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Impact Evaluation of Landscape Programs in Ethiopia


The overarching goal of this project is to assess the impact of landscape programs on livelihood and resilience outcomes in Ethiopia and inform the future design of the programs. Overall, the study seeks to understand the effects of the landscape programs on the outcomes such as household livelihoods, diversification of income generating activities, agricultural productivity and resilience to extreme events.


The World Bank has been investing for landscape programs in Ethiopia. Despite of the large investments in this area of work, there is little evidence to understand the impact of the landscape projects financed by the World Bank on household livelihoods and resilience. Further understanding and evaluation of impacts of the landscape programs is important for the design of the future investments in Ethiopia and other countries. 

Furthermore, an in-depth analysis on the landscape approach is timely given that PROGREEN, the Global Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes launched on September 23, 2019. PROGREEN is a World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund that supports countries’ efforts to improve livelihoods while tackling declining biodiversity, loss of forests, deteriorating land fertility and increasing risks such as uncontrolled forest fires, which are exacerbated by a changing climate. Through an integrated landscape approach, PROGREEN helps countries meet their national and global sustainable development goals and commitments, including poverty reduction, in a cost-effective manner. In addition, the theme of the fourth Forum on Natural Capital Accounting for Better Policy held in November 18-19, 2019 was “Measuring and valuing natural capital for improved landscape management”.


In order to comprehensively assess the impact of the Ethiopia landscape program from both economic and physical aspects, this study is composed of three research topics below.
  • Research Topic 1: Estimating impacts of the land restoration program on livelihoods and resilience in Ethiopia
  • Research Topic 2: Impacts of land restoration program on agricultural productivity and production diversity during and after the 2015/16 severe droughts in Ethiopia
  • Research Topic 3: Use of satellite remote sensing SIF observations to estimate the effects of land restoration programs on land productivity and resilience
The main program outputs will be the following:
  •  Main report for policy-makers and general audience
  •  Supporting technical report
The activity has successfully:
  • Collected and cleaned key datasets required to assess the impact of the Ethiopia landscape program from both economic and physical aspects
  • Developed robust econometric and scientific approaches to measure the program impact
  • Established the key collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to carry out the study. This collaboration is extremely useful as we conduct the impact evaluation of landscape programs in other countries, utilizing the experience and methodology established through this activity.
The preliminary findings from this activity are as follows. First, the landscape project increased household livelihoods, agricultural productivity and resilience to extreme events. Second, the study shows Solar-Induced chlorophyll Fluorescence (SIF) remote sensing data could be used as proxy for near-real-time crop growth. The activity has not yet informed/influenced investments, policies, practices, institutions or behaviors of clients, partners or others, but it is planned to do so as it will be disseminated under the umbrella project

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Last Updated : 06-09-2020

Being inspired by gender actions in forest landscapes around the world

By Patti Kristjanson (PROFOR) with thanks to Anne Kuriakose (CIF), Meerim Shakirova (FIP), Carlos Cordova (ENR/FIP), Tamara Bah (FCPF), Nicholas Soikan (SURR/FCPF), Haddy Sey (SURR), Margaux Granat (IUCN), Thu Thuy Pham (CIFOR), and Bimbika Basnett (CIFOR)

I recently took this photo of a Laotian woman throwing around pieces of teak wood in a small-scale forest enterprise. This, despite the widespread myth that women are seldom involved in timber and are mostly relegated to gathering forest products. The fact is, we still don’t know much about where and how much women are involved, and more importantly, what opportunities are being missed by largely ignoring half the population living in and around forests. (Oh, and that teak was so cheap, I wanted to take a couple of suitcases of it home with me!)

Just how are forest landscape projects addressing gender-related challenges and opportunities? A recent knowledge-sharing event  in Lao PDR, which brought together some 150 participants from over 40 countries, was a good place to pose this question. 

We learned that countries as diverse as Laos, Mexico, Ghana, Ecuador, Cameroon, Uganda, and Ghana have been creatively addressing gender constraints and opportunities. 

Some specific gender-responsive strategies being pursued in Mexico include creating a gender unit in the main forest agency, and a gender network reaching all states; promoting an institutional culture with a gender perspective; and creating Mexico’s first female fire protection brigade. 

Another promising initiative is the Forest Investment Program’s Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM), an $80 million program designed and led by representatives of indigenous peoples’ groups and local communities. Indeed, many countries are struggling with how best to make funds available to local communities with promising sustainable forest management and related initiatives.

Meanwhile, Mozambique’s DGM for Local Communities has established a National Steering Committee with several female members - including the Vice President and a representative of the Mozambican Rural Women's Movement - and set a target of at least 40% women’s participation for projects to receive support. Other efforts include promoting systematic community land delimitation and individual titling that is gender-responsive, with both husbands’ and wives’ names registered on land documents.

