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April 15, 2010

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

I am feeling pretty optimistic today about the future of ecoagriculture. I just returned from the 3rd Leadership Course for Ecoagriculture and Territorial Development in Mesoamerica in Turrialba, Costa Rica. The course was co-organized by CATIE (the Center for Tropical Agriculture Research and Education), IICA (the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture) and EcoAgriculture Partners, with support from RUTA and other regional organizations. The 30 participants were leaders from seven ongoing landscape initiatives in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.

These inspiring men and women are innovating to develop biological corridors and restore critical watershed services in intensively managed agricultural landscapes, with strategies that increase and stabilize farmers’ production and incomes. They are expanding into new markets, developing participatory landscape plans, changing municipal policies, and mobilizing cross-sectoral investment.

To transform a landscape is the work of a generation. “Patience and persistence” was the advice given to the group by one very effective leader we met on the course field trip. While challenges abound, this course demonstrated that collectively we understand much more than we did even five years ago about how ecoagriculture landscapes work. Through the sharing of experiences and the creation of networks across geographic regions and disciplines, we access more tools, models, and motivation to continue our work.

Sara J. Scherr, President, EcoAgriculture Partners

 


Table of Contents

EcoAgriculture Partners Updates In the Scene Resources Upcoming Events

 

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EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

EcoAgriculture Partners name change

At the latest EcoAgriculture board meeting in March, the board agreed to modify the capitalization in our name to be ‘EcoAgriculture Partners’, to reflect common usage by our partners and facilitate correct use of the name.  As a short-hand for the full name, the Board agreed to replace ‘EP’ with ‘EcoAgriculture’. Thank you for helping us make a smooth transition to the modified name 

EcoAgriculture Partners hires Director of Strategic Planning and Research

EcoAgriculture Partners welcomes Jeffrey Milder as our new Director of Strategic Planning and Research. Dr. Milder is an ecologist and land-use planner with fourteen years of experience in the field of conservation and sustainable development. He has worked with EcoAgriculture Partners since 2005 as a Research Fellow associated with the Landscape Measures Initiative and our work on payment for ecosystem services.

In his new role, Dr. Milder will lead EcoAgriculture Partners' Research and Synthesis program to generate and share knowledge on ecoagriculture practices and outcomes among scientists and practitioners worldwide. He will also head up EcoAgriculture Partners’ internal strategic planning and innovation activities. Dr. Milder holds MSc and PhD degrees in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a BA in Earth Sciences from Harvard University. Most recently, he has conducted research on landscape-scale relations between agricultural management and biodiversity conservation in pasture-dominated landscapes of Central America.

EcoAgriculture Partners hires Project Manager for Agroecosystems and Biodiversity

Terhi Majanen will join EcoAgriculture Partners as the Project Manager for Agroecosystems and Biodiversity,  on 15 April in the Washington, DC office. Terhi will lead Ecoagriculture Partners’ contribution to monitoring and evaluation for the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Project, of the International Finance Corporation and Global Environment Facility. The BACP  seeks to improve the conservation outcomes of agricultural production systems for major commodity crops including palm oil, soybeans, sugar cane, and coffee.

Formerly, Terhi worked as a project manager at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), as well as teaching courses in the Geography and International Studies departments at Syracuse University and Utica College, NY. Terhi has also served as the Communications Coordinator in the People, Protected Areas, and Conservation Corridors department at Conservation International in Washington, DC. She holds a Masters Degree in Environment and Development from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in Geography from University College London. Terhi is from Finland, and has lived and worked around the world, including the Philippines, Finland, London, and DC.

Other EcoAgriculture Partners staff news updates

Courtney Wallace joined the EcoAgriculture Partners Staff as a Program Associate in January 2010. Courtney recently completed a Masters’ of Public Administration at Cornell University, and will focus on ecoagriculture policy projects with Worldwatch and World Wildlife Fund, as well as continuing involvement with the Landscape Measures Initiative and other projects at Cornell University. She has worked since June of 2009 as an Intern at EcoAgriculture Partners. Courtney has built her environmental career in southwest Florida, southern Africa, North Carolina, and at the World Wildlife Fund in DC, with experiences ranging from endangered species conservation to field ecology education to local food systems analysis.

