Dear Ecoagriculture Partners,
The need for ecoagriculture first became apparent to me in 1999, when I saw the global satellite images prepared for the Pilot Assessment of Global Ecosystems (precursor to the Millennium Assessment). Crop production was far more widespread than anyone had imagined, and was the ecologically dominant land use in many of the world's most important wildlife habitats and watersheds. What farming systems could truly produce these key ecological functions, while still increasing food production? What nature conservation systems were viable and effective in agricultural landscapes? When Jeff McNeely and I began looking for them, we expected to find few examples. But to our surprise, cases were found in myriad parts of the world.
But most of these cases are poorly documented. Participants in our first International Ecoagriculture Conference in Nairobi in 2004 identified the need for documentation, and for improved methods to do so, as one of our top priorities for action. Not only do the innovators want to do a better job of tracking their own progress towards meeting joint conservation, production and livelihood goals at a landscape scale, they also want to generate evidence that would motivate policymakers, investors and other farmers and conservation groups to support their work. In 2005, Ecoagriculture Partners initiated the Ecoagriculture Landscape Measures project,
led by Louise Buck at Cornell University, with 15 partner organizations involved in the Steering Committee. A sourcebook will be ready for testing in 2007 (see Outcome Measures at http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/programs/measuring.htm). Meanwhile, EP is developing case summaries of ecoagriculture landscapes based on existing information. Please tell us about the ecoagriculture landscapes where you work—your agricultural production and biodiversity conservation goals, the landscape where you work, the production and conservation practices you have found useful, any evidence that agricultural livelihoods have improved and biodiversity conserved, any photos or maps illustrating these systems, and where people can go to learn more. (See Ecoagriculture Cases at http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/cases/cases.htm). Thanks for helping us illustrate the diverse challenge and promise of ecoagriculture.
Sara J. Scherr, President
ECOAGRICULTURE PARTNERS UPDATE:
- Ecoagriculture Partners Welcomes its Newest Board Member, Dr. Emile Frison
- Ecoagriculture Partners at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP-8
- New Partnerships for Monitoring Landscapes
- Payments for Ecosystem Services in Ecoagriculture Landscapes
- Publication of Ecoagriculture Landscape Measures Conceptual Framework
- Agricultural Environmental Management Systems in Australia by Bruce Lloyd, Landcare International
- Wild Silk Production Can Conserve Protected Areas in Developing Countries by Catherine Craig, Conservation Through Poverty Alleviation International (CPALI)
- Rights and Resources Initiative Launch
- The International Agrobiodiversity Research Platform
- UC Berkeley's Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program Highlights Ecoagriculture
- Fordham University, UNDP and The Nature Conservancy Sponsor Lecture Series on Poverty and Environment
- Achim Steiner Elected New UNEP Executive Director
- CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food Announces New Website
- Ecoagriculture in China 's Counties
- PBS Documentary on ‘State of Wildlife '
- CATIE Hosts Conference on Small and Medium Forest Enterprise Development for Poverty Reduction
- Katoomba Group Launches Community Forum on Payments for Ecosystem Services
New Articles, Reports and Books
- "Habitat in Agricultural Landscapes: How Much is Enough?"
- "Back to Barriers? Changing Narratives in Biodiversity Conservation”
- Conserving Crop Wild Relatives
- Income Generation, Environmental Enhancement through Mixed Cropping in Pacific Island Countries
- Payments for Ecosystem Services at the Forest-Pasture Interface: Latin American Experience Applicability for Asia
- Grain for Green in China
- Human-Wildlife Conflict
- Farm Subsidies and the Gulf Coast Fisheries
- Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems (Book)
- Agroecology and the Struggle for Food Sovereignty in the Americas (Book)
Other Ecoagriculture Resources
- New Research Agenda: The DIVERSITAS Cross-Cutting agroBIODIVERSITY Research Theme
- New Database: A collection of agri-biotechnology articles compiled by SciDev.Net
- Interdisciplinary Research Organization: Resilience Alliance
- Energy Estimator for Use of Nitrogen Products
- New Online Journal: Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine
- The Most-Detailed Map of the World's Rivers
- An Encyclopedia of Land-Use and Land-Cover
- Rainforest Saver: Using Inga Trees to Restore Degraded Tropical Forest Land
CALL FOR PAPERS, PARTNERS, AND PROPOSALS:
- Call for Abstracts: Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE)
- Call for Articles: Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) Bulletin
- Call for Film Reviewers: “The Dreamers of Arnhem Land ” and “Back to the Soil”
- Calls for Grant Proposals: IFS and CODESRIA for interdisciplinary research groups in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Call for Conservation Evidence
- Call for Posters: Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) Conference on “ Agricultural Research and Development: Evidence of contributing to achieving the Millennium Development Goals”
- Call for Prize Nominations: The Science and Practice of Ecology and Society Award
- Call for Grant Proposals: The Wildlife Habitat Policy Research Program
- First African Leadership Seminar on People and Conservation, South Africa and Mozambique, August 12-19, 2006.
