Our work

As the focus of its work, during its second phase (2013-2015) the 3FI has selected large-scale jurisdictions (states, provinces, regional governments, departments) where high levels of deforestation have been documented or are very likely in the future and where the potential to lower or avoid deforestation by fostering the transition to low-emission rural development is high. In all selected jurisdictions, frontier expansion threatens the territories and livelihoods of indigenous and other forest-dependent populations and smallholders are largely excluded from public policies and sustainable supply chain interventions. The selected jurisdictions represent a diversity of tropical forest landscapes and of the varying processes of deforestation and land use change through which they are being transformed. All jurisdictions have large populations of smallholders and traditional communities that depend upon slash-and- burn agriculture for their subsistence and income generation. The jurisdictions vary greatly, however, in the contribution of global commodity markets to deforestation, with the largest contribution in Mato Grosso and Central Kalimantan. Large-scale, commodity-driven deforestation could begin in the near future in West Papua and areas within the Colombian Amazon. In Acre, Brazil, beef for domestic markets is the main driver of deforestation.We also support work in Paraguay, a country experiencing great soy boom and beef expansion, and Ghana, where strides towards LED-R have been made but deforestation rates remain high, with agriculture expansion as a large driver.

Quick facts:
  • Deforestation declined from a ten-year average of 19,500 km2 through 2005 to 5,843 km2 in 2013, a 70% reduction.
  • Brazil can achieve zero net forest carbon emissions through a 90% decline in deforestation, 12 million ha of new forests, and steep reductions in emissions from Amazon forest fires and selective logging.

Brazil is the largest country in South America, with an area of 8.5 million km2 that encompasses the majority of the world’s largest tropical rainforest – the Amazon. Brazil’s 201 million people make it the fifth most populous nation in the world, and its $2.5 trillion dollars of GDP make it the seventh largest economy.

From 1996 through 2005 Brazil was the epicenter of a growing global environmental threat: unchecked deforestation on an unprecedented scale. Deforestation cleared 19,500 km2 of rainforest per year during this period, driven by expanding soy and cattle sectors. Since then, Brazil has made a revolutionary change: the deforestation rate has declined 70%, even as the production of soy and cattle has continued to grow. Brazil has demonstrated that it is possible to convince landholders not to clear their land by cracking down on illegal deforesters, and by cutting farmers off from public credit programs if they are located in high-deforestation counties.

In Brazil, the 3FI is facilitating a multi-sector agreement that establishes milestones for achieving “zero net deforestation” for the Brazilian Amazon by 2020, supported by a positive incentive system.

Quick facts:
  • Forests cover around 52% of the Colombian territory (60 million hectares); 67% of these forests are located in the Amazon region.
  • 57% of national deforestation occurs in the Amazon region.
  • Direct causes of deforestation in Colombia are related to agriculture expansion, particularly low-scale agriculture associated to poverty, armed conflict and other socioeconomic factors. Despite covering less than 1% of the planet’s surface, Colombia is home to more than 10% of the world’s plant and animal species.

In the last ten years, Colombia has emerged as one of the most important economic centers in Latin America, with burgeoning agriculture and livestock sectors and free trade agreements, Colombia is poised to become a global leader in producing food and fuel. However, the expansion of these sectors, together with mining and oil activities and a national plan focused on economic growth and job creation, threaten Colombia’s still extensive areas of natural ecosystems, while some local populations are affected by internal conflict, poverty and lack of basic services.

Ongoing efforts to slow deforestation rates, a commitment to end deforestation in the Amazon by 2020, and initiatives such as the Colombian Strategy for Low Carbon Development and the Amazon Vision Program signal Colombia’s potential to become a leader in slowing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving biodiversity while promoting a package of instruments to strengthen monitoring capacities, governance, sustainable production along supply chains of commodities or alternative biodiversity-based products.

In Colombia, the 3FI is promoting the dialogue among relevant stakeholders of the agriculture sector; to identify instruments and mechanisms needed to promote LED-R along supply chains and at the jurisdictional level. EII is leading the strategy for Colombia in collaboration with government, NGOs and private sector organizations and companies.

