“Nothing for us, without us”

Photo credit: Google

Environmental damages cost Iran $8b a year

A model for reversing desertification in Iran

By: Gary Lewis

In keeping with current climate change trends, Iran can expect a hotter and drier future that could dramatically affect hundreds of thousands of people, if action isn’t taken immediately.

According to national statistics, Iran’s land area is 165 million hectares, 32 million of which is desert. No reliable statistics are available on how much Iran has become desertified in the past half century. But the effects are apparent: water shortages, encroachment by deserts on rangelands and urban settlements, and dust storms.

If no remedial action is taken, Iran’s deserts will expand significantly in the future and threaten sustainable livelihoods for citizens everywhere, especially people living on rangelands.

Once famed for their natural beauty, rangeland plains across Iran have now become severely degraded through unsustainable use and drought. The causes include: cattle farming that has led to over-grazing, harvesting of trees for fuelwood, and the erosion of vulnerable shrubbery. Many rangelands have actually been transformed into hostile environments, where local people face an unpromising future, where they cannot easily make a living, and are therefore forced to leave.

Already, many rangeland dwellers have left, migrating across the country in search of jobs. If desertification is not stopped, more migration and displacement – with its inherent problems – will happen.

Yet, there is hope and evidence that if we act now and work with local communities, we can reverse the tide of desertification and restore the beauty of Iran’s rangelands, as well as the livelihoods of its inhabitants.

Read the full article: MehrNews

Drought-tolerant shrub verbenas or Lantana species

Photo credit: Google

Bandana Red Lantana

Drought-tolerant lantana perfect for our climate

By Sid Mullis

One of our most popular summer blooming plants is lantana. It’s such a great, drought-tolerant plant – something that is important because of the summer droughts we normally experience. Even when we get a lot of summer rain, it continues to perform well.

It produces mounds of flowers from early May until November or even sometimes December, with peak bloom in August. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and is resistant to deer browsing.

Lantana does best when it is planted a couple of weeks after the danger of frost has passed. This normally means waiting until after Masters Week or a little later because it will not grow well until the air and soil temperatures have warmed.

Though gold was once the only color of lantana, there are shades of red, orange, yellow and blue. Many selections have multicolored clusters of yellow and orange or pink, purple and yellows.

One small plant in a 4-inch pot will grow fast, forming a dense carpet of flowers. Depending on the variety, they vary from the very low spreading (1 to 2 feet) to forming large, bushy mounds that grow as much as 5 to 6 feet tall. Some will spread 12 to 18 inches across, while others will spread as much as 4 feet wide.

File:Twin lantana camara edit.jpg - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Twin_lantana_camara_edit.jpg
File:Twin lantana camara edit.jpg – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Twin_lantana_camara_edit.jpg

Lantana prefers full sun and is excellent for sunny borders and dry, commercial street side planters. You can also get spectacular color displays by planting lantana on sunny embankments, in hanging baskets and along parking lot islands. It’s also a great plant to liven up the entrance of a home, soften a wall or accent a corner.

Lantana looks great in combination with other annuals, especially when grown in front of large plantings of bright red or blue salvia. It looks beautiful with other heat-tolerant annuals and perennials such as red zinnias, pink petunias and verbena. It also works very well with evergreens so when it dies back in the winter, it won’t be sorely missed.

Lantana will perform in shallow, dense, clay soils and doesn’t need special care once established. How­ever, you can enhance its performance by using good flower bed preparation techniques. Adding organic matter to the garden or plants is especially helpful. Even though lantana is drought tolerant, it will look better if it gets some periodic watering during drought periods.

Read the full article: The Augusta Chronicle

TO BE CONSIDERED (See Wikipedia)

Lantana Invasion of abandoned citrus plantation Sdey Hemed Israel. - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Lantana_Invasion_of_abandoned_citrus_plantation_Sdey_Hemed_Israel.JPG
Lantana Invasion of abandoned citrus plantation Sdey Hemed Israel. – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Lantana_Invasion_of_abandoned_citrus_plantation_Sdey_Hemed_Israel.JPG

Some species are invasive, and are considered to be noxious weeds, such as inSouth Asia, Southern Africa and Australia. In the United States, lantanas are naturalized in the southeast, especially coastal regions of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and theGulf Coast.

