Research Topic

Tree Restoration and Food Security: Trade-Offs and Co-Benefits

About this Research Topic

Forests are essential for global food security and yet the interactions between forests and agriculture have been largely overlooked in the research literature. Maintaining and restoring tree cover in crop production landscapes has the potential to enhance the provision of local and global ecosystem services, and the resilience of farmers and their livelihoods to climate change. This is especially true for the rural tropics characterized by small-holder farming. Planting trees and reconnecting natural tree cover habitats can facilitate wildlife movement through human-dominated land and, therefore, maintain crucial biodiversity. Agroforestry can buffer the impacts of climate change through its positive effects on soil quality, crop productivity, microclimate, and the provision of alternative sources of income. Yet, tree cover restoration in landscapes with high population growth and demands for natural resources also brings challenges. It takes away land that could be used for crop production, and is a source of strife between wildlife, livestock and humans, e.g. causing crop damage and threatening people’s livelihoods.

This Research Topic aims to highlight recent interdisciplinary research that offers insights into the potential or known trade-offs between biodiversity and crop production outcomes resulting from tree restoration interventions in crop production landscapes. We will highlight potential co-benefits at local to global scales. This research is led by the current global challenges we are facing, as humanity is trying to establish our ability and capacity to meet the Sustainable Development Goals related to ‘no poverty’, ‘zero hunger’, ‘climate action’, ‘sustainable cities and communities’, and ‘life on land’. Here, we seek evidence-based answers to questions arising from governance actors involved in the decision-making on land use and management: What are the trade-offs? What are the spatial and temporal scales of these trade-offs? How should we measure and monitor these trade-offs? How should we manage these trade-offs (where do we plant trees, which trees do we plant) to maximize biodiversity and food security outcomes?

We encourage submissions focused on the following areas:
- Insights into the trade-offs between food security, biodiversity and climate change mitigation objectives resulting from tree restoration interventions in crop production landscapes (e.g. agroforestry and intensified agriculture bordering forests in protected areas);
- Trade-offs through the lens of biodiversity, food security or climate change mitigation using field based case studies or regional to global scale modelling approaches;
- Method frameworks that have been or should be used to analyze these trade-offs and policy and practice reviews identifying knowledge needs and how to translate the evidence into policy interventions.


Keywords: Tree Restoration, Tree Cover, Food Security, Ecosystem Services, Climate Change, Agroforestry, Biodiversity, Crop Production


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Forests are essential for global food security and yet the interactions between forests and agriculture have been largely overlooked in the research literature. Maintaining and restoring tree cover in crop production landscapes has the potential to enhance the provision of local and global ecosystem services, and the resilience of farmers and their livelihoods to climate change. This is especially true for the rural tropics characterized by small-holder farming. Planting trees and reconnecting natural tree cover habitats can facilitate wildlife movement through human-dominated land and, therefore, maintain crucial biodiversity. Agroforestry can buffer the impacts of climate change through its positive effects on soil quality, crop productivity, microclimate, and the provision of alternative sources of income. Yet, tree cover restoration in landscapes with high population growth and demands for natural resources also brings challenges. It takes away land that could be used for crop production, and is a source of strife between wildlife, livestock and humans, e.g. causing crop damage and threatening people’s livelihoods.

This Research Topic aims to highlight recent interdisciplinary research that offers insights into the potential or known trade-offs between biodiversity and crop production outcomes resulting from tree restoration interventions in crop production landscapes. We will highlight potential co-benefits at local to global scales. This research is led by the current global challenges we are facing, as humanity is trying to establish our ability and capacity to meet the Sustainable Development Goals related to ‘no poverty’, ‘zero hunger’, ‘climate action’, ‘sustainable cities and communities’, and ‘life on land’. Here, we seek evidence-based answers to questions arising from governance actors involved in the decision-making on land use and management: What are the trade-offs? What are the spatial and temporal scales of these trade-offs? How should we measure and monitor these trade-offs? How should we manage these trade-offs (where do we plant trees, which trees do we plant) to maximize biodiversity and food security outcomes?

We encourage submissions focused on the following areas:
- Insights into the trade-offs between food security, biodiversity and climate change mitigation objectives resulting from tree restoration interventions in crop production landscapes (e.g. agroforestry and intensified agriculture bordering forests in protected areas);
- Trade-offs through the lens of biodiversity, food security or climate change mitigation using field based case studies or regional to global scale modelling approaches;
- Method frameworks that have been or should be used to analyze these trade-offs and policy and practice reviews identifying knowledge needs and how to translate the evidence into policy interventions.


Keywords: Tree Restoration, Tree Cover, Food Security, Ecosystem Services, Climate Change, Agroforestry, Biodiversity, Crop Production


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

19 February 2021 Manuscript
05 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

19 February 2021 Manuscript
05 March 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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