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January 23, 2009

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

Last week, the Worldwatch Institute released its State of the World 2009 report, Into A Warming World (http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5658). The report describes how the world community can reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent temperatures from rising to levels that pose serious dangers to people, economies and ecosystems. While that magic number was previously thought to be 2 degrees centigrade, a scientific consensus is now emerging that even 1 or 1.5 degree increases might be too high to prevent collapse of food systems, mass extinctions, and coastal flooding. We need to not only reduce overall emissions, but possibly even achieve ‘negative emissions’, i.e., to sequester more greenhouse gases than we are emitting, during this century.

One of the few already existing, widely accessible and relatively inexpensive ways of doing that at the needed scale is by capturing and storing carbon in soils and in the roots and stems of long-living grasses and trees. Ecoagriculture Partners’ chapter in the Worldwatch Report, “Farming and Land Use to Cool the Planet,” (http://ecoagriculture.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=183) highlights five key ways to achieve this: 

  • Enriching organic carbon in agricultural soils;
  • Converting cropland from annual crops to perennial grasses and trees grown for food, feed and fiber products;
  • Shifting livestock systems to sustainable rotational grazing systems, and processing manures into bio-energy;
  • Restoring vegetation to the extensive areas of degraded soils, grasslands and forests; and
  • Conserving remaining natural forests and grasslands.

A major benefit of these approaches is that they generate valuable co-benefits in terms of increased production, greater resilience in the face of climate change, watershed and habitat protection and rural livelihoods. Climate-friendly land use practices can be used strategically in ecoagriculture landscapes to meet diverse local stakeholder needs.
This issue of our Newsletter includes other news, resources and events related to climate change. We encourage all our partners to examine how your own ecoagriculture activities can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. You can also support awareness and action in your countries. In December 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark, a pivotal meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place to establish a new international agreement for climate change action after 2012 (see Upcoming Events). At this meeting, you can help your government and UNFCCC delegates understand how ecoagriculture strategies can and should be incorporated into that agreement.


Table of Contents

EcoAgriculture Partners Updates In the Scene Resources Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals Upcoming Events



EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

Ecoagriculture Leadership Course for Mesoamerica

31 participants from 8 Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay) participated in the second Mesoamerica Ecoagriculture Leadership course.  The course was offered in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Tropical Agriculture Research and Training Center (CATIE), and held from 16-26 November, 2008 at the CATIE campus in Costa Rica. Partner organizations included Ecoagriculture Partners and the University of California Berkeley Center for Sustainable Development, while collaborators included the National University of Costa Rica, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the Costa Rica Ministry of Agriculture.

The main topics discussed at the course were: ecoagriculture management of landscapes; planning for collective action; public policy and markets; analysis of market opportunities; collaborative leadership, and participative landscape planning as well as a tour of the field and. During the course, Dr JJ Campos, Director General of CATIE and Chris Hansen, Deputy Director General of IICA enthusiastically endorsed the institutionalization of an ecoagriculture leadership and integrated territorial management course as an annual event in Mesoamerica. Future courses will be held in the region, with possible expansion throughout the hemisphere.  Initial requests have come from Paraguay, Mexico and Brazil.

For more information please contact Dr. Robin Marsh, Co-Director, Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, UC Berkeley, and Coordinator, Ecoagriculture Leadership Development, Ecoagriculture Partners at rmarsh@nature.berkeley.edu.

Ecoagriculture Partners produces chapter on land use and climate change for Worldwatch Report

Sara Scherr, President and CEO of Ecoagriculture Partners, and Sajal Sthapit, Program Associate of Ecoagriculture Partners, produced a chapter on land use and climate change for the annual Worldwatch report, entitled State of the World in 2009: Into a Warming World. State of the World 2009 examines: the next-generation technologies that show the most promise for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions or removing these gases from the atmosphere; enforceable agreements that reward countries and individuals for cutting emissions; innovative strategies for building climate-change resilience in the poorest countries; and ideas for making sure the natural world survives the changes on the way. The chapter on land use and climate change addresses creating high carbon cropping systems, promoting climate friendly livestock production, protecting existing carbon stores in natural forests and grasslands, and encouraging market incentives for climate-friendly agriculture and land use.

