management, it also provides great potential to
restore biodiversity, specically, through activities that help
the survival of wildlife critical for farming ecosystems. It
also promotes the conservation and sustainable use of soil
biodiversity; the latter being an urgent action to be undertaken
by 2020 to accelerate action on Aichi Target 7.
However, the IPBES global assessment report (2019)³ points
to poor advances in implementing the CBD’s Aichi target
7 on sustainable agriculture and calls for a transformation
of agriculture to contribute to biodiversity on the farm and
beyond. The IPBES report also says that biodiversity is
incorporated insufciently in sustainable land-use strategies
and into national accounting (failing on Aichi target 2) and
efforts on fading out related harmful subsidies (Aichi targets 3)
have been paltry (IPBES, 2019).
It is clear that in the post-2020 framework, “sustainable agri-
cultural practices” have to be dened as that which (amongst
other things) protects biodiversity. While the direct link is com-
plex, the principle is clear: agricultural land must be managed
in a way that will conserve biodiversity.
A key practice that enhances biodiversity aspects in
agricultural lands is the integration of trees on farms. Trees
on farms play a critical role in contributing to biodiversity
conservation in agricultural landscapes through in-situ
conservation, by connecting fragmented wild habitats and
providing stepping stones between protected area networks
and conserve soil biodiversity and agrobiodiversity. Trees
on farms are the perfect negotiation tool to bridge the
conservation and food production agenda. Although trees on
farms play a critical role in achieving Aichi Target 7they are
invisible in most National Biodiversity Strategies and Action
Plans (NBSAPs).
This information note urges policymakers to mainstream trees
on farms as a key strategy for biodiversity conservation in
the agricultural landscape using a two-pronged approach.
First, the entry points for supportive policies to be integrated
in NBSAPs, using the examples of Honduras, Peru, Rwanda,
Uganda, and Indonesia. Second, it recommends integrating
trees on farms in the new target for agriculture, as well as
specic indicators that can help to measure progress on the
biodiversity outcomes generated by trees on farms.
What are trees on farms for biodiversity?
Trees on farms describe any integration of trees with crops
or with livestock on the same piece of land. In landscapes
dominated by seasonal crops, they can be individual trees,
such as fruit trees or shade trees on a pasture, patches
such as woodlots and orchards or hedges. They can also
be closely integrated with crops in agroforestry systems
that aim at optimising synergy effects between trees, crops,
and livestock, through nutrient cycling and micro-climate
regulation. In forest landscapes, trees on farms will often be
natural regenerated forest species that are found in fallows
and traditional agroforestry gardens characterised by the
diversity of plants in the proximity of houses and serving
multiple purposes (see Figure 1). Trees on private land make
up a signicant percentage of forest cover: globally 45% of
farms worldwide already have more than 10% tree cover.⁴
Farmers have trees on their farmland because they are useful
and protable: they provide timber and fuelwood, improve soil
fertility and control water runoff, improve nutrition with fruit,
nuts, and leaves, provide fodder for livestock, and provide
habitat for animals and pollinators.
In sub-Saharan Africa, trees account for 17% of the total
gross annual income of those households.⁵ Trees contribute
more than 75% of carbon sequestration in agricultural land,
sequestering approximately 0.73 gig tonnes of carbon
dioxide per year over the past decade (Zomer et al., 2016).⁶
Importantly, trees on farms contribute to general biodiversity
– ranging from the insects that provide food for birds and
pollination services to biological pest control and signicantly
increased the diversity of soil organisms. Trees on farms also
increase biological connectivity in the landscape, ensuring
the integrity of protected area networks. Increasing the cover
and diversity of trees on farms can go a long way in meeting
global targets for conserving and managing biodiversity.
At the national level, the denition of trees on farms varies
per legal denition, local descriptions and differentiated
meanings in the local languages. For instance, Table 2 list
the different interpretations of trees on farms in the Honduras,
Peru, Rwanda, Uganda, and Indonesia, which might have
contributed to how comprehensive (or not) policies to promote
TonF in agricultural landscapes are. Countries should
consider the full range of practices that dene trees on farms
so that policies designed to promote improved biodiversity
outcomes in these landscapes are broader and include
measures to incentivise a wide variety of activities.
