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Improved watershed management will be crucial to meet growing food demand in India, for example by: recharging local aquifers and improving downstream water flows; decreasing soil erosion; increasing agricultural productivity; and helping farmers adapt to climate change. Experts believe that an additional 102 million tons of food grains need to be produced annually by 2020 to meet national nutritional needs under moderate population growth forecasts, 38 million tons of which will need to come from either rainfed lands or imports.
However, rainfed regions have lagged far behind and have experienced severe resource degradation due to inappropriate land use, poor husbandry and low investments. Longer-term climate change adds another worrying dimension. Climate change requires new adaptation measures by farmers, especially small and marginal farmers who are the most vulnerable to these forecast impacts.
The Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP), financed through the Department of Land Resources, currently forms the cornerstone of the Government of India's support to watershed development, covering 27 states and proposing to invest over US$6.6 billion through a 10-year period to 2017. Besides the IWMP, a number of other centrally financed schemes are related to watershed management, agriculture and rural livelihoods, which to varying degrees address development needs in rainfed areas. The IWMP has been slowly rolling out and expanding its reach across India since 2009. But, it has not delivered expected results evenly across the country or to the desired levels. In moving forward to improve the IWMP model and execution, a number of key issues outlined recently by the Planning Commission and various other reports/experts have been identified.
Two key issues are:
Fragmented programming and partial solutions. Given their ecological characteristics, developing rainfed areas requires a broad watershed approach. Large budgets are now available for IWMP and several other schemes for the development of rainfed areas within the Ministry of Rural Development. However, each of these is conceived and implemented in departmental silos without unified mechanisms for coordination and convergence. As a result, these programs do not lead to area development, potential synergies are lost, and investments, interventions, and results remain sub-optimal.
Narrow planning scale. The IWMP is executed through clusters of micro-watersheds (each usually 500 ha to 700 ha) covering an average of 5,000 ha. This scale is appropriate for participatory planning and implementation communities. However, a larger landscape assessment/planning framework ranging up to 25,000 ha is also needed where broader land and water issues can be identified, and a more coordinated approach developed to converge government schemes with the IWMP. The current IWMP model also does not fully incorporate surface and groundwater assessments into management and monitoring activities to guide integrated planning at sub-watershed and micro-watershed scales.
This activity aims to address some of the issues above by helping to:
- Improve intra- and inter-ministerial convergence in watershed management in India;
- Develop landscape level catchment assessment/planning methods and guidelines for India; and
- Disseminate knowledge on good practices in watershed management building on a draft report prepared under a previous PROFOR activity.
The activity was successfully completed. The final report “Catchment Assessment and Planning for Watershed Management” is now available to the left along with a summary report. A launch workshop was held in Washington, D.C., in October 2014. A similar workshop was held in Delhi in December 2014. One article based on this work was published in a national journal in India. In addition, the “Operational Guidelines for Benchmarking Watershed Management Outcomes” prepared by the Ministry of Rural Development of India and the World Bank discussion paper “Watershed Development in India: An Approach Evolving through Experience” can be downloaded from this page.
Some key insights and lessons are:
- Micro-watersheds are the appropriate scale for program implementation with communities, with guidance by larger scale catchment assessments.
- Decentralized and participatory development is a necessary approach for success.
- Invest in participatory, evidence-based micro-watershed plans with communities.
- Invest in capacity building and information sharing to build sustainability and a body of knowledge.
- Invest in comprehensive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to track implementation and support management.