- Eight Annual Bioecon Conference on “Economic Analysis of Ecology and Biodiversity”, Cambridge, England, August 29-30, 2006
- The VI Brazilian Congress of Agroforestry Systems (VI CBSAF), Campos dos Goytacazes, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, October 23-27, 2006
- International Dialogue on Science and Practice in Sustainable Development: Linking Knowledge with Action” Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 23-27, 2007
Events announced in previous newsletters can be found on our website at http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/events/other.htm
Emile Frison, Director General of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI), is the newest member of Ecoagriculture Partners' board. Dr. Frison will play a particularly important role as EP develops its Research Mobilization. He is a champion in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system for biodiverse farming systems. He was previously Director of IPGRI's regional office for Europe and until his appointment to the top position at IPGRI was Director of the organization's International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain in Montpellier, France. In 2002 Dr Frison launched a global consortium of 27 members from 14 countries to decode the genetic information of the banana, to improve the varieties available to smallholder farmers. Dr Frison is a Belgian citizen and has more than 120 scientific publications to his name.
The eighth Conference of the Parties (COP-8) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) took place from 20-31 March 2006, in Curitiba, Brazil. Attended by over 4,000 delegates, official negotiations were
by an array of additional activities. Priority issues addressed by CBD delegates included a new Program of Work on Island biodiversity; the negotiation of an international Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) regime; Biodiversity of dry and sub-humid lands; and CBD Article 8(j) on Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices. The use of genetic use restriction technologies (GURTS) was also hotly debated. Commitment to a ban on GURT field testing was reaffirmed, rejecting proposals by some delegates to allow case-by-case risk assessments. Delegates also address the need for the CBD to consider its activities in the context of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment outcomes; and the need to more systematically co-ordinate and integrate strategies to deliver the Millennium Development Goals, the 2010 biodiversity target and other internationally agreed targets on biodiversity, environmental sustainability and development. In closing, it was confirmed that the 2008 COP-9 will be hosted in Germany .
Hosted on the evening of 27 March, Ecoagriculture Partners was joined at its side-event by a panel of leaders representing international agricultural agencies, NGOs and community-based organizations to address the challenges of sustaining productivity and improving rural livelihoods in a variety of agricultural landscapes, while also conserving biodiversity – not only rop/livestock genetic diversity, but also the wild biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Innovative ecosystem-/landscape-scale approaches were presented on the role of agroforestry systems in landscape management (Mohamed Bakarr, World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF); the landscape management of the Kalinga Rice terraces to sustain food and environmental security (Donato Bumacas, Kalinga Mission for Youth and Indigenous Peoples, Philippines) and the sustainable utilisation of crop biodiversity by the Chimbeme community ( Gladman Chibememe, Chibememe Earth Healing Association, Zimbabwe). Key messages as the CBD prepares for its 2008 focus on agricultural biodiversity (Claire Rhodes, Ecoagriculture Partners) highlighted the need to:
1.) Coordinate the agendas of the CBD and MDGs to support landscape-scale strategies that jointly achieve biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, rural livelihood improvement and sustainable agricultural production;
2.) Empower ecoagriculture practitioners— local communities, farmers, pastoralists and others to play a central role in national and international policy processes;
3.) Support this strategy with a focused program of research, knowledge exchange and capacity-building across communities and across sectors, building upon the expertise and knowledge that already exists amongst community-based practitioners .
The following day, Tuesday 28th March, an ‘ Agriculture and Biodiversity' day was hosted at the Community Taba. The purpose of the Taba, building upon on a series of community dialogue spaces hosted at international meetings, was to facilitate the engagement of grassroots community representatives in COP8 discussions, and to enhance community-community knowledge exchange. With respect to ‘Agriculture and Biodiversity', discussion highlighted a diverse array of ecoagricultural practices being employed by Taba participants, including the production of ‘biodiversity-friendly' organic cacao in Ecuador; the work of a Chilean co-operative to reforest and recover degraded grazing land; sustainable pastoral initiatives from Argentina and Peru, and a local Brazilian farmer's work to keep stingless indigenous bees to improve the pollination and productivity of his crops. Key challenges highlighted by community representatives included the need to sustain crop coverage to avoid soil erosion and associated run-off, particularly from hillside production systems, into the marine environment. This was noted as a particularly pertinent challenge for island-based agriculture. Challenges associated with the detrimental impacts of large-scale industrial agricultural systems on biodiversity were highlighted, particularly the limited ability of local communities to address these ‘off-site' impacts when the source of the impact originates from land under the management of large agricultural corporations. The need to sustainably increase yield in the face of growing population pressures was raised, particularly how this could be achieved while still preserving traditional knowledge and approaches.