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conserbvation in agricultural landscapes
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Figure 1. Proposed set of indicators to measure trees on farms’ contribution to biodiversity
Legal denition of Trees on Farms Local description Local language
Uganda
No legal denition, but they follow
Worldagroforestry denition (1993): in-
tegrating woody perennials in agricultural
systems
Growing trees within agricul-
tural systems
Kubyala bishalhe mubirime
Indonesia
“resource management that combines the
forests or timber trees and the planting
of short term agricultural crops” (forestry
regulation No. P.8/Menhut-II/2013)
Forest village development,
forest people plantation,
tree grower community
kebun campuran, wanatani,
tembawang (west Kalim-
antan); TonF: menanam
pohon di lahan pertanian (or
masyarakat)
Honduras
“Agroforestry projects aimed at the pro-
tection and proper management of natural
resources and the environment shall be
encouraged” (forestry law, decree 982007,
art. para 5)
“small plots in forest areas with a combina-
tion of trees […] and annual or permanent
agricultural crops (Agreement 010-2015,
PESA)
Agroforestry systems, shad-
ed coffee, cocoa plantation,
silvopastoral systems, live
fences
Agroforestería, sistemas
agroforestales, TonF arboles
en ncas“
Peru
“practices of integration, preservation and
management of perennial woody species
in annual or perennial agricultural pro-
duction systems” (forestry Law L-29763)
(same for silvopastoral systems)
… barbechos, purmas,
unmanaged land, family
agriculture, …
Agroforestería, sistema
agroforestal, silvopastoral,
arboles en chacras
Rwanda
“a land use system that integrates trees on
farms”
“Ibiti bivangwa n’imyaka”
meaning “Trees with crops”
Ibiti biteye mu mirima
Table 2. Denition of Trees on Farms across tropical landscapes
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Improving policy frameworks for achieving agriculture sustainability through trees on farms
As mentioned earlier, the IPBES global assessment report
(2019) points to poor advances in the implementation of Aichi
Targets 2, 3, and 7. Moreover, even though CBD parties are
required to mainstream biodiversity into sectoral policies
(CBD article 6b), the second generation of NBSAPs have
not managed to integrate biodiversity conservation and
sustainable use into regulatory frameworks (Pisupati & Prib,
2018).⁸
In the context of the Post-2020 biodiversity framework
discussions (CBD/POST2020/PREP/1/INF/2), parties and
non-parties have acknowledged that NBSAPs are the main
instruments to implement the post-2020 global biodiversity
framework; hence, they need to be strengthened, and the
pace accelerated.
To strengthen NBSAPs to guide a transformational change
of the agricultural sector, particularly of the trees on farms,
a systematic review of these targets for the countries listed
above is presented next. This review assesses their readiness
and identies opportunities for essential updates to align them
with the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
The recommendations presented can be applied to any
country with a vision of improving their future NBSAPS with
more ambitious and achievable targets on agriculture.
Readiness of NBSAPs to mainstream sustainable agriculture through trees on farms
To assess the readiness of the NBSAPs to achieve the new
Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2, 3, and 7 via TonF in the Post-
2020 Biodiversity framework, the following 3-step approach
is proposed:
Step 1
Identify the activities selected
for the implementation
of biodiversity targets for
agricultural biodiversity and
trees on farms.
Assess how well the NBSAPs
address the different dimensions
of the policy support system for
these activities. For simplicity,
we distinguish the following ve
dimensions a) best practice
options; b) monitoring, c)
incentives, d) platforms, e)
knowledge management (see
below).
Evaluate the scope and
specicity of these activities
corresponding to their potential
to guide implementation .
Step 2
Step 3
Step 1
Using the example of NBSAPs from the ve countries above,
we assess to what extent the NBSAPs address the different
dimensions of the policy support system related to TonF by
asking the following ve questions:
1. Best practice options: Do NBSAPs provide guidance
on the development and assessment of suitable practices
tting local economic, social, and ecological contexts to
support trees on farms?
2. Monitoring: Do NBSAPs dene (or at least strive for)
indicators capable of assessing biodiversity impacts in
agricultural landscapes to be able to monitor the progress
of trees on farms’ implementation?
3. Incentives: Do NBSAPs identify political frameworks
and nance options that support sustainable agricultural
practices, including trees on farms?
4. Platforms: Do NBSAPs refer to platforms and coalitions
of political actors to mainstream trees on farms into
existing policy frameworks and programs?
5. Knowledge management: Do NBSAPs refer to the need
for producing and disemminating available knowledge
and resources on options for biodiversity-friendly
agricultural practices to inform farmers and supporting
agencies?
Figure 2. Three step approach to assess readiness.
