Energy smart ecosystems

Innovation is central to solving the global climate change crisis and meeting international development goals. Scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research are investigating how the restoration of degraded lands can contribute sustainably to efforts to meet growing energy demand. Their work involves working determining best practices for capturing renewable energy from biomass, including wood, agricultural residues and soil. Browse to find out more about how local communities are benefitting from this research. 

Revolutionizing renewable energy

Modern, efficient and sustainable forms of bioenergy production can play a key role in combating climate change while also providing social, economic and environmental benefits to rural communities. Biofuel plantations, which could be central to meeting landscape restoration targets while helping meet growing energy demand, could play a significant role. Scientists are investigating sources of bioenergy production that do not compete, but which contribute to food production and environmental conservation.

Successful efforts to harness renewable energy could help meet the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG7, ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and SDG13, take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Research outcomes could also contribute to meeting targets laid out in the U.N. Paris Agreement on climate change, which aim to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and achieve net zero emissions in the second half of the 21st century.

Different pathways for sustainable bioenergy development exist in different regions. CIFOR’s current research is primarily focused on sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Vast tracts of degraded land could potentially be restored to productivity through greening initiatives designed to produce renewable energy. Scientists are working in Indonesia alongside smallholder farmers on projects to test fast-growing local species, including nyamplung, pongamia and bamboo that can grow in a range of soil types, including degraded and burned peatlands, wetlands and land formerly used for resource extraction.

Related initiatives to develop parameters for the biofuels sector involve analyzing demand, supply, costs, potential social and environmental impact, carbon footprint, synergies and trade-offs with food production. The potential scale of bioenergy production is also under scrutiny as scientists identify how bioenergy extraction links to physical landscape configurations in the context of wood extraction methods. Other considerations involve analyzing the direct and indirect environmental impact of land use, the cost efficiency of different public and private investment options, and the potential for income, jobs, poverty alleviation of different options.




Himlal Baral
Senior Scientist, CIFOR
Ahmad Dermawan
Scientist, CIFOR
Beni Okarda
Senior Research Officer, CIFOR
Yustina Artati
Senior Research Officer, CIFOR
Syed Ajijur Rahman
Consultant, CIFOR
Yusuf Bahtimi
Consultant, CIFOR
Agus Muhamad Maulana
Consultant, CIFOR
Soo-Min Lee
Senior scientist, NIFoS
Novi Wahyuni
Laboratory officer, CIFOR
Mi Hyun Seol
Seconded Scientist