Creating enabling conditions for managing trade-offs between food production and forest conservation in Africa: case studies from Ethiopia and Zambia

How can agricultural production increase to meet the rapidly growing food demand in sub-Saharan Africa without reducing its precious forest areas? This is one of the greatest challenges in achieving sustainable land use and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region. This working paper outlines research from four case studies of interventions that have sought to better manage land-use trade-offs between food production and forest conservation: two cases in Zambia and two in Ethiopia. The learning from these four case studies has revealed the importance of ten essential and interlinked enabling conditions for better managing the competing land-use objectives of food production and forest conservation. All of the four cases presented have struggled to create and sustain sufficient incentives for conservation, to work across different spatial scales, to ensure financial and institutional sustainability, and to carry out continuous learning and adaptative management. The report concludes with priorities for future research to address these and other key challenges.