Sara Scherr, along with Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Under Seceretary of State Bo Lidegaard, Principal Climate Advisor, Danish Prime Minsters office, and Christopher Flavin, head of the Worldwatch Institute, among other distinguished speakers, participated in this symposium launch which took place on 13 January 2009 in Washington DC at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

To see the chapter on “Farming and Land Use to Cool the Planet,” by Sara Scherr and Sajal Sthapit, visit: http://ecoagriculture.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=183.

For more information and to order the full report visit: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5658.

Ecoagriculture Partners signs framework agreement with the Tropical Agricultural Research Institute

On the morning of January 15, 2009, Ecoagriculture Partners signed a framework agreement with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) to cooperate in the support of ecoagriculture leaders and landscapes in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the coming months, Ecoagriculture Partners and CATIE will finalize the details of this agreement, and look forward to working together in the context of MAP, the Mesoamerica Agroenvironmental Program and regional strategy, which seeks to help the countries of Mesoamerica improve their productivity through use of natural resources that is environmentally sound, economically competitive and socially equitable.

Ecoagriculture Partners collaborates with the Wildlife Conservation Society to evaluate bundled ecosystem services in ecoagriculture landscapes

Ecoagriculture Partners is developing a conceptual paper on "Incentives for Ecoagriculture from Bundled Ecosystem Services" for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Translinks program. The paper will introduce the concept of bundled ecosystem services as an ecoagriculture market mechanism, develop a typology for bundled ecosystem services, spatially characterize ecoagriculture landscapes that are likely to provide bundled ecosystem services, and illustrate the concept of bundled ecosystem services with several business cases from ecoagriculture landscapes. From these analyses, recommendations will be derived as to whether the bundled services constitute a viable market opportunity for agricultural producers and their partners.

The case studies are being developed in collaboration with several of Ecoagriculture Partners collaborators, including the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, the Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt, the Rainforest Alliance, AgroEco Uganda, the Nature Harness Initiative and Unilever.

Please contact Meike Anderson, Ecoagriculture Partners Markets Program Associate, at M.Andersson@cgiar.org with any questions.

Ecoagriculture Staff travel to Yunnan Province,China for AgricultureBridge work

Louise Buck traveled with Prof. Jim Lassoie and PhD candidate Jamie Herring of Cornell University to Yunnan Province, China where the group worked with leadership of the World Agroforestry Center (WAC)-China and with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to begin developing case studies for AgricultureBridge, a collaborative program between Ecoagriculture Partners, Cornell University and University of California-Berkeley funded by the US Department of Agriculture.  When completed, the multi-media case studies about WAC and TNC initiatives to improve environmental conservation and local livelihood outcomes through thoughtfully designed changes in agricultural practice, will form part of a university level curriculum on ecoagriculture that will connect local managers of land and natural resources in Yunnan with students in classrooms to aid in on-going problem-solving.

For more information about the visit to China and AgricultureBridge contact Louise at leb3@cornell.edu.

Ecoagriculture Partners bids goodbye to Thomas Oberthur, Director of Markets Program

Thomas Oberthur, Ecoagriculture Partners Director of Markets, will be leaving at end of January to take on a position with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). At ACIAR, he will be leading the program "Support for market-driven adaptive research" under the "Smallholder Agribusiness Development Initiative SADI" (www.sadi.or.id), which aims to improve rural sector productivity and growth in four Eastern provinces of Indonesia, including Nusa Tenggara Timur, Nusa Tenggara Barat, South East Sulawesi and South Sulawesi.

Thomas has been instrumental in jump-starting our markets program, and we look forward to continuing the organizational relationships and programs he has worked on under the capable guidance of the staff members Meike Anderson, Jenny Correa Gutiérrez and Sophie Graefe. Thomas will bring a nuanced understanding of ecoagriculture to his new position, and hopes to stay engaged with projects in Columbia where he was based.

