Soils and Landscapes
Since June, 2018, Mayesse Da Silva, Soil Scientist at CIAT, has been working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and USDA-FAS on the characterization and detailed mapping of cacao soils in Colombia under the “Cacao for Peace (CfP)” program.
CIAT is proud! Jefferson Valencia, young scientist from the Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) area at CIAT, was awarded a Borlaug fellowship and will attend Purdue University in Indiana, United States, to pursue an internship to implement a hydrological assessment based on GIS (Geographic Information Systems) to optimize cacao production in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
“We are receiving a free subsidy from nature, but it will not continue indefinitely” – Louis Verchot
“Many findings are important for us and for policy makers around the world. The report shows that land is both a source and a sink of greenhouse gases. Currently, land absorbs 22% of our greenhouse gas emissions and such absorption has increased as our emissions have increased. Therefore, we are receiving a free subsidy from nature as the land is reducing the negative climate impacts of our own actions. The report also shows that this subsidy will not go on indefinitely, and the continuous land and soil degradation are major threats to the biosphere and the continued absorption of carbon dioxide.”
Meat and dairy products are central to the Latin American diet, and livestock is a source of income for over 600 million people living on less than US $1 per day around the world. Historically, a lack of quality forage crops has restricted production and increased the environmental impact of livestock farming, with poor-quality grazing areas being created through deforestation.
As noted in a previous blog, a study conducted by CIAT confirms that cacao production is not a main cause of forest loss in Colombia, unlike in several countries in Africa and Asia. Instead, cacao cultivation forms part of strategies to reduce conflict and save forests in the Latin American country.
The Terra-i tool enables stakeholders to use the data at different levels to take action in natural resource management and create synergies between national and local institutions for protecting and conserving natural resources, as well as enhancing related governance processes, at national and subnational scales.
The initiative, jointly coordinated with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM) and Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MINAGRI), the subnational government of Ucayali, and in partnership with international consultants Climate Focus (CF), aims to facilitate adoption of sustainable production practices for oil palm and cacao, and deliver on commitments to zero deforestation.
Scaling out sustainable livestock production alternatives: financing schemes in the Colombian Amazon
Peru and Colombia, countries harboring 23 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, are aware of the importance of this region as a provider of ecosystem services at the local, national, and global level. Conserving and sustainably harnessing the benefits that the Amazon ecosystem provides requires the design of sustainable alternatives for land use and management, to reduce pressure on forests and serve as a strategy for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
In 2003, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) designed a set of long-term trials in Kenya to assess sustainability and productivity effects of a set of management practices. These practices included conservation agriculture (CA), a combination of mulching, reduced tillage, and crop rotation, which has since grown to be widely promoted across Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) with good results.
The 2019 Global Forest Watch (GFW) Summit, held in Washington DC this week, opened with a retrospective on how deforestation monitoring systems have matured since their broad development in the early 2010s. Several Latin America countries have their own dedicated system. While many African and Asian countries have not yet created dedicated systems, they have come a long way in deforestation monitoring. Efforts such as Global Forest Watch, CIAT’s Terra-i system, and others are mature, providing near real-time data that can help governments, NGOs, the private sector, and others monitor and track deforestation across the world.