For further details:
i) Comprehensive coverage of the CBD-COP8 by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin: www.iisd.ca/biodiv/cop8/ )
ii) A summary of key CBD-COP8 discussion points and decisions of potential relevance to Ecoagriculture and Ecoagriculture Partners can be found on the EP website at http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/resources/reports.htm
Ecoagriculture Partners activities during the CBD included an ‘official' side-event on ‘Conserving Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes: Challenges and Priorities for the CBD' and co-hosting the Community Taba dialogue space, particularly a one-day program on ‘Agricultural and Biodiversity Day'.
iii) On ‘Agriculture and Biodiversity day' discussions at the Community Taba, visit http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/resources/reports.htm
iv) On the overall Community Taba program and outcomes: Including daily reports, photos and the Community Taba Declaration:
The World Conservation Union's (IUCN) Forest Landscape Restoration program and Ecoagriculture Partners'
Measures Project are receiving support from Program on Forests (PROFOR) to develop and coordinate initiatives to monitor landscape change in agricultural and forest landscape mosaics. The Nature Conservancy is also supporting the Program during the design phase.
For more information on Ecoagriculture Partners'
Measures Project, visit http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/programs/measuring.htm
For more information on IUCN's Forest Landscape Restoration work, visit http://www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/experience_lessons/flr.htm
Ecoagriculture Partners' project on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Ecoagriculture Landscapes is moving forward. Sara Scherr and Jeff Milder are collaborating with Leslie Lipper, Monika Zurek, Randy Stringer and colleagues at FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) to assess the potentials of PES to support smallholder agricultural development in the tropics. A visit to Rome in May provided an opportunity for EP to share progress made so far and meet with FAO staff in many departments who have begun related work. A joint report is expected by the end of 2006. Jeff Milder also visited colleagues at the OECD in Paris who are developing indicators of biodiversity for use in agri-environmental payment schemes.
Meanwhile, Sara and Jeff are collaborating in a global scoping study on “Compensation for Ecosystem Services” for the International Centre for Development Research (IDRC) Rural Poverty and Environment program, to assess the potential of market, financial and incentive-based instruments for conserving ecosystem services and reducing poverty in the tropics. The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is project leader and other collaborators include African Centre for Technology Studies ( Kenya ), Corporacion Grupo Randi Randi ( Ecuador ), Forest Trends, Institute for Social and Economic Change ( India ), the Rights and Resources Initiative, and the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Conservation Union--IUCN. Reports will be available shortly.
Ecoagriculture Partners is pleased to announce publication of a new paper laying out the conceptual framework for our project on “Ecoagriculture Landscape Measures:” Louise Buck, Jeffrey Milder, Tom Gavin and Ishani Mukherjee, Integrating Biodiversity Conservation, Agricultural Production and Livelihood Benefits in Multifunctional Landscapes: A Framework For Measuring Ecoagriculture Outcomes , Understanding Ecoagriculture Discussion Paper No. 1, Ecoagriculture Partners: Washington, D.C., June. The paper will shortly be available for downloading from the EP website. Our warm thanks for their input and comments to all of the members of our International Steering Committee on the Measures project, and participants in the two review workshops.
The paper will be available at http://www.ecoagriculturepartners.org/resources/reports.htm
Please send your comments to Louise Buck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Bruce Lloyd, Landcare International, EP Board Member, Australia
Two thirds of the Australian landmass is privately owned, including almost twenty percent by Indigenous Australians. The landcare movement has developed over the last twenty or thirty years to embrace about forty percent of commercial farmers, and has been a major factor in the dramatically more positive attitude by landowners to preserving the environment. They are now prepared, voluntarily and usually without compensation, to make greater commitments to broader landscape, not just single farm, conservation. They now realize that there is a unique opportunity to preserve and restore natural/original ecosystems, rather than the agriculturally and historically modified environments of many countries.
To support these initiatives, Australia has four nation-wide natural resource management (NRM) programs: Community Landcare/Coastcare, the fifty-six Catchment/Regional Authorities, Environment Management/Better Management Systems (EMS/BMP) trials, and the National Water Initiative. These encompass sustainable agriculture, biodiversity/ecosystem and environment preservation generally. All are supported by the Australian and State Governments through programs such as the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), and to a greater extent by community groups, agricultural industries and landowners themselves. Communication and interaction among participants, plus the provision of facilitators, is a critical element in all four national programs.
The EMS/BMP program is an on-farm process that can potentially lead to the International EMS ISO 14001 standard. To test its suitability, there are approximately thirty trials around the nation involving landcare groups, regions, farmer organisations; and farm, forestry and fishing industries. The objectives of these trials are:
- To prepare farmers for domestic and export market access issues as they arise in the future, and to build on food security programs;
- To use this more targeted process as advanced engagement for farm-based landcare and other community groups;
- To encourage farmers to participate by involving their industry organizations;
- To use the process to assist the regions to meet their environmental targets;
- To use the farm and industry and region accreditation process to avoid and be superior to government regulation.
Thousands of Australian farmers, foresters, nurseries and other landowners and fishermen are now engaged in the various levels of EMS/BMP. Most are not at the stage requiring the ISO standard, as most are still in an engagement and learning process and so far there are few market access or other incentives. Australian experience with EMS was discussed at national and regional workshops in Sydney in March and April, and will be reviewed at the upcoming International Landcare Conference in Melbourne in October 2006.