Ecoagriculture Partners welcomes R. Jamie Herring, Fellow

Ecoagriculture Partners officially welcomes Jamie Herring, who is joining us as a fellow leading the videography for the AgricultureBridge project and other ecoagriculture outreach work.

Jamie is the President of HabitatSeven Inc., a communications company dedicated to creating Internet tools and social networking systems for the conservation sector. In this role, Jamie has been instrumental in creating and developing a number of exciting web-based initiatives including NatureTube.org (launch in February of 2009), AgricultureBridge.org (launch in August of 2009), and ConservationBridge.org (launch in October of 2009). Jamie is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University where he is studying the intersections between biodiversity conservation, communications and information technologies. He holds a Master’s degree in Development Sociology from Cornell University.


In the Scene

National Council for Science and the Environment holds 9th National Conference on Biodiversity in a Rapidly Changing World

The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) held their 9th National Conference on Biodiversity in a Rapidly Changing World from December 8-10, 2008 in Washington, DC. The ambitious agenda included a keynote speech by Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author, as well as special remarks by Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biodiversity. Workshops and symposia were well attended by leading scientists, policy makers, government, civil society, industry leaders, educators, and other solutions-oriented innovators to develop a new biodiversity conservation strategy. Sara Scherr, Seth Shames and Ariela Summit of Ecoagriculture Partners participated in the conference, contributing through sessions on agricultural landscapes and natural diversity as well as markets and payments for ecosystem services for biodiversity conservation.

For more information about the conference, participant breakout recommendation and the NCSE see: http://ncseonline.org/conference/biodiversity/.

Voluntary carbon standard launched at the London stock exchange

The Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) recently launched a new carbon standard for agriculture, forestry and land use at the London Stock Exchange. It is being touted as the first time a standardized approach has included land use projects such as agriculture and forestry and made them accessible to all market players in the $330 million voluntary carbon market. VCS rules allow agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) projects to generate carbon credits that are interchangeable with other carbon credits generated by non-AFOLU activities such as energy and industrial projects. The VCS rules were developed over an 18-month period and included consultation with industry, NGOs and market specialists. The new standard is backed by the Climate Group, the International Emissions Trading Association and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

For more information see:

African coalition calls for a full-range of biocarbon as climate solution

A coalition of 26 African countries is calling for the inclusion of carbon credits generated through afforestation, reforestation, agroforestry, reduced soil tillage and sustainable agricultural practices in future climate agreements. The African Climate Solution, a partnership launched at the EU climate talks in Poznan, Poland, seeks payments from industrialized nations for efforts by developing countries to sequester carbon through land use practices. The initiative goes beyond the proposed reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism that is currently under debate at the Poznan conference.

Land use — including deforestation, habitat degradation, and agriculture — accounts for roughly thirty percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in some years, an amount exceeding that from the global transportation sector. Africa is the smallest emitter of greenhouse gases outside of Antarctica, yet stands to bear the brunt of climate change. The coalition is hoping to capitalize on the capacity of the continent's ecosystems to store massive amounts of carbon through reduced deforestation, reforestation, low-impact farming methods and restoration of soil carbon through processes like biochar. Membership includes those in other developing nations.

For more information see: http://news.mongabay.com/2008/1210-africa.html.

International Federation of Agricultural Producers participate in UN Framework on Climate Change Conference

A delegation of 20 members of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP participated in the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change Conference (COP 14) which took place from December 1-12 2008. At the convention, IFAP farmers urged policy makers to recognize the particular nature of agriculture in the design of the new climate deal, and called on governments and parties to the UNFCCC to support the establishment of an international agreement on agriculture which will take into consideration the special characteristics and needs of this sector. Even though agriculture is responsible for 13.5% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gases it is also the sector which will be most impacted by an increasingly variable climate. Above all, the agricultural sector has huge potential in providing solutions to both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Follow IFAP’s participation in the event by visiting: http://www.ifap.org/en/UnitedNationsClimateChangeConference2008.html.

For more information on IFAP see: www.ifap.org.

