Mosaic landscape. Pandeglang, Banten, Indonesia. © Tom Fisk/ Pexels

Letter from the board and management

Getachew Engida

Board Chair

Tony Simons

Ex‐officio Trustee ICRAF, ICRAF Director General

Robert Nasi

Ex‐officio Trustee CIFOR, CIFOR Director General

Several turning points offered new hope in 2021: the slowing of the Covid-19 pandemic through widespread (albeit unevenly distributed) vaccination, the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, and the historic Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.

CIFOR-ICRAF also marked two critical turning points: the successful completion of our three-year merger process and of the 10-year CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Led by CIFOR-ICRAF in collaboration with partners, FTA’s contributions have resulted in millions of hectares of forests under restoration and better protection – and millions of people with improved food security and nutrition and the means to exit poverty.

Now fully merged, CIFOR-ICRAF is generating more evidence of the transformative potential of trees and forests, with our research consolidated into five integrated themes (trees, climate, soils, markets and governance). Our three holistic approaches – Transformative Partnership Platforms, Engagement Landscapes, and Flagship Products – are leveraging resources and partnerships across Africa, Asia and Latin America. We finished the year with a project pipeline of USD 430 million and harmonized internal management. We are making strong progress towards our Gender, Diversity and Inclusion goals and we now have a dynamic new website (cifor-icraf.org). We have also launched a recruitment process for a Chief Executive Officer to take CIFOR-ICRAF to the next level.

This report shines a light on some of our solutions to five global challenges: deforestation and biodiversity loss, climate change, dysfunctional food systems, unsustainable supply and value chains, and inequality. Achievements include informing national policies in Peru and Viet Nam, applying new technologies in the Congo Basin and India, and co-creating solutions with partners and communities in Indonesia and Cameroon, all while integrating considerations of the rights of women, Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable rural communities.

Exciting new projects launched in 2021 include Trees Outside Forests in India (TOFI) supported by USAID and the Agroforestry and Restoration Accelerator in Brazil in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and Amazon Inc.

1.5 billion people have been connected through the Global Landscapes Forum, which continued to break new ground – most notably at the UN climate conference in Glasgow, which had over 1 million session views from 140 countries. And Resilient Landscapes is fast becoming a nexus between science and business, finance, government and civil society, with new projects starting in Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Brazil.

As Chair of the Board Claire O Connor passes the baton to welcome Professor Getachew Engida, CIFOR-ICRAF now stands as one organization forged through shared values. Thanks to the generous support of our funding and strategic partners and the tireless efforts of our over 700 staff, we are well on our way to implementing our theory of change and realizing our vision of a more equitable world where forest and agroforestry landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all.

Board of trustees

  • Getachew Engida

    Board Chair

  • Doris Capistrano

    Vice Chair

  • Alexander Müller

  • Bushra Naz Malik

  • Kathleen Merrigan

  • Marja-Liisa Tapio-Biström

  • Kaoru Kitajima

  • Vijai Sharma

  • Government of Kenya Representative

  • Government of Indonesia Representative

  • Tony Simons

  • Robert Nasi

The right tree in the right place for the right purpose. Yangambi, DRC. © Axel Fassio/ CIFOR-ICRAF


Worldwide presence

CIFOR-ICRAF operates across 64 countries, with offices in 25 countries. We currently have 739 staff and 192 active projects.

Our decades-long host country agreements with Indonesia and Kenya reflect their global leadership and deep commitment to forests, trees and agroforestry.





publication downloads




website page views


reach on social media


media articles


We are deeply grateful for the financial support of our funding partners and the collaboration of our strategic partners. cifor-icraf.org/partners


funding partners


strategic partners

CIFOR-ICRAF expenditures 2021

The right tree in the right place for the right purpose. Yangambi, DRC. © Axel Fassio/ CIFOR-ICRAF

Global challenges – and how to tackle them

Our planet and the people who live on it are in the midst of a perfect storm of five interconnected global challenges: deforestation and biodiversity loss, climate change, dysfunctional food systems, unsustainable supply and value chains, and inequality. Because each crisis affects the others, solving them requires whole-system responses that consider how all people are affected and the environment is impacted over time.