For more information on the Australian EMS program for agriculture, see:
By Catherine Craig, CPALI
One of the root causes of biodiversity loss is poverty. Small-scale farmers cut down forests because national and international policies, market conditions or local institutions do not provide them with reasonable alternatives. The silk project directed by Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International provides new ways for poor rural farmers to generate income by working to increase and expand a traditional industry that has significant cultural value and that is not meeting the current market demand in Madagascar or abroad. Because Madagascar's unique biological heritage—which includes populations of lemurs, geckos, birds and insects—is critically endangered by habitat destruction, innovative approaches are needed to stem its loss. We are working in border forests that edge sites of high conservation value. Our focus is on wild silk because of its beauty and unique properties, and because wild silk larvae feed on native plants that are found in our targeted sites. Once people can extract value from these larvae, they will have a vested interest in protecting the target sites and hence the plant and animal populations found in them. Furthermore, hand woven textiles can be produced with low environmental impact at costs within the means of the rural poor. Revitalization of this craft will promote the cultural survival of the Malagasy people.
Fore more information, visit www.cpali.org.
Stating that the ambitious global effort to radically reduce poverty will fail unless it focuses on the 1.6 billion people who rely on forests for their livelihoods, a coalition of organizations has launched the International Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), advocating for stronger community rights to own and use forests and develop sustainable forest-based economies. The group aims to assist communities and governments to double the global forest area under community ownership and management by 2015. Founding partners of the Rights and Resources Initiative include the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the Coordinating Association of Indigenous and Community Agroforestry in Central America (ACICAFOC), Washington, DC-based Forest Trends, the Bangkok-based Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC), the Foundation for People and Community Development, Papua New Guinea, and the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
For more information, visit www.rightsandresources.org
EP recently participated in an envisioning meeting with stakeholders for a new International Agrobiodiversity Research Platform organized by the
International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI). Some of the research topics suggested at the meeting include:
- Ecosystem services and their value in agroecosystems (identification, ensuring they are maintained and determining their value)
- Ensuring improved (or maintaining) stability, resilience and productivity through diversity deployment
- Maintaining adaptability in agroecosystems.
- The contribution of agriculture to wider conservation and sustainable use issues
- The impacts of agriculture on the wider ecosystem (and on "non-agricultural" parts of agro-ecosystems)
More information will be posted soon at www.ipgri.org
The Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program publishes a newsletter to encourage continued networking among its alumni. The Winter issue focuses on Ecoagriculture and Payment for Ecosystem Services, with featured articles by ELP alumni from the Philippines, China, Scotland, Switzerland, India and Colombia, as well as short reports on Small Grants Initiative collaborative projects in Mali (a documentary on the Niger Basin ) and Madagascar (CB-NRM). David Zilberman describes his current research on Ecosystem Services, and its relevance for poverty-reduction, while Robin Marsh reports directly from the Population, Health and Environment Conference in the Philippines, and finds the common threads in this issue in her letter to readers.
To view the newsletter, visit http://beahrselp.berkeley.edu/ELP%20WINTER%202006%20NEWSLETTER.pdf .
Ecoagriculture Partners participated in one of the lecture series on Poverty and Environment organized by Fordham University, the Equator Initiative of the UNDP and The Nature Conservancy in New York City . The panel discussion entitled ‘Poverty Reduction and Protecting the Environment Are Not Opposing Goals' was held on Wednesday, 5 April 2006, at Fordham University 's Lincoln Center Campus in New York City . Panelists probed the economic case for investing in sound environmental management for poverty reduction, as well as by exploring proven approaches to sustainable agriculture and a range of certification schemes and economic instruments that allow citizens of industrialized countries to support local communities in the developing world that are pursuing sustainable approaches to their own economic development. As one of the panelists, Sara Scherr of EP discussed ‘ecoagriculture strategies'. Other panelists included EP partners Charles McNeill , Environment Programme Team Manager and Senior Biodiversity Advisor, of UNDP; Andrew Deutz, Special Adviser for Global Policy, IUCN - The World Conservation Union; and Tensie Whelan , Executive Director, Rainforest Alliance.
For more information on the series, visit www.fordhamlectures.com
On March 16 th, the UN General Assembly, acting upon the nomination of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, unanimously elected Achim Steiner of Germany as the new Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for a four -year term, effective 15 June 2006 . Mr. Steiner, who is currently the Director-General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), will succeed Klaus Toepfer, who has served the UN for more than eight years, and become the fifth Executive Director in UNEP's history.
For the full press release, visit
The Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research has developed a new website, designed to allow for quick download times, easy access to an ever-increasing amount of information, and new interactive features to facilitate communication among a diverse group of users.
