Forests and Food: Addressing Hunger and Nutrition Across Sustainable Landscapes - cover image


Bhaskar Vira; Christoph Wildburger; Stephanie Mansourian

Published On





  • English

Print Length

288 pages (viii + 280)


Paperback178 x 15 x 254 mm(7" x 0.6" x 10")
Hardback178 x 17 x 254 mm(7" x 0.69" x 10")


Paperback1114g (39.30oz)
Hardback1584g (55.87oz)



OCLC Number





  • RND
  • RNU
  • MBNH3


  • NAT014000
  • NAT011000
  • HEA017000


  • HD9000


  • Forests
  • food
  • hunger
  • nutrition
  • malnutrition
  • ecology
  • agriculture
  • environment
Thoth logoPowered by Thoth.

Forests and Food

Addressing Hunger and Nutrition Across Sustainable Landscapes

As population estimates for 2050 reach over 9 billion, issues of food security and nutrition have been dominating academic and policy debates. A total of 805 million people are undernourished worldwide and malnutrition affects nearly every country on the planet. Despite impressive productivity increases, there is growing evidence that conventional agricultural strategies fall short of eliminating global hunger, as well as having long-term ecological consequences. Forests can play an important role in complementing agricultural production to address the Sustainable Development Goals on zero hunger. Forests and trees can be managed to provide better and more nutritionally-balanced diets, greater control over food inputs – particularly during lean seasons and periods of vulnerability (especially for marginalised groups) – and deliver ecosystem services for crop production. However forests are undergoing a rapid process of degradation, a complex process that governments are struggling to reverse.

This volume provides important evidence and insights about the potential of forests to reducing global hunger and malnutrition, exploring the different roles of landscapes, and the governance approaches that are required for the equitable delivery of these benefits. Forests and Food is essential reading for researchers, students, NGOs and government departments responsible for agriculture, forestry, food security and poverty alleviation around the globe.


The lives, health and well-being of all people on earth will be affected by the decisions that individuals, governments and businesses make at the interface of forests and agricultural lands around the world. This is especially important for the hundreds of millions of people living in poverty at that interface. Forests and Food makes a timely and very necessary contribution as the world starts to focus on transforming our world by 2030 through the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Access to world-class research evidence as provided here will help to deliver the first difficult steps on this ambitious but essential journey.

Professor Paul van Gardingen

Director, Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme; UNESCO Chair in International Development, The University of Edinburgh

Table of Contents

Preface: Connecting the Dots by Alexander Buck


Acronyms, Units and Symbols

1 Introduction: Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition

Coordinating lead author: Bhaskar Vira

Lead authors: Bina Agarwal, Ramni Jamnadass, Daniela Kleinschmit, Stepha McMullin, Stephanie Mansourian, Henry Neufeldt, John A. Parrotta, Terry Sunderland and Christoph Wildburger

1.1 Problem Statement: Can Forests and Tree-based Systems Contribute to Food Security and Nutrition?

1.2 Prevailing Paradigms about Forests, Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition

1.3 Policy Context and Scope

1.4 Structure of the Narrative

1.5 Forests and Tree-based Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition: A Brief Preview

1.5.1 Direct and Indirect Contributions of Forests and Tree-based Systems to Food Security and Nutrition

1.5.2 Drivers Affecting the Relationship between Forest-tree Landscapes and Food

1.5.3 Trade-offs, Conflicts and Synergies in Land Use, and Responses

1.6 Evidence and Knowledge Gaps


2 Understanding the Roles of Forests and Tree-based Systems in Food Provision

Coordinating lead authors: Ramni Jamnadass and Stepha McMullin

Lead authors: Miyuki Iiyama and Ian K. Dawson

Contributing authors: Bronwen Powell, Celine Termote, Amy Ickowitz, Katja Kehlenbeck, Barbara Vinceti, Nathalie van Vliet, Gudrun Keding, Barbara Stadlmayr, Patrick Van Damme, Sammy Carsan, Terry Sunderland, Mary Njenga, Amos Gyau, Paolo Cerutti, Jolien Schure, Christophe Kouame, Beatrice Darko Obiri, Daniel Ofori, Bina Agarwal, Henry Neufeldt, Ann Degrande and Anca Serban

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Food Security and Nutrition

2.3 The Direct Roles of Forests and Tree-based Systems

2.3.1 Foods Provided by Forests and Tree-based Systems

2.3.2 Dietary Choices, Access to Resources and Behavioural Change

2.4 The Indirect Roles of Forests and Tree-based Systems

2.4.1 Income and other Livelihood Opportunities

2.4.2 Provision of Ecosystem Services

2.5 Conclusions


3 The Historical, Environmental and Socio-economic Context of Forests and Tree-based Systems for Food Security and Nutrition

Coordinating lead author: John A. Parrotta

Lead authors: Jennie Dey de Pryck, Beatrice Darko Obiri, Christine Padoch, Bronwen Powell and Chris Sandbrook

