A model for multi-functional forest-agriculture landscapes in Africa – embedding ECOLIMITS in the Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme
In Ghana, cocoa-forests support over 12 million people, but climate change and deforestation threaten the livelihoods on which these people depend, and the status quo is now regarded as unsustainable.
The Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP) has been developed to transform the forest-agriculture landscapes by acknowledging and managing the multiple functions they perform. The Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme aims to improve rural livelihoods and reduce poverty, reduce carbon emissions from deforestation, protect a wide range of ecosystem services and biodiversity, and improve the resilience and adaptive capacity of these landscapes and farmers to environmental change.
Inevitably, the Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme had knowledge gaps, which our ESPA project ECOLIMITS was ideally positioned to fill. ECOLIMITS focused on many of the key components of the Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme, and our study landscape around Kakum National Park overlaps with one of the key landscapes in which the Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme will soon be rolled out. The aim of our ECOLIMITS Impact project was therefore to embed ECOLIMITS socio-ecological findings and results within the Ghana Cocoa-Forest REDD+ Programme, so that our science can help shape the programme as it develops and is implemented.
As a result of this project, a meeting was convened which brought together senior scientists, technicians, policy makers, and leading private sector companies from the cocoa and forestry sectors to share key results in an understandable manner, and to share a suite of policy briefs for input and revision. The meeting also resulted in the establishment of a distribution chain, which will be used to share future results from ECOLIMITS as analysis and writing-up continues.
This project demonstrated a potentially powerful model of how to translate complex research results into understandable findings of high relevance to practitioners. This approach and process is also highly applicable elsewhere in Africa.