Monthly Archives: August 2017

How Filipino Farmers Cope With Climate Change Through Conservation Agriculture With Trees

The areas with degraded landscapes in Southeast Asia are expanding rapidly. The Conservation Agriculture with Trees (CAWT) strategy is the best “tool box” for sustainable crop production intensification. CAWT follows the Landcare approach, with principles and practices founded on minimal soil disturbance, continuous mulching, pests and nutrients management, species rotations, integration of trees, and rainwater harvesting.

This case story presents the outcomes of a project conducted in the municipality of Claveria in Misamis Oriental province, Philippines. Specifically, this chapter presents how the interplanting of maize with cowpea and then relayed with upland rice has ensured the food and nutritional security and has improved the incomes of smallholder upland farmers in the municipality. Arachis pintoi grown with maize has provided farmers with the inputs to produce feeds for livestock. Likewise, the cropping system has provided better groundcover for protecting soil against erosion, eliminated the use of herbicides, and increased farmers’ crop yields.

The project also identified promising varieties of maize, upland rice, cowpea, forage grasses, forage legumes, sweet potato, cassava, and sorghum that provide better economic and biomass yield. These crops produced higher yields than the locally grown varieties and are also suitable for conservation agriculture production systems.

The project implementers also identified a cost-effective wayS of creating rainwater harvesting system through animal-built embankment. Establishing a series of ponds can mitigate severe runoff during heavy rainfall events by increasing water infiltration, and thus mitigate flooding. Accordingly, rainwater-harvesting ponds has provided the farmers with an opportunity to grow fish, ducks, and other aquatic animals, which enhanced household food and nutritional security of farm households. The pond water enriched with nutrients could also be used to irrigate trees and crops during dry spells. The research results of the project have been extrapolated to other upland areas in the Philippines through the Landcare approach.

Through the active participation of farmer groups, local government units, and technical facilitators that constitute the Landcare approach, farmers were able to achieve rapid and inexpensive method of expanding the use of technologies in the Philippine uplands. These technologies can also be used in other areas in Southeast Asia with similar biophysical and socioeconomic environments.

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Kenya making progress on climate change goals faster than expected

Kenya is on course to reduce the effects of climate change, the Government has said. Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu listed banning of plastic bags, planned restoration of 5.1 hectares of land under forest and promotion of renewable energy as some of the measures the Government had taken to reduce carbon emissions.

“The Government is undertaking these measures, jointly with the private sector, to help communities cope with the effects of climate change while developing a low carbon infrastructure,” Prof Wakhungu said Wednesday.

Through Gazette Notice 2356, the ministry proscribed the manufacture, use and importation of plastics bags. The ban was however met with uproar, especially from manufacturers. This was the third attempt by Kenya, since 2005, to ban the use of polythene bags below 30 micron.

“For a long time, the country suffered greatly from the negative effects of plastic bags, which have clogged drains and rivers and contributed to floods in different parts of the country,” Wakhungu said. “Floods have killed people, marine life as well as domestic animals. They are also the breeding grounds for malaria-causing mosquitoes.” A recent report by the World Economic Forum noted that unless decisive measures were taken, there would be more plastic bags in the ocean than fish by 2050.

“The 5.1 million hectares of land we have resolved to commit to forest is nearly nine per cent of Kenya’s total land mass and makes us the first African country to take such a step,” the CS said. Through this initiative, Kenya is now the 13th African country to commit to bringing over 46 million hectares of land under forests by 2030.

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Originally published on the Standard media website

Pakistan’s Billion Tree Tsunami restores 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land to surpass Bonn Challenge commitment

Launched in 2015 by Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, the Billion Tree Tsunami aims to turn the tide on land degradation and loss in the mountainous, formerly forested KPK province in the Hindu Kush mountain range. The campaign simultaneously helped KPK province fulfil its 348,400 hectare commitment to the Bonn Challenge – a global effortto bring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. This marks the first Bonn Challenge pledge to reach its restoration goal.

“The project is naturally restoring a previously deforested landscape, which will assist in meeting present and future needs and offers multiple benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation in a very climate-vulnerable province,” says Muhammad Tehmasip, Project Director of the Billion Tree Tsunami.

The project has achieved its restoration target through a combination of protected natural regeneration (60%) and planned afforestation (40%). In addition, it has established 13,000 private tree nurseries, which have already boosted local incomes, generated thousands of green jobs, and empowered unemployed youth and women in the province.

“IUCN congratulates the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on reaching this momentous milestone. The Billion Tree Tsunami initiative is a true conservation success story, one that further demonstrates Pakistan’s leadership role in the international restoration effort and continued commitment to the Bonn Challenge,” says Inger Andersen, Director General of IUCN.

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Originally published on the IUCN website.

How Ethiopia Went from Famine Crisis to Green Revolution

What most people probably don’t know is that Ethiopia has made significant progress during the last 20 years in restoring its degraded lands and improving its food and water securityAccording to Belgian and Ethiopian researchers,” Northern Ethiopia is now greener than it has ever been during the last 145 years,” and “human investments have overridden the impacts of climate change.”

So what happened?

A new documentary, Ethiopia Rising: Red Terror to Green Revolution, co-funded by WRI and made by award-winning UK filmmaker Mark Dodd, tells the story of how Ethiopia’s people restored vast areas of degraded land to productivity. Their story offers inspiration for other countries facing degraded soils, famine and climate change.

Click here to learn more.

Originally published on the WRI website

Malawi aims to restore trees and land covering half the country by 2030

Malawi plans to spend about $385 million by 2030 to plant trees and restore other degraded land, in an effort to reverse rampant forest losses in the country, forestry officials said this week.

The area set to be rehabilitated covers 4.5 million hectares – nearly half of the country’s total land area, according to Tangu Isabel Tumeo, the principal forestry officer in the country’s Department of Forestry.

Altogether the country has lost 7.8 million hectares of trees since the 1980s, according to government figures.

The ambitious forest restoration initiative is part of the country’s commitment to the Bonn Challenge, agreed by nations in Germany in 2011. That effort calls for the restoration of 350 million hectares of degraded land worldwide by 2030.

African nations have pledged to provide 100 million hectares of reforestation toward that target.

In Malawi, the government aims to improve the protection and management of 1 million hectares of natural forests and plantations by 2020 and 2 million hectares by 2030 and restore 500,000 hectares of deforested or degraded forest by 2030. It also aims to plant 20 million trees along rivers and streams by 2020, Tumeo said.

The government also wants to see 50 percent of the country’s crop land planted to at least 10 percent trees by 2020, with 80 percent planted in that way by 2030, she said.

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Originally published on the News Trust Organization website.

Trees on agricultural land sink four times more carbon than previously thought

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.