Sajal Sthapit, a Program Associate at EcoAgriculture Partners, recently moved to Kathmandu, Nepal, and will continue to work half-time on communications, the Community Knowledge Service and fund-raising for future EcoAgriculture Partners activities in Nepal and South Asia. Sajal will spend the other half of his time working for Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (http://www.libird.org/) in Nepal, and developing collaborative projects with them

Meike Andersson, who has worked with EcoAgriculture Partners since the spring of 2008, recently took a position as Assistant Project Development Manager for the Harvest-Plus project, based at CIAT in Cali, Colombia.  Meike coordinated the Monitoring and Evaluation program managed by EcoAgriculture Partners for the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Project. She played a valuable role in developing EcoAgriculture Partners’ work on monitoring indicators and engagement with private sector producers and markets.  We wish her the very best in her new position and hope to stay connected through collaboration on ecoagriculture initiatives.

FAO and EcoAgriculture Partners hold DC roundtable assessing outcomes from Copenhagen on agriculture and climate Change

EcoAgriculture Partners and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hosted a roundtable to discuss the outcomes at the Copenhagen Summit and in the 15th Conference of the Parties as part of an Agriculture and Climate Change Discussion Series on Monday 11 January 2010 at Conservation International in Arlington, Virginia. The session began with comments from Leslie Lipper, Senior Environmental Economist at FAO, who talked about the presence (or absence) of agriculture in the negotiations and side events.  Next, Fred Boltz, Senior Vice-President, Global Strategies Climate Change at Conservation International, spoke about REDD+ and forest conservation as a part of the negotiations.  The others participants then shared their experiences in the side events and negotiations, and discussed outcomes including the Copenhagen Accord, the Green Fund, the Adaptation Fund, and the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. Participants also discussed the implications of the US climate legislation process for the international negotiations.

For information about future FAO-EP roundtables, please contact Sarah Fulton at sarah.fulton@fao.org.

EcoAgriculture Partners collaborates with SwedBio on policy workshop on climate and agriculture in Africa

EcoAgriculture Partners has received generous support from SwedBio to work with partners in East Africa to develop curriculum and implement a capacity-building program with policymakers seeking to incorporate agriculture into climate action strategies, and incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation actions into agricultural development strategies.  In line with this effort, a workshop is being planned for first quarter of 2011, in collaboration with TerrAfrica, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and others. For more information, contact Seth Shames at sshames@ecoagriculture.org

EcoAgriculture Partners shares findings on food security and climate change with USAID staff in Nairobi

Sara Scherr, President of EcoAgriculture Partners, spoke in February at a regional USAID staff meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on strategies to integrate food security and climate change in Africa. Participants are involved in new climate and agriculture initiatives in Africa, and engaged in a lively discussion.

EcoAgriculture Partners collaborates with World Wildlife Fund to evaluate policy frameworks that link agriculture, food security and climate change

EcoAgriculture Partners and the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Macroeconomic Policy Office have teamed up to explore policy agendas that more fully integrate agriculture, food security, climate change and ecosystem management. EcoAgriculture Partners and WWF, in collaboration with CARE, The World Agroforestry Center and others are developing discussion papers, as key inputs to a series of strategic dialogues with thought-leaders and practitioners later in 2010.  For more information, contact Courtney Wallace at cwallace@ecoagriculture.org.

EcoAgriculture Partners launches new project on watershed payments in the United States

EcoAgriculture has begun a new collaborative project with the U.S. Endowment for Forests and Communities and the USDA’s Office of Environmental Markets. This project will develop a spatially-explicit, ‘living’ database of information on payment schemes for watershed services to agricultural and forest landowners in the United States, and characterize the scale, range and features of the systems in place or under development. For more information, contact Seth Shames at sshames@ecoagriculture.org.

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In the Scene

Ecoagriculture strategies highlighted in international conference on global warming held in India

At a recent conference on Global Warming, Agriculture, Sustainable Development and Public Leadership, Sajal Sthapit of EcoAgriculture Partners was one of the key speakers and co-chaired two technical sessions on agriculture. The conference was based in Ahmadabad, India from 11-13 March 2010, and drew nearly 300 participants with over 100 papers presented. Details of the conference can be found at their website: http://www.clichangeagro.org/.
   
In India, the agriculture sector is seen as being central to climate change adaptation. In his presentation, Sajal argued that aside from being important in adaptation, agriculture has a major role to play in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The presentation highlighted five major strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture: i) enrich soil carbon, ii) use crops that store more carbon, iii) improve livestock production, iv) protect natural habitats, and v) restore degraded lands. Several technologies and practices are available within these strategies, but it is crucial to realize that none is a silver bullet and each needs to be adapted to local conditions and needs.

