One generation plants the trees, another gets the shade (Chinese proverb)
To illustrate the long-terms effects of climate change, imagine a family planting a beautiful walnut grove near their home so their children and grand-children can enjoy its shadow, benefit from eating tasty walnuts, and maybe even get extra-income from selling the walnut harvest in a local market. The family lovingly plants the trees and cares for them, expecting the results of their work to be there for decades to come. Yet what if average temperatures in the area where the family lives change? What if the level of precipitation is different 20 years from now, and more frequent droughts affect the walnut harvest? The family’s investment would be lost.
The same is true for entire landscapes. When working on their long-term management from sustainable agriculture to restoration and conservation goals, countries need a way to understand what kind of investments are climate-resilient, so that future generations can benefit from them.
The Climate Resilience tool for forest and landscape restoration aims to help countries, regions—and eventually each family that depends on forests and landscapes for their livelihood—to use today’s advanced global knowledge to plant the seeds for a greener, more prosperous future today.
One of the World Bank Group’s unique advantage in supporting client countries lies in the global knowledge that supports the design of operations and creates opportunities to pilot new approaches across the globe. With support from the PROGREEN Partnership for Sustainable and Resilient Landscapes, the World Bank is now piloting a “Climate Resilience” tool for tree planting projects – developed in cooperation with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and MIGA. The tool synthesizes most widely used climate projection models and uses site-specific data for threats triggered by climate change, including increased risk of fires and pests.
In practical terms, this approach would help the family described above to decide whether they should plant walnuts, pistachios, pine or another kind of tree species. This kind of Climate Resilience tool can help countries shape their landscape restoration and forestry initiatives by providing policymakers and practitioners with a new planning framework.
No time like the present to create the future
Remember how our grandparents used to tell us how “back in my days the winters were colder” or “we used to get more rain this time of year”? Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).. Restoration of degraded lands, investment in ecosystem services and conservation of biodiversity can provide a viable solution to challenges faced by a changing climate. “Ecosystems that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters “ are also central for fulfilling the
These goals can only be achieved through climate-smart and resilient solutions. Why? According to IPCC (2019), “all pathways that limit warming to 1.5ºC require land-based mitigation and land-use change, including reforestation, afforestation, reduced deforestation”., – and this is where the Climate Resilience tool for forest and landscape restoration can make a difference.
From Tajikistan, Uzbekistan to Lao PDR – paving a resilient path
Like any new knowledge tool, the Climate Resilience tool for forest and landscape restoration projects needs to be tested on the ground. As part of the Central Asia Resilient Landscapes Restoration (RESILAND CA+) Program, the World Bank is working in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan,using this approach in roughly a quarter of the countries’ administrative units (oblasts), with a special focus on the border between the two counties where the levels of land degradation, poverty, and fragility are highest.
Using the Climate Resilience tool for forest and landscape restoration, World Bank teams evaluate the probability of different climate-related threats such as forest fires, droughts, floods, water scarcity, shifts in growing areas, pests and pathogens, and others in a context of a specific land site. Based on these projections, they develop recommendations on what tree species are best for particular site, how to mitigate land degradation, erosion, and loss of vegetation cover and preserve productive and sustainable land uses like agriculture, logging, nature-based tourism and others.
Similarly, in Lao PDR the Bank is aiming to support communities in over 600 villages and 25 forest areas to secure livelihoods and jobs from sustainably managed forests and small-scale tree plantations, reinforcing the project with a Climate Resilience tool for forest and landscape restoration and at the same time promoting the enabling environment for private sector investment in forests with data and information.
In the end, the Climate Resilience tool for forest and landscape restoration aims to help countries, regions—and eventually each family that depends on forests and landscapes for their livelihood—to use today’s advanced global knowledge to plant the seeds for greener, more prosperous future today.