The unsung giants of climate and nature investment: insights from an international survey of local climate and nature action by smallholder forest and farm producers
In this working paper, we present the findings of a survey of more than 1,800 farmers across 13 different countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The survey suggests that smallholder forest and farm producers (those who manage 10 hectares or less of land) are investing on average 20-40% of their annual income (an average of US$838 per year) in adapting to climate change. Many of the adaptation approaches taken are good for nature and can help conserve biodiversity and store carbon, which in turn improves climate resilience.
Globally, this figure can be extrapolated to estimate that the 439 million smallholder producers around the world are collectively investing approximately $368 billion annually in climate adaptation actions (excluding labour costs) with many positive impacts for nature. This figure dwarfs international public funding commitments for adaptation.
The survey is a first attempt to shed light on the enormous investments by smallholder forest and farm producers into climate and nature actions. Collectively, they are the unsung giants of climate change and nature actions, investing significant time and resources in those actions.
Unfortunately, not enough support and finance are reaching those producers to shape more equitable, biodiverse and resilient forest and farm landscapes. The paper argues that more innovative public and private financing models are needed to leverage the collective investment power of smallholder producers and ensure more finance is channelled through forest and farm producer organisations.