Our Vision

Our vision is for smallholders throughout the developing world to plant the highest quality trees to improve food security, nutrition, income, health, shelter, social cohesion, energy, resources and environmental sustainability. 

Our goals

  • To develop the science-based knowledge needed to identify, deliver and promote wide-scale planting of the best quality tree germplasm in appropriate portfolios.
  • Our developmental partners, especially national governments, action NGOs and the private sector, to promote planting of superior tree germplasm closely linked with market developments and local needs in agricultural landscapes.

Our research

Identifying, delivering and conserving quality tree germplasm, as well as supporting the optimal use of the right tree in the right place for the right purpose. Our research seeks to promote superior germplasm of indigenous and exotic tree species while avoiding problems associated with invasive species. In particular, we research on tree domestication approaches and innovations in input supply chains, leading to the sustainable production and distribution of quality seeds, seedlings and other tree planting material.


Domestication supports agricultural productivity increases, but a series of inter-related processes are involved that must be understood individually and in concert. One of our aims is to understand these processes for trees in a complex agroforestry setting in order to further improve livelihood value.

Priority in our research is given to high-value tree species (e.g. food, sawn wood, medicine, fodder and other commercial tree commodities), but with attention also to trees for fertilizer, energy and other uses. Tree improvement traits considered include but are not limited to yield, product quality and seasonality, nutritional value, pest and disease resistance, and adaptation to current and future climates.

"Our work includes research on tree domestication approaches and innovations in input supply chains, leading to the sustainable production and distribution of quality seeds and seedlings"

Databases and other decision support tools for the selection of species, varieties and germplasm sources are developed. The theme incorporates ICRAF's global Genetic Resource Unit (GRU), which focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of diverse tree genetic resources. Policy development work is undertaken with the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources and the relevant UN Conventions, along with regional, national and local policy frameworks.

Throughout our work, we expect to make critical contributions to all the SLOs which are relevant to the achievement of several SDGs post 2015. Our work will contribute to the intermediate development outcomes (IDOs), especially within Forests Trees and Agriculture (FTA), Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), Genebanks and Climate Change on Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) but also in Dryland Systems and Integrated systems for the Humid Tropics.