Environmental Management

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 271–282 | Cite as

Addressing Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Together: A Global Assessment of Agriculture and Forestry Projects



Adaptation and mitigation share the ultimate purpose of reducing climate change impacts. However, they tend to be considered separately in projects and policies because of their different objectives and scales. Agriculture and forestry are related to both adaptation and mitigation: they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and removals, are vulnerable to climate variations, and form part of adaptive strategies for rural livelihoods. We assessed how climate change project design documents (PDDs) considered a joint contribution to adaptation and mitigation in forestry and agriculture in the tropics, by analyzing 201 PDDs from adaptation funds, mitigation instruments, and project standards [e.g., climate community and biodiversity (CCB)]. We analyzed whether PDDs established for one goal reported an explicit contribution to the other (i.e., whether mitigation PDDs contributed to adaptation and vice versa). We also examined whether the proposed activities or expected outcomes allowed for potential contributions to the two goals. Despite the separation between the two goals in international and national institutions, 37 % of the PDDs explicitly mentioned a contribution to the other objective, although only half of those substantiated it. In addition, most adaptation (90 %) and all mitigation PDDs could potentially report a contribution to at least partially to the other goal. Some adaptation project developers were interested in mitigation for the prospect of carbon funding, whereas mitigation project developers integrated adaptation to achieve greater long-term sustainability or to attain CCB certification. International and national institutions can provide incentives for projects to harness synergies and avoid trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation.


REDD+ Emissions Vulnerability Landscape Ecosystem services Livelihoods 



The authors thank Anne Olhoff (UNEP DTU Partnership), Ole Mertz (University of Copenhagen), and Esteve Corbera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) for their useful comments on earlier versions of the paper. This research received financial support from AusAid (Agreement 63650 with Center for International Forestry Research) and OPERAs (Ecosystem Science for Policy & Practice, funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement Number 308393). This work was carried out as part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research programs on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Author Contributions

Rico Kongsager and Bruno Locatelli developed methods, Rico Kongsager and Florie Chazarin collected and processed primary data, Rico Kongsager and Bruno Locatelli analyzed results and wrote the paper.

Supplementary material

267_2015_605_MOESM1_ESM.docx (90 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 90 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rico Kongsager
    • 1
  • Bruno Locatelli
    • 2
    • 3
  • Florie Chazarin
    • 2
  1. 1.UNEP DTU Partnership on Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, UN CityCopenhagen ODenmark
  2. 2.CIFORLimaPeru
  3. 3.CIRAD BSEFMontpellier Cedex 5France

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