Agriculture in Copenhagen

The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen - in side events and in the negotiating rooms - significantly advanced efforts to integrate agriculture and sustainable land management into the global climate change agenda. Conceptual and political linkages between agricultural mitigation, adaptation and food security solidified, and governments made substantial commitments to moving agriculture/climate change work forward.

In the write-up available in the EcoAgriculture Partners Payments for Ecosystem Services Newsletter, we highlight the developments from Copenhagen that are likely to have the most impact on agricultural greenhouse gas markets. These include a review of the latest UNFCCC negotiating text; the emergence of NGOs advocating on behalf of an Agriculture/Farmer agenda, particularly the International Federation of Agricultural producers (IFAP); a proliferation of side events on agriculture and climate change in Copenhagen, including the first Agriculture and Rural Development Day to run parallel to an UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP); the beginnings of a coalition between the Forestry and Agriculture communities within the UNFCCC, as evidenced by a jointly organized event and statement by the organizers of Forestry and Agriculture Day; and the coalescing of a Party-led Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

For more details, see: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/documents/newsletters/agriculture_pes.php?newsletterID.

Online discussion focuses on strengthening food security by empowering farmers to increase seed biodiversity

The Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) focused their first discussion of the year on strengthening food security by empowering farmers to contribute to seed biodiversity. Participants discussed the trends affecting agriculture which lead to expanding monocultures and increasing concentration of seed production, and brainstormed ways to protect biodiversity and increase food security. The discussion is now closed, but full discussion proceedings and introductory material are available at: http://km.fao.org/fsn/forum-discussions/en/.

The FSN Forum website is facilitated by the Development Economics Division at the FAO. With 1650 members, it offers a neutral online platform to address issues of food security and nutrition among diverse audiences. The current discussion focuses on agricultural technologies and innovation; opportunities for making a difference. For more information see: http://km.fao.org/fsn/fsn-home/en/?no_cache.

Sustainable Food Lab Summit in Costa Rica focuses on markets, climate change, agriculture and biodiversity

At the Sustainable Food Lab (SFL) Summit in Costa Rica which took place from 14-18 March 2010, about 100 SFL members and invited guest learned about cutting edge efforts in sustainable agriculture, eco-labeling, fair trade, payments for ecosystem services and environmentally-friendly supply chain management. Through field trips and focused sessions, they explored these issues with a particular focus on how businesses are responding to Costa Rica’s national commitment to carbon neutrality by 2021. Seth Shames of EcoAgriculture Partners presented ideas on carbon-rich farming strategies to a working group interested in the linkages between carbon markets and poverty reduction. For more information see: http://sustainablefood.org/index.php?option.

China forms network on sustainable palm oil

The China network on Sustainable Palm Oil was formally initiated during the 2nd Meeting of Statement of Support signatories and stakeholders on 27 October, 2009 in Beijing. It is a China initiative sponsored by the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) China but it is expected that leadership will be taken over by a Chinese industry player.

This action-oriented informal network includes all stakeholders, including relevant government agencies. The two main objectives of the Network are to: support the promotion, procurement and use of sustainable palm oil in China, and to support the production of sustainable palm oil through any investments in producing countries that are consistent with the principles for sustainable palm oil production, national laws and China’s guidelines for sustainable agriculture. For more information see: http://tinyurl.com/y9omagt.

Crops in Botswana are insured

A joint venture between Agrinsure Botswana, Alexander Forbes in Botswana and South African-based Farmers Technical Insurance Services Company (FTISC) has developed an insurance scheme for Botswana’s agriculture sector. The scheme will be a leap forward for food sustainability, according to Agriculture Hub.

Local online news agent, Mmegi, reported that cover for crops is determined by guaranteed yield which is calculated according to previous production with an agreed price per tonne. Insurance will extend to flooding and drought, uncontrollable crop diseases and pests as well as fire, lightning, frost, with a basis rate for this insurance at 5%. For more information see: http://www.ainewswire.com/?p.

Global workshop on the Satoyama Initiative held in Paris, France

For hundreds of years, rural communities in Japan have used an ecoagriculture system known as Satoyama to integrate rice patties and other croplands with upland forests that provide valuable water supplies and wildlife habitat. Farmers in Korea, the Philippines, and other Asian countries have adopted similar land-use systems to sustain diversified livelihoods while conserving natural resources. Now, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment together with the United Nations University have launched the Satoyama Initiative to document, publicize, and promote Satoyama-like practices worldwide. The Initiative is timed to correspond with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2010 Conference of Parties – to be held in Nagoya, Japan – and will advocate Satoyama-type systems as a mean to implement the CBD’s Ecosystem Approach in agricultural landscapes.

