Harnessing the potential of trees-on-farms for meeting national and global biodiversity targets

Project Timeframe:
Feb 2018 to Feb 2022



International Climate Initiative of the Federal Government of Germany


Center for International Forestry Research | Pontianak | Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñza | International Union for Conservation of Nature | Gorge-August-Universität | Göttingen | Leibnitz Universität | Hannover


Anja Gassner: a.gassner@cgiar.org

Philipp Dobie: p.dobie@cgiar.org


Planet Earth is naturally biodiverse. Species abound in every habitat, but when those habitats are destroyed, the biodiversity disappears with them. The world’s forests have historically been harbours of massive biodiversity, but it is well known that they have been extensively cleared and remain under imminent threat. We have recognized the need to protect our remaining forests, but humankind faces a major conundrum. Most of the forests that we have lost have been cleared for agriculture, and the pressure to create more and more agricultural land continues to grow as the world gears up to feed a population expected to rise to at least 9 billion people by 2050. If we do not get better at managing our resources, we will continue to find that our need to grow food conflicts with our need to protect our resources. We will continue to lose biodiversity, and as we continue to lose the ecosystems services that forests provide we will find it more and more difficult to grow our food. Fortunately, farms can be managed to maximize their value in conserving biodiversity.  We urgently need to complement our efforts to save and restore forests with efforts to manage biodiversity and ecosystems services on farmland.

Overall Goal

To improve the ability of countries to meet Aichi Target 7 of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (sustainably managed agricultural areas) by advancing the knowledge of the importance of trees on farms for biodiversity and human wellbeing.


  1. contribute to long-term sustainable development by helping to conserve biodiversity, contributing to ecosystem services and providing sustainable incomes through the incorporation of trees into agricultural and productive landscapes
  2. contribute to the mitigation of climate change by increasing net aboveground biomass
  3. increase understanding by the biodiversity and agricultural communities so that institutions will incorporate trees on farms in biodiversity planning; 4) develop interventions that are cost-effective in financial and livelihoods’ terms.




Work packages

  1. Trees on Farms’ Options Manual
  2. Trees on Farms’ Biodiversity Assessment Tool
  3. Sectorial resource mobilization
  4. Innovation platforms
  5. Knowledge management and capacity strengthening
Principal Investigator: 
Anja Gassner