The spread of lantana is aided by the conditions that their leaves are poisonous to most animals and thus avoided by herbivores, while their fruit is a delicacy for many birds, including the Yellow-fronted White-eye of Vanuatu, the Superb Fairy-wren in Australia, the Scaly-breasted Munia, and the Mauritius Bulbul in the Mascarenes; these distribute the seeds and thereby unwittingly contribute to the degradation of their home ecosystem.[citation needed]

Biological control of introduced lantanas has been attempted, without robust success. In Australia, about 30 insects have been introduced in an attempt to control the spread of lantanas, and this has caused problems of its own.

As a positive aspect, lantanas are useful as honey plants, and Spanish Flag (L. camara), L. lilacina and L. trifolia are sometimes planted for this purpose, or in butterfly gardening. Butterflies which are attracted to lantana flowers are most notably Papilioninae (swallowtail and birdwing butterflies). Hesperiidae (skippers) and certain brush-footed butterflies (namely Danainae and Heliconiinae), as well as somePieridae (e.g. Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae) and Lycaenidae (e.g. the aforementioned Lantana Scrub-hairstreak), also like to visit the plants’ flowers. Consequently, as total eradication of Lantana seems often impossible, it may in many cases be better to simply remove plants with immature (green) fruit to prevent them from spreading.

Planting One Million Trees

Photo credit: Humboldt Sentinel

From Roots to Shoots: Creating Change in a Tough Environment

by Jonah Kessel


In 2007 a bright-eyed bunch of volunteers in a nascent NGO called Shanghai Roots & Shoots had a big dream to help fight desertification in China.  Their dream:  to plant one million trees on the edge of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert in China.

China’s deserts have been growing for many years, and in response, the government’s Great Green Wall Program planted trees across China.  However, it was often done in places where tree planting wasn’t appropriate due to environmental conditions and a lack of available ground water.  Many of these trees simply weren’t taken care of because a lack of financial incentives led farmers to simply drop them in the sand and leave.

Shanghai Roots & Shoots had a different plan.

Not only was it to plant more trees but to successfully take care of them, and educating the communities around the desert to their potential benefits. Experts helped the NGO identify areas where ground water was available, giving the trees their best chance of survival.

This was the The Million Tree Project.

The aim was to raise community awareness of the Earth’s precious environment, focusing on steps individuals can take to lessen their negative impact on the natural world.

The project gave individuals and organizations an opportunity for fighting global warming by planting oxygen-producing trees. It also encompassed the local population becoming involved in planting, maintaining, and monitoring the trees.

The Million Tree Project was designed to both improve the ecological and humanitarian conditions of lnner Mongolia.  It was a big idea, a big goal, and a tremendous undertaking in the Gobi desert.

Read the full article: Humboldt Sentinel

From pyramid to biosphere

Photo credit: Industry Tap

To convert the Great Pyramid of Giza into a living machine by melding the Pyramid with a modern skyscraper and a biosphere.

A Group of Designers Want to Turn Egyptian Pyramid into a Desertification-Fighting Skyscraper

By: Nidhi Goyal

One of the major consequences of climate change is desertification. Deserts are growing day by day at an alarming rate. In order to solve this problem, a US-based design team has put forward an ambitious solution: the Bio-Pyramid.

Bio-pyramid: A team of seven designers set their project in Egypt, situated on the edge of the Sahara Desert, with the goal to transform an ancient Egyptian pyramid into a green skyscraper that works to reverse desertification. It is a non-conventional skyscraper that operates as a biosphere.

Read the full article: Industry Tap

Desertification in Namibia


Kunene could turn into desert

WINDHOEK – Strategies should be implemented sooner rather than later as by 2020 drought-hit Kunene could become an inhabitable and barren piece of land.

Epupa Falls on the Kunene River. (Image credit: 4eva africa on Flickr) - http://www.renewbl.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/kunene-river-300x199.jpg
Epupa Falls on the Kunene River. (Image credit: 4eva africa on Flickr) – http://www.renewbl.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/kunene-river-300×199.jpg

The year 2020 has been set as the National Action Programme (NAP3) to implement the United Nations’ Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

This stern warning was issued last week by Dr Axel Routhage, an internationally renowned Namibian expert on desertification and the owner of AgriConsult, when he addressed the first-ever Kunene desertification meeting that was held at Opuwo last week.