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Step 2
The NBSAPs readiness assessment for Honduras, Peru,
Uganda, Rwanda, Indonesia reveals that all ve countries
do address the ve dimensions of the policy support system
for sustainable agriculture, thus can be supportive of
mainstreaming trees on farms. However, the activities remain
general and do not clearly articulate country-specic realities
and actionable items. Specically, a clear denition of what
sustainable agriculture means in the national biodiversity
context is missing. Further, the assessment shows that:
Countries highlight the need for sustainable production
practices and ask for nancial incentives to compensate
their farmers; however, they do not dene specic
elements and guidelines for trees on farms.
The development of a monitoring tool for farm biodiversity
is only approached vaguely, reecting the lack of a
suitable monitoring scheme that is both reliable and
practical. This can be attributed to limited institutional and
nancial capacities.
All NBSAPs underscore the need for intersectoral
coordination and structural action to facilitate
implementation, however, they do not point to specic
collaborative processes or platforms.
Honduras Peru Uganda Rwanda Indonesia
Best practice
(for integrating
TonF into agri-
culture)
Develop best
practice guidelines
(T9, A2)
Validated method-
ology for sustain-
able, productive
activities (A55)
Support tree plant-
ing and reforesta-
tion, promote agro-
forestry (A3.2.4,
3.6.1)
Promote integrated
management of water-
sheds, implementation
of plans for sustainable
agriculture (T6)
Environmentally
friendly agricul-
tural products
(A8), sustainable
management of
lands for agricul-
ture and planta-
tions (A16)
Monitoring
Improve inters-sec-
toral monitoring
capacities (T4-A4)
Diagnostic study
of agrobiodiver-
sity conservation
system (A28)
Improve taxonomic
infrastructure and
tools (A2.2)
Assessment of biodiver-
sity status and ecosys-
tem services (A-T18)
Improvement of
biodiversity data
(A3)
Incentives
Value and compen-
sate for the provi-
sion of ecosystem
services (T7-A3)
No information
available
Develop a nance
plan (7.1.3), seek
funding from
diverse sources
(7.2.1); Put in place
an enabling policy
or legislative frame-
work (A7.3.1)
Inventory of potential
funds, develop innova-
tive nancing mecha-
nisms (A-T19)
Development of
laws. Regulation
and organisation
to encourage
funding (A10)
Platforms
Reactivate biodi-
versity commis-
sion CONABIOH
(T2-A3) strengthen
intersectoral coordi-
nation (T2-A3)
Implement tech-
nical roundtable
for the implemen-
tation of forestry
incentives (A32)
Strengthen the
capacity of the
biodiversity coordi-
nation mechanism
(A1.1.1)
Integrate biodiversity
and ecosystem service
valuation into economic
planning (A-T2)
Setting up
organisation of
implementation
(A2)
Knowledge
management
Link information
platforms to poten-
tial users (T7-A1)
Improve biodiver-
sity information
management (A
80)
Enhance national
capacity in informa-
tion management
(A 2.1.6)
Strengthen communica-
tion and outreach tools
(T1)
Improvement of
biodiversity re-
search dissemi-
nation (A6)
Table 3. Assessing the readiness of NBSAPs to support mainstreaming of trees on farms as a key strategy to achieve AT 2, 3,
and 7; using the example of Peru (2014), Honduras (2018), Uganda (2015) Indonesia (2015) and Rwanda (2016).
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Likewise, the accessibility and the dissemination of
biodiversity information appear in all strategies. The
low level of specicity and missing direct linkage
to agricultural policy result in poor guidance for
implementation.
All countries envision a change of regulatory and
incentive systems favouring more sustainable forms
of agriculture. They do not, however, give a complete
picture of how this sustainable agriculture should differ
from current trajectories, nor do they explain how this
transformative change should be accomplished. Instead,
specic pilot projects and examples are highlighted.
Honduras Peru Uganda Rwanda Indonesia Average across
all countries
Number of activities
in total 57 93 184 62 73
a) Studies and
organising
information
23% 13% 43% 40% 20% 28%
b) Planning process-
es and cooperation 33% 19% 11% 10% 16% 18%
c) Promotion, aware-
ness raising and
education
7% 4% 13% 12% 24% 13%
d) Institutional
development,
capacity building
30% 17% 14% 13% 30% 28%
e) implementation
and impact 7% 4% 19% 18% 9% 13%
Table 4. Shows the distribution of NBSAP activities per country into ve categories.
Step 3
In order to assess the NBSAPs’ potential to guide
implementation, we conducted a qualitative content analysis
on all NBSAP activities, resulting in ve categories:
a) Studies and organising information;
b) Planning processes and cooperation;
c) Promotion, awareness raising and education;
d) Institutional development, capacity building, and
e) Implementation and impact
The distribution of the activities across these ve groups is
summarized in Table 4.
