2018 was a tough year. Seemingly every day another headline appeared in the international news media on the increasing urgency of the climate change or biodiversity loss emergencies. When the newspapers were not talking about the planet’s increasingly fragile health, human health came under the spotlight, in particular the rise of diet-related illnesses and premature deaths. It’s easy to get despondent at what appears to be a lack of policies and action to tackle these problems.
So I am going to buck the trend and serve up some good news – a hero of the hour has arrived to save the day! Biodiversity can provide the tools and pathways to get us out of trouble, to a safe operating space for humanity. By eating it and planting it, we not only improve dietary diversity for people, but also the health of the farming systems that provide food and income security for millions of people around the world. The even better news? By using more of it in diets, markets and production systems, we will safeguard it for the future.
Today’s global challenges of poverty, malnutrition, climate change, land degradation, and biodiversity loss call for new solutions, innovations, and stronger partnerships that can deliver higher impact.
To respond to these challenges, and building on their complementary mandates and long collaboration, in 2018, Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) committed to joining forces to create an Alliance.
Healthy diets from sustainable food systems
Productive and resilient farms, forests and landscapes
Effective genetic resources conservation and use
In the research highlights section of the Annual Report, you will find stories based on scientific papers and tools produced by Bioversity International scientists working with partners.
These highlights represent just a small selection of the 145 papers produced in 2018.
Bioversity International works with partners around the world including a wide range of funders and research partners who share our vision and mission to deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.
Bioversity International is proud to be a CGIAR Research Centre. Supported by CGIAR Trust Fund members and in close collaboration with the other 14 CGIAR Centres and hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector, in 2018 Bioversity International participated in:
- Three Agri-Food System CGIAR Research Programs (Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Grains, Legumes and Dryland Cereals; and Roots, Tubers and Bananas)
- Four Global Integrating Programs (Agriculture for Nutrition and Health; Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security; Policies, Institutions and Markets; and Water, Land and Ecosystems)
- Two Research Support Platforms (Genebank Platform; and Platform for Big Data in Agriculture)
We thank all of our partners for their critical and continued support.
In 2018, total revenue was US$30.5 million and expenditure $32.3 million, resulting in a deficit of $1.6 million. This deficit was purposefully incurred as part of the 3-year development plan for the period 2017–2019, which applied reserves to invest in the growth of Bioversity International by incurring operational deficits in those three years. 2020 will be planned and managed to result in a breakeven position. Despite the deficit recorded, operational reserves remain at a healthy level, equivalent of 127 days of average expenditure, well above the minimum target of 90 days set by the Board of Trustees. This application of reserves has allowed strategic maintenance or increase in staff capacity in key areas, and to shift the income portfolio to increase financial resilience.
For more information, download our 2018 Financial Statements
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias
M. Ann Tutwiler
Douglas van den Aardweg
Bioversity International created a UK registered charity (no. 1131854) in October 2008 to increase awareness and support for its research agenda and activities. Bioversity International UK is governed by an independent Board of Trustees:
Trish Malloch Brown
M. Ann Tutwiler
Doug van den Aardweg
Bioversity International USA, Inc aims to engage and inspire a wide range of partners and donors to ensure that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. It is led by a committed and highly regarded Board of Trustees:
M. Ann Tutwiler
Trish Malloch Brown
Writing: Carlo Angelico, Nora Capozio, Jeremy Cherfas, Samantha Collins, with contributions from many of our scientists
Contributors: Maria Garruccio, Annie Huie, Allison Poulos, Consuelo Tenente
Design: Pablo Gallo
Project Manager: Nora Capozio
Bioversity International and its partners are guiding resilient forest restoration efforts by collecting lessons learned and developing decision-support tools, in Latin America and beyond.
Hermógenes Quispe looks at the trees that cover the mountains of his childhood with relief and happiness. He is one of the leaders of Rumira Sondormayo, a village located at an altitude of 4,000 metres, in the Peruvian Andes. Every year, Hermógenes and other men and women from his community follow ancient pathways once used by their ancestors to participate in a festival called 'Queuña Raymi.' On this occasion, around 200 people make the trek up the mountain carrying shovels and saplings for the tree-planting ceremony.
Over the past two centuries, the forests that once thrived on the slopes of the majestic cordillera of Vilcanota have fallen victim to overgrazing and intensive extraction of firewood, with serious consequences, including landslides that can wash away entire villages. To reverse this trend, since 2000, more than 400 hectares of forest have been restored in Vilcanota by planting more than one million Queuña (polylepis) trees, a native species which thrives close to the snow-capped peaks of the Andes.
The trees now grow healthily in soil that was once eroded, preventing possible runoffs and retaining moisture in the subsoil. Furthermore, the new woodlands are boosting ecotourism in the region, now home to endemic bird species threatened by habitat loss, such as the dark-bellied cinclodes.