Author : World Bank
Last Updated : 12-18-2017
Traditional oases in Tunisia have significant potential in terms of: intensive development leading to job creation; biodiversity support; diversification through innovative and green activities; and tourism based on exceptional natural beauty in the South. However, these oases face a number of threats. Traditional oases are characterized by: old plantations; three-layered vegetated surfaces; high-tree density (400 trees/ha); very fragmented and small sized individual plantations; low yields; and irrigation from declining water tables. In addition, poor marketing opportunities, limited credit, inheritance practices that continually subdivide land holdings and result in poor land management, and inappropriate tourist development have increased the overuse of natural resources, especially water. This, coupled with the breakdown of land management practices, has helped to increase salinization, loss of soil fertility and sand encroachment. Access to crop and livestock resources to cope with these conditions, and the increased pest and disease problems associated with biodiversity loss, are affecting the survival of oasis farmers. Other challenges include: limited opportunities for capacity development; inappropriate policies and legislative instruments; low level of involvement of local populations, particularly women, in decision-making processes; and the continuing loss of traditional knowledge.
This activity seeks to support the development of a coherent and comprehensive national strategy for the sustainable management of traditional oasis ecosystems in Tunisia, or an Oasis Participatory Development Plan (OPDP), which will involve all stakeholders. This strategy will provide a framework for initiatives aimed at supporting and improving the specific ecosystem services that oases provide, conservation and enhancement of the genetic diversity, and improving livelihoods of people living in traditional oases. The aim will be to develop and pilot a new dynamic participatory approach that enhances the resilience of the traditional oasis ecosystem and involves all relevant stakeholders at local and national levels. The studies supported by the project will build on the findings of a number of analytical studies already carried out by the Government and its development partners (such as the GIZ-supported study on sustainable management of oasis systems, including appropriate indicators, and the IUCN & UKaid study on natural resource governance), and enlarge their scope.
An overall strategic vision for the sustainable management of oasis ecosystems has been prepared, stakeholders have reviewed a comprehensive draft of the strategy, and a number of baseline studies have been produced. The OPDP framework was prepared and reviewed by stakeholders, and six oases were selected, representing a variety of Tunisian oasis ecosystems, and are currently under completion. In addition, a communications strategy and an action plan are being developed, with expected completion in March or April 2015.
An overall national strategic vision for the sustainable management of oasis ecosystems has been prepared. Stakeholders reviewed and approved the national strategy. The development of the strategy has been completed in the context of the World Bank (WB)/Global Environment Facility (GEF) Oasis project, by the elaboration of an action plan which was validated during a national workshop in September 2015.
The framework of an OPDP has been prepared and reviewed by stakeholders, and six oases were selected, representing a variety of Tunisian oasis ecosystems. The OPDP includes a number of priority community-based micro-projects, which translate the strategic vision into immediate investment priorities, including sustainable management of water and soils, protection of biodiversity and diversification of local livelihoods).
Several national workshops and regional consultations have been organized to disseminate, present and validate the strategy and the OPDPs with national and local stakeholders. A communication strategy has been developed and disseminated.
Author : World Bank
Last Updated : 05-23-2017
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CIFOR, Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, PROFOR
Developing countries are expected to suffer the most from changes in climatic patterns. The effects of climate change, including higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and increased frequency of weather related disasters are bound to create risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies. International and national discussions on forests and climate change have largely been focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+).
Less obvious, yet equally important, is the role of forests in enhancing landscape resilience to climate change—for example at the scale of a watershed. Forests and trees provide environmental services ranging from increasing water quality and quantity in well defined areas, reducing soil erosion, creating micro-climatic conditions that maintain (or in some cases improve) productivity. The sustainable management of forests can also strengthen social resilience, by offering a diversification of revenue sources and product supplies, and building the capacity of local and national institutions.
Forest and tree management could provide a low-cost approach to enhancing resilience of local landscapes to climate change but needs to balance production, livelihood, adaptation and mitigation goals.
PROFOR is conducting a study to improve our understanding of the role of forests in improving the climate resilience of other sectors (mainly agriculture, water, social and biomass based energy sectors). The goal is to inform national adaptation strategies so that they explicitly reflect the value of forest and allocate appropriate resources to facilitate the use of forests for adaptation.