Although all countries have activities in place that address all
the ve categories, it is noticeable that the activities related
to implementation and impacts make up less than 20%
of all activities described. These activities either call for
stronger implementation and enforcement, e.g., “Strengthen
the compliance with EIA for all hydrocarbon explorations and
extractive industry” (Uganda); or they broadly envision an
outcome, such as “Expansion of sustainable management
of land for agriculture, plantations and animal husbandry”
(Indonesia) or “we will have implemented interventions for
the recuperation of ecosystems” (Peru). In all three cases,
there is no clear indication of how this will be accomplished.
It shows a gap in the level of ambition that countries have set
out regarding agriculture-related targets but also represents
an opportunity to ensure that different types of activities are
carried out in a way that maximises the results on the ground.
About a third of the activities in national NBSAPs (28%) are
targeted at studies and organising information, including
research, collecting, and providing information. Activities,
such as “analyse the state of wildlife species” (Honduras), or
“assess resource requirements based on actual needs and
action plan for NBSAP implementation” (Rwanda) show that
countries perceive the need for a better information baseline
before being able to initiate targeted regulation.
The need for institutional development and capacity
building is also a priority for all countries, with also one-
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
third of activities (28%). These activities include the design
of new policies and instruments to govern biodiversity.
Activities related to trees on farms are for instance “Support
afforestation, tree planting and reforestation activities
at all levels” (Uganda), “Elaborate incentive policy to
encourage reuse of agronomic resources and development
of an alternative technology” (Rwanda), “strengthen the
implementation of laws” (Honduras” or “in the middle of 2020
there will be a validated methodology for the conservation of
biodiversity in destinated areas and sustainable production
areas in the Amazonia, zonas Andinas and/or the coast”
(Peru). As in the awareness raising dimension, those activities
highlight the intention of political action without referring to
specic instruments.
Planning processes and cooperation to mobilise and
organise stakeholders in biodiversity governance systems
are regarded as less critical, with only 18% of the activities.
Examples are “Regional governments will have updated or
developed a biodiversity strategy” (Peru), “develop, update
and implement integrated conservation plans” (Rwanda),
“strengthen intersectoral coordination” (Honduras), or
“develop a cooperation model between government and the
community, especially the private sector, to increase people’s
welfare” (Indonesia). Activities in these two rst categories
sum up to almost half of the activities in the national NBSAP
and reect that countries call for more (and potentially more
targeted) planning and coordination processes instead of
dening and guiding measures for implementation.
Activities that support promotion, awareness raising and
education only make up 13% across the ve countries.
Countries call for “Improving people’s awareness about
poverty reduction at the village level and development
of biodiversity potential in left-behind areas” (Indonesia),
“promote the respect for traditional knowledge” (Honduras), or
“strengthen the dissemination and distribution of information
on biodiversity” (Peru). These examples illustrate the general
intention of awareness raising without pointing to specic
capacity building or information on, e.g. trees on farms,
nor how they shall be distributed to potential users of this
information.
By supporting a stronger connection between the dimensions
of activities and by indicating clear responsibilities and
institutional settings for implementation, NBSAPs have the
potential to provide much stronger guidance for policies to
support trees on farms. A more robus vision for sustainable
agriculture can improve the guidance for trees on farms and
related support systems and also increase the accountability
of relevant actors to implement them.
The ve analysed NBSAPs show the interest of the countries
in improving guidance on sustainable agriculture, monitoring,
cooperative arrangements, and knowledge provision. Building
on this achievement, the third generation of NBSAPs needs
to go beyond acknowledging this need and should specify
and operationalise mechanisms, indicators, and processes to
advance these objectives. Without clear guidance, NBSAPs
run the risks of further delaying action for biodiversity in
agricultural landscapes. Initiatives working on TonF can
provide practical, effective, and efcient solutions for this
purpose, e.g. by providing best practice options for production
or support schemes, by providing efcient and effective
monitoring methodologies and providing related information.
Indicators to improve measurement of
biodiversity outcomes from increased trees on
farms in agricultural lands
As pointed out above, the IPBES global assessment report
(2019) reports slim progress in implementing Aichi Target
7. Our analysis of the ve countries’ NBSAPs and National
Reports corroborates minimal progress towards achieving
AT7 and an uneven reporting on progress with not signicant
results. If the post-2020 agenda is to set the world on a path
to achieving the CBD 2050 vision, it must produce a shift from
preparation to action with credible monitoring of trends and
changes.