Contributing authors: Bina Agarwal, Amy Ickowitz, Katy Jeary, Anca Serban, Terry Sunderland and Tran Nam Tu

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Forests and Tree-based Systems: An Overview

3.2.1 Historical Overview and the Role of Traditional Knowledge

3.2.2 Managed Forests, Woodlands and Parklands

3.2.3 Shifting Cultivation Systems

3.2.4 Agroforestry Systems

3.2.5 Single-species Tree Crop Production Systems

3.3 The Influence of Forest Landscape Configuration Management and Use on Food Security and Nutrition

3.3.1 Interactions between Landscape Components

3.3.2 The Influence of Landscape Use and Management of Forests and Tree-Based Systems on Nutrition

3.4 The Socio-economic Organisation of Forests and Tree-based Systems

3.4.1 Introduction

3.4.2 Land, Tree and Related Natural Resource Tenure

3.4.3 Gender, Rights to Land and Trees, and Food Security

3.4.4 Human Capital, Control and Decision-making in Forests and Tree-based Systems

3.4.5 Financial Capital and Credit: Using and Investing in Forests and Trees

3.5 Conclusions


4 Drivers of Forests and Tree-based Systems for Food Security and Nutrition

Coordinating lead author: Daniela Kleinschmit

Lead authors: Bimbika Sijapati Basnett, Adrian Martin, Nitin D. Rai and Carsten Smith-Hall

Contributing authors: Neil M. Dawson, Gordon Hickey, Henry Neufeldt, Hemant R. Ojha and Solomon Zena Walelign

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Environmental Drivers

4.3 Social Drivers

4.4 Economic Drivers

4.5 Governance

4.6 Conclusions


5 Response Options Across the Landscape

Coordinating lead author: Terry Sunderland

Lead authors: Frédéric Baudron, Amy Ickowitz, Christine Padoch, Mirjam Ros-Tonen, Chris Sandbrook and Bhaskar Vira

Contributing authors: Josephine Chambers, Elizabeth Deakin, Samson Foli, Katy Jeary, John A. Parrotta, Bronwen Powell, James Reed, Sarah Ayeri Ogalleh, Henry Neufeldt and Anca Serban

5.1 Introduction

5.2 The Role of Landscape Configurations

5.2.1 Temporal Dynamics within Landscapes

5.2.2 Trade-offs and Choices at the Landscape Scale

5.3 Land Sparing and Land Sharing

5.4 Landscapes and Localised Food Systems

5.5 "Nutrition-sensitive” Landscapes

5.6 Landscape Governance

5.7 Conclusions


6 Public Sector, Private Sector and Socio-cultural Response Options

Coordinating lead author: Henry Neufeldt

Lead authors: Pablo Pacheco, Hemant R. Ojha, Sarah Ayeri Ogalleh, Jason Donovan and Lisa Fuchs

Contributing authors: Daniela Kleinschmit, Patti Kristjanson, Godwin Kowero, Vincent O. Oeba and Bronwen Powell

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Governance Responses to Enhance Linkages between Forests and Tree-based Systems and Food Security and Nutrition

6.2.1 Introduction

6.2.2 Reforms Related to Tenure and Resource Rights

6.2.3 Decentralisation and Community Participation in Forest Management

6.2.4 Regulating Markets

6.2.5 Catalysing Governance Reform

6.3 Private Sector-driven Initiatives for Enhancing Governance in Food Systems

6.3.1 Introduction

6.3.2 The Challenges of Sustainability and Inclusiveness in Food Supply

6.3.3 Global Initiatives to Support Sustainable Finance and Supply

6.3.4 Emerging Corporate Sustainability Initiatives

6.3.5 "Hybrid” Models for Sustainable and Inclusive Supply

6.4 Socio-cultural Response Options

6.4.1 Introduction

6.4.2 Changing Urban Demand

6.4.3 Behaviour Change and Education to Improve Dietary Choices

6.4.4 Reducing Inequalities and Promoting Gender-responsive Interventions and Policies

6.4.5 Social Mobilisation for Food Security

6.5 Conclusions


7 Conclusions

Coordinating lead author: Bhaskar Vira

Lead authors: Ramni Jamnadass, Daniela Kleinschmit, Stepha McMullin, Stephanie Mansourian, Henry Neufeldt, John A. Parrotta, Terry Sunderland and Christoph Wildburger

7.1 Forests and Trees Matter for Food Security and Nutrition

7.2 Governing Multi-functional Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition

7.3 The Importance of Secure Tenure and Local Control

7.4 Reimagining Forests and Food Security

7.5 Knowledge Gaps

7.6 Looking Ahead: The Importance of Forest and Tree-based Systems for Food Security and Nutrition

Appendix 1: Glossary

Appendix 2: List of Panel Members, Authors and Reviewers


Bhaskar Vira

Reader in Political Economy at the Department of Geography at University of Cambridge

Christoph Wildburger


Stephanie Mansourian