Category Archives: News

2016 study in the Nature journal showed that carbon sequestered by trees on agricultural land could be more than four times higher than previously thought. The research was carried out by a team of scientists from several organizations, including CIAT.

Between 2000 and 2010, tree cover on agricultural land increased by 3 percent globally, resulting in a 4.6 percent increase in biomass carbon. Yet while the importance of carbon stored and sequestered by forests is widely recognized and land cover changes well monitored – see for example Terra-i – carbon stored by trees on agricultural land needs to be better measured.

The benefits of increasing tree cover on agricultural land go far beyond carbon sequestration. Trees increase soil organic matter and improve soil health, making farms more resilient to climate extremes. They also help protect soils from erosion, and tree products such as fruits and nuts contribute to food security, incomes, and more diverse diets.

Since trees stay in the soil for many years, their biomass contributes to a build-up of carbon over the long term. Growing more trees on farmland could be a significant route to increasing carbon sequestration, above and below ground.

Originally published on the CIAT website.

More people, less erosion – Ethiopia’s Tigray region demonstrates that this can be a reality: They will take home the Gold Future Policy Award 2017, beating 26 other nominated policies to the prize. Also known as “Oscar for Best Policies”, the Future Policy Award highlights the world’s best policies that combat desertification and land degradation this year.

With unique collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of the youth, people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale. As a result, erosion has decreased significantly, groundwater levels are recharged, and the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices made a significant contribution to food self-sufficiency and economic growth.

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Originally published on the World Future Council Website.

Pakistan’s northwestern province, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KPK), has planted an unprecedented 1 billion trees in just more than two years and surpassed an international commitment of restoring 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land.

The massive effort aims to turn the tide on land degradation and loss in the mountainous, formerly forested KPK, which lies in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party governing the province, launched the reforestation campaign, dubbed “Billion Tree Tsunami,” in 2015.

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Originally published on the VOA  News website.

The majority of the world’s rural poor are family farmers, fishers, livestock and forest users who
live in isolated areas and who depend on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods.

Being both marginalized and geographically dispersed, the rural poor face major
constraints in seizing social and economic opportunities to improve their lives and
those of their families. This is especially true for women, youth and indigenous
peoples as they often bear the brunt of the socio-economic disparities that hinder
equal access to land, resources, education, information and opportunities to
participate in development processes.

The work of FAO on Rural Institutions, Services and Empowerment (RISE)
contributes to the Organization’s efforts to eradicate poverty, hunger and malnutrition
and to unlock the development potential of rural areas. This is tackled through the
promotion of inclusive, gender-transformative socio-economic development and
sustainable livelihoods in rural areas.

FAO supports territorial and place-based policies to reduce within country
disparities in poverty, food security and nutrition levels and allow for more
inclusive, effective and equitable governance of natural resources.
 FAO supports development of pluralistic market-oriented service systems,
with an emphasis on collective action and producer organizations, to enable
small-scale family farmers to increase productivity, link to markets and improve
their livelihoods.
 FAO develops capacities for sustainable and inclusive rural financial systems
and agribusiness investments to assist poor rural families better manage their
current livelihoods, ensure economic resiliency and to shift towards more
profitable production systems.
 FAO promotes the socio-economic empowerment of women, men and youth
through inclusive social mobilization, participatory communication, women’s
leadership and voice in decision-making and community governance.

Click here to access the publication.

Originally published on the FAO website

More people around the world are escaping extreme poverty than ever before. In just 10 years, 167 million fewer people are undernourished. But we cannot let another day go by without acknowledging that millions more children, men and women are currently at risk of starvation, and this progress is in danger of being reversed. Knowledge is power, as the old adage goes, and we are convinced that if more Americans know about this crisis we can save more lives.

This February, the world’s first famine in six years was declared in parts of South Sudan. Though it was recently downgraded, conditions in South Sudan have actually continued to deteriorate, and we are still on the brink of the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our time. The United Nations has warned that millions of families could face starvation in this lean period between growing seasons – primarily in Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan – and that 1.4 million children are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death.

In South Sudan, families wade through miles of swamp to reach food, and people in Nigeria eat sand to ward off starvation. In Yemen, we see children with bloated stomachs from water retention and brittle, sparse and yellowish hair from lack of keratin. Some Somali farmers report 100 percent of their livestock are dying. Why are parents in these countries forced to decide between medical attention for one sick child and food for another? Why are we still asking these questions today, when we should have the power and resources to end this suffering?

There is no one simple answer, and we know that extreme weather patterns exacerbate dire conditions in these countries. It is no coincidence that the four countries teetering on the edge of famine – Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria – are all embroiled in violent conflict, whether it is prolonged civil war or violent extremist organizations exacerbating other vulnerabilities such as drought or weak governance. A decade ago natural disaster was the driver of 80 percent of the world’s humanitarian need. Today, that has been completely flipped on its head: conflict, a human-made disaster, has now taken its place.

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Originally published on the Huffington Post website.