Our integrated strategy

CIFOR–ICRAF addresses local challenges and opportunities while providing solutions to global problems for forests, landscapes, people and the planet.


CIFOR–ICRAF delivers actionable evidence and solutions to transform how land is used and how food is produced: conserving and restoring ecosystems, responding to the global climate, malnutrition, biodiversity and desertification crises. In short, improving people’s lives.

Our strategy is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have provided a global framework for development for the next 10 years, as well as with the findings of recent United Nations reports on climate change and biodiversity.

Merged since 2019, CIFOR–ICRAF is uniquely equipped to deliver transformative science. We combine the diverse skills of our more than 700 staff and our long-established partnerships to support a whole-landscape mandate: agricultural lands, intact forest and everything in between. Our innovative digital platforms and engagement strategy ensures the latest knowledge is shared widely with our partners and stakeholders.

Our integrated strategy

CIFOR–ICRAF’s mission is to contribute to a radical transformation in food production and land use systems. This encompasses agricultural practice and how biodiversity, forests and lands are managed. Our focus is on contributing to a decisive shift in global trajectories: from a future of environmental destruction and livelihood crises to a future of prosperity and planetary health. This strategy reflects the confidence we feel in the relevance of our approach, and the urgency to step up and support the rapid and radical transformation that is so badly needed.

The CIFOR–ICRAF approach

As a research organization that supports development, our mission is to deliver solutions through evidence, technologies and advisory services. We have a unique way of doing things, which includes our approach to research and partnerships, and our organizational structure.

Transformative partnerships – From South–South collaborations to trusted relationships with civil society and subnational and national governments, our long-established presence ‘on the ground’ – supported by in-country offices where our presence is needed most – enables us to inform policy change, strengthen capacities, and support policy implementation.

Systems perspective – With our expertise in the social and biophysical sciences, we are up to the challenge of implementing a systems approach, which recognizes that interdependent problems cannot be dealt with one-by-one, but need solutions that work at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Relevant and actionable solutions – Recognizing that our partners need pragmatic solutions, we design our research solutions with the people who count most: farming and forest dependent communities, value chain actors, and policy and decision makers. Through collaborative processes of development and mutual learning around adaptive solutions, we achieve contextual relevance, delivering solutions that can lead to action on the ground.

Knowledge-led digital engagement – By 2023, two thirds of the global population will have internet access and 70 percent will have mobile connectivity. We are transforming leading scientific exploration and direct experience in landscapes, together with finance and governance, into living knowledge that addresses the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

New elements in our strategy

While projects continue to be our principal organizational and contractual way of working with partners and stakeholders, we have introduced three innovations that will deliver timely, relevant change in response to global and national challenges and opportunities.

Transformative Partnership Platforms

Experience has taught us that research-for-development must address the complexity of the interaction between people and ecological systems – an interconnectedness recently highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Transformative Partnership Platforms (TPPs) meet this need.

TPPs are alliances: each focused on one critically important issue that will deliver a specific transformational result by a certain date. TPP members collaborate to generate solutions through understanding problems, data collection, analysis and model development.

We are already assessing the potential for TPPs on agroecology, nutriscapes, rainfed agriculture, tree planting quality, transformative restoration, landscape health, circular bioeconomy and biomass, climate change and REDD+, and green tree-crop commodity value chains.

Engagement Landscapes

Engagement Landscapes (ELs) are geographic locations where we carry out concentrated, long-term work to support transformational change and enhance resilience. They share many characteristics of TPPs, but differ in this context-specific focus. In ELs, we engage with local stakeholders and work with them and others to develop solutions that work.

Examples of landscapes where we have long-term engagement include Brazil’s Pará State, Peru’s San Martín Province, Ethiopia’s Oromia Region, drylands in Asia, the people-agriculture-forest nexus in the Miombo woodlands, refugee-hosting landscapes in central and eastern Africa, cocoa landscapes in Central Africa, and the FORETS (Formation Recherche Environnement dans la Tshopo) initiative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others.

Flagship Products

Flagship Products (FPs) provide insights into key global issues: enhancing visibility, improving understanding and generating actionable knowledge. FPs are based on the latest knowledge, large-scale datasets, analysis and advanced models to inform decision-making and are developed in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders.

Now in its seventh year, our flagship product the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) continues on its path to spark a movement of one billion people around productive, prosperous, equitable and resilient landscapes. The GLF has reached more than 700 million people from 185 countries, making it the world’s largest knowledge forum on integrated and sustainable land use. It continues to break new ground with digital conferences and GLFx – a global network of local chapters connecting online in dedicated communities of practice to take direct action at a local level.

Other FPs include the Sahel Observatory, the Africa Tree Portal, the Global Observatory of Landscape Resilience, Evidence for Resilient Agriculture, GAMA, COSAM and the community monitoring tool for restoration.

CIFOR–ICRAF’s transformative agenda

CIFOR–ICRAF generates evidence to unlock the potential of forests and trees to help combat climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation – and sustain many rural livelihoods.

This requires work across all of the following themes:

Restoration of landscapes and dependent livelihood systems – working with local people to restore their landscapes so that they meet their present and future needs.

Value chains and trade – helping to build inclusive value chains and show how sound business practices can help farmers prosper while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.

Sustainable and resilient landscapes – generating evidence that supports the rights and interests of those who live in agricultural and forest landscapes.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation – bringing the latest science on the ways forests and trees can both slow global heating and help people adapt to its effects.

Supporting policies and governance that work – providing informed, trusted evidence for policies on climate, food, forest, agroforestry, land use and tenure.

Gender, equity and rights – weaving research-based knowledge on gender equality and social inclusion into all of our activities.