The post-2020 biodiversity agenda should recognise the
inherent threats to the biodiversity of today’s predominant
agricultural practices and set targets for the incorporation
of trees into farming systems for multiple benets, including
the conservation of biodiversity. However, for this proposal
to be credible as a global recommendation, it will be
necessary to assess the changes in biodiversity through a
robust monitoring system. It will require the development
of indices of biodiversity on agricultural land. Currently, a
signicant challenge for monitoring the impacts of agriculture
on biodiversity and the benets of trees on farms and other
eco agricultural approaches is the incomplete framework for
dening targets and monitoring change.
There are two relevant Aichi targets, neither of which fully
meet these needs.:Aichi Target 13 refers to the diversity
of species, varieties, and cultivars of crops and their wild
relatives and is “By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated
plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild
relatives, including other socio-economically as well as
culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies
have been developed and implemented for minimising
genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity”.
Incorporating trees into farming systems for food, fodder, ber,
timber, and energy certainly increases the diversity of species
on farms and might increase other associated biodiversity. A
signicant challenge remains the conservation of the general
biodiversity on farms in the form of related plants, mammals,
birds, arthropods and a wide variety of sub-surface ora and
fauna.
As discussed above, Aichi Target 7 deals with agricultural
biodiversity in the sense of all species associated with farming
and is “By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and
forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring the conservation
of biodiversity”. This target is binary, confounding
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
sustainability and biodiversity and assumes that sustainability
and biodiversity conservation are inherently linked.
Unfortunately, a review of the many denitions of sustainable
agriculture reveals little concerning the links between
sustainability and biodiversity. The CBD’s ofcial guidance is
that “managed sustainably” is achieved when the use of the
components of biodiversity occurs in such a way and at a rate
that does not lead to their long-term decline. This captures the
biodiversity element of sustainability, but not the other aspects
of sustainable agriculture. Overall, the case for maintaining
or increasing biodiversity for sustainability is not clearly
made. The post-2020 agenda should, therefore, separate
general statements on sustainability and focus on sustainable
practices that demonstrably conserve or increase biodiversity
and should be associated with robust monitoring protocols
and indicators that measure the success of the practices in
protecting biodiversity.
This next section recommends a set of indicators to
monitors and recognises the contribution of trees on farms in
conserving biodiversity in the post-2020 agenda, particularly
the progress on Aichi Target 7.
Proposed indicators for measuring trees on
farms’ contribution to biodiversity
The current indicators for Aichi Target 7 adopted in COP14
(Decision XIII/28), for measuring biodiversity components
in sustainable agriculture (and forestry and aquaculture)
systems are:
Table 5. Aichi Target 7 indicators for the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets
Generic indicator Specic indicator Source
Trends in proportion of area of
agriculture under sustainable
practices
Areas of agricultural land under organic production
Areas of agricultural land under conservation agricul-
ture
Proportion of agricultural area under productive and
sustainable agriculture (indicator for SDG target 2.4)
International Foundation
for Organic Agriculture
FAO
FAO
Trends in extinction risk and popula-
tions of agro-ecosystem associated
species
Wild Bird Index for farmland birds / Living Planet Index
(farmland specialists)
BirdLife International /
EBCCC/ WWF/ZSL
Trends in proportion of production
of aquaculture under sustainable
practices
No specic indicators identied
Trends in proportion of area of
forest production under sustainable
practices
Area of forest under sustainable management certi-
cation
Progress towards sustainable forest management
(indicator for SDG target 15.2)
Wild Bird Index for specialist forest birds / Living Plan-
et Index (forest specialists)
FSC/PEFC
FAO
BirdLife International /
EBCCC/ WWF/ZSL
Trends in extinction risk and
populations of forest-specialist
species in production forest
No specic indicators identied
Specic indicators of organic farming and conservation
agriculture aim to be proxies to biodiversity references but
without any quantication, it is challenging to measure the
actual biodiversity gains from these practices. The only
quantied direct indicator of biodiversity under Aichi Target 7
is the wild bird index which indicates a drastic negative trend.
While this is undoubtedly valuable under circumstances where
bird species have adapted to become inherently associated
with agriculture, many other aspects of biodiversity are
missed. The issues related to the lack of proper measurability
of the expected biodiversity outcomes from the agriculture
sector will transcend if an appropriate review of the indicators
is not carried out as part of the process of the Post-2020
Biodiversity Framework.
World Agroforestry, IUCN, CIFOR and University of Göttingen
are working to demonstrate the links between the prevalence
of trees in agricultural landscapes and biodiversity in the form
of the trees themselves and a range of indicator species. A
comprehensive sampling protocol has been developed to
permit comparative measurement of agricultural landscape
attributes. The knowledge gained is expected to identify key
elements of biodiversity sampling that should be incorporated
into routine sampling for monitoring progress in implementing
the post-2020 agenda.
