Pakistan- An individual grows forest in Buner to fight climate change impacts

MENAFN – Tribal News Network) Naseeb Yar Chagharzai

BUNER: The government spends billions of rupees on tree plantation campaigns every year, but in Buner district of KP, there is a citizen who was personally contributed to plantation more than the government by purchasing 240 kanals land and decorating it with a thick forest including all kind of trees.

Dr Muhammad Niqab Khan, who lives in Ambela area of tehsil Mandan, has a passion for tree plantation, has planted dozens kinds of species of different plants, including fruit plants, on his land which presents a lovely look and have a positive impact on the environment of the area.

Dr Niqab Khan said while talking to TNN that he planted trees of mango, orange, peach and plum which grew successfully and produced fruit. However, he said, a specific species of grapes which he brought from Quetta did not grow on his land probably due to unsuitability of his land and local climate. He said he started planting trees on his land keeping in view the environmental degradation, continuous lowering of underground water level and other impacts of global warming. He said he believes that planting more trees is the answer to reduce the impact of climate change.How far the forests are safe in Buner?

Most of people in the district use wood for cooking and other domestic needs due to unavailability of gas facility due to which it has become very difficult to protect forests.

The provincial government has taken steps to preserve forests, but the damage done during the previous times has not been overcome yet. The government is planting a lot of trees in Buner for the last few years, but many people object over the fact that eucalyptus trees planted by the government consume too much water and ultimately prove counterproductive. Dr Niqab Khan also knows this factor and says he removes eucalyptus trees from his land wherever he finds it and uses it for fuel.

Birds and forests

The provincial government has taken steps to preserve forests, but the damage done during the previous times has not been overcome yet. The government is planting a lot of trees in Buner for the last few years, but many people object over the fact that eucalyptus trees planted by the government consume too much water and ultimately prove counterproductive. Dr Niqab Khan also knows this factor and says he removes eucalyptus trees from his land wherever he finds it and uses it for fuel.Birds and forests

He said many people initially thought that Dr Niqab was wasting his time and capital by making such a huge investment, but now they are highly appreciative of his efforts and hard work. He said Dr Niqab is a role model for those who actually want to do something to fight the environmental degradation.

How can we reverse the degradation of our soil?

19 Feb 2015
Jaboury Gazoul – Professor of Ecosystem Management, ETH Zurich

1st November 1837 was a disappointing day at the Geological Society of London. The men (and they were only men) of the Society were expecting great things from the young Charles Darwin, recently returned from his Beagle voyage. Yet on that day only William Buckland saw sufficient value in Darwin’s work to recommend it for publication – but then Buckland himself was an oddity, given his work on fossil faeces and his proclivity for eating his way through the Animal Kingdom (moles and bluebottle flies, he reported, are particularly distasteful). Even so, Buckland was a leading geologist who did not mince his words, praising Darwin’s work as “a new and important theory to explain phenomena of universal occurrence on the surface of the Earth”, no less than “a new Geological Power”.

What did Darwin and Buckland recognise that others did not? In a word, worms. Earthworms in particular. In the years and decades that followed, Darwin watched worms drag leaves, sand, and stones into their burrows. He meticulously, and very precisely, calculated that there are 53,767 earthworms in each acre of English countryside. He noticed that as worms turn the soil over, objects on the surface begin to sink into it. By this process, Darwin argued, earthworms have preserved for us countless historical artefacts, all protected from the vagaries of wind and weather under a layer of soil. Moreover, he realised that the action of thousands of worms over thousands of years maintains a healthy and fertile soil.

Erosion and disrupted soil biodiversity

Over the past 150 years, pollution, pesticides and overuse of soils have lead to a decline of soil biodiversity including earthworms.


Why it's time to stop treating the soil like dirt

Healthy soil is a resource of incredible magnitude.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto
19 Jan 2020
Svein Tore Holsether – President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara International

This article is part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

• We risk losing the world’s topsoil within 60 years.

• Tens of millions of farmers could provide an incremental transformation of soil care.

• Businesses are underestimating the impact of nature loss.

One of my greatest joys is to see first-hand the many solutions already created to help solve the climate crisis. One of my greatest frustrations, however, is our inability to apply these solutions at scale.

2019 was the year that nature and land use made it to the top of the global agenda. It became clear that we will not meet the Paris Agreement if we don’t solve broken food and land-use systems.

Land degradation is affecting 3.2 billion people, and for far too long this has gone under the radar. This must change in 2020. If not, we risk that all the world’s topsoil be eroded in the next 60 years.

