Educating community members on climate-smart agriculture strategies


USAID awards grant to FSM college

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Pacific American Climate Fund awarded a grant to the College of Micronesia-FSM on March 25, 2015, at the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei office.

The college will receive $556,264 for its Climate Resilient Adoption and Mainstreaming project. The project involves educating community members of climate-resilient agricultural methods in on the island of Yap. Accepting the grant was college researcher Dr. Murukesan Krishnapillai.

According to Krishnapillai, the objective of this project is to “enhance the climate resilience of target communities in Yap; by educating community members on climate-smart agriculture strategies to cope with climate changes and to promote livelihood and food security.”

Krishnapillai said that through a model successfully developed in the village of Gargey on Yap, communities will be trained in small-plot intensive farming, micro-gardening, container home gardening, agroforestry, and integrated farming with livestock.

The Pacific American Climate Fund or PACAMA is a grant-making facility funded by USAID that assists 12 Pacific island countries, including the FSM, to reduce long-term vulnerabilities associated with climate change.

PACAM awards grants to civil society organizations in support of climate change adaptation measures and related “co-benefits,” such as livelihoods enhancement, improved health, food security, improved health, disaster risk reduction, or sustainable natural resources management.

Are companies keeping their pro-forest comments?

Photo credit: Treehugger

CC BY 3.0 CEphoto, Uwe Aranas. Palm oil fruit.

How well are companies doing on deforestation? offers a new transparency tool

by Margaret Badore

Preventing deforestation has been identified as an important way of fighting climate change, but protecting forests is a challenge as the global demand for agricultural products rises. Tropical forests are particularly threatened by growing demand for soy, palm oil, beef, and wood pulp products. These products are linked not only with unsustainable deforestation, but also illegal logging activities.

Last year saw several major efforts to combat this problem, with many of the biggest consumer goods companies promising to get products associated with tropical deforestation out of their supply chains. McDonalds, Kellogg’s, Nestle and General Mills all signed the New York Declaration on Forests, which aims reach net deforestation by 2020.

But how well are these companies keeping their pro-forest comments?

Read the full article: Treehugger

Drought and dying trees

Photo credit: Google

The latest research into how variations in the atmosphere and oceans combine to produce impacts like recent drought and floods

Drought-related tree mortality: addressing the gaps in understanding and prediction

by Patrick Meir, Maurizio MencucciniRoderick C. Dewar

in New Phytologist


Increased tree mortality during and after drought has become a research focus in recent years. This focus has been driven by: the realisation that drought-related tree mortality is more widespread than previously thought; the predicted increase in the frequency of climate extremes this century; and the recognition that current vegetation models do not predict drought-related tree mortality and forest dieback well despite the large potential effects of these processes on species composition and biogeochemical cycling. To date, the emphasis has been on understanding the causal mechanisms of drought-related tree mortality, and on mechanistic models of plant function and vegetation dynamics, but a consensus on those mechanisms has yet to emerge. In order to generate new hypotheses and to help advance the modelling of vegetation dynamics in the face of incomplete mechanistic understanding, we suggest that general patterns should be distilled from the diverse and as-yet inconclusive results of existing studies, and more use should be made of optimisation and probabilistic modelling approaches that have been successfully applied elsewhere in plant ecology. The outcome should inform new empirical studies of tree mortality, help improve its prediction and reduce model complexity.

Read the full article: Wiley Online Library

Interesting vegetables in Africa

Photo credit: Google

Talinum triangulare

African leafy vegetables: a nutritious income source in Benin 

A new video about traditional leafy vegetables in Benin tells us about their important nutritional benefits and how they are grown, bought and sold in local food systems.


Solanum macrocarpon -
Solanum macrocarpon –

Traditional African leafy vegetables are valuable for many different reasons. They hold cultural importance, are well adapted to the environments they are grown in, and often have much higher nutritional value than more widely known crops such as lettuce and cabbage, with many being rich in iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. Some vegetables are even used for their medicinal benefits or as nutritional supplements (nutraceuticals), and they are also important sources of income.

Vitex doniana -
Vitex doniana –

In Benin, Bioversity International has been working with national research partners to further investigate the nutritional value of different species such as wild African black plum (Vitex doniana), African eggplant (Solanum macrocarpon) and waterleaf (Talinum triangulare).

Read the full text: Bioversity International

Serious water deficits in South Asia

See : IWMI

South Asia running out of groundwater

India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan along with China account for nearly half of the world’s total groundwater use and these regions are expected to  experience serious deficits, says the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR 2015), Water for a Sustainable World 2015 released ahead of  World Water Day on 22 March.

The Sahara desertification


The impact of Sahara desertification on Arctic cooling during the Holocene

by: F. J. Davies, H. Renssen, M. Blaschek, F. Muschitiello

in Climate of the Past, Vol. 11, No. 3. (27 March 2015), pp. 571-586, doi:10.5194/cp-11-571-2015



Since the start of the Holocene, temperatures in the Arctic have steadily declined. This has been accredited to the orbitally forced decrease in summer insolation reconstructed over the same period. However, here we present climate modelling results from an Earth model of intermediate complexity (EMIC) that indicate that 17–40% of the cooling in the Arctic, over the period 9–0 ka, was a direct result of the desertification that occurred in the Sahara after the termination of the African Humid Period. We have performed a suite of sensitivity experiments to analyse the impact of different combinations of forcings, including various vegetation covers in the Sahara. Our simulations suggest that over the course of the Holocene, a strong increase in surface albedo in the Sahara as a result of desertification led to a regional increase in surface pressure, a weakening of the trade winds, the westerlies and the polar easterlies, which in turn reduced the meridional heat transported by the atmosphere to the Arctic. We conclude that during interglacials, the climate of the Northern Hemisphere is sensitive to changes in Sahara vegetation type.

Key: citeulike:13563664

Do you know what IYS is ?

Photo credit: Pixabay

Tractor tillage of soil

2015 International Year of…



Ever since 1959/60 with ‘World Refugee Year’ we’ve seen all manner of‘International Years of’ (IYO). These global ‘observances’ are endorsed by the United Nations, an international organisation established after the Second World War and whose noble and worthy objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. Developing the notion that global problems require global solutions and action – and few issues are more pressing and global than food security – 2015 is the IYO (or on…) Soils (or IYS at it is officially abbreviated).

Wikipedia Commons -
Wikipedia Commons –

If you wonder what the connection between soils and food is, then the former is the rooting medium that supports (both literally and nutritionally) the great majority of human’s staple crops – whether cereal (e.g.ricewheatmaizesorghum), legumes (e.g. chickpeaslentilssoybean) or tubers (e.g. sweet potatocassavapotato). Quite simply, without soil we wouldn’t be able to grow the plants to feed Man or the animals he eats. But it has to be the right kind of soil, with sufficiency of the 17 nutrients essential for plant growth and development, minimal levels of harmful compounds such as heavy metals or salts, and with enough freshwater to help sustain plant life.