The proposal is to use the three dimensions of biodiversity
that trees on farms contribute to: in situ conservation,
landscape connectivity and ecosystem services. In-situ
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
1. Large trees harbour more biodiversity than an equivalent
measure of small trees. Large trees also tend to provide
enhanced ecosystem services, such as shade. A plot of
basal area proportion by diameter class can be used to
determine the relative contribution of large trees.
2. In forests, tree species diversity is strongly correlated with
the number of arthropod species at both plot and land-
scape scales and is related to habitat provision for birds
and mammals. In addition, studies have demonstrated
a correlation between tree species diversity and the
diversity of benecial soil organisms. These relationships
are also likely to hold for TonF, although until now this has
rarely been tested.
3. Species of conservation concern may be divided into
forest species and farmland (or open habitat) species.
Based on multi-species occupancy modelling, habitat
suitability for each species can be mapped. The current
research is focusing on bird species. Bird species of
conservation concern are dened by the IUCN Red Lists
and include all species in the categories near-threatened,
vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered.
4. Tree cover and landscape conguration (native species
of conservation concern) is an indicator of the suitability
of the landscape for the maintenance of forest-dependent
species.
5. The Intactness Index measures the degree to which com-
munity composition represents some desired reference.
Hence, the Intactness Index of TonF will be measured
against forest tree composition from the same site. This
will provide information on the degree to which TonF,
including forest fragments, provide habitat for forest-de-
pendent species. Tree Intactness Index is calculated on a
per ha basis.
6. In suitable ecosystems, trees in farms can contribute
to connectivity between fragmented areas of habitat for
forest-dependent species. Habitat suitability for forest-de-
pendent species is being estimated using Multi-species
Occupancy models.
7. Above-ground biomass (AGB) is highly dependent on the
number and size of trees. In addition to being an indicator
of habitat availability for biodiversity, it is also critical to
national reporting on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission re-
ductions and climate change mitigation. In many regions,
AGB has not been well characterised in agricultural land,
as estimates are often based on forest cover with scant
regard for trees on farms. Even where trees on farms
have been assessed, the remote sensing products used
are usually not well suited to measuring it. Hence, tools
specically designed to assess AGB on agricultural land
will are being developed and tested.
8. The diversity of tree uses, and tree species peruse are
measures of the socio-economic importance of trees
for livelihoods. The variety of tree uses assesses the
contribution of trees to different livelihood activities, such
as supplying energy, food, and nutrition, and construction
materials.
9. Arthropods (insects, spiders, mites) form will be present
in huge numbers and form a signicant part of tree-based
biodiversity. Total arthropod samples are sorted to identify
the functional groups that are most important for crops:
natural enemies and pollinators.
10. Below-ground soil biota is an essential indicator of soil
health. Measurement can be difcult and expensive, so
it is proposed to use high-throughput next-generation
genetical sequencing approaches, which achieve greater
taxonomic breadth and because so many soil organisms
belong to poorly known taxa.
Generic indicator Specic indicators
In-situ conservation
(of forest and farm adapted species)
1. Cumulative basal area vs diameter
2. Rareed species richness of trees (total and native)
3. Species of conservation concern (both farmland and forest species)
Landscape connectivity
4. Tree cover (total and native)
5. Intactness index (trees and birds)
6. Trend in habitat connectivity (Frag Stat metrics)
Ecosystem services
7. Above Ground Biomass (Total and Native)
8. Use diversity of trees, species per use (also contributes to AT13)
9. Insect abundance/biomass (Pollinators and natural enemies)
10. Soil health (Biomass and diversity)
Table 1. (repeated from page two) Proposed set of indicators to measure trees on farms’ contribution to biodiversity
conservation refers to the capacity of an agricultural area
to conserve forest and grassland species as well as farm-
adapted species. The table summarises indicators proposed
for the three dimensions of the contribution of trees on farms,
and the descript below the table explains the rationale for the
selected indicators.
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
What is the protocol proposing?
Existing Aichi Target 7 indicators treat forest and
agriculture as independent land-use systems; to assess
the contribution of an agricultural area to biodiversity
across the landscape integrated indicators are needed.
Trends in genetic diversity of socio-economically and
culturally valuable species can be measured through
trees on farms.
The assumption is that the relationship between trees on
farms and the various biodiversity components is strong.
The assumption is that remote sensing can model tree
composition and therefore remote sensing can be used to
estimate the various biodiversity components.
There will always be situations where an indicator will not
be applicable; indicators need to be used as relevant.