To view the site, visit www.waterandfood.org
Eco-agriculture in China, launched by university researchers, started with demonstration villages and townships and gradually evolved into demonstration counties, supported mainly by the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment. Every year around 20 million Yuan (USD 2.5 million) is spent by the national and provincial governments on eco-agriculture. Farmers' participation and willing investment have become an important factor in the development of eco-agriculture in China. At present, there are about 150 eco-agriculture demonstration counties and 2000 demonstration counties, townships and villages all over China. Since 1987, seven eco-agriculture demonstration sites in China have been awarded by the United Nations Environment Program as being among the “Global 500 Awards for Environmental Achievements”, thus becoming models for the development of sustainable agriculture.
For more information, visit
The Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF and other partners worked with the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) on a superb television documentary overview of the state of wildlife on our planet, narrated by actor Matt Damon. The show includes a number of examples of community ecoagriculture initiatives, from ranching communities in the US Everglades and Rocky Mountains, pastoralists in Lake Baringo in Kenya, and farmers in South Africa.
The show schedule and further information (including related educational programs) can be found at http://www.pbs.org/journeytopla netearth/stateoftheplanet /index.html. Other documentaries in the series may also be of interest.
To learn more about one of the featured projects, with WWF partner Sonny Williamson of Williamson Cattle Company, and his efforts to implement the Florida Ranchlands Environmental Services Pilot Project in Okeechobee, Florida, visit http://www.pbs.org/journeytoplanetearth/hope/everglades.html
CATIE hosted an international conference in Turrialba, Costa Rica, May 23-25, to take stock of experiences in developing Small and Medium Forest Enterprises (SFME) in globalizing markets for timber and non-timber forest products. The meeting brought together representatives from the private sector including forest-based communities, development and donor agencies, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and research centers to reflect on the critical issues facing SMFE development in the tropics and how to best support SMFE for the benefit of the rural poor. Discussions focused on factors that link SMFE development, sustainable forest management and poverty reduction. Special attention was directed at identifying key elements of strategies for developing enabling political and institutional frameworks, successful integration of SMFE in value chains, and articulation of technical, business development and financial services for SMFE development.
For more information in English, visit www.catie.ac.cr/econegociosforestales/conference
For Spanish, http://cecoeco.catie.ac.cr/Magazin.asp?codwebsite=1&CodSeccion=119&MagSigla=MENU_CENT
The Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace has launched a targeted newsletter for suppliers of ecosystem services around the world and all those who work and interact with them. The Community Forum will serve as a catalyst for disseminating information regarding Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) within the community context, highlighting new PES initiatives, updated articles and training resources, and providing innovative tools for practitioners to use in the local context. The Forum will be a space for exchange of ideas and previous experiences developing a global network of ecosystem service providers that will help make the work of communities and their support institutions more effective.
To see or sign up (at no cost) for the Community Forum, see: http://ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/newsletter/cf_6.12.06.html
New Articles, Reports, and Books
Defenders of Wildlife has just published a state-of-the science literature review of “Habitat in Agricultural Landscapes: How Much is Enough?” by Kristen Blann. The report was written to help guide conservationists, landowners and policy-makers in North America in setting regional habitat conservation goals in agricultural landscape mosaics. But Blann's comprehensive and highly readable analysis will help ecoagriculture practitioners and researchers around the world to understand the challenges and the opportunities for habitat conservation in agricultural landscapes.
To access the full text, visit http://www.biodiversitypartners.org/pubs/Ag/index.shtml
A paper by Jon Hutton, William Adams, and James Murombedzi, “Back to Barriers? Changing Narratives in Biodiversity Conservation”, appearing in the Forum for Development Studies, No. 2, 2005, discusses the recent history of conservation in Southern Africa from fortress conservation to community-based natural resource management, and the revival of preservationist approaches.
Brien Meilleur and Toby Hodgkin's Biodiversity and Conservation article titled “In situ Conservation of Crop Wild Relatives: Status and Trends” 13(4):663-684 reviews efforts to conserve relatives of our modern crops in their original habitats, as opposed to saving them in gene banks. While many multilateral organizations and governments have been giving the issue more attention, most countries have yet to take serious measures to protect their crops' wild relatives. Most wild relatives have yet to be assessed and mapped, existing protected areas do not cover many of the important species and some species live only in heavily populated and disturbed regions where it will be hard to create new parks. The only option for those species may be to conserve them on farms, in sacred sites and alongside roads.
To access this article, contact Catherine Cotton: Catherine.Cotton@springer.com. To send comments and queries please write to Brien Meilleur at email@example.com
This report promotes the concept of “Pacifika Improved and Integrated Farming Systems” which encompass a range of mixed cropping systems found in the Pacific islands that enhance sustainability and ecological stability by including a mixture of trees and other crops. This enrichment of traditional crops with trees improves overall profitability, maximizes productivity, creates opportunities for innovation and maximizes environmental services. Thus this form of mixed cropping provides a land-use that combines traditional approaches to farming with modern agroforestry science as an alternative to shifting agriculture and high-input monoculture.
