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February 21, 2012

EcoAgriculture Partners Newsletter

We are excited to announce a new blog as part of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. The Landscapes Blog will help build and sustain momentum around the Initiative, increase awareness of integrated agricultural landscapes, foster a dynamic community of practice, and showcase the work of the Initiative Co-Organizers and other practitioners on a landscape scale. Three ongoing series will serve as the foundation of the blog: Landscape of the Week; Exploring the Evidence; and Voices from the Field. Check out the blog at http://blog.ecoagriculture.org. If you are involved in integrated agricultural landscape work and are interested in contributing, please contact Rachel Friedman.

The Initiative’s first International Forum will be convened 6-9 March in Nairobi, Kenya, to share ideas among leaders of integrated landscape work at field and policy levels, to craft a work plan for the 3-year Initiative. Live updates will be posted to the Initiative’s blog—stay posted.

Meanwhile, make sure to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@EcoAgPartners). That’s the best way to get ecoagriculture updates in real time.

Sara Scherr, President
Courtney Wallace
Newsletter editors


Table of Contents


EcoAgriculture Partners Updates

EcoAgriculture’s post-Durban reflections

EcoAgriculture President, Sara Scherr, and Senior Project Manager Seth Shames attended the UNFCCC CoP 17 in Durban at the end of 2011. The big headlines were the agreement of the "Durban Platform," which could pave the way to a legally binding international climate deal by 2020, and the establishment of the infrastructure of the Green Climate Fund.  This modest progress for the negotiations was mirrored in the small steps forward on discussions of agriculture. The Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) officially requested for agriculture to be included on the agenda for the 36th meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) in June 2012 and at CoP 18 next November. Agriculture was also included for consideration in the REDD text as a driver of deforestation.

The activities outside of the official negotiations--at the side events and unofficial meetings--demonstrated the significant advances that have been made in efforts to integrate climate and agricultural development discourses at the UNFCCC. They also reflected the reality that efforts in this field, now referred to widely as climate-smart agriculture, are not restricted to the outcomes of the UNFCCC negotiations. The 3rd Agriculture and Rural Development Day was the largest yet, and CoP 17 was also a high-water mark for the cross-pollination of forestry and agriculture discussions.

Representatives of EcoAgriculture Partners participated in many of these climate-smart agriculture events.  At Forest Day, Sara Scherr presented on Change and Adaptation in African Drylands: Reversing Deforestation while Contributing to Food Security.  She served as a panelist at the Business Roundtable on Agriculture organized by the World Economic Forum and the South African Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs. At Agriculture and Rural Development Day, Seth Shames spoke at a Learning Event on Climate-Smart Smallholder Agriculture: What Role for Climate Finance? He also joined a panel later in the week organized by Rainforest Alliance and the Wildlife Conversation Society which discussed agricultural certification and REDD+.  For more information, contact Seth Shames, and browse the publications EcoAgriculture published in December 2011 in preparation for Durban.

Building the evidence base to mainstream ecoagriculture

As part of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, EcoAgriculture and numerous research partners are conducting a two-year “Global Review” of ecoagriculture landscape strategies, their impacts, and their future potential. For more information, please visit the LPFN website and stay tuned later this year as we release the first results. In addition, if you are a researcher and interested in getting involved in the Global Review, please contact Jeff Milder.

New initiative in Kenya’s Kijabe landscape

Since 2007, EcoAgriculture Partners has been working with farmers in the Kijabe valley of the Kenyan highlands to support multi-stakeholder planning, assessment tools and thinking to achieve an ecoagriculture development strategy. This landscape, a mosaic of agriculture and natural forests, is a major water source for nearby Nairobi; agriculture is intensifying rapidly, so that long-term sustainability demands that agricultural development programs, policies and investments ensure sustainable soil and water management for production, and also protect forests and conserve watershed functions.  Over the next year EcoAgriculture Partners will continue its support of local community-based organization KENVO (Kijabe Environment Volunteers) which has formed a multi-stakeholder forum in their district to encourage agriculture, community and forest conservation stakeholders to work together. EcoAgriculture will support local stakeholders to develop a Landscape Planning and Action Field Guide, regional landscape planning workshops and community based biodiversity monitoring methods, and a marketing strategy to support tourism and eco-certified agricultural products. For more information, contact Louise Buck.

