Spatial Planning for Sustainable Land Use Planning

The project will develop a land prioritisation tool for the Nguti district, which will allow ecological, social and economic values to be considered in unison when making land planning decisions, enabling a transparent and open decision process.

There has been limited experience of drafting land use plans in the region that can reconcile the various interests in land, in a balanced and negotiated manner, in particular in the context of the emerging REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism to valorise carbon stocks. As a result, European Forest Institute (EFI)’s REDD+ Facility identified the need for transparent spatial planning tool that better addresses both social and environmental concerns as a pre-requisite for the responsible implementation of REDD+.

This tool will facilitate the transparent sharing of information between multiple stakeholders to explore and discuss potential social, environmental and economic impacts of e.g. oil palm, but also compare such options with the potential offered by other agricultural commodities (such as cocoa, staple food crops for local markets, etc.) and other land uses, such as maintenance of high carbon stock forests for REDD+ projects.

The objective of this work is to “assemble and present new spatial information, balancing economic interests with social and environmental dimensions, for strategic and inclusive national discussion for more sustainable land use planning in the context of development of palm oil in Cameroon, using a methodology that can be extended to other forest-risk commodities and other countries in the region.”

The focus is thus on supporting better land use planning in preparation for new pressures on land (including e.g. oil palm development, other commodities, REDD+ projects, etc.). The approach will respond to the current interest of the Government to launch multi-sectoral land use planning in the context of the 2011 Orientation Law on Land Management & Sustainable Development.

The LTS team is advising EFI on tools to assist with spatial planning around land use decisions. LTS is responsible for the development of:

  • An interactive mapping tool to identify potential priority areas for development / protection
  • A field assessment protocol

Support to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund

Illegal wildlife trade is one of the biggest threats to the survival of some of the world’s most threatened species. In February 2014 the government hosted The London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, which brought together over fifty countries and international organisations to agree new and bold measures to tackle the trade.

Following the London Conference the UK Government committed 10 million pounds to tackle the threat of illegal wildlife trade. The Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Challenge Fund represents 6 million pounds of this funding, aimed to support work in three areas:

  • developing sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by illegal wildlife trade
  • strengthening law enforcement and the role of the criminal justice system
  • reducing demand for wildlife products.

LTS is involved in the design and implementation of the application for IWT Challenge Fund. This has included substantive liaison with Government representatives from 3 departments: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign Commonwealth Office. Our support to the fund since its inception has included:

  • Design and implementation of application scheme
  • Design and implementation of project monitoring
  • Financial management of projects

The fund is available to governments, charities and NGOs, social enterprises and businesses, and to partnerships of these organisations. More information on the fund can be found at

New Contract: Real-time Evaluation of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative – Synthesis Evaluation

The Real-time Evaluation of Norways’s International Climate and Forest Initiative has reached the Synthesis Evaluation phase.

The aim of this assignment is to determine the results of NICFI towards achievement of its core objectives over the period from 2007-2013. The assessment covered the four most established bilateral partnerships (Brazil, Guyana, Indonesia and Tanzania), which provide good coverage of country level results-based partnerships, including readiness progress, MRV and financial mechanisms. This sample also contains a range of ecological contexts (from rain forest to dry forest) and a range of country positions along the forest transition curve.

The assessment also included NICFI’s support to multilateral REDD+ institutions (the Congo Basin Forest Fund, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility; Forest Investment Program, UN-REDD Programme); NICFI’s support to civil society institutions through its dedicated civil society grant scheme, and NICFI activities focused on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change REDD+ negotiations.

Information was analysed and results synthesised across each country and modality of NICFI support to generate an assessment of overall achievement against the NICFI core objectives. In addition, findings of a strategic nature on REDD+, and NICFI’s place within the REDD+ arena, where identified, with a view to informing discussions on the future strategy of NICFI.

Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West African Regional Development

The Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West African Regional Development (STEWARD) project is a join investment of Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade Bureau (EGAT), USAID/West Africa and the US Forest Service. It is implemented by Bioclimate Research & Development (BR&D).

LTS provide technical support to the STEWARD Project. The objective of this is to provide an assessment of biomass stocks and biomass stock change between 2007 and 2010 in a specified area of Sierra Leone/Guinea border region.

The assessment is undertaken using multi-regression analysis of RADAR data and generation of biomass maps using a range of biomass-backscatter equations.