Healthy soil is a resource of incredible magnitude. It captures and stores water and carbon, increases biodiversity, and it preserves and increases food security.

The only way we can improve soil health is by really understanding human impact on nature and working with the farmer.

In November, I met Govind Agrawal and his wife Anju in Khandoli village in the Agra district of India. They have a four-hectare plot, growing potatoes. With the right crop nutrition programme, they have increased their yield by 15%. They combined knowledge and products into solutions. Precision and balanced nutrition with the right forms of nutrients, coupled with actively managing soil organic matter, and related practices such as cover cropping, implementation of soil conservation structures, reduced/no-tillage, etc. are key to conserving or improving soil health.

This is only one example of an individual farmer cultivating his land to improve the produce, livelihood, soil quality and carbon footprint. It may seem small, but if you multiply this by tens of millions of farmers, we’re talking incremental changes with world-changing impact.


Land Degradation Neutrality for Biodiversity Conservation

DECEMBER 2019 – Source: United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), a global target adopted by the members of the United Nations as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, provides a framework for action that can integrate biodiversity conservation and other objectives in its overarching goal of keeping lands healthy and productive. Aligning efforts to address land degradation and biodiversity loss makes sense, given that their direct and indirect drivers are substantially the same—from consumer habits and trade to the conversion of natural habitats and unsustainable farming. In most cases, measures taken to address one will have positive consequences for the other. This report is one of a series of studies designed to increase awareness and understanding of the opportunities that LDN presents for synergies with other social and environmental objectives as well as how voluntary LDN targets and associated measures can contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

New report outlines potential yield challenges to scale-up of zero budget natural farming in India

Credit: CC0 Public Domain
JANUARY 21, 2020 – by Laura Graham, University of Aberdeen

A new report published in Nature Sustainability this week examines the potential impacts on food production of zero budget natural farming, a farming system that is sweeping India.

Zero budget natural farming differs from traditional organic farming in that it does not attempt to provide the nutrients needed for crop growth using animal manures, but instead aims to change the functioning of the soil-crop system so that nutrients are made available to crops without the need for external inputs.

With very few direct scientific measurements available in systems using zero budget natural farming, this study, led by Professor Jo Smith from the University of Aberdeen and supported by funding from UK research councils, Scottish Government, the European Union and the Wellcome Trust, is the first to provide a detailed assessment of the impacts of the farming system on the nitrogen available and soil conditions for crop growth.

Under business-as-usual, by 2050, 60 percent of India’s population, equivalent to more than 10 percent of the people on Earth, are predicted to experience severe deficiencies in calories, digestible protein and fat. To meet increased demands for food on a shrinking area of agricultural land, efficiency of crop production must increase, but climate change, soil degradation and depopulation present further challenges to increasing the efficiency of Indian agriculture.

Soil degradation is associated with excessive reliance on synthetic fertilizers and low returns of organic matter to the soil. However, there is insufficient animal manure available in India for traditional organic farming to be used by all to grow crops and restore soils.

Promoters of zero budget natural farming claim that the soil already contains all the nutrients needed for plant growth and that the action of microbial cultures added to the soil releases these nutrients from the soil itself. However, if nitrogen was only provided by stimulating release from the topsoil, there would be an associated loss of organic matter, and all organic matter would be lost from the topsoil within 20 years. This would result in a sharp decline in crop production and make soils less resilient to droughts.

Co-author of the report Dr. Jagadeesh Yeluripati from the James Hutton Institute, said: “Zero budget natural farming started as a grassroots movement, aiming to provide multiple benefits, both to the environment and to farmers. However, there are conflicting opinions about how it should be developed for widespread use. This report provides scientific evidence on the potential for scale-up.”

The report’s lead author, Professor Jo Smith, added: “We show that, contrary to the fears of many scientists, this system could support improved food production for low input farmers. In addition, because inputs of crop residues are high, soils are unlikely to degrade.

“However, the maximum potential nitrogen supply is only likely to be 52–80 percent of the average fertilizer application rate. This means that yield penalties are likely in higher input systems, so widespread conversion of farms from all sectors to zero budget natural farming is not recommended.”

Burkina Faso study shows link between land degradation and migration

Bam, a province Burkina Faso, was once a migration source due to land degradation. This is changing thanks to soil and water conservation projects. flickr/ Ollivier Girard/ CIFOR
The Conversation
January 21, 2020

In the Sahel of West Africa – which covers Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – land degradation has led to migration towards less densely populated and more fertile areas. The land has been made less fertile by demographic pressure, fragmenting agricultural units and rainfall variability.