Toward integrated monitoring systems for the world’s agriculture

Appropriate indicators are critical for helping decision-makers to understand and manage complex systems. But up to now, most monitoring of agricultural systems has tended to focus on single system components, such as total yield. In a 2011 paper in Nature, a group of 25 leading food systems experts, including EcoAgriculture’s Sara Scherr and Jeff Milder, called for an integrated, multi-scale monitoring network for agriculture landscapes that could track synergies, tradeoffs, and dynamics among food production, economic, social, and environmental dimensions. Efforts to design and fund such a system are currently underway. The latest dialogue on this idea includes a published response to the comments of ecologists David Lindenmayer and Gene Likens, which explains how the proposed agricultural monitoring network could build on best practices and existing capacity to conduct long-term ecological monitoring.  For more information, contact Jeff Milder.

Full volume on Mobilizing Private Sector Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa available

On May 25-27, PROFOR, ICRAF, IUCN, TerrAfrica and EcoAgriculture convened the Forum on Mobilizing Private Sector Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa, at ICRAF in Nairobi.  Three background papers framed the Forum, attended by more than 100 participants, of whom a third were from the private sector.  The background papers and Forum discussion have been aggregated in a final full volume, ‘Investment in Trees and Landscape Restoration in Africa: What, Where, How?, co-published with PROFOR, EcoAgriculture Partners, ICRAF, the IUCN, TerrAfrica and the World Bank. The report is available here.  For full information on the meeting, visit the PROFOR website here

M&E for the Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program

Tropical export commodities have dramatically increased production in the last fifty years, resulting in the destruction of much tropical habitat. The Biodiversity and Agricultural Commodities Program (BACP) seeks to reduce the threats posed by agriculture to biodiversity of global significance by transforming markets for target agricultural commodities such as soy, palm oil and cocoa. To transform the commodity markets, BACP supports projects that generate greater supply, demand and financing of biodiversity-friendly products.  The BACP quarterly newsletter disseminates lessons learned for those working in biodiversity conservation landscapes with agricultural commodities and the roundtables for palm oil and soy. The twelfth edition of the quarterly newsletter includes a rich set of stories from BACP grantee projects in the field, activities at the recent Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Roundtable Nine (RSPO RT9) gathering in Malaysia, and program-wide monitoring and evaluation.  EcoAgriculture staff member Lee Gross writes the M&E corner for these newsletters, in addition to managing the M&E activities.  For more information, contact Lee Gross.

New EcoAgriculture staff

We are very happy to announce that two new Program Associates have joined the EcoAgriculture staff based in Washington, D.C.: Sarah Thompson, who joined us as an intern in 2011, and Sarah Fiorenza. Ms. Fiorenza, who will also fill the role of Assistant to the President, holds an M.A. in Global Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and was most recently at the Rainforest Partnership in Austin.

In the Scene

Special issue of RAFA highlights ecoagriculture

Throughout Central America, small- and medium-scale farmers and cattle ranchers manage diverse agricultural mosaics that are often rich in native plant and animal species. It is thus critical to identify and promote management strategies that can help increase farmer incomes and agricultural outputs while protecting biodiversity and highly functioning ecosystems. Such strategies are the focus of a just-released special issue of the Revista de Agroforesteria en las Americas (Review of Agroforestry in the Americas), a journal published by the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). The issue shares results from studies in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica examining some of the ways in which landscape conservation and human livelihoods may be reconciled through careful vegetation and livestock management, among other strategies. The issue includes a short piece by EcoAgriculture’s Director of Research, Jeff Milder, on the Landscape Measures Framework for monitoring conservation-agriculture-livelihood dynamics in agricultural mosaics. Access the special issue on our website, here.  For more information, contact Jeff Milder.

Satoyama partnership announces new partners, initiatives and 2nd Global Conference

The steering committee for the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) met recently in Montreal.  During the meeting, fourteen new members to the partnership were approved, bringing the total to 105. The steering committee also endorsed three new collaborative activities (see the full list and call for partners here.  IPSI will host its Second Global Conference in Nairobi from 13-14 March 2012, including a public forum.  For more details on meeting proceedings, new members, and new initiatives, visit the Satoyama website here or email the Initiative.