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Bali, Indonesia

The 6th roundtable on sustainable palm oil (RT6), subtitled “The Gathering Momentum” was held in Bali, Indonesia, from the 18-20 of November 2008. Palm oil is the most produced and most widely used edible oil in the world.  The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is the global, equal rights, multi-stakeholder organization dedicated to the sustainable production of this oil by means of comprehensive sustainable production criteria supported by the supply chain.

RT6 focused on trading in RSPO certified sustainable palm oil and keeping track of it; promoting honest communications about RSPO certified sustainable palm oil; bringing smallholders to centre stage in sustainable palm oil production and working more closely with governments. Meike Anderson, Markets Program Associate, participated in RT6 in the role of M&E Coordinator for the Biodiversity in Agricultural Commodities Program of the International Finance Corporation.

For more on the RSPO and RT6 see: http://www.rspo.org/default.aspx.

For more on Ecoagriculture’s role in the RSPO, email Ecoagriculture Partners Markets Project Manager Meike Anderson at: M.Andersson@cgiar.org.

US Department of Agriculture announces new office of ecosystem services and markets

The United States Department of Agriculture is establishing an Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets. The office will help develop new guidelines and methods to assess ecosystem service benefits and create markets for ecosystem services. The authorization for this office was approved in this summer's Farm Bill.

For more information see: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal?contentidonly=true&contentid=2008/12/0307.xml.

Community Knowledge Service Latin America and the Caribbean: Regional Learning Exchange, Costa Rica

From 15-23 November, 17 community leaders and partners convened in Talamanca, Costa Rica for the first regional Community Knowledge Service (CKS) learning exchange, facilitated by Association ANAI, Costa Rica with support from the Norwegian Development Fund, Red de Cooperación Alternativa, Ecoagriculture Partners, the University of Rhode Island and Casa Pueblo, Puerto Rico. Participants, representing community based organizations from Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Puerto Rico, overcame the challenges of extreme weather conditions and spent seven days together, learning and sharing experiences on the community initiatives developed in Talamanca. Issues addressed during the exchange included community rural tourism, the management of diverse agro-forestry systems for food security and biodiversity conservation, certification and marketing for organic and Fairtrade production, action planning for community leadership development and network building.

Despite a very successful exchange, the impacts felt by the severe weather conditions were severe. During the exchange, international guests had been generously hosted by the Community of Yorkin, a Bribri indigenous community situated in the highlands of Talamanca. 24 hours after the guests had left, 3 weeks of heavy rains and rising rivers culminated in a 90 foot wall of water crashed down the river valley, devastating the community. Thankfully no lives were lost, but the situation remains critical. Each one of Yorkin's 250 community members has been affected by the disaster, losing their homes, livestock, food and water supplies. Members of Stibrawpa (a community organization representing half of the families of the community) are mobilizing efforts and working hard to rebuild. Ecoagriculture Partners wishes to support the Community of Yorkin and are collecting donations through the facebook site: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/163749?m=8c3a5226&recruiter_id=32913377. Those who are not facebook members can contact CKS Program Coordinator Claire Rhodes at clrhodes@ecoagriculture.org to submit donations.

Community of practice for conservation agriculture

During the Soil Health Workshop last July at FAO in Rome there was a strong call for the establishment of a global network of 'Community of Practice' in support of Conservation Agriculture as a foundation for sustainable agriculture. (http://www.fao.org/ag/ca/doc/proposed_framework.pdf). As a first step towards making the Community of Practice operational, an e-mail listserv has been set up at FAO to facilitate communication amongst the stakeholders of this global conservation agriculture community. This e-mail listserv is meant to function as an informal electronic communication platform where anyone who is subscribed can exchange news, information and experience, and also request advice and assistance from the entire community.

To subscribe to the list, please send an e-mail to: Mailserv@mailserv.fao.org. Leave the subject line blank and place the following one line text in the message part without any further text: “subscribe CA-CoP-L.” Anyone working or interested in conservation agriculture and related areas is invited and welcome to join the e-mail list.