And in Peru, one-third of DGM funds are targeted to indigenous women’s organizations, right from the design stage. One of the lessons from Peru is that strong ‘umbrella’ indigenous organizations that link to many local communities are extremely helpful, compared to trying to work with many small projects/communities

We also learned at the knowledge-sharing event that the Forest Carbon Partnershp Facility (FCPF), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and others have been supporting national climate change and REDD+ gender action plans in Mexico, Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, Brazil, Mozambique, and Guatemala. These use participatory, bottom-up approaches along with analyses of legislative and policy frameworks and institutional initiatives on gender and climate change. Implementation is stalling in many places, however, due to a lack of dedicated project funds to gender-targeted activities. In Guatemala, for example, capacity needs and knowledge issues loom large, as in other countries. The need for financial mechanisms for local actors – both men and women – to be able to access private banking resources was also flagged.

In addition, we heard from Nepal, where each parish (50-100 households) has a forest user group whose elected committee must be at least 50% female, and either the vice-president or secretary must be female. Encouragingly, new rules require both women and men to be signatories on bank accounts. 

And a key lesson from Vietnam’s REDD+ participatory community-based mapping efforts supported by FCPF is that women’s knowledge is key and must be incorporated into local forest management plans and by-laws on forest use. 

It is apparent that many efforts, in many countries, are focused on being more inclusive and making sure women, indigenous peoples, and other less traditionally empowered peoples are involved in REDD+ and other forest-related planning processes. This is a great first step. But we also need to see more innovative and equitable benefit-sharing and empowerment strategies incorporated into forest landscape initiatives. We are starting to see some encouraging examples; it is a challenge well worth accepting.

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Last Updated : 03-21-2018


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Society for Ecological Restoration

Ecological restoration, critical for poverty reduction

By Joaquim Levy, World Bank Group Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer

Why is ecological restoration so critical to the World Bank’s mission of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity? Quite simply, because environmental degradation is devastating to the most vulnerable communities and perpetuates poverty around the world.

Some 42 percent of the world’s poorest live on land that is classified as degraded. The situation becomes worse every year, as 24 billion tons of fertile soil are eroded, and drought threatens to turn 12 million hectares of land into desert.

The costs associated with environmental degradation can be compared to the impacts of a natural disaster. In Indonesia, for example, a few months of peat fires created more economic damage than the Tsunami in Aceh.

Thankfully, there is still time to reverse this type of harm. Worldwide, about two billion hectares of degraded forest land could be restored, creating functional, productive ecosystems that can boost sustainable development. Governments and other stakeholders are motivated to make this happen – nothing was clearer from my participation in the 7th World Conference on Ecological Restoration, last week in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. 

So how do we take the next step and make large-scale environmental restoration a reality? We need to keep a few key principles in mind:

First, we need to think of a new forest economy. Environmental restoration at the scale we need requires going beyond conservation. It means integrating timber and food production, as well as energy and disaster risk management, particularly when it comes to water resources. We need to look at countries like Austria, Germany and South Korea, which have built entire rural economies on high-tech forest value chains that are not only highly productive, but also ecologically meaningful. The World Bank has supported this approach in several places, including China, where an erosion control project returned the devastated Loess Plateau to a thriving landscape that supports sustainable agriculture and the livelihoods of 2.5 million people.

Second, we need to find efficient, low-cost restoration solutions that can be brought to scale. This means investing in rigorously tested scientific methods, because we cannot afford to make large-scale mistakes. It also requires customized solutions capable of meeting the various restoration challenges, from evaluating whether native species are always the best choice, to considering a range of time horizons. Brazil’s commercial restoration sector is a leader in this field, with cooperative, inter-company research contributing to the success of the commercial plantation sector.

Third, we need to ensure legal rights for forests. There can be no thriving forest economy without sound tenure rights, including for Indigenous and traditional peoples. Some countries are making progress on this front. In Nicaragua, for instance, all ancestral territories of Indigenous Peoples in the Caribbean Region are now mapped and titled thanks to legal, policy, and institutional reforms that began 15 years ago, with World Bank support.

Fourth, we need to better understand the value of our forest services. Adopting natural wealth accounting that values assets such as land, forests, and minerals as a companion to GDP would help state the economic cost of degradation and the benefits of restoration. Armed with such information, Ministers of Finance may become restoration champions, and governments would have the tools to develop a forest-smart approach that works across economic sectors and at the right scale. Consider the case of Costa Rica: by establishing forest accounts, the government documented that forests contributed close to 10 times more to GDP than was previously thought.

The last missing link is financing. We need to consider all levels of financing, starting with small and medium-sized enterprises. Forest development and integrated agriculture need to be made attractive to entrepreneurs, including women and the young.

