The top 20 questions for forestry and landscapes

posted on January 6, 2015
Top 20 Questions

Top 20 Questions

We are pleased to publish the top 20 priority questions for forestry and landscapes. Thank you to everyone who took part.

The T20Q project – funded by CIFOR and supported by many partners during 2014 –  set out to collect policy-relevant questions relating to forestry and landscapes, as a first step towards support systematic reviews in these subjects. It was designed to work in two phases; firstly to crowd-source questions, and secondly to ask respondents to rank these. The audience was intended to be global, supported by partners with world-wide reach, and the survey was translated into multiple languages.

In the first phase 502 people submitted 2859 questions. Respondents came from over 100 countries. Questions received were coded with up to three keywords, allowing their grouping into clusters of terms or ‘themes’. In the second phase ‒ where questions were ranked ‒ 818 respondents (many of whom were thought to be new respondents) took part.

The top twenty questions

Here is the list of twenty priority questions derived from the process (where 1 is highest ranked):

  1. How can degraded ecosystems be restored to meet the objectives of biodiversity conservation, ecosystem function, ecosystem resilience, and sustainability of rural livelihoods?
  2. In the context of high human density and scarcity of farming land, how can we address the question of sustainable management of tropical forests? [Dans un contexte de forte densité humaine et de rareté des terres arables, comment peut-on aborder la question de gestion durable des forêts tropicales?]
  3. How can we integrate sustainability into trade regulation and law?
  4. How can we develop models of forest restoration that are economically feasible?
  5. Can we develop practical tools that allow land-planning and forest management to be better tailored to the needs, culture and perceptions of different communities and locations?
  6. What are the implications for biodiversity and the environment of using afforestation as a mean of carbon mitigation?
  7. How do we make sure that the needs of indigenous people who rely on intact forest systems are being met while also providing wood products for economic growth?
  8. How is it possible to develop a sustainable mechanism for payments for ecosystem services?
  9. What are the institutional arrangements that might enable smallholders within a landscape to jointly market the ecosystems services provided by reforestation of some of their land?
  10. How can we improve agriculture to reduce the pressure in forested areas?
  11. How can we best select species that simultaneously provide ecological and economic benefits?
  12. What are the best means to ensure that forest/landscape restoration projects add value to the landscape in terms of connectivity between populations and habitats, facilitating gene flow, species migration, as well as complementarity of land-uses and livelihoods of local people?
  13. How can local knowledge, wisdom and experiences (e.g. on tree species, NTFPs [non-timber forest products]) be effectively combined with national and subnational forest assessment, monitoring and management efforts?
  14. How can we guarantee effective protection and conservation of environmental services in a world increasingly in need of raw materials at low cost? [¿De que manera puede garantizarse la protección y conservación efectiva de los servicios ambientales en un mundo cada vez más tensionado por la necesidad de materias primas a bajo coste?]
  15. Adaptation to climate change means answering to trends in future climate and also to increasing risks. These two aspects are often studied separately when they should be combined. How to combine them?
  16. Can we really use ecosystem service values as a method to value a whole landscape?
  17. How can inclusive forest and landscape management be enhanced for the resource-poor?
  18. How can farmers get money from biodiversity conservation?
  19. How can we maintain, restore and shape water-friendly landscapes, including forests and trees, while addressing partly-conflicting land use and water needs of all stakeholders of a landscape?
  20. How can we ensure that forests are for the benefit of local economies and forests are not grabbed for the benefit of some foreign company?

Whether you took part or not, we would welcome any comments here on the blog about the final 20 questions, and of course the process as a whole.

Visit the T20Q project website

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T20Q co-ordinators talk about the next phase of the global project

posted on December 9, 2014
T20Q podcast December 2014

t20q podcast December 2014

T20Q co-ordinators, Gabriel Hemery and Gill Petrokofsky, talked recently to Jen Hurst about the next phase of the global project.

The discussion covered the background to the project, how the 2500 respondents from 104 countries who took part in the first phase have been re-engaged in a new phase, and how the set of 109 questions was derived under seven themes:

  • Ecosystem services
  • Management of Forest and Forested Land
  • Land use and Landscape
  • Economics and Trade
  • Conservations and Biodiversity
  • People and Society
  • Climate Change

Take part in Phase 2 of the T20Q survey

Listen to their conversation:

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T20Q – join our second phase of a global survey

posted on November 14, 2014
Top 20 Questions

Top 20 Questions – please take part

T20Q is a global project that allows you to have your say about issues of importance in forestry and landscapes. From May through November 2014 we collected questions – concerning research and policy in forestry and landscapes – from respondents in 104 countries around the world. We are now re-engaging those who completed this first phase AND we want those who haven’t contributed to get involved.

Sharing sets of filtered questions and then prioritising them

Questions submitted through in Phase 1 have been sorted and organised into topics that reflect the most frequently-occurring themes. These are presented in sets of questions for further consolidating online through a ranking process. We are now seeking your contribution in assessing these questions and rating them. 