TerrAfrica side events at the Convention to Combat Desertification, Istanbul, Turkey

At the Convention to Combat Desertification meeting in Istanbul, Turkey from 3-14 November 2008, TerrAfrica held four side events relevant for ecoagriculture. The events were titled as follows: Why is Sustainable Land Management Important to Overcome the Food Crisis and Address Climate Change?; TerrAfrican - State of the Partnership and Update on Progress; TerrAfrica CSO and SLM -Update on Progress and Suggestions for a Better Involvement and; Developing National Investment Frameworks in Africa -Where do we stand? How can we improve?

For more information on the side events, including agenda, presentation and minutes see: http://www.terrafrica.org/default.asp?pid=9982981.

Ecological Agriculture: Mitigating Climate Change, Providing Food Security and Self-Reliance for Rural Livelihoods in Africa

More than 80 people from over 15 countries participated in a conference on Ecological Agriculture, held at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 26-28 November 2008. Participants called for the promotion and implementation of sustainable practices which hold significant promise for increasing the productivity of Africa’s smallholder farmers, with positive impacts on food security and food self-reliance, as well as environmental benefits including allowing adaptation to and mitigation of climate change.

The Conference was organized by the African Union, UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ethiopia, in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia and the Third World Network

For more information see: http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=19711.



Magazine on Low External Inputs and Sustainable Agriculture publishes issue focusing on climate change

The December issue of the Magazine on Low External Inputs and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) focuses on climate change. Covering a wide range of topics such as farmers and sorghum in Nicaragua, using radio to share farmer adaptation strategies, farmer perceptions leading to experimentation and learning and the potential of community managed forests for carbon trade, the December magazine (Vol 24, number 4) is a rich resource. The LEISA Network publishes seven magazines: a global edition and six regional editions. They provide their readers of farmers, field workers, researchers, policy makers with accounts of practical experiences on sustainable small-holder farming, and also offer debate, background information to the news, and information on books and websites.

To view the December issue online visit: http://ileia.leisa.info/index.php?url=magazine-details.tpl&p%5BreadOnly%5D=0&p%5B_id%5D=219094.

Food Policy Journal publishes issue on collective action for smallholder market access

The February 2009 issue of Food Policy (Vol 34, Issue 1), edited by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Helen Markelova, Jon Hellin and Stephan Dohrn, focuses on collective action for smallholder market access. Many of the featured articles are relevant to ecoagriculture, including but not limited to a piece on sustaining linkages to high value markets through collective action in Uganda and collective action for small-scale producers of agricultural biodiversity products. Food Policy is a multidisciplinary journal publishing original research and critical reviews on issues in the formulation, implementation and analysis of policies for the food sector in developing, transition and advanced economies.

To see the issue online visit: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=PublicationURL&_cdi=5950&_auth=y&_acct=C000049102&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=949790&_pubType=J&md5=a9848f739c89fb6044c4a92f8d939cab.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation launches redesigned website

The Xerces Society, an international, nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat, has recently redesigned their website. In addition to summaries of the Society's conservation programs, the site offers access to freely downloadable fact sheets and conservation guidelines.

Some highlights of the new site include:

  • The pollinator conservation resource center which offers information for farmers, landowners, gardeners, wildland and park managers, and golf course superintendents on how to provide habitat for pollinator insects.
  • Robert Michael Pyle's Butterfly Big Year bog, which details his year-long odyssey crisscrossing the United States in pursuit of as many different species of butterflies as possible, plus information on the Xerces Society's Butterfly-a-thon.
  • Profiles of over one hundred rare and at-risk invertebrate species, each with information on life history, status, and conservation needs

For more information see: http://www.xerces.org/.

The Nature Conservancy reviews agriculture challenges and strategies

Jonathan Hoekstra and Rob McDonald of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have recently released a report reviewing TNC’s agricultural challenges and strategies. The goal of this review is to analyze and summarize the types of threats, and the Conservancy’s strategies in response, from agriculture expansion and intensification. The authors present data on the current and likely future trends of agriculture; quantitative data on how many Conservancy projects are affected by agricultural issues, and where they are located; several detailed case studies of innovative approaches taken in response to agricultural threats; and finally list major questions in light of TNC’s mission to feed an additional 3 billion people without significantly accelerating the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem service provision.