In addition, tax and transfer systems must recognize the importance of environmental services. Providing strong governance and guidance on the use of environment compensation fees, such as Brazil’s “compensaçao ambiental,” ought to be a priority. Local solutions need to be discussed everywhere, along with international incentive systems.

Finally, when adequately-funded and accountable research starts to generate the right technology, sizeable financial resources will flow to restoration.

To recap: ecosystem restoration is critical for sustainable development and poverty alleviation; there are significant opportunities for putting these approaches into practice; and we have a solid understanding of the core principles that contribute to successful restoration efforts.

At the World Bank Group, we stand ready to support countries’ restoration efforts through our financing tools and partnership programs like the Program on Forests (PROFOR). Together, our efforts can have a transformative impact on improving the lives of the poorest and benefitting the environment.

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Last Updated : 01-11-2018

When thinking of forests, don’t forget the value of trees

Over the past decade, commitments and support for Forest Landscape Restoration have grown significantly. As part of the Bonn Challenge, for instance, some 40 countries, sub-national jurisdictions, and non-governmental entities have now pledged to restore forest landscapes across 148 million hectares.  Although the environmental benefits in terms of ecosystem services, soil restoration, water, biodiversity and climate resilience are evident, the tremendous economic arguments and the value proposition for poor people living in, or nearby, the forests, are not always at the forefront of the efforts to restore landscapes.

In fact, some 1.3 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihood—that is 20% of the global population. This includes income from the sale of trees and tree-related products. It also includes the value of fruit, fodder, medicines, and other direct or indirect products that they consume. However, the restoration of forest landscape at a global scale needs a new vision for an integrated forest economy which appreciates and understands forests along their entire value chain. Thus it is crucial to see forest landscape restoration efforts as much more than just protecting forests, but as a force for economic growth and poverty reduction.

Indeed, restoring forest landscapes could bring renewed economic opportunity, improved water supply, and climate resilience. IUCN estimates the annual net benefit of restoring 150 million hectares of land at approximately US$85 billion per year. In addition, such restoration would sequester massive amounts of greenhouse gases and go a long way towards stabilizing climate change at 2 degrees Celsius.

It is in this context that forest landscape restoration is receiving increasing attention due to a huge growth in demand for forest products and bioenergy around the world. A recent study undertaken in six tropical countries confirms the rapidly widening supply gap of harvested wood products and wood-based energy. PROFOR, with the support of its partners and donors, has translated this challenge into coherent regulatory and governance solutions that can support smallholders and small and medium forest enterprises, through land and forest tenure, new technology, adequate finance and market access.

If the ambitious scale for the global and national forest restoration targets is to be achieved, the economic arguments should be back at the center, along with the conservation ones. It is not just forests that matter. In most cases it will help to approach the challenges by looking at tree-based systems. Trees on farms are more widespread than mostly reported, and can provide substantial benefits.

study in four sub-Saharan countries shows that one third of rural farms report growing trees and, on average, these farms are economically better off than those who don’t. The study also shows evidence that trees on farms can improve the productivity of landscapes. Trees on farms, however, are overlooked both by national agriculture and forest policies as they fall somehow in between these two camps. As a result, PROFOR is now preparing a new guidebook on how agricultural household services can systematically include tree relevant data.

Two other PROFOR studies try to understand the key factors driving the adoption of tree-based systems (TBS) at scale in Malawi and Rwanda, which result in improved soil fertility, higher crop yields, and increased agricultural production by helping control soil erosion, replenishing soil organic matter and nutrients, while diversifying income and building resilience to climate shocks.

In Malawi, tree-based systems have been widely promoted to help increase agricultural production among smallholder farmers who cannot afford to buy chemical fertilizers.  Using conservative assumptions and estimates, the total savings from replacing subsidized fertilizer with fodder (Gliricidia) fertilizer is $45.98 per year per household. Assuming that more than 1,5 million households could potentially be reached, and that all of them adopt Gliricidia/maize intercropping systems, the potential total annual savings is estimated at $71 million per year.

In Rwanda, TBS in agricultural lands are widespread. For a country where most poor families live in rural areas, shows how the spread of tree-based systems could help farmers in boosting crop yields and diversifying their incomes. The adoption of TBS for the production of fruits, wood products, milk, soil erosion control, and soil fertility management has already led to higher incomes.

As more evidence starts to show not only the environmental benefits but also the economic ones, it will be important to look at tree-based economic systems in a more holistic way, systematically analyzing the regulatory, financial and technical assistance needs that small holders and small companies would need, not only during the planting process, but along the entire value chain.

These examples are evidence of the great environmental, economic and poverty reduction opportunities that forest landscape restoration can offer. They are also a reminder that when thinking of forests, we must not forget to see the economic value of trees.

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Last Updated : 07-24-2017