We initially collected questions in very broad categories but the new themes presented in Phase 2 reflect the most frequently-occurring topics that emerged from the questions submitted in Phase 1. There are 7 cross-cutting themes in Phase 2:

  • People & society
  • Conservation & biodiversity
  • Landuse & landscape issues
  • Ecosystem services
  • Economics & trade
  • Climate change
  • Management of forests

We will count up all the scores and produce a final set of Top Twenty Questions in December.

Take part in Phase 2 of the T20Q survey

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T20Q – Top twenty questions for forestry and landscape

posted on October 7, 2014
Take the T20Q survey

Take the T20Q survey

Researchers from around the world are gathering this week at the IUFRO 24th World Congress in Salt Lake City to discuss the future, and the related challenges, facing forests and forest management in the 21st century. This comes hard on the heels of the climate talks in New York in late September, where forests were high on the agenda, the CGIAR Development Dialogues, which aired synergies (and, importantly, gaps) between forestry, agriculture and other land-use sectors, and a Colloquium on Forests and Climate organised by Columbia University and CIFOR, at which leading thinkers considered how we could ‘change the future by challenging the present’.

All of these events provide a ‘sort of scientific crystal ball to give glimpses into the years ahead and discuss how to meet and adapt to coming challenges’, as Congress Spotlight 17 so eloquently put it!

The T20Q project is also a crystal ball and is asking, this time ‘non-leading’ thinkers, to add their no-less-important thoughts to the questions of where forestry’s priorities lie for research and policy.

T20Q – ‘top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes’ is a project within the broader Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative, led by CIFOR and its Partners. It follows a highly successful ‘T10Q’ project for British foresters, but this time extends the call for questions in three languages to a wider community of people involved with forestry and landscapes. It is being co-ordinated by the Sylva Foundation, a leading UK charity promoting evidence-informed forestry.

Response has been excellent so far – reaching people in more than 104 countries, and engaging many more young people and women than is usual with surveys in our field! We have received well over 3000 questions, but we would like to use the opportunity of engaging with the ‘IUFRO family’ now gathered in Salt Lake City to urge them to add their voices and to encourage people in their home institutions also to join the T20Q conversation.

The survey takes less than 30 minutes. Take part if you think:

  • we need to recalibrate how forests are presented in mainstream politics
  • too few people are involved in setting research and policy agendas
  • we should talk about forestry in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • ‘traditional’ forestry topics are being side-lined in the pursuit of broader linkages


Take part in the Survey: you can input in English, French or Spanish.

Visit the CIFOR booth (numbers 1103 & 1202) in the Congress Exhibition for more information about T20Q and Evidence-Based Forestry.

We look forward to hearing your stimulating questions!

Have a wonderful conference!

Gillian Petrokofsky, University of Oxford Research Fellow & CIFOR Senior Research Associate
Gabriel Hemery, CEO, Sylva Foundation
Peter Holmgren, DG, CIFOR

This article appeared first in the IUFRO blog

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Join the global conversation via T20Q

posted on August 15, 2014
The global conversation via T20Q. Some of the people and questions so far

The global conversation via T20Q. Some of the people and questions so far.


bienvenue à T20Q

bienvenue à T20Q

Nous souhaitons encourager le plus de personnes possibles à participer et à alimenter la discussion sur les thématiques les plus importantes pour la recherche et les choix politiques

Participez à la conversation!

Ne vous limitez pas dans vos réflexions : quel que soit l’élément important pour vous dans la forêt ou les arbres des paysages, nous voulons le connaître.


bienvenido a T20Q

bienvenido a T20Q

Deseamos animar a tantas personas como sea posible a participar de las deliberaciones sobre cuáles son los temas más importantes para la investigación y las políticas.

Únase a la conversación!

Piense en términos generales: si algún aspecto de la silvicultura o los árboles en el paisaje es importante para usted, queremos escucharlo.

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1300 questions from 79 countries submitted to T20Q

posted on July 17, 2014

We have received almost 1300 questions to the T20Q project, covering a very wide range of topics, from people in 79 different countries.

A third of those who have participated have been women and 20% have been under the age of 30. Forestry has often been criticised for being heavily reliant on the views of older men, so this level of participation from younger people and women is terrific, and we encourage yet more to join the conversation.

We have received questions from people working in forestry, agriculture, landscapes and combinations of these three – researchers, policy-makers, educators and practitioners – and we are particularly keen to hear from more people in smaller organisations and the business sector.

Have you important questions that you think researchers and policy makers should listen to? Is your country or region well represented so far? Do join the conversation! Read about T20Q and submit your questions online

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Global Landscapes Forum features T20Q

posted on July 16, 2014
Gabriel Hemery with one of his questions submitted to T20Q

Gabriel Hemery with one of his questions submitted to T20Q. Have you submitted yours?

Sylva CEO Dr Gabriel Hemery was interviewed about the global crowdsourcing project T20Q.  The article by journalist Julie Mollins was published this week in the Global Landscapes Forum.

Here’s a short extract from the Q&A interview:

Q: What inspired the T20Q project?

A: At its heart, the inspiration is to get everyone with an interest in forestry and landscapes to contribute towards research and policy agendas. This will ensure that research undertaken — at whatever level — is relevant and policy development reflects perceived priorities. To use “buzz words”, this is referred to as a participatory process that supports evidence-based policymaking.

T20Q – Top 20 Questions for Forestry and Landscapes – is a project run by multiple partners. The website is hosted by the Sylva Foundation at:


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One thousand questions submitted – have you shared yours?

posted on June 23, 2014
Take the T20Q survey

Take the T20Q survey

T20Q has been running less than a month and we are delighted that so many people have submitted such interesting questions. We have reached almost 1000 questions in three languages, but we are aiming much higher! Your voice deserves to be heard! So please submit your questions through the website. Click here

Here are a few questions that we received recently (to get you thinking):

  • What is the potential of forests and trees to mitigate climate change if all opportunities of active management and substitution are included?
  • How can we measure biodiversity (potential) with one or a few generic variables that are easily understandable and acceptable?
  • How does urbanisation change the priorities and financial flows to landscapes?
  • Why are forest plantations often seen as negative feature, while planting trees is seen as very positive activity?
  • Which are the “missing middles” in policies related to landscapes, i.e. which areas of forestry/agriculture/other land uses are outside or only marginally covered by policy interventions?
  • How effective is neoclassic economic theory and methods (including natural capital accounting) for realising stakeholder objectives for landscapes?
  • Which development opportunities are lost, and to what magnitude, because siloed sectors and institutions miss out on combined solutions, e.g. across Sustainable Development Goals?
  • To what extent will higher valuation of food (higher food prices) improve farming livelihoods and environmental sustainability and to what extent is there a tradeoff with food security?

T20Q – top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes is a project within the broader Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative, led by CIFOR and its partners.

T20Q is a global project that allows you to have your say about issues of importance.

Many believe that too few people are involved in setting research and policy agendas. T20Q is a vehicle for your voice.

From May to October 2014 we will be collecting your ideas in a variety of ways, including workshops, online surveys and social media.

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500 questions received for T20Q Forestry & Landscapes survey

posted on May 27, 2014
Take the T20Q survey

Take the T20Q survey

The Top twenty Questions for Forestry & Landscapes or T20Q survey, now multilingual, has already attracted over 500 questions from respondents around the world.

The T20Q survey is seeking the input of anyone who has an interest in forestry, forest products & ecosystem services to suggest priority questions for research and policy that really do need attention, whether locally, regionally or on the world stage. The questions can be submitted through an online survey that is now available in French, Spanish and English.

CIFOR and its key partners are co-ordinating this global project to encourage conversations about some of the biggest problems facing the world today. Using this inclusive method to draw effectively on the knowledge, expertise and insights of the global community of researchers, practitioners and those with a love of forests will help broaden conversations and focus attention on the wide community of forestry.

Responses to the survey can be anonymous, but basic descriptive information provided by respondents will allow priorities to be reported at global, regional and national levels, and for particular communities of interest. So T20Q will also inform many levels and arenas of decision making.

As CIFOR said in a recent message to its networks of readers – “Nominate your priorities, and encourage your colleagues to nominate theirs, through the T20Q website. Follow the discussion on Twitter @Forestry_Q and via the hashtag #t20q.”

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T20Q global survey is live

posted on May 5, 2014
Top 20 Questions - take the survey

Top 20 Questions – take the survey

Launching to coincide with Forests Asia the global online survey is now live. Add your voice to the conversation about what is important in forestry and landscapes:

participate in the T20Q survey

participate in the T20Q survey

T20Q – top twenty questions for forestry and landscapes –  is a global project that allows everyone to have a say about issues of importance. The questions received from contributors will be used to suggest new research or policy agendas, reveal knowledge gaps, and open up areas for further discussions across disciplines. They will also help identify new topics for systematic reviews of the science in key areas of forestry and landscape management.

The survey builds on earlier work that identified forestry priorities through a participatory process and invited large numbers of people with an interest in forestry and integrated landscapes to suggest questions they felt had high priority for research and policy.  As with earlier work, the T20Q process makes no prior assumptions about which topics are important. Questions will be collated according to their content and priorities will start to emerge as the conversation grows. The survey is primarily a vehicle for submitting questions online, but it will collect basic identifiers, such as age, gender, and stakeholder group, so that the topics suggested can be reported according to different regions, interest groups etc.

T20Q is a project within the broader Evidence-Based Forestry (EBF) initiative, led by CIFOR and its Partners. EBF is a “collaboration without walls” that aims to improve the quality and relevance of science and policy in forestry and landscape management. The Evidence-Based Forestry initiative is funded primarily by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through their KNOW-FOR grant to CIFOR.  Read more


The homepage for the new T20Q project is  You can also follow news about the T20Q project on Twitter @Forestry_Q

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