Transdisciplinary science at CIFOR-ICRAF not only delivers holistic solutions but also ensures their relevance to national programmes and local communities, as shown throughout this report. By supporting local innovation rather than helicoptering in solutions from outside, we embrace cutting-edge science while working hand in hand with global, national and local communities to co-create and scale solutions that meet their needs.

We operate transformative research. For example, we seek not only to understand how gender inequity compromises sustainable development, but also to shift power asymmetries to create a more equitable future for both men and women.

—Fergus Sinclair, Chief Scientist

Our way of working

CIFOR-ICRAF is focused on contributing to a decisive shift in global trajectories: from a future of environmental destruction and livelihood crises to one of prosperity and planetary health. Uniquely equipped to deliver transformative research, we harness the power of science and innovation to improve the benefits that forests, trees, soils and their sustainable management can provide to all humankind,for a more resilient, equitable and prosperous future. Our work is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, as well as the three Rio Conventions.

We continue to implement our 10-year strategy (2020-2030), working across five broad themes: Trees and forest genetic resources and biodiversity; Climate change, energy and low-carbon development;Soil and land health; Sustainable value chains and investments; and Governance, equity and well-being.

CIFOR and ICRAF are members of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

In this report, find out what CIFOR-ICRAF is doing to create:

1 Thriving, diverse forests and farms
2 Climate-resilient ecosystems and communities
3 Sustainable, vibrant food systems
4 Green, equitable supply and value chains
5 Inclusive, rights-based collaboration and governance

Our innovations

CIFOR-ICRAF delivers game-changing solutions to global and national challenges through three innovative approaches that are catalysing a positive shift in research for development across Africa, Asia and Latin America:

  • Transformative Partnership Platforms – alliances focused on critically important challenges

  • Engagement Landscapes – geographic locations where we carry out concentrated, long-term transformative work with diverse and committed partners

  • Flagship Products – initiatives that provide action-oriented insights into key global issues

Find specific examples of these innovations throughout this report.

Our network

The entities of the CIFOR-ICRAF network reinforce and advance our shared aim to unlock the potential of trees and forests to combat climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.

Our work is possible thanks to the generous support and collaboration of our 150 funding partners and 88 strategic partners. View the complete list at: cifor-icraf.org/partners

April 2021 acacia plantation near the village of Moussa, Yangambi - DRC. Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR

Beyond tree planting: Landscape restoration that sticks

Amid the onslaught of bad news about accelerating climate change and collapsing ecosystems, landscape restoration offers hope and a path forward. But how to ensure that restored areas stay restored? What drives ‘permanence’ is a critical research topic for the global restoration agenda, especially as efforts are bolstered by the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030) and the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration to halt and reverse forest degradation by 2030.

CIFOR-ICRAF has deep roots of engagement in Ethiopia, which is known for its commitment to restoration. In partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), researchers applied the Stakeholder Approach to Risk Informed and Evidence-based Decision-making (SHARED) in the Oromia Engagement Landscape to identify factors that determine the permanence of a restored forest or agricultural ecosystem and whether this triggers habitat degradation elsewhere – i.e., ‘leakage’. Researchers used crowdsourced data from the Regreening Africa App, conducted household surveys and held stakeholder workshops.

Findings showed that households practising permanent land restoration had at least one ‘most-demanded’ tree species near their farms or homesteads along with other diverse tree species. They tended to be wealthier, have larger land plots with livestock and were more aware of natural resource use bylaws and regulations. Households living further away from urban centres were more likely to contribute to leakage compared to those near cities. The main conclusion? Assessing permanence should be incorporated into restoration planning early on.

The Ethiopia work is a component of CIFOR-ICRAF’s Landscape Restoration Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP), which aims to enhance the understanding of what works and what does not in particular socioecological landscapes. The TPP is co-generating and sharing locally relevant lessons through global comparative research on the various dimensions of land restoration.

Supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

“This project demonstrated the importance of linking socioeconomic and biophysical drivers of degradation in order to design long-term land restoration options that reduce leakage and increase permanence.”

Leigh Ann Winowiecki

Team Leader, Soil and land health

CPA tree nursery near Endui, Kitui County - Kenya. Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR

Yangambi: A proven model of engagement

The Yangambi Engagement Landscape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an example of what you can achieve when you spend enough time in one place, getting to the crux of the issues affecting people and their environment. In fact, CIFOR-ICRAF’s ‘engagement landscapes’ concept was sparked by the impacts achieved through nearly 15 years of work with institutions and communities near the Kisangani–Yangambi urban–rural complex, co-creating solutions to forest degradation and poverty.

Over 2 million trees have been planted since 2019, restoring over 2,300 hectares of land and creating over 3,400 seasonal and direct jobs. In a few years, the trees will be ready for use as biomass in a combined heat and power plant, now under construction.

More than 220 masters and doctoral researchers have been trained through a 15-year collaboration with the University of Kisangani (UNIKIS) and 11% of these are women. Infrastructure upgrades to UNIKIS include about 5,500 square metres of state-of-the-art low-carbon buildings.

Sustainable livelihood efforts are focusing on development of small-to-medium enterprises (supporting 1,017 people, of whom 706 are women), sustainable charcoal (with 106 charcoal makers trained and 19 community nurseries established), fish farming (with over 5 tons already produced in cooperative fish farms), and agroforestry using fruit trees mixed with improved cassava, corn and peanut crops. Performance-based schemes are boosting entrepreneurship for women and men.

The Congo Basin’s first eddy covariance-flux tower now rises 55 m above the Biosphere Reserve, assessing the forest’s potential to mitigate climate change through carbon capture.

To curb the devastating impact of urban wildmeat consumption on forest biodiversity, an innovative campaign uses comic-strip-style posters and community theatre to change people’s perception around selling and consuming wildmeat.

Finally, environmental education and outreach activities include a photo exhibit depicting the region’s history, music videos, over 3,250 primary- and secondary-school students participating in periodic workshops, and an animated film.

Supported by European Union, Belgium, USAID

“Science is a key ingredient for implementing sound forest landscape restoration policy and practice, as much as is incorporating the views and aspirations of local communtities.”

Manuel Guariguata

CIFOR-ICRAF Principal Scientist

Cocoa agroforestry smallholder, Ucayali, Peru. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR-ICRAF

Closing Peru’s national restoration gap

Peru has pledged to restore 3.2 million hectares under Initiative 20x20, which it joined in 2014. Yet deforestation still accounts for 51% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, threatening its vast forests and the biodiversity they harbour.

ProREST, the National Strategy for the Restoration of Ecosystems and Degraded Forest Lands, aims to bring 330,000 hectares of forest lands under restoration by 2030. Launched in 2021, the strategy lays out the country’s ecological, governance and capacity building goals to ensure that restoration initiatives deliver the expected results.

Landscape approaches are at the heart of ProREST. This is thanks in part to long-term research and engagement by CIFOR-ICRAF, which Peru's National Forest and Wild Fauna Service (SERFOR) recognized as a provider of evidence-based recommendations to guide the strategy.

“We have internalized this approach, taking into account that when we carry out restoration actions we should not only think about an area of land, but about the multiple uses that occur within it,” said Alberto Mamani, a specialist in ecological restoration at SERFOR.

“Having available publications and evidence-based recommendations to guide ProREST is very relevant. We have identified CIFOR-ICRAF as a key partner for this,” said Mamani, referring to the research and analysis generated by CIFOR-ICRAF leading up to and during the strategy development process, which began in 2016.

“Science is a key ingredient for implementing sound forest landscape restoration policy and practice, as much as is incorporating the views and aspirations of local communtities,” said Manuel Guariguata, CIFOR-ICRAF principal scientist who has conducted research on forest management and restoration in Peru for over 10 years.

A holistic, participatory approach to the strategy’s development was also key, as different actors involved in forest landscape restoration had the opportunity to share information and insights.