Based on the information presented above, we urge
Parties to integrate trees on farms in future NBSAPs as
a priority strategy and action item to improve agriculture
biodiversity. Whether parties decide to adopt indicators
to be applicable across all countries or they are rather
determined at the national level in the Post-2020
biodiversity framework, we encourage parties to examine
and use the proposed indicators to track impacts of trees
on farms for agricultural biodiversity. This will help with
measuring progress consistently and comprenhensively
towards the new target on agriculture.
¹ FAO. 2019. The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture, J. Bélanger & D. Pilling (eds.). FAO Commission on
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Assessments. Rome. 572 pp. (http://www.fao.org/3/CA3129EN/CA3129EN.pdf)
² Willet, W. et al. 2019. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. THE
LANCET COMMISSIONS. VOLUME 393, ISSUE 10170, P447-492. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31788-4
³ IPBES. 2019. Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. S. Díaz, J. Settele, E. S. Brondizio E.S., H. T.
Ngo, M. Guèze, J. Agard, A. Arneth, P. Balvanera, K. A. Brauman, S. H. M. Butchart, K. M. A. Chan, L. A. Garibaldi, K. Ichii, J. Liu,
S. M. Subramanian, G. F. Midgley, P. Miloslavich, Z. Molnár, D. Obura, A. Pfaff, S. Polasky, A. Purvis, J. Razzaque, B. Reyers, R. Roy
Chowdhury, Y. J. Shin, I. J. Visseren-Hamakers, K. J. Willis, and C. N. Zayas (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany.
⁴ Zomer, R., Neufeldt, H., Xu, J. et al. Global Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon on Agricultural Land: The contribution of agroforestry to
global and national carbon budgets. Sci Rep 6, 29987 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep29987
⁵ Christiaensen, Luc; Demery, Lionel. 2018. Agriculture in Africa : Telling Myths from Facts. Directions in Development—Agriculture
and Rural Development;. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/28543
License: CC BY 3.0 IGO
⁶ Zomer, R., Neufeldt, H., Xu, J. et al. Global Tree Cover and Biomass Carbon on Agricultural Land: The contribution of agroforestry to
global and national carbon budgets. Sci Rep 6, 29987 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep29987
⁷ van Noordwijk M, Hoang MH, Neufeldt H, Öborn I, Yatich T, eds. 2011. How trees and people can co- adapt to climate change:
reducing vulnerability through multifunctional agroforestry landscapes. Nairobi, Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).
⁸ Pisupati, B., Prip, C., 2018. Interim Assessment of Revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). UNEP-
WCMC and Frodtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway.
Footnotes
Citation: Dobie P, Zinngrebe Y, Vidal A, Gassner A, Kumar C. 2020. Trees on Farms as a nature- based solution for biodiversity
conservation in agricultural landscapes. ICRAF Policy brief No 47. Nairobi: World Agroforestry.
Trees on farms as a nature-based solution for biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes
Start a converation on how trees on farms can contribute to more robust goals, targets and indicators for the Post-2020
Biodiversity Framework by reaching out to one of our focal points:
Dr. Anja Gassner, Senior Livelihood Specialist & Head of Research Methods, ICRAF a.gassner@cgiar.org
Dr. Philip Dobie, Senior Fellow, ICRAF p.dobbie@cgiar.org
Dr. Chetan Kumar, Senior Programme Coordinator, Forest Conservation Programme, IUCN: chetan.kumar@iucn.org
Adriana Vidal, Senior Forest Policy Ofcer, Forest Conservation Programme, IUCN: adriana.vidal@iucn.org
Please visit: www.treesonfarmsforbiodiversity.com
Cover photo: Salvaleon de Higuey, Dominican Republic.
Photo credit: Adriana Vidal
Supported by:
based on a decision of the German Bundestag
World Agroforestry
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
PO Box 30677–00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: + (254) 20 7224000
Via USA phone (1-650) 833-6645
Email: worldagroforestry@cgiar.org
Website: www.worldagroforestry.org
... As highlighted in relevant literature regarding the importance of trees in agricultural-forest mosaic landscapes, trees in the different land uses in Catacamas, besides having an intrinsic value as part of the biodiversity of the landscape, may provide a key contribution in terms of fauna habitat and resources, and for the provision of key ecosystem services 4,12,47 . A global meta-analysis confirmed that the local abundance of arthropods, vertebrates and woody plants was 60%-430% higher, and overall species richness was 50%-100% higher in areas with scattered trees than in open areas 29 . ...
