Southern Africa's Dryland Forests, Climate Change and the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus

The overarching objective of this paper is to explore the interactions between Southern Africa’s dryland forests and issues of water, energy and food security, in the context of climate change. In terms of audience, the paper aims firstly to provide policymakers and stakeholders in Southern Africa’s forestry sector with a number of entry points for discussion with colleagues in other sectors. The WEF nexus is compatible with approaches to integrated forest management, including ecosystem- and landscape-based approaches. Secondly, stakeholders working on issues related to water, energy, food security and climate change in Southern Africa are invited to consider the role played by forests/woodlands and trees in the region’s extensive dryland areas. Finally, a nexus approach is of use to policymakers responsible for integrated planning and/or policy mainstreaming. Since the World Economic Forum identified the WEF nexus – including its links to climate change and environmental stress – as one of three major clusters of risks today,9 the lens has been applied extensively not only to issues relating directly to water, energy, food security and climate change but also to sectors such as mining. By applying it to forestry, this paper shows how this sector is intricately linked to some of the major issues of our time.