In January, EcoAgriculture Partners participated in the Global Workshop on the Satoyama Initiative in Paris, France, bringing its expertise in integrated rural landscape management to help shape this emerging Initiative. Look for the Satoyama Initiative at the 2010 CBD Conference of Parties, or visit http://satoyama-initiative.org.

Conservation International monitors impacts of agricultural intensification on ecosystem services

Conservation International’s Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network (TEAM) program is leading a project to develop and pilot a set of ecosystem service metrics that will track the impacts of agricultural intensification on ecosystem services, particularly soils, water, climate and biodiversity. At a workshop in Tanzania at the beginning of February, the inter-disciplinary group discussed the approach to monitoring, made field visits to two landscapes to work together on ecosystem services issues and metrics, and then met for two days to discuss metrics more deeply and prioritize them for a pilot to be undertaken in the southern highlands of Tanzania, one of the ‘breadbasket’ areas of the country.

Sara Scherr of Ecoagriculture Partners provided input on measuring the agriculture-environment interface, drawing from experiences with the Landscape Measures Resource Center Framework. The team will produce a workshop report, as well as a scientific paper on the methodology proposed, and a set of guidelines for monitoring protocols.

For more information, contact Sandy Andelman at Conservation International, s.andelman@conservation.org

Swaminathan Foundation conference in Chennai, India explores biodiversity in relation to food and human security in a warming planet

This conference was held at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, from 15-17 February 2010. It was attended by 110 participants from 23 countries. Sessions addressed transboundary pests and diseases, climate change, bioenergy, agricultural biotechnologies and the right to food, among other topics. At the close of the conference, participants passed the Chennai declaration, covering the following issue areas:
  • Integration across sectors
  • Building Partnerships
  • Strengthen the Role of Farming and Tribal Communities
  • Conservation Science
  • Climate Resilient Farming Systems
  • Land Use Patterns
  • Economic Value of Ecosystem Services
  • Biodiversity Literacy
  • Climate Care Movement
The full declaration is available at: http://www.indiaenvironmentportal.org.in/files/chennai-biodiversity-declaration.pdf.

Recent government survey says Chinese farms cause more pollution than factories

Farmers' fields are a bigger source of water contamination in China than factory effluent, the Chinese government revealed in its first census on pollution. Senior officials said the disclosure, after a two-year study involving 570,000 people, would require a partial realignment of environmental policy from smoke stacks to chicken coops, cow sheds and fruit orchards.

Despite the sharp upward revision of figures on rural contamination, the government suggested the country's pollution problem may be close to - or even past - a peak. That claim is likely to prompt skepticism among environmental groups. The release of the groundbreaking report was reportedly delayed by resistance from the agriculture ministry, which had previously insisted that farms contributed only a tiny fraction of pollution in China. The census disproves these claims completely. According to the study, agriculture is responsible for 43.7% of the nation's chemical oxygen demand (the main measure of organic compounds in water), 67% of phosphorus and 57% of nitrogen discharges.

For the full article (appearing in the UK Guardian on 9 Feb 2010), see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/09/china-farms-pollution.
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Resources

AgroBIODIVERSITY network launches new website

agroBIODIVERSITY is a new cross-cutting network of DIVERSITAS, the international program of biodiversity science of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). The network aims to inspire and facilitate interdisciplinary research for a) understanding the role of biological diversity in agricultural landscapes for the provision of ecosystem goods and services, and b) exploring integrated scenarios for the sustainable use and management of agrobiodiversity.

The core project of the agroBIODIVERSITY network, “Assessment and Adaptive Management of Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes. A Global Perspective,” spans the continuum from basic to applied research across eight benchmark sites along a global gradient of agricultural intensification and includes adaptive land management in collaboration with local stakeholders.

More information can be found on the agroBIODIVERSITY website at: www.agroBIODIVERSITY-diversitas.org

The Ecological Society of America releases report on biofuels, land use, and biodiversity

Implications for Land Use and Biodiversity” is the first in a series of four reports on the ecological implications of biofuels, which is a product of the Ecological Society of America Biofuels Conference held 10 March 2008 in Washington, DC. This report, authored by Virginia Dale, Keith Kline, John Wiens, and Joseph Fargione, discusses the benefits of analyzing biofuel-related changes in land use at the ecosystem level, addressing challenges ranging from "food versus fuel" and water usage tradeoffs to the complex relationship between land use, carbon emissions, and biodiversity in producing and assessing different biofuels. Other reports posted on the site include “Sustainable Biofuels from Forests: Meeting the Challenge” by Marilyn A. Buford and Daniel G. Neary, and “Grasslands, Rangelands, and Agricultural Systems” by Rob Mitchell, Linda Wallace, Wallace Wilhelm, Gary Varvel and Brian Wienhold. To view the reports, visit: http://www.esa.org/biofuelsreports/.