Landscape restoration in Rwanda on Public Radio

Learn about a Forest and Landscape Restoration Project in Rwanda, reviewed on a Public Radio International segment that originally aired on November.  To hear the segment, visit The World website.


New climate-smart agriculture publications from the World Bank

The World Bank has recently released new publications on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) that reference country program examples.  A brochure prepared for Durban describes the different approaches that countries are taking while a policy brief summarizes project examples.  Many of the examples and recommendations for CSA are squarely for ecoagriculture.  To access the publications, visit the World Bank CSA publications page. The 24-page brochure can be accessed directly here and the 8-page Policy Brief here.  Additionally, access the longer background report here.

New book links climate change action and agriculture

Climate Change Mitigation and Agriculture, edited by Eva Wollenberg, Marja-Liisa Tapio-Bistrom, Maryanne Grieg-Gran and Alison Nihart, was recently published by Taylor and Francis.  The book supplements the literature on the science behind carbon emissions reduction with its focus on the practical implementation of climate mitigation through different farming systems.  Examples from developed and developing countries are offered, as well as an investigation in a wide range of agroecological zones.  The book is available at the publisher's website here.

New WWF publication on water management for climate adaptation

Shifting Course: Climate Adaptation for Water Management Institutions, by Jonathan Cook, Sarah Freeman, Margot Hill and Eliot Levine, builds upon existing research in several fields and draws evidence from global case studies to identify a set of common principles to climate-friendly water management. The report feeds into a long term initiative to develop a diagnostic tool and practical guidelines that help water management institutions to become more adaptive to climate change. WWF-US welcomes interest in collaboration. For more information, and to download the report and case studies, please visit the website here.

GEF-UNCCD publication on sustainable land management

Land for Life: securing our common future was launched at the UNCCD CoP in Korea as the GEF and UNCCD’s joint message on the role of sustainable land management practices in livelihoods and global environmental benefits. The book is available on the GEF website here.

Terra Viva Grants Directory

Terra Viva Grants Directory is a non-profit information service that catalogues funding opportunities for agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources. This is a helpful fundraising resource. Visit the site here.

Ecoagriculture Job Board

EcoAgriculture staff members are frequently notified when a partner organization has a job opening. We post these announcements on our Job Board; it’s a great way for us to showcase the opportunities out there, and enlist the most qualified applicants to the field of ecoagriculture!  Visit the Job Board here

Upcoming Events

Seeking applications for 2012 Land for Life Award

Applications for the 2012 Land for Life Award are now being accepted. This award is used to recognize inspiring initiatives that secure the long-term sustainability, health and productivity of soil.  The winners will be announced on the World Day to Combat Desertification on 17 June 2012; the award is an effective way to share some best practices in the field of SLWM. Innovative, collaborative, multisectoral work is emphasized. Three awards will be granted in 2012 from a total prize fund of up to USD100,000.  The deadline for applications is 29 February 2012.  For more information, visit the UNCCD website here.  

Seventh International IPM Symposium, March 27–29, Memphis, Tennessee

The 7th Integrated Pest Management Symposium, entitled "IPM on the World Stage—Solutions for Global Pest Challenges” will feature speakers from the academic, public and private sector.  For details, visit the IPM Centers website here.

PhD Conference “Knowledge Gaps in Climate Change Research: How are you tackling it?”, 11-13 April, University of East Anglia

The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change is hosting the second annual PhD Conference with a theme that showcases the innovative and interdisciplinary research currently being carried out by PhD researchers as well as identifying the trajectory of future research.  The conference is free to attend, and will be filled on a first come first served basis.  For more information and to register, visit the conference website here.

The 2012 International Conference on Climate Adaptation, 29-31 May, Tucson, Arizona

This conference brings together practitioners, researchers and policymakers to share and explore practical adaptation strategies, at several scales, throughout the world.  This conference is the second in a planned bi-annual series of conferences and is co-hosted by the Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) and the University of Arizona. For more information, visit the PROVIA website here and register directly here.

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.