Forests, resilience and climate change

This project focused on generating a better understanding and making the most of forest resilience in the face of climate change.

2006 - 2008
Duncan Macqueen

Director of forests, Natural Resources research group

Significant global climate change is inevitable. Forest ecosystems may not be able to adapt to the rate of temperature change or the intensity of weather events and other effects such as fires or floods. These impacts are likely to hit the world’s poor hardest with 1.2 billion people in Africa and Asia dependent on trees to generate food or cash.

Forests may also serve as a source of resilience – absorbing harmful CO2 emissions, providing resources to local populations, and through forest-landscape design to protect communities from increasingly erratic weather.

With an overall aim of better understanding and making the most of forest resilience in the face of climate change, this poject aimed to:

  • Ssupport local institutions to make a realistic assessment of current and future links between climate change, forest resilience and forest-based livelihoods, and
  • Develop and implement action plans for institutional capacity building and effective adaptation.

What IIED did

A workshop was held with participants from Africa and Asia during the UN Conference of Parties in Nairobi, November 2006 to consider the possible challenges to forest-based livelihoods, and this led to an informal international network on forestry issues within climate change being established.

The mapping of current international projects and literature helped contribute to wider international awareness and understanding of the relationships between forest resilience and climate change, and helped to generate debate on the relationships between climate change, forest resilience, forest-based livelihoods and institutional capacity.