Special Issue of Science focuses on food security

In the 12 February 2010 issue, Science examines the obstacles to achieving global food security and some promising solutions. News articles introduce farmers and researchers who are finding ways to boost harvests, especially in the developing world. Reviews, Perspectives, and an audio interview provide a broader context for the causes and effects of food insecurity and point to paths to ending hunger. A special podcast includes interviews about measuring food insecurity, rethinking agriculture, and reducing meat consumption. And Science Careers looks at interdisciplinary careers associated with food security. Science is making access to this special section FREE (non-subscribers require a simple registration). For more information see: http://www.sciencemag.org/special/foodsecurity/.

Policy makerís update focuses on valuing biodiversity

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Initiative has released a report focusing on the value of ecosystems and biodiversity to the economy, to society and to individuals. The report agues that the cost of sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services is lower than the cost of allowing biodiversity and ecosystem services to dwindle. Policy options discussed to safeguard biodiversity include from subsidy reform, payments for ecosystem services/notably for REDD, investment in ecological infrastructure/protected areas, and development of natural capital accounts.

The TEEB initiative was launched as a consequence of the G8+5 Environmental Ministers Meeting in Potsdam, Germany, and is hosted by UNEP. The TEEB study seeks to make visible the many ways we depend on biodiversity.  To access the full report see:  http://www.teebweb.org/ForPolicymakers/tabid/1019/language/en-US/Default.aspx.

New Oxfam paper on climate change, food security and agricultural responses

Oxfam recently released a new paper on agriculture, food security and climate change, entitled, “People-Centered Resilience: Working with vulnerable farmers towards climate change adaptation and food security.” The paper recognizes vulnerable farmers and pastoralist as key partners in delivering solutions to increase resilience and combat climate change, and calls for new public investment to supporting institutions. To access the full paper, see: http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/people-centered-resilience.

The International Food Policy Research Institute releases briefs on climate change and agriculture

The International Food Policy Research Institute has put out a series of two page briefs focusing on different aspects of agriculture and climate change. The briefs include:

Global study examines agricultureís dependence on pollinators

This paper by Aizen, M. A., L. A. Garibaldi, S. A. Cunningham, and A. M. Klein, entitled, “How much does agriculture depend on pollinators? Lessons from long-term trends in crop production” examines long term trends in crop production using FAO datasets on crops for 1961-2006. Authors quantified the effect of total loss of pollinators on global agricultural production and crop production diversity. The change in pollinator dependency over 46 years was also evaluated, considering the developed and developing world separately. Authors conclude that pollination shortage will intensify demand for agricultural land, a trend that will be more pronounced in the developing world. This increasing pressure on supply of agricultural land could significantly contribute to global environmental change.

The paper was published in 2009 by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany. For more information see: http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/9/1579.

Climate, Agriculture and Food Security: a CGIAR manifesto

At COP15 in December, the Consultive Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) launched a report about its work on climate change and agriculture. The report gives a comprehensive summary of ongoing research within the centers as well as a strategy for the future.  To download the full report sees: http://www.cgiar.org/pdf/CCAFS_Strategy_december2009.pdf.

The Science and Art of Adaptive Management: Innovating for Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management

The Soil and Water Conservation Society recently released this book, edited by Keith M. Moore, which presents an evolving, adaptive management approach to sustainable agriculture and natural resource systems. The book provides local level development practitioners with the knowledge, understanding, and tools to improve the capacity of smallholders to better use and manage their assets within a landscape framework. The principal objective is to empower natural resource managers at all levels through a participatory approach, with a focus in the United States and Canada.

To order the book online visit: http://tinyurl.com/y3etxma.

The Terrestrial Carbon Group releases policy briefs

The Terrestrial Carbon Group has recently released a series of policy briefs which examine ways for terrestrial carbon to be effectively included in the international response to climate change. Terrestrial carbon (including trees, soil, and peat) is a critical untapped element that could provide between 25% and 50% of the cost-effective response to climate change, especially in the short- to medium-term. The Terrestrial Carbon Group is an international group of specialists from science, economics, and public policy with expertise in land management, climate change and markets.