This study will:
• Map forest management approaches and their cross-sectoral impacts
• Identify interactions between forest sector adaptation (or existing management) and resilience enhancement in other sectors (mainly water, biomass-based energy, and agriculture)
• Assess the institutional and financial requirements to identify and implement tree/forest-based adaptation measures
• Identify ways of supporting local knowledge and science that promote tree/forest based adaptation measures with multi-sectoral benefits
The state of knowledge report, synthesis report and case studies are now complete. Briefs for each case study will be available for download soon (the Honduras case study is already available at left in English and Spanish.
Author : CIFOR, Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development,
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
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A multidisciplinary and multi-agency team comprising leading experts from the Brazilian National Agricultural and Forestry Research Agency (EMBRAPA), the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Sao Paulo, the Brazilian Agency for Space Research (INPE), and the Brazilian Institute for International Trade Negotiations (ICONE), a major think-tank.
Erick Fernandes, Adviser, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management, World Bank (Latin America and Caribbean), managed and oversaw the program.
There is growing concern that Brazilian agriculture and forestry sectors are increasingly vulnerable to climate variability and change (eg. a decline in productivity of subsistence crops in northeastern Brazil; increased risk of fire and Amazonian forest dieback). To meet development, food security, climate adaptation and mitigation, and trade goals over the next several decades, Brazil will need to significantly increase per area productivity of food and pasture systems in central and southern Brazil while simultaneously reducing deforestation, rehabilitating millions of hectares of degraded land for cropping and forest plantations in the Amazon, the cerrado, the Atlantic forest, and the Pampas.
However, because of previous climate modeling and data limitations, there was still significant uncertainty associated with the projections for Amazonian rainfall (timing, seasonality) as well as the magnitude and locations of climate impacts in Brazil over the next 50 years. Improved climate change impact assessments were urgently needed to guide policy makers on priorities, geographical targeting (hot spots), and phasing of investments for adataptation and mitigation to climate change.
This activity implemented by the World Bank in partnership with leading Brazilian agencies and supported by PROFOR focused on establishing a robust and integrated decision and policy support framework that could empower Brazil’s policy makers and the agricultural sector to undertake the adaptation necessary to cope with projected climate change.
Its objectives were:
- 1.To refine the available climate change projections for Brazil via the coupling of global, regional, and local scale modeling currently being tested by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in Brazil and the regional climate program for South America (CREAS).
- 2. To integrate the INPE and CREAS suite of tested global (300 km horizontal resolution) and regional models (50 km horizontal resolution) with the state of the art Brazilian developments in Regional Atmospheric Model (BRAMS) that incorporates aerosol and land cover/deforestation/burning feedbacks for much improved local weather and climate (especially rainfall) projections.
- 3. To make the Brazilian Agro-Eco Zoning Model that is currently used by the Central Bank of Brazil for rural credit programs "climate-smart" by integrating the high resolution climate projection outputs from 1 and 2.
- 4. To make the existing Brazilian Land Use Model (BLUM) climate-sensitive by coupling it with the outputs described above to assess: (a) Climate change induced changes in supply and demand of agricultural commodities at a national level, (b) Changes on the distribution of land use and production (agriculture, forestry, pasture) in Brazil for given supply and demand scenarios, and (c) Economic effects on agricultural and forestry production and profitability.
Projections for land use and forest land cover change, and an assessment of the distribution of land use and production were undertaken. Specifically, previous climate change projections were refined using a global, regional and local scale modeling; Regional Climate Change Scenarios for South America (CREAS) were used for regional and sectoral impact assessments; the Agro Climatic Risk and Vulnerability Zoning Model developed by EMBRAPA and UNICAMP was refined; soils were classified and cropping areas that are less vulnerable to climate change impacts were identified based on temperature effects through 2020 and 2030. A final report, in English and Portuguese, is forthcoming.
The study showed that while for some crops (soybean and cotton) the projected negative climate impacts to 2020 are likely to be more moderate than previously projected, for other crops (beans and corn), however, the impacts could be significantly more severe than projected in previous studies. All the climate change scenarios simulated in this study resulted in a reduction of ‘low risk’ cropland area in 2020 and 2030.