For more information, visit http://www.usp.ac.fj/ireta/PIIFS%20Policy3%20Briefing%20(Annex%205).pdf
This report from Livestock, Environment, and Development Initiative (LEAD), “Relevance and applicability of the Latin American experience for the development of benefit sharing mechanisms for payment of environmental services at the forest-pasture interface in Southeast and East Asia” explores possibilities for the implementation of a benefit sharing payment scheme to compensate farmers for environmental services that can be applied in South East and East Asian countries.
For more information on the paper, visit http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/enl/A3/A3_08_00.htm
As the World Trade Organization spotlights the potential for green payment programs to help resolve some of the thorniest world trade issues, policy makers are looking to China for insight into how to implement huge public payment schemes for ecosystem services in the developing world. “Grain for Green” is featured on the Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace website as part of its agri-environmental payments series. To view the article, visit http://ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/article.news.php?component_id=4193&component_version_id=6082&language_id=12
For the full text, http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/enl/A3/download/enl08_A3_Policy%20paper.doc
Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) is fast becoming a serious threat to the survival of many endangered species in the world. Case studies from countries all over the world demonstrate the severity of the conflict and suggest that greater in depth analysis of the conflict is needed in order to avoid overlooking the problem and undermining the conservation of threatened and potentially endangered species.
The report can be downloaded from the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) Initiative website, at http://www.fao.org/sard/common/ecg/1357/en/hwc_final.pdf
A new US Environmental Working Group analysis of government and industry data shows that simple, targeted reforms of wasteful federal farm programs could make a significant dent in the Dead Zone while improving the bottom line for family farms throughout the Mississippi River Basin . The vast majority of fertilizer pollution comes from a relatively small area of heavily subsidized cropland along the Mississippi and its tributaries where taxpayer funded commodity spending overwhelms water quality related conservation spending by more than 500 to 1. Shifting a modest portion of commodity subsidies, particularly the portion that goes to the largest and wealthiest growers, into programs that encourage more careful fertilizer use, wetland restoration and the planting of streamside buffers of grass and trees to absorb runoff, could reduce dead zone pollution significantly while also boosting the bottom line for family farms.
For more information, visit http://www.ewg.org/reports/deadzone/
Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems was just published by Taylor and Francis, Boca Raton, 2006, and was edited by Norman Uphoff, Andrew Ball, Erick Fernandes, Hans Herren, Olivier Husson, Mark Laing, Cheryl Palm, Jules Pretty, Pedro Sanchez, Nteranya Sanginga and Janice Thies—many of whom are active Ecoagriculture Partners. Their compilation brings together 102 experts from multiple disciplines and 28 countries to report on the science and the innovation going on for sustainable soil-system management. While accepting some continuing role for chemical and other external inputs in 21st-century agriculture, this book presents a variety of ways in which crops can be produced more abundantly and more cheaply with lessened dependence on the exogenous resources that have driven the expansion of agriculture in the past.
For more information, visit http://www.vonl.com/chips/biosoil.htm
Agroecology and Food Sovereignty in the Americas, edited by Avery Cohn, Jonathan Cook, Margarita Fernandez, Kathleen McAfee, Rebecca Reider and Corrina Steward was just published this year by the International Institute for Environment and Development. The book seeks to: examine the political, economic, cultural, and ecological dimensions of food sovereignty; generate and exchange technically informed and practically applicable knowledge; and provide an interactive space for the formation of cross-cultural alliances between the U.S. and Latin America among academics and practitioners. It addresses a recurring question on how to build stronger relationships between academics and practitioners, including farmers and NGOs, working at the intersection of food, agricultural, and environmental issues. The book grew out of a workshop at Yale University on "Food Sovereignty, Conservation, and Social Movements for Sustainable Agriculture in the Americas". In the spirit of this unique workshop, the organizers have compiled this book, which synthesizes the proceedings, expands on insights derived there, and provides concrete recommendations to academics, policy-makers, farmers' movements, and other audiences. The book is available in both English and Spanish.
To view the full book or order, visit http://www.iied.org/pubs/display.php?o=14506IIED&n=2&l=860&w=NR
Other Ecoagriculture Resources
The goal of the agroBIODIVERSITY science plan and implementation strategy is to establish the scientific basis needed to address the trade-offs between food production,
biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, and human well being in agricultural landscapes. Three key research foci of the agroBIODIVERSITY Science Plan integrate the biological and social sciences:
- To assess biodiversity in agricultural landscapes and the anthropogenic drivers of biodiversity change;
- To identify the goods and services provided by agrobiodiversity at various levels of biological organization, e.g., genes, species, communities, ecosystems, and landscapes;
- To evaluate the socioeconomic options for the sustainable use of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.
For more information, visit http://www.diversitas-international.org/cross_agriculture.html
The purpose of this dossier is to provide an overview of the new possibilities for enhanced crop production that new biotechnologies are opening up. It explores the controversies that some of them, particularly GM crops, have sparked. It also examines how governments and other bodies have responded to agricultural biotechnology, primarily by introducing regulatory systems that seek to maximize the benefits, and minimize any potential health or environmental damage. This site will be constantly updated and welcomes feedback and suggestions.