“This adds relevance and legitimacy to the execution of ProREST,” said Guariguata. “The strategy’s focus on learning and reflection is essential for the success of projects and programmes in different contexts.”

SERFOR foresees ongoing collaboration with CIFOR-ICRAF on research and restoration technologies, technical support, knowledge sharing, and documentation.

“Science is a key ingredient for implementing sound forest landscape restoration policy and practice, as much as is incorporating the views and aspirations of local communtities.”

Manuel Guariguata

CIFOR-ICRAF Principal Scientist

Knowledge for action on tropical forests and rights

The Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS REDD+) launched its fourth phase in 2021, building on over a decade of research on actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhance forest carbon stocks.

In Viet Nam, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) referenced GCS REDD+ global research findings on carbon rights and REDD+ benefit-sharing in a draft decree that, once approved, will be a criterion for receipt of results-based payments.

In Peru, the Ministry of Environment submitted its updated national Forest Reference Emissions Level (FREL) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Informed by GCS REDD+ research on soil carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, the FREL is the first official national document to recognize the importance of Amazonian peatlands. And the National Service of Protected Areas (SERNANP) officially adopted the customized adaptive learning tool ¿Cómo vamos? on multistakeholder management committees.

In Indonesia, several GCS REDD+ contributions were adopted in the country’s second FREL, including the addition of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from peatland degradation, a new approach for calculating emissions from mangrove conversion apart from other land uses, and the inclusion of emissions from peat fires.

Finally, CIFOR-ICRAF was invited to contribute to global initiatives such as the World Bank’s multi-donor trust fund Enhancing Access to Benefits while Lowering Emissions (EnABLE), the LEAF Coalition’s Emergent Working Group, and the International Land Coalition (ILC). Requests also came from the private sector for scientific input, as well as from countries such as Guatemala and Viet Nam to support the development of national REDD+ benefit-sharing plans.

Supported by www.cifor-icraf.org/gcs/partners/funding-partners

“Our science-policy dialogues in Indonesia, Peru and DRC are bringing new insights into what is needed for countries to meet their post-CoP26 climate commitments.”

Pham Thu Thuy

Team Leader Climate change, energy & low-carbon development

Acacia plantation near the village of Moussa, Yangambi - DRC. Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR-ICRAF

How to fix the tree-planting value chain

Among nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, tree planting is hailed as king. Done right, it can both mitigate climate change and boost resilience to its effects, while also addressing the other global challenges. Done wrong, it can harm ecosystems or simply fail, discouraging further investments.

The tree-planting value chain is broken. In the rush to put seedlings in the ground, tree seed is often bought from undocumented sources to supply project-funded nurseries, which then distribute tree seedlings to growers at no charge.

“This undermines existing networks of small-scale commercial seed dealers and private tree nurseries that could guarantee a more sustainable supply of better quality germplasm,” says Ramni Jamnadass, who co-leads the Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on the Quality of Tree Planting with Lars Graudal.

Building on over 30 years of experience in the science and practice of tree planting, the TPP responds to the need to support quality-focused engagement between tree planters and investors.

A 2021 policy analysis put the value of fixing this value chain in sharp focus, using the example of the African Forest Landscape Restoration initiative (AFR100), which aims to restore 100 million ha of degraded land by 2030.

“We estimate that investing a mere 5% more in tree seed supply ... would sequester a further 19 million tonnes of carbon, reduce annual soil erosion by a further 4 million tonnes, and generate at least 80,000 more jobs in the harvesting, processing and marketing of new tree products,” says Lars Graudal.

A worthy investment, indeed.

Supported by FTA, Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI)

Tools for better trees

CIFOR-ICRAF has made a vast array of resources freely available through the Global Tree Knowledge Platform. These include the vegetationmap4Africa, the Useful Tree Species for Eastern Africa selection tool, a climate change atlas for Central America and other databases, maps and apps, guidelines and analyses.

Farmer Esther Ruto and friend picking coffee from her farm. © World Agroforestry Centre/Joseph Gachoka

How agroecology is transforming food systems globally

On a farm, as in a forest, biodiversity means resilience.

