CLIMATE RESILIENCE OF RESTORED FOREST LANDSCAPES

Lead Research Organisation: University of Reading
Department Name: Walker Institute

Abstract

2021-30 will be the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. This Seedcorn project will establish collaboration between researchers from Uganda and the UK with expertise in climate, forest and livelihoods analysis. The Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) approach underpins international commitments to restore degraded landscapes such as the Bonn Challenge to restore 350 million hectares of forest worldwide by 2030, with the aim of delivering climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as biodiversity benefits and enhancement of livelihoods. The FLR framework provides a list of different restoration activities that can be chosen depending on local circumstances, including plantations for harvest, forestry within agricultural systems (agroforestry), natural regeneration and mixed compositions of forest and agricultural or pastoral lands. The sensitivity and resilience of these different FLR activities to future climate impacts will vary and have profound implications for the resilience of local livelihoods.
This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to assess the resilience of three different types of FLR undertaken at Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (EcoTrust) sites in Macinde, Uganda to climatic impacts. The three types of FLR are: agroforestry, plantations and natural regeneration. The research plan is split into three work packages: forest restoration stakeholder engagement and identification of research needs through a participatory workshop; synthesis of historical data on ecology, rainfall and livelihoods under different FLR approaches to assess their resilience to climatic variation in the past, as a guide to future sensitivity; and establishment of long-term monitoring of ecological and socio-economic outcomes of the different types of FLR in Macinde, Uganda. The collection and analysis of data from these FLR sites will build an important and unique dataset which will form the basis of future collaborative research proposals working with local forest restoration stakeholders to improve resilience of the landscape and livelihoods that depend on it.
These activities deliver against the aims of the Seedcorn Fund by developing a new international collaboration with leading researchers in tropical forest landscape restoration (Dr Bernard Obaa & Dr Sarah Akello of Makerere University) and implementing partners on the ground (Pauline Nantongo, EcoTrust) as well as climate and livelihoods data synthesis (Prof Rosalind Cornforth & Dr Celia Petty of the Walker Institute, Moses Tumusiime of the Uganda National Meteorological Authority). All partners contribute specific intellectual expertise which together will build a multi-disciplinary research team, with the capacity to deliver research at the cutting edge of climate, forest and livelihoods fields. The Walker Institute contributes climate and livelihoods data synthesis, knowledge exchange and policy engagement. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda contributes technical forestry, restoration and ecological monitoring expertise. EcoTrust contributes expertise in financial flows, community engagement and participatory approaches to forest landscape restoration, as well as ecological monitoring. The Uganda National Meteorological Agency contributes expertise in weather and climate data monitoring, through Rainwatch-Uganda. This new team will provide a basis for long-term collaboration to assess resilience of restoration projects, through establishment of long-term monitoring at field sites in Uganda where novel multi-disciplinary research into climatic changes, ecological and livelihoods resilience can be conducted.

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