The Kunene Region, Namibia - http://www.naturalhighsafaris.com/cdn/cache/made/cdn/uploads/country_images/Namibia/Kunene/kunene-serra-cafema-DA-river-01_940_529_80_s_c1.jpg
The Kunene Region, Namibia – http://www.naturalhighsafaris.com/cdn/cache/made/cdn/uploads/country_images/Namibia/Kunene/kunene-serra-cafema-DA-river-01_940_529_80_s_c1.jpg

The Kunene Desertification Indaba (KDI) was called by the Kunene Regional Council (KRC), initiated by the outgoing Governor of the Kunene Region Joshua //Hoebeb, and it was supported by the new governor, Angelika Muharukua.

The Kunene region encompasses the far northwest of Namibia - certainly one of the least accessible and seldom visited areas of Namibia - http://www.naturalhighsafaris.com/cdn/cache/made/cdn/uploads/country_images/Namibia/Kunene/kunene-serra-cafema-MP-hart_940_529_80_s_c1.jpg
The Kunene region encompasses the far northwest of Namibia – certainly one of the least accessible and seldom visited areas of Namibia – http://www.naturalhighsafaris.com/cdn/cache/made/cdn/uploads/country_images/Namibia/Kunene/kunene-serra-cafema-MP-hart_940_529_80_s_c1.jpg

More than 60 delegates met at the Youth Centre hall in Opuwo last week to discuss why the northern Kunene Region is desertifying and what could be done to mitigate the desertification.

Desertification is the depletion of ecosystem services due to the degradation of natural resources, for example, declining grazing capacity, receding groundwater reserves and soil loss due to erosion.

Chiefs, headmen, senior tribal elders and advisors, local and regional officials and scientific experts were in attendance.
Representative of the Environmental Commissioner, Moses Moses pointed out that it is the Namibians’ constitutional obligation under Article 95 (l) of the Constitution to maintain ecosystems, essential ecological processes and biodiversity in Namibia and to utilise natural resources sustainably for the benefit of all present and future Namibians.

Methods to combat desertification are detailed in Namibia’s NAP3 to implement UNCCD.
Given this legal and institutional framework, the Indaba brainstormed the causes of desertification in northern Kunene.

Well-known causes such as over-utilisation of the rangeland because of high concentration of livestock, as well as continuous grazing and trampling by livestock were cited. Drilling boreholes in remote areas that encourages permanent settlement and over-utilisation of the area, cutting of trees and incorrect ploughing techniques were also highlighted as common causes of desertification in the region.

Chairperson of the KRC, Dudu Murorua explained that desertification is such a serious problem that its containment exceeds the ability of individuals and communities.

Read the full article: New Era

See also: Renewbl

Désertification et Société civile, un e-forum


Lancement de l’e-forum “Désertification et Société civile” ! – Cari

Dans le cadre de Désertif’actions 2015, forum international de la société civile sur la lutte contre la désertification qui se tiendra à Montpellier du 10 au 13 juin, un forum de discussion en ligne est ouvert sur http://www.desertifactions. fr/forum. Les discussions seront ouvertes du 7 au 30 avril 2015.

Ce forum, proposé en 3 langues (français, anglais et espagnol), est dédié aux discussions concernant les questions de dégradation des terres et de changement climatique.
Des échanges et débats préalables aux ateliers de juin
L’objectif de l’e-forum est de produire des éléments partagés entre les acteurs du développement international : ONGs, collectivités locales et institutionnels. Il permet entre autre aux partenaires du sud ne pouvant se déplacer à
Montpellier en juin de faire entendre leur voix.

Les contenus produits seront discutés lors des ateliers de Montpellier et permettent à la société civile de porter une voix structurée et partagée lors de cet évènement.

Trois axes principaux prédéfinis :

· Désertification et dégradation des terres : décider et agir en tenant compte des évolutions climatiques.
· Durabilité du développement en zones sèches : accroître la synergie entre les trois conventions de Rio.
· Une société civile plurielle et organisée : être acteur face aux futurs enjeux et assurer la mise en oeuvre
des projets.

Les étapes de la discussion

Les débats sur la plateforme web auront lieu du 7 au 30 avril. Une première synthèse sera proposée le 20 avril et une seconde définitive le 6 mai pour clore le forum.

Lire le texte en entier: Coordination Sud