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


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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Description The field-based work used the quantitative Household Economy Approach (HEA) to assess local livelihoods and their interconnection with Forest Landscape Restoration activities. The research revealed high levels of poverty among the population, with very low levels of disposable income for a majority of households. Key findings include:
• Numerous but fragmented initiatives to protect the area's forest landscape, ecology and biodiversity were reported.
• This quantitative household economy study highlights the problem that overall, forest landscape restoration activities have not made a significant impact on the socio-economic status of the local population. Interventions have not been at sufficient scale or duration to achieve a sustainable environmental or economic impact.
Exploitation Route Outcomes from the study
• Potential for agro-forestry was identified, including high value cash crops such as cocoa, vanilla and coffee. Group farming of these crops and the establishment of co-operatives might be particularly advantageous for poorer households with less land, but this can only be established though locally led dialogue. Local groups would also need to establish markets and possible value chains before initiating these activities.
• Findings from this study were made available to local advocacy groups involved in the development of Uganda's National biodiversity strategy and action plan.
Sectors Agriculture

Food and Drink

Communities and Social Services/Policy


Description At the first Knowledge Exchange meeting for this short project, we worked with Climate Action Network, Uganda to support policy teams who were in the process of drafting the first Nature-Based Solutionsbill for Uganda. An action from that meeting was to provide a further briefing to update the government on any relevant research results towards the drafting of further interventions for the new bill. The project has been important in specifically addressing the different perspectives/ tensions between the different stakeholders (governments to communities) when it comes to Forestry Landscape Restoration (FLR). In preparation for the fieldwork in Masindi, we moved forward with the devolution of capacity to local partners and additional institutions in using the Household Economy Assessments (HEA), which formed the quantitative bedrock for this short research project. The foundational training (ALIVEI; was completed on the 2-3rd February 2022. This was followed by the more in-depth ALIVE II training 8-10 Feb 2022. With that upskilling, the Ugandan team were able to progress with the field-based work and carry out HEA assessments in Masindi with together with an experienced team of assessors. There is a short report written on the training. UK FCDO - Our team was contacted by HMG with regards to our approach to FLR and the Treetops project. As a result, we hosted a meeting in mid-March 2022 with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office's Natural Resource team. They are focusing in forest and land use with a specific remit on smallholder frontiers, specifically wrt the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue from COP26 ( Here, the FCDO was feeding into designing a second phase of the IFSLU (Investment in Forests & Sustainable Land Use) programme as leaders of the Smallholder Action Group. We drew on the Treetops research to discuss together how to improve conditions for smallholder farmers and support their engagement in actions to reduce deforestation, including through policy reforms and measures to improve security of livelihoods and access markets, support to strengthen capacity and increase productivity in a sustainable way, and measures to improve access to and availability of finance. To help these discussions, we provided a briefing note on the project to the FCDO (uploaded). An additional pdf for the project from the TREETOPS webpage ( When the Masindi fieldwork completed, a further technical report was preapred (also uploaded) wrt the interventions to the policy bill. If more funds and time had been available to extend the research, we would have pushed the research more concretely into both NbS and Loss and Damage policy work as well as generated a set of climate change scenarios based on a new bottom-up approach to assesing climate risk which we documented together with the OECD in chapter 4 of their Loss and Damages report launched at COP26 (
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Discussion meeting with the Natural Resources team at FCDO re Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue from COP26
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee