Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes
As Ethiopia approaches 105 million people, the growing demand for food is expanding agriculture into marginal, forest, and natural conservation areas. Human-induced activities include population pressure, agricultural expansion, logging, and development, which have been challenging development and conservation efforts. As cultivation and grazing expand into peripheral and conservation areas, land degradation in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, and nutrient mining as well as conflict between land uses and users accelerate the vulnerability of local farmers to climate change. Despite the environmental, social, and economic benefits of biodiversity and natural ecosystem conservation, the reality is that views that strictly exclude the human element are no longer an option. It is therefore essential to understand what combinations of uses and which management options can provide maximum benefits for both social and environmental well-being. Hence the big question remains: “Is there a win-win solution to the increasing tension between environmental conservation efforts and the quest for securing livelihood?”
The wild relatives of chile peppers, pumpkins, carrots, and lettuce join a growing list of poorly conserved plant species. These ancient plants have genes that may help our food withstand the harsh climate of our future. If they don’t go extinct first
Growing up in the wild makes plants tough. Wild plants evolve to survive the whims of nature and thrive in difficult conditions, including extreme climate conditions, poor soils, and pests and diseases. Their better-known descendants – the domesticated plants that are critical to a healthy diet – are often not nearly as hardy. The genes that make crop wild relatives robust have the potential to make their cultivated cousins – our food plants – better prepared for a harsh climate future. But a series of new research papers show these critical plants are imperiled.
The prize intends to award 10 participants from around the globe who have compelling visions of what regenerative and nourishing food environments will look like in 2050. Individuals, organizations, institutions, companies, and other entities across the globe are encouraged to participate.
Subnational climate-smart agriculture (CSA) action planning: Lessons learned with Veronica Ndetu, head of the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is the proposed approach in the face of climate variability. The government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is playing an active role in advocating for the uptake of CSA both nationally and subnationally.
Going forward, the UM6P and the Alliance between Bioversity International and CIAT will work to initiate cooperation in research, education, and outreach with the aim of contributing to the advancement of science to address the challenges of sustainable agricultural intensification globally.
The outcomes will nurture new CIAT collaborations in Brazil and help us jointly build a biodiversity monitoring approach that can meet both CIAT’s and USAID’s objectives. Furthermore, the approach will be useful for other institutions specialized in biodiversity monitoring, as well as for the private sector as a way to evaluate the performance of their activities in the Amazon region. In fact, such a tool can benefit all sectors of society engaged in the difficult task of balancing the trade-offs between development and environmental conservation.
The idea of visualizing soil data at a glance electronically is exciting to many actors in agriculture and land-use planning. Previously, soil characterization required traveling to the field to collect soil samples and sending them to the lab for analysis. Digital maps, however, save the time (travel, carry soils samples to the lab and wait for results) before making crucial site-specific decisions.
Smallholder poverty in sub-Saharan Africa is often linked to sandy soils, which hold little water and are low in nutrients. A new technology may be able to enrich fields and farmers without massive investments in irrigation and fertilizer
Marcela Quintero is one of the most prestigious researchers on environmental and agricultural issues at CIAT. She began her work as a member of a small team that started thinking how to internalize the environmental externalities in water basins. The work on Payment for Environmental Services stemmed from there, a pretty “odd” topic for the Center 18 years ago.
The Analytical Services Laboratory (LSA, its Spanish initials), which is part of the Agroecosystems and Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) area at CIAT, was listed as eligible for funding to participate in Proficiency Tests carried out by the Colombian National Metrology Institute (INM).