Focali Members receive funding to five new projects via the Formas' annual open call

Photo: Nanang Sujana CIFOR

Focali Members receive funding to five new projects via the Formas' annual open call

In the Formas’ annual open call for research funding, Formas funds projects which address all of the sustainable development goals. This year a record high number of applications were submitted; in total 1,575, of which 188 were awarded grants. Five of these selected applications feature Focali members as the lead applicant. The projects build on broad and long-term collaboration with partners, both within and outside of academia. Each aims to contribute to a more positive future for forests, ranging from Puerto Rico to Rwanda, and to the biodiversity, climate and livelihoods dependent on these ecosystems.

Read more about the projects below and connect with the researcher if you would like to find our more about the planned research, it´s collaborations and the impacts on sustainability that the projects aim to contribute too.


Kristina Marquardt, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: What is secondary about secondary forests? Building smallholder forest futures in Peru´s Amazonian frontier
Secondary forest regrowth accounts for 70% of tropical forest areas, and will have to provide a significant part of future forest based environmental services. Such forests support significant populations of poor people but are usually treated as degraded primary forest in research and policy. Thus their diversity and potential are neglected. They are often located in rural frontiers, where government presence, authority and legitimacy is limited and there is contention over what these forests are, who is to use them and how they should be used. Taking the Peruvian Amazon as a case this research will build understanding of secondary forest landscapes.


Johan Uddling, University of Gothenburg: Heat stress in tropical trees and its implications for tree plantation success, forest carbon storage and biodiversity
Tropical forests—adapted to a thermally stable climate—may be particularly vulnerable to global warming but this hypothesis remains poorly evaluated due to data scarcity. This project uses a unique elevation gradient experiment in Rwanda to explore if projected global warming will lead to exceedance of physiological thermal tolerance limits in tropical trees. The experiment includes 5400 trees of 20 species with contrasting ecological strategies, grown at three sites with large differences in climate and application of water supply treatments. Our ongoing research indicates considerable heat induced reductions in photosynthesis and survival in some species. Here we propose new measurements to determine the physiological and biochemical heat sensitivity of a broad range of tree species. The project is a collaboration between partners in Rwanda and Sweden and includes close involvement of key stakeholders in the forest/agroforestry sector in Rwanda.


Mairon Bastos Lima, Stockholm Environment Institute: A Sustainable Land-Use Transition for the Amazon? Leverage Points and Institutional Innovations to Address Tropical Deforestation.
Tropical deforestation remains an urgent environmental issue. Much of it is caused by the production of a few agricultural commodities (e.g. beef, soy), whose demand also provides entry points for change. However, growing zero-deforestation commitments from governments and companies are yet to spur effective action. Supply chain transparency and monitoring capabilities have seen major advances, but policy and governance have not kept pace. Tropical deforestation remains high, and there is a pressing need to understand what institutional innovations can help realize pledges. This project will help understand why so little progress has been achieved and identify the innovations needed to drive change by combining expertise on sustainability transitions with detailed datasets on commodity production, trade and capital flows. By deploying an innovative mixed-method approach, the results will inform on concrete pathways to help avert a tipping point of irreversible ecosystem change in the Amazon and provide lessons for promoting sustainable land-use transitions elsewhere.


Robert Muscarella, Uppsala University: Consequences of habitat loss for tropical trees: an integrative perspective
Land-use change presents major threats to biodiversity with impacts that typically outpace those from climate change. Although the full impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation are often cryptic or delayed, they can elevate extinction risk and reduce the potential for species to adapt to future environmental change. Developing successful strategies to manage and mitigate the consequences of land-use change on biodiversity is thus a pressing need at regional, national, and international levels. The overarching aim of this proposal is to better understand how land-use dynamics have affected the current geographic distributions, population sizes, and genetic diversity of tropical trees. The work will be conducted on the island of Puerto Rico, which represents an ideal case study because of its well-documented land-use history, high level of biodiversity, extensive amount of existing data, and superb research infrastructure. Overall, the proposed work will increase our understanding of the ecological implications of past and future land-use change, thereby promoting the development of effective conservation and management strategies.


Rosa Goodman, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: Toward a future of wood cities and restored forests—modelling pathways for development of a new forest industry in the Global South 
We propose a novel Wood Building – Forest Restoration system to meet the urgent calls to stop and reverse climate change, biodiversity loss, ecosystem degradation, and inequality and instead transition to a fair and sustainable bio-based economy. We call for future urban growth to be met with modern engineered wood building, and for this new market to drive large-scale forest restoration and emergence of regional forest-based industries. We focus on the Global South, where the majority of urban growth, deforestation, and forest degradation occur. Starting from where we are today, we must model pathways of coordinated incremental change across the entire value chain to arrive at the desired end state (wood cities, fully restored natural forests, prosperous regional wood industries). This is a new area of research in forestry, and we will refine the methodology using Tanzania as a case study. We will work with diverse industrial, governmental, and research partners with the explicit aim of increasing, awareness, capacity, and support.

All new projects:
Read Formas news about the call here and see all new research projects



Related news:
Two new research teams will focus on achieving SDGs in Drylands

Earlier this autumn the selected research teams in the Formas call “Realising the global sustainable development goals” was announced. Two of the new projects involve Focali members and both projects focus on achieving the SDGs in drylands.

Drylands Transform led by SLU and involving Focali members: Ingrid Öborn, Aida Bargués Tobella, Gert Nyberg, SLU and Per Knutsson University of Gothenburg.

Science in action led by SRC and involving Focali members Ana Paula Aguiar and Hanna Sinare


Focali annual meeting 2022 – separate event webpage

It is once again time for Focali members, partners, and friends in our wider community to meet around current interlinked forest, climate and livelihood challenges. The Focali annual meeting, to be he ...

Subscribe to our newsletter