This is particularly true for farmers across the tropics who are on the front line of the interconnected climate, food and land degradation crises. And while agroecological approaches such as intercropping, mulching, agroforestry and integrated crop–livestock systems can boost both productivity and resilience, sceptics challenge whether it can be taken to scale.

The Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on Agroecology is responding to a clear demand for evidence on how well agroecological approaches perform in terms of food security, income and return on labour. Formed in 2020 in response to the 2019 Committee on World Food Security High Level Panel of Experts report, and launched in 2021, the TPP addresses knowledge and implementation gaps constraining agroecological transitions.

Transitions vary according to context. In India, the focus is on reducing dependence on environmentally disruptive and often toxic agrochemicals that have driven many farmers into debt. The TPP has contributed to research that has shown how agroecological transitions can be made in Andhra Pradesh without reducing crop yield.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where many farmers use few inputs, the focus is on agroecological intensification – how to increase productivity equitably, without damaging the environment, including the soil and pollinators on which agricultural production depends.

Hosted on GLFx, the TPP’s thriving, inclusive and diverse community of practice continues to grow and evolve.

CIFOR-ICRAF Chief Scientist Fergus Sinclair credits the rise of agroecology on the global agenda in part to the TPP. “Going into the UN Food Systems Summit, agroecology was not even on the agenda. Yet one of the summit’s most significant outcomes was the emergence of a coalition to transform food systems through agroecology,” he said.

Supported by France, SDC (Switzerland), EU-INTPA (European Union), BMZ (Germany), One CGIAR

“This TPP was at the forefront of phenomenal progress in getting agroecological approaches mainstreamed during 2021.”

Fergus Sinclair

Chief Scientist, CIFOR-ICRAF

A landscape perspective on nutrition and livelihoods

Trees play an important role in the nutrition and food security of people worldwide. Whether in forests or on farms, trees benefit communities both directly through the foods they grow, and indirectly through the ecosystem services they provide for farming, and the incomes they generate through the sale of wood and non-timber forest products.

The Nutri-scapes Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) explores how to better integrate wild and cultivated tree foods into food systems for healthier diets and more sustainable livelihoods. The platform applies a landscape lens to the urgent challenges of food and nutrition insecurity by recognizing the different roles trees and tree foods play across spaces from forests through farms to urban consumers – and by focusing on how to leverage these to develop transformative solutions.

The TPP works across geographies and projects to highlight trade-offs and synergies within the food system. For example, in Indonesia, theTPP is working to understand how conversion to oil palm in smallholder landscapes and conversion of mangroves in coastal landscapes affects diets and incomes.

With its Zambian partners, the TPP carried out the first nationally representative estimate of wild food contributions to diets in the world.

Together with local communities across Africa, Nutri-scapes researchers are co-developing context-specific ‘nutritious food portfolios’. These are designed to fill seasonal micronutrient gaps in local diets through a combination of indigenous and exotic tree foods, alongside other vegetable, legume and staple crops.

Supported by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Harnessing the power of forests, trees and agroforestry


In 2021, as the Covid-19 pandemic started to turn a corner and new hope sprang from the launch of global initiatives on restoration and land use, CIFOR-ICRAF completed a successful three-year merger process, finishing the year with a project pipeline of USD 430 million and fully harmonized management, research and regional processes.

This report highlights some of our solutions to five global challenges: deforestation and biodiversity loss, climate change, dysfunctional food systems, unsustainable supply and value chains, and inequality. Achievements include informing national policies in Peru and Viet Nam, applying new technologies in the Congo Basin and India, and co-creating solutions with partners and communities in Indonesia and Cameroon – all while integrating considerations of the rights of women, Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) has reached over one billion people. The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) wrapped up 10 years of impact. And Resilient Landscapes is fast becoming a nexus between science, business and finance, with projects starting in Papua New Guinea, Serbia and Brazil.

With the momentum of a combined 70 years’ experience, CIFOR-ICRAF is forging ahead with its valued partners, finding new ways to harness the transformative power of forests, trees and agroforestry for a more resilient future.