PROJECT: WATER FOR RESILIENT LANDSCAPESKnowledge production
The linkages between water and forests are highly complex and context specific, with profound impacts on water yield, water quality, and the regulation of basin flow. Changes to the landscape can also increase or reduce the landscape’s ability to sequester carbon and the likelihood of droughts and floods.
Decision-making about landscape management must be based on science and requires continuous research on how these complex interlinkages operate in the local context. SIWI’s Water for Resilient Landscapes team contributes to this important knowledge exchange. The Programme also supports training activities such as Locally Controlled Forest Restoration and e-learning modules on the linkages between forests and water. The general public can learn more about water and landscapes through recurring webinars.
Here are some areas where the Water for Resilient Landscapes team contributes its expertise:
Nature-based solutions in forestry
Nature-based solutions can make forest management more sustainable than conventional forestry. The Water for Resilient Landscapes team offers expertise on approaches that support water-related ecosystems services. With SIWI’s focus on governance, the team often contributes knowledge on the links between, science, policy, and practice, including in this special issue of the journal Unasylva Forests: nature-based solutions for water.
The Water for Resilient Landscapes programme supports the generation of new knowledge on landscape restoration and information exchange related to best-practice examples. Training and capacity-building can help local stakeholders identify ecosystem services provided by the landscape, analyze trade-offs and and design restoration methodologies. Decision-makers learn more about restoration strategies that integrate physical, biological, and socioeconomic aspects. The approach is described in training manuals such as Water Productive and Resilient Landscape Management Technologies.
Loss of ecosystem services and the hydrological functioning of landscape is often driven by land degradation caused by unsustainable land and forest management practices. The SIWI/SWH landscape team has therefore worked closely with the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) to strengthen knowledge about sustainable land and water management practices, especially in drylands, and evaluated the Best Practices database of the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The report can be found in the UNCCD Knowledge Hub: https://library.unccd.int/Details/fullCatalogue/1534
Agroforestry and Water for resilient landscapes
In agroforestry, trees are planted in agricultural land, providing multiple benefits. The practice can improve food production systems and increase the farm’s access to water, without adversely affecting downstream water users. The role of trees is however different in different context and more research is needed. The SIWI Landscape Team take active part in the AgroForestry Network to include integrate consideration to of water flows in their activities, including and has contributed to the policy briefs Agroforestry for adaptation and mitigation to climate change and Agroforestry and Water for resilient landscapes.
Climate mitigation and adaptation
Interest is growing in how the forest and water sectors can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The role of sustainable land and water management is described in the Special Report from 2019 on Climate Change and Land, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with SIWI’s Professor Anna Tengberg as one of the contributing authors. SIWI is continuously raising the importance of the clmage change-landscape nexus in international processes; more information can also be found in the policy brief Managing the Forest Water Nexus: Opportunities for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.
The Water for Resilient Landscapes programme draws on this knowledge in its advice to decision-makers and capacity-building for practitioners. The landscapes team also contributes to generating new knowledge as part of the Climate-Water Mitigation Project.