To view the site, visit http://www.scidev.net/dossiers/index.cfm?fuseaction=dossierItem&Dossier=6
The Resilience Alliance is a research organization of scientists and practitioners from many disciplines who collaborate to explore the dynamics of social-ecological systems. The body of knowledge developed by the RA, encompassing key concepts of resilience, adaptability and transformability within the notion of a panarchy of adaptive cycles, and provides a foundation for sustainable development policy and practice. The RA approach involves three main strategies:
1) Contributing toward theoretical advances in the dynamics of complex adaptive systems; 2) Supporting rigorous testing of theory through a variety of means, including: participatory approaches to regional case-studies, adaptive management applications, model development, and the use of scenarios and other envisioning tools; 3) Developing guidelines and principles that will enable others to assess the resilience of coupled human-natural systems and develop policy and management tools that support sustainable development
For more information, visit http://www.resalliance.org/index.php?id=560
A new tool to help farmers and ranchers identify cost savings through efficient nitrogen fertilizer use has been introduced by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The energy estimator allows farmers and ranchers to estimate the cost of nitrogen product use on their fields. All of the cost estimates are based on management methods for the predominant crops within a particular state, and suggest using manure or compost instead of petroleum-based fertilizers, and management intensive grazing practices. Switching to any single one of these options could potentially save up to 55$ per acre.
For more information, visit http://nfat.sc.egov.usda.gov/
The non-profit organization Trees for Life has launched a scientific online journal that focuses on scientific studies and traditional knowledge of medicinal and other beneficial plants. It is intended to bring together formal and informal medicinal plants and trees, and also the herbal remedies that accompany these. The journal features international articles, small-scale field studies, and scientific evidence portraying natural remedies and plants that could benefit humanity. Informal writing, field experience, ideas for further study, and studies in progress are all possible topic areas to share through the journal.
To view the journal, visit http://www.tfljournal.org/
Data from a WWF -led initiative to map global rivers and watersheds, called HydroSHEDS , is now being released for Latin America, with Asia and Africa to follow shortly. HydroSHEDS provides unrivaled information on the hydrology of the earth, using high-resolution topographic data to model flow directions and flow accumulations, resulting in detailed data on river networks and catchment boundaries.
For more information, view http://gisweb.ciat.cgiar.org/sig/inicio.htm#hydrosheds
This is an A-to-Z encyclopedia that addresses all aspects of the science of land-use change. Written by leading scientists who have spent years studying the phenomena, the encyclopedia hopes to provide a strong foundation for understanding current controversies, and is written on a level that is understandable to scientists and other interested readers alike.
To order, visit http://www.greenwood.com/catalog/GR2704.aspx
Rainforest Saver would like you to know about its almost two decades of research into alley cropping with Inga trees. They have found effective and alternative techniques to slash-and burn agriculture which will enable sustainable farming on the degraded former rainforest soils. The system provides farmers with both food security and cash crops without exposing them to debt or an intolerable workload, and without the need to cut down more rainforest.
For more information, visit http://www.rainforestsaver.org.
The main theme of this ISEE Conference is Ecological Sustainability and Human Well-Being. Interested participants are invited to submit abstracts for presentation in Oral paper/Poster Sessions. The conference will take place at the India Habitat Center, New Delhi, 15th to 18th December 2006. Deadline for submission of abstracts is July 31, 2006 . For more information, visit http://www.isee2006.com/index.php
The MEA bulletin provides the reader with updates and information focused specifically on the activities of key MEAs and their secretariats. It will provide details of new reports, announcements, meetings (both large and small), implementation activities and other news. It will come out every 2 weeks and will be circulated to more than 35,000 subscribers (by e-mail and hard copies). It is currently soliciting articles by practitioners on various fields related to MEAs.
For more information on submissions contact Jerry Velasquez at firstname.lastname@example.org
To subscribe, visit http://www.iisd.ca/email/subscribe.htm
First Run / Icarus Films is seeking North American based scholars who will write and submit a finished documentary film review to academic print or online journals, association newsletters, email listservs etc. Reviewers must have a publication(s) in mind, know that it will publish film reviews, and will be responsible for corresponding with the editors. Reviews are sought for the following films:
“The Dreamers of Arnhem Land”, For a full description: www.frif.com/new2005/arn.html
” Back to the Soil”, Full description: http://frif.com/new2006/soil.html
If interested, contact Dylan M. McGinty directly at (718) 488 8900 or email@example.com
The International Foundation for Science (IFS) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) have issued a call for applications for research grants from research groups in Sub-Saharan African countries. Research groups should be interdisciplinary and composed of both social scientists and natural scientists. This opportunity is for young researchers holding a Masters or PhD level degree that are at the beginning of their research careers.
For full details about this opportunity, including eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply, please visit the IFS website at www.ifs.se. For more information about CODESRIA, visit www.codesria.org.