The full-text of the report can be found at http://conserveonline.org/workspaces/tnc.agriculture/documents/a-review-of-tnc-agriculture-challenges-and-strategies.

Responses are welcome; please email to Rob McDonald at rob_mcdonald@TNC.ORG.

Working papers on biodiversity management in west and central Africa

A recent series of working papers highlighting biodiversity management in the forested landscapes of west and central Africa are available on the web site of the Sustainable Tree Crops Program (www.treecrops.org). All papers are published by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Accra, Ghana. Paper titles include:

  • Biodiversity and smallholder cocoa production systems in West Africa, STCP Working Paper Series 6
  • Diversifying and Intensifying the Cocoa Agroforest Landscape: Review and strategic approaches for managing the shade matrix in West and Central Africa. STCP Working Paper Series 4
  • Wildlife Diversity in Cocoa/Agricultural Mosaics at the Congo Basin Forest Margin. STCP Working Paper Series 3

The Sustainable Tree Crops Program, established in 2000, is a public-private partnership and innovation platform that seeks to generate growth in rural income among tree crop farmers in an environmentally and socially responsible manner in West and Central Africa.

Paper examines poverty alleviation in the world’s wild places

In this paper, Keith H. Redford, Marc A. Levy, Eric W. Sanderson and Alex de Sherbinin address the relationship between poor people and areas less impacted by human activity by asking three questions about the global spatial relationship between poverty and ecological intactness and how it varies by major biome and geographical region. The authors use infant mortality rate as a proxy for poverty and the Human Footprint as a proxy for ecological intactness, comparing global terrestrial maps of both. The analysis shows that the vast majority of the world's poor people live in extremely urban and very transformed (peri-transformed) areas. While the authors conclude that conservation organizations will have a minor role in global efforts to alleviate poverty, they recognize that some conservation groups are well positioned to develop new partnerships for delivery of benefits to some of the least accessible poor people in the wildest places of the world.

The article has been published in the October issue of Oryx, the international journal of conservation published by Flora and Fauna International. For more information see:

A global assessment of land degradation

This article on “Proxy Assessment of Global Land Degradation” which appeared in the September issue of Soil Use and Management is a valuable resource on land degradation, not only for its own insight but also for the breadth of the research it covers. Authors Z. G. Bai, D.L. Dent, L. Olsson and M.E. Schaepman define land degradation as a long-term decline in ecosystem function and productivity, which may be assessed using long term remotely sensed normalized difference vegetation index. They examine questions such as; is land degradation a global issue or a collection of global problems? Which regions are the hardest hit and how? Is it mainly a problem of the drylands? Is it mainly associated with farming? Is it related to population pressure of poverty? Using justifiable methodology to explore these issues, the authors identify, delineate and rank hot spots of land degradation and bright spots of land improvement.

To access the article see: http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=0266-0032&site=1.

Emerging technologies benefit farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

In this study commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Research Council identifies 60 emerging innovations in science and technology that have the potential to improve agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Eighteen technologies are recommended for immediate development and further exploration as a means to create a stepping stone on the path out of poverty for farmers in these regions, who face tremendous environmental challenges.

To buy the report, see an 8 page brief, or explore the chapter see: http://dels.nas.edu/ag_technologies/report.shtml.

The Bowral Checklist, a framework for ecological management of landscapes

The Native Vegetation and Biodiversity Program of the Australian government has recently produced a framework for the ecological management of landscapes. Issues which appear in the framework include recognizing the importance of landscape mosaics (including the integration of terrestrial and aquatic areas), recognizing interactions between vegetation cover and vegetation configuration, using an appropriate landscape conceptual model, maintaining the capacity to recover from disturbance, and managing landscapes in an adaptive framework. The authors caution that considerations are influenced by landscape context and management goals and do not, therefore, translate directly into on-the-ground management guidelines. They are useful for as a conceptual framework for researchers and resource managers when developing guidelines for specific cases.

To view the full report see: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/documents/files/doc_186.pdf.