Quick facts:
  • Indonesia’s size, climate, and geography support the world’s second highest level of biodiversity (after Brazil) and second highest level of endemism (after Australia).
  • Indonesia has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2020 while attaining 7% economic growth.
  • Indonesia produces 51% of the world’s sustainably certified palm oil.

Indonesia is poised to become a leader among tropical nations that are expanding food production while keeping forests standing. Deforestation represented 80% of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2011.

The government is committed to a 26% reduction in these emissions with domestic resources in 2020, and an additional 15% of emissions reduction if international support is provided. To achieve this reduction, good land management and governance is essential.

In Indonesia, 3FI’s goal is to build upon the strong political support in selected localities for a transition to low-deforestation, productive rural development (LED-R) to achieve multi-stakeholder consensus in support of this agenda. We focus on larger administrative areas, including Districts and Provinces. We engage private sector actors, such as palm oil companies, in the transition to low-deforestation development by identifying and communicating the corporate advantages of this engagement, such as greater efficiency. We identify opportunities within government programs and policies to foster good land management through proper planning and land classification, a plantation licensing process, environmental monitoring, and law enforcement. Companies and smallholders located within a district progressing to zero deforestation should have better access to both markets and financing, facilitated by proper infrastructure.

Quick facts:
  • The Paraguayan economy is heavily dependent on land use – forestry, livestock and agriculture together account for 24% of the country’s GDP.
  • The agricultural sector employs, both formally and informally, almost one-half of the entire population in a country where over 40% of people live in rural areas.
  • About 59% of Paraguay’s total land area consists of forest (23.4 million hectares/57.7 million acres in 2000).

Since 2012, Paraguay has been in a period of substantial growth, with average annual GDP increasing at roughly 10%. In the last two decades, soybean area in the country has tripled and is now projected to reach 3.6 million hectares in 2015/16. Paraguay’s cattle sector has also exhibited steady growth of 4-6 percent in recent years, with beef exports anticipated to reach a record high of 360 thousand tons by the end of 2015.

Paraguay’s transition to LED-R is more critical than ever in the context of country’s rapidly growing soy and cattle sectors. The 3FI Consortium, through Solidaridad and RTRS, is supporting this transition by convening key actors from the government, private sector, smallholders, and local environmental organizations to develop a shared strategy for sustainable soy and cattle farming.

Quick facts:
  • In Ghana, the agriculture sector is the most important economic sector and employs more than 60% of the population on a formal and informal basis, and accounts for almost half of GDP and export earnings
  • Oil palm is an indigenous tree of West Africa (Elaeis guineensis). Ghana’s Oil palm cultivation was last estimated at 336,746 ha in 2011, with small-holder farmers accounting for 88% of oil palm land area.
  • Ghana is the world’s second largest producer of cocoa, which generates roughly 61% of the country’s export earnings.

In 2010, 21% of Ghana’s land was covered by forest, 8% of which was classified as highly bio-diverse carbon dense primary forest. Environmental degradation of natural resources has been flagged as a critical issue in the country – between 2005 and 2010 Ghana had the sixth highest deforestation rate globally. Addressing sustainable management of natural resources has been an important component of Ghana’s environmental policy. In 2013, the country’s National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) was enacted, with improving ecosystem biodiversity and enhancing food security as main focus areas of this low-carbon development strategy. Policies like the NCCP along with Ghana’s REDD+ readiness preparation proposal (R-PP) have effectively positioned the country to initiate further transitions to climate-smart agricultural production.

The 3FI consortium, through Solidaridad, supports efforts at the national level to engage government and agribusinesses in discussions about the transition to LED-R. We aim to build a consensus on a landscape-wide planning approach that will have buy-in from government and the agricultural sector, particularly oil palm and cocoa, together with the timber sector. Our sector-specific strategy focuses on developing a 20 year vision for climate-smart approach to oil palm farming in Ghana and includes organizational partnerships with groups present in Ghana (e.g. Sustainable Western African Palm Oil Programme [SWAPP], and Nature Conservation Research Centre [NCRC]).