More specifically, the findings suggested that the South Region of Brazil, currently an agricultural powerhouse, could potentially lose up to 5 million hectares (ha) of its highly suitable agricultural land due to climate change, while Brazil as a whole could have around 11 million ha less of highly suitable agricultural land by 2030. The findings of this study are being incorporated by EMBRAPA into the EMBRAPA/UNICAMP Agroecozone Model to improve the climate projections that underpin the national rural credit and insurance programs in Brazil.
Read the report in Portuguese.
Author : A multidisciplinary and multi-agency team comprising leading experts from the
Brazilian National Agricultural and Forestry Research Agency (EMBRAPA), the
University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in Sao Paulo, the Brazilian Agency for Space
Research (INPE), and the Brazilian Institute for International Trade
Negotiations (ICONE), a major think-tank.
Erick Fernandes, Adviser, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management,
World Bank (Latin America and Caribbean), managed and oversaw the program.
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
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World Bank, SNV Netherlands Development Organization, Natural Resources Solutions consultancy - Kosovo, REGEA Croatia, Diava Consulting - Albania, Faculty of Forestry - Macedonia, Wageningen University - The Netherlands
In many countries—particularly in the Balkans—most of the environmental services provided by the sustainable management of forests and uplands are seldom quantified, often not valued, and even more rarely captured by the owners/managers of these resources. Capturing these benefits has the potential to enhance the environmental management of forest resources, protect landscapes from erosion and downstream water systems from siltation and flooding, increase carbon sequestration (with a possible decrease in consumption of fossil fuels), while at the same time helping to address rural poverty.
To increase the likelihood of payment for these environmental services, the value and scale of the benefits generated need to better understood.
With support from multiple partners including PROFOR, the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia staff is undertaking two case studies to assess:
- the benefits of sustainable upland forest and land management for downstream water users, and
- the effectiveness of increasing the use and efficiency of firewood in reducing the use of fossil fuels and hence greenhouse gas emissions.
The first case study focuses primarily on the Ulza hydro-power dam and watershed in Albania. The second case study looks mainly at wood supply, stoves, and heating systems in Kosovo.
This research aims to define scientifically sound methodologies; establish key baseline data in some case studies; provide quantitative estimates of the value of specific targeted environmental services; propose mechanisms to start or increase payment for these services in the two countries; and then disseminate the results and experience both regionally and more broadly. The results will be particularly helpful for countries in the process of European Union accession, as they develop agro-environmental payments within the common agriculture policy.
All field work and data collection activities for the two case studies have concluded. Thirty-two project publications have been translated into Albanian and disseminated through the project website http://www.cnvp-wbprofor.org/home.html, the project blog http://wbprofor.blog.com, and the project Facebook page. The main publication Study and Analysis of Innovative Financing for Sustainable Forest Management in the Southwest Balkan: Innovative Financing for Sustainable Forest Management (September 2013) is also available on PROFOR website. A series of stakeholder workshops was held in Albania and Kosovo. The final results workshop for Albania took place in September 2013 in Tirana, and the final results workshop for Kosovo occurred on in Prishtina the same month.
The project generated numerous findings that are detailed in the project publications. Highlights include the following:
-At least 31.5% of the Ulza reservoir storage is filled with sediment.
-Erosion and sediment are correlated to land uses in a measurable way, with forested areas producing the lowest sediment load.
-Around 12% of stakeholders in the watershed are willing to pay for environmental services such as reduced erosion and reduced sedimentation.
-Total wood biomass production is about 1.25 million cubic meters, of which 0.17 million cubic meters is legally harvested forest.
-95% of wood harvested from forests is used for firewood.
-Improving existing agroforestry sites and introducing fast-growing species are good opportunities to increase wood biomass production.
-Wood biomass is an economically attractive energy option for individual household heating and public buildings.
-Carbon markets could support energy production from wood biomass.