A new website www.ConservationEvidence.com collates information on the effectiveness of conservation practice. It provides two services. The main section gives hundreds of case studies on a range of subjects including habitat restoration, invasive species management, reintroduction, species management and habitat management. A separate section summarizes reviews on various aspects of conservation practice. Please add further case studies. This is a good opportunity to benefit global conservationists by sharing experience gained from your conservation project.
Those interested in adding information can either add the information directly to this website or contact Dave Showler (firstname.lastname@example.org), who can provide advice and assistance.
GFAR is interested in presenting agricultural research and development projects that have tangibly made an impact in achieving one or more Millennium Development Goals through posters. They are inviting submissions from all ARD stakeholders for the Poster Competition. The top three posters will be decided by a panel of judges and awarded prizes . The submission must address the theme "ARD: Evidence in contributing to achieving the MDGs.” It must present agricultural research, innovation, technology or development activity that provides evidence of contributing tangibly to achieving MDGs. The submission must also be based on research, innovation, technology generation or development activities done by the participating Farmer's organization, NGO, Private Sector organization, IARC, ARI, RF/SRF, NARS or a Donor agency or through a partnership among these stakeholders.
All stakeholders are encouraged to submit successful ARD experiences, especially Farmer's Organizations, women's groups, agribusiness and NGOs. Initial abstract submissions of no more than 400 words describing the research, innovation or development activity should reach the GFAR Secretariat by July 15, 2006.
For more information, visit www.egfar.org
The Science and Practice of Ecology & Society Award is an annual award given to the individual or organization that is the most effective in bringing transdisciplinary science of the interactions of ecology and society into practice. The year 2006 will be the inauguration of this award. Its purpose is to recognize the importance of practitioners who translate the scientific findings and insights of the scholarly community to practical applications. The Award consists of 1000 Euro and an article in Ecology and Society devoted to this person or organization. This article will be written by those who send in the nomination. Nominations can be for any person or organization that has succeeded in translating transdisciplinary science theory into practice. Any academic scholar or group of academic scholars can nominate a person or organization. An accompanying letter will argue why this person or organization is an exemplary example of the interface of practice and science in the domain of ecology and society. The deadline for nominations will be July 1, 2006 .
For more information, visit http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/news/announcements/spes.php
The Wildlife Habitat Policy Research Program (WHPRP) is soliciting Letters of Intent for their competitive awards program. The WHPRP will fund eight specific projects in 2006 related to the implementation of State Wildlife Action Plans and wildlife habitat conservation in the United States . Application for the awards is open to everyone. Based upon the Letters of Intent, candidates will be invited to submit full proposals for external review. Awards are expected by November 1, 2006 and will range from $25,000 to $250,000 each, depending on the project. Letters of Intent are by July 10, 2006.
Further information, visit www.whprp.org or contact Christina Zarrella at email@example.com or 202.207.0007.
The first African Seminar on People and Conservation is seeking to facilitate shared learning around the pressing issues of people and conservation. Participants will share experiences and consolidate lessons from Africa and further afield. These lessons will be compiled and used to inform and influence conservation management, research and policy reform. Issues that will be addressed in the first seminar include HIV and Aids: Implications for Effective Conservation Practices; Co-management: Issues and Challenges; People and Conservation: Risks and Opportunities; Transfrontier Conservation: Opportunities and Constraints; Cultural Heritage: Implications for Access and Use, and Commercialisation: Access and Use. This seminar will be implemented by the University of KwaZulu – Natal / Center for Envronment and Development.
For more information on this seminar, please contact Oliver Pierson, US Forest Service Africa Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Centre for Environment, Agriculture and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal at email@example.com.
The University of Cambridge and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in association with DIVERSITAS and UK-DEFRA announce the Eight Annual BIOECON conference on the economic analysis of policies for biodiversity conservation. The conference will be held at Kings College Cambridge, 29-30 August 2006. The conference will be of interest to both researchers interested in biological resources and biological processes and to policy makers interested in or working within the field of biodiversity conservation. The conference will have sessions with papers examining the management of biological resources and biological processes as well as two plenary policy sessions chaired by IFPRI and DIVERSITAS respectively on the economic analysis of policies for biodiversity conservation.
Further information on the conference will be posted on the BIOECON web site at www.bioecon.ucl.ac.uk or can be obtained by contacting Andreas Kontoleon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The theme of the VI CBSAF is “Agroforestry Systems: scientific bases for sustainable development". This will be an important meeting of agroforestry science in Brazil to discuss the scientific and technological knowledge advance, to suggest resolution of socioeconomic and ecological problems and to promote markets for agroforestry products.
For more information, visit www.cbsaf2006.com.br or email email@example.com
This international and innovative dialogue aims to foster and increase effective collaborations between scientists and practitioners to advance the practice of sustainable development, and to enhance international, regional and national capacity to establish and implement such activities. This will be done by featuring innovative examples of what has worked, critical analyses of what has not, and structured discussion fora to compare and analyze experiences from around the world.
For more information, visit http://www.sustdialogue.org/
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