E-debate: policy frameworks for increasing soil fertility in Africa

Future Agricultures, an online learning consortium is currently featuring a debate on soil fertility in Africa highlighting important research and reccomendations. They frame the issue by presenting a paper which summerizes recent policy achievments, as well as posing relevant questions.   Public responses are organized and summerized on the website, along with an organizational response paper.

The Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) aims to encourage critical debate and policy dialogue on the future of agriculture in Africa. The Consortium is a partnership between research-based organisations in Africa and the UK , with work currently focusing on Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.

To view the discussion paper, contributions, and summary paper, visit: http://www.future-agricultures.org/EN/e-debates/Soil_Fertility/soilfertility_main.html.

Development journal focuses on the future of agriculture

The December issue of the Society for International Development's journal Development is devoted to the Future of Agriculture. To accompany this key resource, a selection of leading papers has been made available from past issues of Development from 2000 to 2006. This collection together with an editorial illustrates the journal's contributions to the debate on agriculture and food security. Following the FAO conference on world food security at a time of severe food price increases, this brief selection presents possible alternatives for sustainable food security, gender equity, North-South solidarity and equitable trade relations.

For access to these articles see: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/development/index.html.

Governance cited as crucial factor in biodiversity conservation efforts

This report entitled “The Governance of Nature and the Nature of Governance: Policy that Works for Biodiversity and Livelihoods” was recently published by the International Institute for Environment and Development. It examines the reasons behind the biodiversity crisis, pinpointing governance as the crucial factor to improve the species conservation efforts. Authors Krystyna Swiderska with Dilys Roe, Linda Siegele, and Maryanne Grieg-Gran posit that ecosystem services have been disturbed to such an extent that, unless remedial action is taken urgently, reaching both the UN Convention on Biological Diversity target of slowing biodiversity loss by 2010 and the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 will likely prove impossible.

To download the full report see: http://www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/14564IIED.pdf.

Ecoagriculture adaptation strategies featured through the Climate Action Network

Jeff McNeely, Ecoagriculture Partners board chair and Chief Scientist for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, recently authored a short piece on ecoagriculture which was published by Sustainable Development International in partnership with United Nations Environment Program and the Climate Action Programme (http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/). The piece deals specifically with ecoagriculture strategies for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, and was produced in preparation for the UN climate change talked in Poznan, Poland in December 2008.

For more information see: http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/books/2008/ca/p38-41.pdf.


Call for Papers, Partners, and Proposals

Magazine on Low External Inputs and Sustainable Agriculture seeks partner for East African edition

The global edition of Low External Inputs and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) has many African readers. The editors would like to serve these readers better by publishing an East African edition of LEISA Magazine, in English, and is looking for partners to collaborate in this venture. A prospective partner will have, among other things, a track record in sustainable/organic agriculture, the ability to produce and edit a magazine, and a strong regional network. A full call for proposals can be requested at ileia@ ileia.nl . Proposals will be accepted until February 15, 2009.

For more information see: http://familyfarming.typepad.com/leisas_farm/2009/01/call-for-proposals-partnership-east-african-edition.html.

Call for nomination, 2009 Everlands Conservation Prize

e Everlands Conservation Prize will be awarded in May 2009. The prize awards two individuals from the global community who will share a $500,000 US prize in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to the conservation and stewardship of nature. In selecting these winners from a global pool of candidates, judges will consider highly those who have inspired others to take action, with a model of conservation that can be replicated across other landscapes.

To nominate an individual for consideration, go to http://www.everlandsconservation.org.


Upcoming Events

Growing a 21st Century Agricultural Revolution Conference, Washington DC, 18-20 March 2008

The Sustainable Food Lab is joining with the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform Platform and the Keystone Field to Market Initiative to convene "Growing a 21st Century Agricultural Revolution" conference near Washington, DC. The event will begin with dinner March 18 and go through noon March 20, 2009. At the conference, diverse and influential food and agricultural industry players will come together to develop a call to action that articulates priorities for the allocation of resources--public and private--toward practical solutions to the global challenges of climate change, water, energy, biodiversity and poverty. To accomplish this, participants will build upon a common platform of sustainability goals and metrics and share learning from innovations in supply chains.