This activity is ongoing. A website dedicated to sharing the results of this activity has been set up at the following address: http://www.cnvp-wbprofor.org/home.html.Key findings and reports will also be shared on this page. You can also follow us on twitter (www.twitter.com/forestideas) or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates.
Author : World Bank , SNV Netherlands Development Organization , Natural
Resources Solutions consultancy - Kosovo , REGEA Croatia , Diava
Consulting - Albania , Faculty of Forestry - Macedonia , Wageningen
University - The Netherlands 
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
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Professor Elfatih A. B. Eltahir (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT). World Bank Middle East North Africa region.
Desert Cloud Forests in Yemen and Oman are unique and fragile ecosystems, subject to human threats and climate change repercussions.
They are a remnant of the moist vegetation belt that once spread across the Arabain Pensinsula when the climate was generally wetter, and are host to precious biodiversity. They also represent a safety net for the local population who relies on these forests (kept alive by extracting water droplets from low-lying passing clouds) for wood collection and geazing land. However development pressure in terms of deforestation and uncontrolled grazing represents a serious risk.
This activity, put forward by the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa region in May 2010, proposed to:
1) improve understanding of the mechansims behind the unique environment of the Desert Cloud Forests in Yemen (Hawf region) and Oman (Dhofar region);
2) explore the dependency of the relationships and interactions between the local poor population and the forests both in terms of benefits and threats. Surveys and consultations would rely partly on the Poverty Forests Linkages Toolkit sponsored by PROFOR.
3) develop proposals for sustainable integrated forest management that would benefit both the Cloud Forests and the welfare of local communities that depend on them, keeping in mind climate uncertainties. Identification of these options will be based on the results of the scientific and field analyses mentioned above as well as best practices from outside the region.
Because political instability in Yemen prevented the team from conducting fieldwork, this activity was closed prematurely at the end of 2011. A report assessing the scientific background of the Desert Cloud Forests, which was prepared by Prof. Elfatih A. B. Eltahir (Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT) under this PROFOR grant, is available in draft form on this web page.
The report concludes that an increase in animal population is degrading the natural ecosystem in many locations (camels browsing on tree canopies). As for climate change, the main hazard to the desert cloud forest of Oman and Yemen is the scenario of an upward shift in cloud cover and fog during summer; however, that scenario is very uncertain and increased cloud frequency is also a possibility.
Author : Professor Elfatih A. B. Eltahir  (Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
MIT). World Bank Middle East North Africa region.
Last Updated : 05-23-2017
What lessons can other countries of the world learn from successful examples of integrated watershed management in arid zones, rain-fed lowlands, and higher elevation sites in India?
- The three projects have demonstrated that a fully staffed and equipped Project Management Unit (PMU) is necessary for smooth and effective management of an integrated watershed-based livelihoods project. Such personnel should be adequately trained and retained for at least 3 years. This is not the duration of the project but this is an optimum time period for the personnel to have an effective tenure since it takes time to understand the project and be effective in the field.
- A micro project (sub-watershed level or micro-watershed level) should be planned for at least 5-7 years in order that sufficient social capital is built up. It takes time and close accompaniment to develop vibrant and representative local institutions which are most necessary to ensure continued maintenance of created assets in the post project period.
- Capacity building is crucial for sustainable outcomes to be achieved and progressed. And it should be comprehensive, progressively undertaken and involving all stakeholders in accordance with their requirements.
- Performance based payments systems, in order to be effective, must involve all stakeholders in their design and formulation and should be fairly administered, transparent, and sensitive to emergent and unanticipated events. All parties to the agreement, including government functionaries, should be held equally responsible and accountable. Since disputes will inevitably arise, there should be a conflict mediation mechanism set up at all the relevant levels coinciding with the introduction of such a payment system. In order to reduce discretion and arbitrariness, the system should be supported by an IT-enabled Decision Support System introduced at all decision making various levels.