Policy Briefs include:
  • Policy Brief 7: Roadmap for Terrestrial Carbon Science
  • Policy Brief 6: Estimating Terrestrial Carbon at Risk of Emission
  • Policy Brief 5: Measuring and Monitoring Terrestrial Carbon as Part of REDD+ MRV Systems
The Terrestrial Carbon Group has also released a more detailed review that includes citations of the original science, entitled, Measuring and Monitoring Terrestrial Carbon: The State of Science and Implications for Policy Makers. It is available at: http://www.terrestrialcarbon.org/Publications/MeasuringandMonitoring.aspx.  Policy briefs are available at: http://www.terrestrialcarbon.org/Publications/PolicyBriefs.aspx.

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Upcoming Events

Man and the Biosphere Pro Natura Congo Basin Biosphere Bio-Carbon Forum, 21-22 April 2010, Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Pro-Natura Congo Basin Biosphere Bio-Carbon Forum will bring together regional stakeholders to discuss concrete steps toward strengthening the biosphere reserves network in Central Africa. Discussions will also address using the Congo Basin Biosphere reserves as pilot sites to combat deforestation, protect biodiversity and promote sustainable development through bio-carbon modalities.

Organized by UNESCO-MAB Programme and Pro-Natura Internatinal, this forum will bring together stakeholders from across the Congo Basic to discuss strategic directions for the MAB Programme and biosphere reserves in Central Africa, and will include an auxiliary ABC Initiative training session for MAB partners on bio-carbon opportunities, project design and management.  For more information and to register see: http://tinyurl.com/y5eu5vp.

US Biochar2010 conference, 27-30 June 2010, Ames, Iowa

Recent advances in biochar science and technology will be showcased at Biochar 2010: US Biochar Initiative Conference, hosted by Iowa State University on 27–30 June 2010. The conference is designed to advance the understanding of the science and policy issues related to biochar as both an agent for carbon sequestration as well as an amendment for soils. Participants will include scientists, engineers, policymakers, policy analysts, producers, and users. The Bioeconomy Institute of Iowa State University is lead sponsor, organizer, and host for the conference. USBI, the United States Biochar Initiative, is co-sponsor of the event.

For more information and to register, see: http://www.biorenew.iastate.edu/events/biochar2010.html.

International Conference on Traditional Practices in Conservation Agriculture, 18-20 September 2010, Chennai, India

The International Conference on Traditional Practices in Conservation Agriculture will be held from 18-20 September 2010 in Bengal Chapters in collaboration with Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology and the Rajasthan College of Agricultutre, Udaipur. It is co-sponsored by Center for Indian Knowledge System, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Participants interested in attending should email the Organizing Secretary, Dr. S. L. Choudhary (slcchoudhary@yahoo.com or slc_aahfrc@rediffmail.com).

Third Conference on Sustainable Agriculture: The Art of Farming, 11-12 May 2010, Brussels, Belgium

The Art of Farming - Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable Mainstream Agriculture plans to accelerate solution finding through sharing of state-of-the-art insights in innovative sustainable products, cutting edge techniques and cost efficient measurements. The two day conference will focus, among other topics, on reduction of carbon footprint, and the protection of soil from pesticides and erosion. Drawing business leaders and leading scientists, the two day conference will feature high level working sessions, keynote speeches, workshops, networking opportunities, updates on the most important round tables and many more.
The conference is being hosted by the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform, the Sustainable Food Laboratory and the Confederation of Food and Drink Industries of the European Union. For more information and to register see: http://www.sustainable-ag.org/welcome.html.

European Congress on Conservation Agriculture, 4-7 October 2010, Madrid, Spain

The Spanish Conservation Agriculture Association / Living Soils (AEAC/SV), jointly with the European Conservation Agriculture Federation (ECAF) and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is organizing the European Congress on Conservation Agriculture: Towards agro-environmental, climate and energetic sustainability, to be held in Madrid 4-7 October 2010.

Development agencies and donors, policy makers and administrators, environmentalists, farmers, agricultural scientists and advisors, and the agricultural industry are welcome to attend this event. The Congress has attracted among its keynote speakers and delegates, authorities and leading scientists on conservation agriculture, soil management, agronomy, crop protection and global environmental issues. This event will not only cover the traditional Conservation Agriculture areas of research, but also those that have been opened in response to current problems facing the environment, including climate change, energy saving and profitability, and the search for models of sustainability in European agro-ecosystems.

For more information and to register see: http://www.congresoeuropeoac.eu/en.  

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.