Article
Full-text available
Biodiversity decline in the tropics requires the implementation of comprehensive landscape management where agricultural systems are necessarily an integral element of biodiversity conservation. This study evaluates the potential for taxonomic biodiversity conservation within an intensive livestock-agricultural-forest mosaic landscape in Catacamas, Honduras. Tree sampling was performed in 448 plots set up within different forest and agricultural land uses: secondary forests, agroforestry coffee plantations, agriculture, pastures, live fences and riparian forest. All trees with a minimum diameter at breast height of 10 cm were identified and measured. We characterized their tree structure and diversity, and compared tree diversity between the different uses. The results indicate a high degree of tree species diversity: 375 species identified, belonging to 74 families among the 15,096 trees inventoried across 84.2 hectares, including many rare species (40% of the species registered three individuals or fewer). Biodiversity indices for agroforestry coffee were found equivalent to those for natural secondary forests in the Catacamas landscape. Combining biodiversity conservation and agricultural production is possible in human-pressured tropical landscapes through tree cover maintenance. Enrichment practices combining local producers and technical knowledge may improve tree diversity in agricultural landscapes by prioritizing a mix of forest and introduced tree species (rare and with multiple uses).
... TonF also help conserve agrobiodiversity by providing habitat and early colonization sites (Harvey and Haber 1998), connecting fragmented wild habitats, and providing steppingstones between protected areas in the agricultural landscape. Agroforestry systems (a formal conceptualization of the structure and function of TonF) are among the most popular nature-based solutions recommended for both the conservation of biodiversity (Dobie et al. 2019) and coping with climate change (Figure 7). At the global level, 40% of non-Annex I countries 3 recommend agroforestry for adaptation or mitigation; however, few national policies show the contribution of agroforestry to the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector (Rosenstock et al. 2019). ...
... For the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the critical role played by Trees on farms (TonF) in contributing to biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes through in situ conservation, in line with the objectives of Aichi Target 7, was presented by FTA scientists in a policy brief (Vidal et al. 2020). Despite the importance of TonF, they are not accounted for in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), which are going to be key instruments for the implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. ...
Book
Full-text available
Forests and trees are critical for the survival of life on earth. They conserve a tremendous biodiversity and fulfill essential ecosystem services such as climate regulation, cycling of nutrients and water. They contribute to food and nutrition security, are a major source of raw materials and offer countless livelihood opportunities. However, forests and trees are increasingly threatened by anthropogenic pressures such as overexploitation and land conversion, which are intensified by climate change. At the same time countless tree species and their forest genetic resources (FGR) with exceptional potential uses for supporting the global transition to low carbon food systems and the UN decade on Ecological Restoration are badly conserved and remain critically underutilized. For the last 10 years, the FTA program has set in place research activities that focused on understanding pressures on and threats to populations of socio-economically important tree species; formulating effective, efficient and equitable safeguards for tree genetic resources that are adapted to the local context and species characteristics; and promoting conservation and characterization of germplasm of high-value tree species from forests to farms. FTA has also conducted a range of ecosystem- and landscape-level research projects that explored how silvicultural and monitoring practices can support sustainable timber production while ensuring delivery of multiple ecosystem services, including biodiversity conservation, carbon storage, livelihood support and nutrition security from forest foods. Much of the program’s later work focused on multiple-use forest management. This review of the program’s most salient experiences — derived from a decade of collaborative research — presents a portfolio of the most promising solutions and the significant contributions to global conservation and sustainable use of tree biodiversity. These achievements also contribute to the international policy arena, particularly to the strategic objectives of various conventions (the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), and to the efforts led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to develop a global conservation strategy for forest genetic resources.
Senior Programme Coordinator, Forest Conservation Programme
  • Chetan Dr
  • Kumar
Dr. Chetan Kumar, Senior Programme Coordinator, Forest Conservation Programme, IUCN: chetan.kumar@iucn.org
IUCN: adriana.vidal@iucn.org Please visit: www.treesonfarmsforbiodiversity.com Cover photo: Salvaleon de Higuey, Dominican Republic. Photo credit: Adriana Vidal Supported by: based on a decision of the German Bundestag World Agroforestry United Nations Avenue
  • Adriana Vidal
Adriana Vidal, Senior Forest Policy Officer, Forest Conservation Programme, IUCN: adriana.vidal@iucn.org Please visit: www.treesonfarmsforbiodiversity.com Cover photo: Salvaleon de Higuey, Dominican Republic. Photo credit: Adriana Vidal Supported by: based on a decision of the German Bundestag World Agroforestry United Nations Avenue, Gigiri PO Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya Phone: + (254) 20 7224000