- The manner in which agency personnel interact with the community sets the tone for the project and determines its outcome. Respect, commitment and integrity bring forth enthusiasm, cooperation, and transparency from the community. However, for this dynamic to be realized at the field level, it must also permeate the entire delivery structure and mechanism of the project. One can expect participatory processes at the village level only if the underlying values and behavioral patterns of the entire project delivery mechanism, from the higher to lower levels, reflect mutual respect and inclusion. A participation-based project must be sensitive to this aspect and make special efforts to inculcate these values into its procedures, interactions and "way of doing business".
- Transparency and public accountability, especially in regard to works and monies, is the key to smooth implementation and harmonious social relations. As the post project impact study of Sujala (this study was conducted for Karnataka as part of the ICR in late 2003) has indicated, all CBOs that have continued to function effectively post project have consistently re-affirmed that is the transparent functioning and accountability of all members of the group, especially the leaders, that have kept the groups together and functioning.
- Effective conflict resolution mechanisms that are representative and respected by the community or related stakeholders have to be established at all levels to handle disputes and complaints that often do arise. They should be perceived as responsive, transparent and fair in functioning.
- The inclusion, empowerment and mainstreaming of women, the poor and vulnerable groups in the decision making processes of the project as well as in the institutional life of the village is not only a moral imperative, but also crucial to the sustainability of the project. Generally, these groups draw upon common pool resources for their survival and unless they directly benefit from the development of these resources, they will have no incentive to protect or sustainably manage these assets. Furthermore, as income or quality-of- life enhancing benefits increasingly accrue to all groups in a community, especially the poor, not only is social capital enhanced, but the economic, cultural and political life of a community also improves.
- Networking and linking the village with local developmental agencies (civil society, government, private agencies) is vital for value addition as well as for continued accessing of additional resources in the post project period.
- Projects involving multiple agencies work best where institutional arrangements leverage the comparative advantages of each of the partners. In a situation where good NGOs are available, as in the case of the Sujala and Gramya projects, it is preferable to engage NGOs to mobilize and build the capacities of the villagers; where NGOs have the requisite technical and managerial expertise, then it is preferable to give them the entire task as they can then efficiently calibrate and dovetail various aspects of a project and be held accountable for outcomes, not just deliverables as would normally be the case where responsibilities pertain only to specified components. This would leave project authorities free to focus on monitoring and overall management of the project.
Author : World Bank in India 
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
The Government of Turkey has become a global leader in the fight against soil erosion, by making extensive investments in rehabilitating degraded landscapes. With support from the World Bank, poor communities in upland catchments have been engaged in developing and implementing a program of watershed rehabilitation. This integrated approach has succeeded in helping to tackle the problem of poverty in these communities. It has also succeeded as a model for rural service delivery by providing a platform for multiple government institutions to work together to be responsive to locally identified constraints and needs.
One weakness of the approach, however, is that the selection of the most critical catchments for investment in land rehabilitation activities remains somewhat subjective. The current choice of investments which seek to balance the need to rehabilitate badly degraded areas with prevalence of rural poverty and areas hard-hit by urban migration are based largely on perceptions.
This project seeks to identify land degradation hot spots in Turkey, and, working with available datasets on wealth and poverty in Turkey, overlay these with information on where the poorest households are most vulnerable to the problem of land degradation.
The findings will be useful for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to better target its already extensive investments in watershed rehabilitation on the most critical areas in Turkey where land degradation is both a serious problem and where problems of poverty are most severe and improve the efficiency of public spending on watershed rehabilitation.
The findings will also be linked to ongoing national policy and institutional processes, to complement Turkey’s Action Plan for Combating Deforestation, the measures outlined in the 9th National Development Plan which focus on reducing land degradation, and institutional measures which are expected to complement Turkey’s efforts with respect to accession to the European Union.
This activity is ongoing. Findings will be shared on this page when they become available. You can also follow us on twitter (twitter.com/forestideas) or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates.
Author : ISRIC World Soil Information and Wageningen UR
Last Updated : 02-24-2017