Based on best output validation, LTS will then calculate statistics on forest area and biomass stock loss within the time frame investigated.

The project also aims to achieve:

  • Agreement of change classification criteria and project-specific deforestation threshold
  • Advice on RADAR data purchasing from RESTEC
  • Multi-regression analysis of RADAR data and generation of biomass maps using different biomass-backscatter equations
  • Multi-validation of outputs against field data provided by BR&D
  • Generation of biomass stock change statistics and maps

Image credit: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep

Examination of Hectares Indicator for the UK International Climate Fund

The “Hectares Indicator” for assessing area of avoided deforestation is one of the current Key Performance Indicators of the UK International Climate Fund.This indicator is intended to be applicable across the range of current and proposed forestry programmes of the International Climate Fund.

The objectives of this assignment are to:

  • determine the fitness for purpose of the hectares indicator,
  • identify ways in which it could be improved, and
  • if the indicator was found to be critically flawed in terms of its practicality and validity of outputs, propose a modified or alternative approach that should be cost-effective and practical to apply

The assignment involves three steps:

Analysis of existing hectares indicator methodology, identification of limitations and potential for improvement


  • Review of international best practice for estimating impacts of avoided deforestation initiatives (scientific methods, other donor programmes, project certification methods)
  • Recommendation of practical indicator approaches, description of strengths, weaknesses and requirements
  • Recommendations for improvement or alternative methods.

LTS is responsible for identification of practical issues and constraints associated with use of the indicator through interviews with DFID Country Office staff and their contractors, and from the staff members’ involvement in applying ICF and other donor forest sector KPIs during previous assignments.

This includes:

  • What are the challenges on the ground?
  • What datasets are available to project officers?
  • Discussion with programmes on alternative options

Image credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

China-UK Collaboration on International Forest Investment & Trade (InFIT)

The project aims to reduce the impacts of China’s international trade in timber products and other commodities grown on forest land whose production affects forest degradation. LTS operates the InFIT Project Management Office (PMO) in Beijing which is responsible for day-to-day operational coordination of activities under this three year programme (2014-2018) and is accountable for its effective and efficient implementation. The main outputs of the programme are:

  • Output 1 – Operationalization of the Chinese Timber Legality Verification System: “A timber legality verification system that meets the demands of China’s key trade partners is specified in detail, piloted with selected trade participants and recognized by relevant Chinese government departments”.
  • Output 2 – Facilitation of Guideline applications: “Voluntary guidelines for Chinese companies engaged in timber industries and production of forest-based commodities, including mechanisms for self-regulation and transparent reporting, are developed and further specified for application in key developing countries, piloted in those countries and refined as appropriate”.
  • Output 3 – Sharing Tenure Reform lessons: “Lessons from China’s forest tenure reform process, including supportive mechanisms to improve farmers’ livelihoods, are shared with stakeholders from developing countries where forest tenure reforms are being implemented”.
  • Output 4 – Capacity development and concerted action to promote timber legality: “Entities in China understand timber legality requirements in international and domestic markets and are capable of developing mechanisms that enable them to meet those requirements”.

Principal recipients of the LTS services are the Chinese State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the Ministry of Commerce (MofCoM), China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA) and China’s Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters (CCCMC).

LTS is responsible for day-to-day operational coordination of activities under the project, facilitating stakeholder participation and is accountable for the effective and efficient implementation of these outputs. LTS is providing key-technical advice and direction to partners and collaborators involved in the implementation of the Forest Governance, Markets and Climates-China (FGMC-CN) programme. For example, LTS is coordinating the due diligence and comparative analysis reports of timber legality laws in producer and consumer markets to establish a China Timber Legal Verification System (CTLVs). A draft CTLVS administrative structure and implementation plan has been developed. Furthermore, LTS is overseeing the development of investment guidelines for Chinese companies engaged in timber industries and production of forest-based commodities. This includes mechanisms for self-regulation and transparent reporting and will be piloted in key countries. The China’s Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuff, Native Produce and Animal By-Products has drafted a Sustainable Overseas Investment and Managing Guide of Palm Oil for Chinese Enterprises. Whilst China’s Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters has drafted a Sustainable Overseas Investment and Managing Guide of Rubber for Chinese Enterprises.

To see the May 2017 InFIT Newsletter, please click here (English) or here (Chinese).