We did research in Burkina Faso to understand the link between land degradation and migration. The area has seen a high number of Mossi farmers living in the densely populated central plateau and northern regions migrate to the south of the country.

Poor resource management and reduced rainfall have exacerbated land degradation. A rapidly growing population, coupled with high rates of internal rural migration and thirty years of desiccation, have resulted in profound land use and land cover change throughout the country.

In the central plateau and northern regions of Burkina Faso, land degradation has historically stimulated large-scale migration toward more fertile areas in the south. While some northern provinces are being rehabilitated by soil and water conservation projects southern provinces, considered more “pristine”, were neglected.

Our research compared the dynamics between migration and environmental degradation trends in the country. We did this by examining migration trends over several decades as well as land use and land cover data in the Bam and Sissili provinces. Bam is in the centre-north of the country close to Mali while Sissili is in the south, bordering on Ghana.

Strong correlation

The Bam province is located in the Sudano–Sahelian zone of West Africa which is an intermediary zone between the semi-arid Sahel to the north and the wetter Sudanian zone to the south. The province receives between 500 and 900mm of rainfall annually. It’s covered with thorny scrub and savanna grassland on soils that are poor in organic matter and nutrients.

Bam is home to the Mossi, the country’s major ethnic group. The Mossi are farmers who grow millet, sorghum, maize for their subsistence and cash crops such as cotton.

The Sissili province is located in the humid Sudanian climatic zone, one of the wettest zones in the country. The province receives between 800-1000mm of annual rainfall and is covered with shrubby and wooded savannas.

Sissili is home to Nuni autochtonous farmers, migrant Mossi farmers and Fulani agro-pastoralists. Some of the subsistence and cash crops grown in the area include yam, sweet potatoes, cowpea, groundnuts, maize, millet sorghum, black eyed peas and cotton.

An illustration of the massive conversion of savanna into agricultural land in Sissili which corresponds to period of intensive migration inflows. Ilboudo Nébié and West 2019

We found a strong correlation between land degradation and migration trends. Degradation was greater in areas like Sissili which attracted migrants and much less severed in areas such as Bam which people migrated from.

On the one hand we found that land degradation stimulated intensive out-migration from a province. On the other, that soil rehabilitation helped decrease out-migration or increased in-migration toward a province.

Our hope is that by shedding light on the association between migration patterns, land rehabilitation and improved food security, our study will inform policy decisions. In particular, we hope it will encourage donors and government to invest in local initiatives that can courage positive trends. This could include soil and water conservation initiatives led by farmers.

Historical trends

In the 1970s, land degradation in central and northern Burkina Faso led to large numbers of people leaving. In the 1980s the introduction of the soil and water conservation projects stabilised land degradation in this region.

In the Bam Province, in the north, this transformed the province’s migration patterns to the point there were – marginally – more people moving in than leaving.


Erosion crisis swallows homes and livelihoods in Nigeria

A gully cuts a road near Isuikwuato town (All photos: Linus Unah)

Climate change is aggravating an erosion crisis in Nigeria that is wrecking buildings, roads and farmland. Damage may cost up to $100 million a year

By Linus Unah

Patience Nwankwo sighs as she stares into the yawning hole in the ground near her home in southeastern Nigeria, the exposed red earth like an open wound slicing across the landscape.

“That big hole has swallowed farms, homes, and roads,” Nwankwo said, her voice quavering as she tells how erosion is creating ravines that are eating away at her hometown, Nanka, and neighbouring Agulu and Oko.

“It might swallow everything here if it is not fixed,” she said. Nwankwo, in her mid-70s, is a smallholder farmer whose home is now only 140 metres from the edge of the growing chasm.

The gully erosion in Nanka – one of the largest in Nigeria at 66 metres deep, 2,900 metres long and 349 metres wide, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Geographic Information System – is guzzling red earth from underneath people’s homes and farms, and making residents fear their property will be next.

The Nanka gully started forming around 1850, researchers say, and the regional soil erosion crisis has accelerated alarmingly in recent decades. It now threatens about 6,000 square kilometres or nearly six percent of Nigeria’s land mass, according to the World Bank.

Climate change, which causes more intense downpours, is aggravating erosion by adding to other factors destabilising soils including deforestation, unsustainable farming, mining of sand for brick-making, road construction and poorly designed drains.