Hermógenes' story is only one of the 94 forest restoration experiences collected by Bioversity International, the Peruvian Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre (SERFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), in the publication Experiencias de restauración en el Perú. Lecciones aprendidas. The document looks at the current state of the restoration initiatives carried out in Peru in the last 50 years and draws a set of recommendations for decisionmakers and practitioners.
There are currently more than two billion hectares of degraded land in the world, of which 300 million hectares are in Latin America. Restoration of these lands using trees would mean greater food and water security, sequestration of billions of tons of carbon, livelihoods for millions of people, and help in reversing biodiversity loss. As a result, governments around the world have signed highly ambitious restoration commitments, among which is the 20x20 Initiative, carried out by countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this framework, Peru pledged to restore 3.2 million hectares of forests by 2020. The lessons learned outlined in the study are an important step in this direction and have been used to inform the development of the national restoration programme.
According to the revision of the 94 restoration experiences, the greatest number of interventions were led by NGOs and the Government, and – in a smaller proportion – private companies and universities. As shown by Hermógenes' example, in some cases the local population have played an active role in the implementation and monitoring of the projects. However, local ownership and engagement need to be further strengthened, in order to make restoration interventions more effective and sustainable in the long run.
The main causes of degradation were deforestation, overgrazing and erosion. Tree planting was the most used restoration strategy, followed by agroforestry and, to a lesser extent, pasture management and plantations combined with natural regeneration.
The study clearly shows that the effectiveness of restoration projects increases if they are framed within existing policies, focused, for instance, on water management and family farming. This confirms the importance of a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account both socio-economic and environmental aspects. Another key element to boost restoration efforts is through promotion of finance mechanisms, especially for women, youth, indigenous communities and vulnerable groups.
As emerged from several experiences, the availability of planting material was the predominant criterion used for the selection of the tree species, over the suitability and adaptability of the species to the local context. "Traditionally, one of the critical barriers to restoration is access to the seeds of the right tree species and of the right quality, that will be able to contribute to multiple ecosystem services" said Evert Thomas, Bioversity International scientist and lead author of the study.
As part of the efforts to overcome this issue, it is crucial to develop and adopt user-friendly and knowledge-based tools to assist restoration practitioners in the selection of suitable seeds. One of these tools is Diversity for Restoration (D4R).
D4R is an online decision-support tool, designed to help scientists, practitioners and public authorities, as well as investors, select the most appropriate planting material that best matches both the intended use of the forest and the initial conditions of the planting site. The tool is the result of a collaboration among Bioversity International, FORESTPA – a private restoration company, the Alexander von Humboldt Institute and the National University of Colombia.
Through an interactive map and a user-friendly interface, D4R generates combinations of tree species that are likely to be able to meet the needs of the user and be adapted to the site conditions. The tool screens the functional traits of all the tree species that are predicted to be able to persist at the chosen site and ranks them according to the trait profiles that match with the restoration objectives. When selecting appropriate material, D4R also considers the anticipated effects of climate change and links this with the genetic diversity found in existing patches of forest.
D4R has already played a key role in the identification of planting material sources for restoration of approximately 13,000 hectares of degraded dry forest in Colombia. Given its importance and effectiveness in orienting restoration activities, Bioversity International and its partners are currently working to scale up D4R's application to other forest ecosystems in Peru, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.
Diversity for Restoration
This online decision-support tool was developed by Bioversity International in collaboration with Forestpa SAS, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, KU Leuven, Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre (SERFOR), the public and private universities of Piura, and the Agrarian University of La Molina, Lima.
Experiencias de restauración en el Perú. Lecciones aprendidas
This study was carried out by Bioversity International scientists Jéssica Cerrón Macha, Juan Diego del Castillo Ruiz and Evert Thomas, with partners from World Agroforestry (ICRAF), World Resources Institute (WRI) and Peruvian National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR).
Citation: Cerrón Macha, J.; del Castillo Ruiz, J.D.; Thomas, E.; Mathez Stiefel, S.L.; Chuaire, M.; Mamani Cahuana, A.; Gonzalez Cabello, F. (2018) Experiencias de restauración en el Perú. Lecciones aprendidas, Lima, Peru: SERFOR, 68 p.
This research is conducted as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), and is supported by contributors to the CGIAR Trust Fund.
D4R for Colombian dry forest was developed by Bioversity International together with Forestpa SAS, Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt.
D4R for Peruvian dry forest is being developed with the collaboration of KU Leuven, Servicio Nacional Forestal y de Fauna Silvestre (SERFOR), the public and private universities of Piura, and the Agrarian University of La Molina, Lima.
- Find out more about our forest restoration work
- Smart use of tree diversity in forest restoration projects
- The importance of species selection and seed sourcing in forest restoration for enhancing adaptive capacity to climate change: Columbian dry forest as a model
- Hedge your bets in resilient landscape restoration
- Adding science to the landscape – Evert Thomas chats about restoration