Complete registration information is available at http://www.agrevolution.org/.

International Integrated Pest Management Symposium in Portland, Oregon, March 24-26 2009

The Sixth International Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium, "Transcending Boundaries," will be held March 24-26, 2009 at the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon. Symposium sessions will address IPM across disciplines internationally, in agriculture, the market place, urban settings, greenhouses, and more. Plenary speakers include Aziz Lagnaoui, World Bank pest management specialist in transcending international boundaries; Janjo deHaan, Wangeningen Research Center, The Netherlands, expert on IPM in multifunctional cropping systems; Pierce Jones, director of the Program for Resource Efficient Communities at the University of Florida; and Sara J. Scherr, CEO and President of Ecoagriculture Partners.

For more information see: http://www.ipmcenters.org/ipmsymposium09/.

Convention on Sustainable Development and agriculture Inter-Ministerial Conference for Africa in Namibia, 4-15 May 2009

The Convention for Sustainable Development 17 (CSD-17) will be held on 4-15 May 2009. Prior to CSD-17 session, an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting will take place on 23-27 February 2009 in New York city. As the Policy Session of the third implementation cycle, CSD-17 will continue to focus on the following thematic issues: agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa.
For more information, including a message from the chairperson of CSD 17, agenda and information for participants see: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/policy.htm.

Avoiding Deforestation in the Amazon through Payments for Ecosystem Service Markets, Mato Grosso, Brazil, 1-2 April 2009

Conference participants will hear about the latest developments in carbon, water and biodiversity markets and discuss how they are being created and utilized to help solve some of the most critical environmental challenges. Tropical deforestation accounts for 20 percent of heat-trapping gas emissions worldwide. In Brazil alone, 70 percent of greenhouse gases emissions come from deforestation in the Amazon region. Forest-based carbon sequestration and REDD are gaining international attention, with Brazil on the center stage, to reduce global emissions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. The Katoomba Group, who is organizing the conference, is an international network of individuals working to promote, and improve capacity related to, markets and payments for ecosystem services.

For more information see: http://www.katoombagroup.org/~katoomba/event_details.php?id=26.

North America Agroforestry Congress, Columbia, Missouri, USA, May 31-June 4 2009

This conference will be hosted by the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry and the Association for Temperate Agroforestry. The intent is to further stimulate development and adoption of sustainable rural land management practices centered on the integration of trees into the landscape. The conference will provide a forum for individuals associated with or practicing agroforestry to share their experiences and discuss production, environmental and social attributes of different agroforestry practices. Upland and riparian forest buffers, windbreaks and shelterbelts, silvopasture, alley cropping and forest farming practices will be the main foci discussed during the conference. There will be concurrent sessions, a poster session, field trips and time for discussion that focus on the successes, opportunities and constraints of agroforestry.

Target participants include forest and farm landowners, land managers and consultants, business owners and entrepreneurs, scientists, students, foundations, natural resource and forestry professionals, extension specialists, government officials, non-government organizations, environmental consultants, and policy makers.

For more information see: http://www.centerforagroforestry.org/events/afta/index.asp.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, 30 November-11 December 2009

In 2012 the Kyoto Protocol to prevent climate changes and global warming runs out. To keep the process on the line there is an urgent need for a new climate protocol. At the conference in Copenhagen 2009 the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meet for the last time on government level before the climate agreement need to be renewed. Therefore the Climate Conference in Copenhagen is essential for the worlds climate and the Danish government and UNFCCC is putting hard effort in making the meeting in Copenhagen a success ending up with a Copenhagen Protocol to prevent global warming and climate changes.
The conference in Copenhagen is the 15th conference of parties (COP15) in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The recent meeting in United Nations Climate Change Conferences was held in December 2007 in Bali.

For more information see: http://www.erantis.com/events/denmark/copenhagen/climate-conference-2009/index.htm.

The newsletter was compiled by Ecoagriculture Partners. For more information, please contact info@ecoagriculture.org. Information about Ecoagriculture Partners and related employment opportunities can be found at www.ecoagriculture.org.