Drough threatens forests

 

 

Forests worldwide threatened by drought

Date:
February 21, 2017
Source:
University of Stirling
Summary:
Forests around the world are at risk of death due to widespread drought, researchers have found. An analysis suggests that forests are at risk globally from the increased frequency and severity of droughts.

An analysis, published in the journal Ecology Letters, suggests that forests are at risk globally from the increased frequency and severity of droughts.

The study found a similar response in trees across the world, where death increases consistently with increases in drought severity.

Dr Sarah Greenwood, Postdoctoral Researcher in Stirling’s Faculty of Natural Sciences, said: “We can see that the death of trees caused by drought is consistent across different environments around the world. So, a thirsty tree growing in a tropical forest and one in a temperate forest, such as those we find throughout Europe, will have largely the same response to drought and will inevitably suffer as a result of rising temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns on Earth.”

The biological and environmental scientists did find specific, varying features in different tree types can alter their resistance to drought. Species with denser wood and smaller, thicker leaves tend to fare better during prolonged, unusually-dry periods.

Read the full article: Science Daily

“Major transformations” are needed to make food production sustainable

 

Photo credit: FAO

Empowering small-scale farmers and providing them better access to information, markets and technologies is key to ensuring future food security. Photo: FAO

Business-as-usual not an option with future global food security in jeopardy, cautions UN agency

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsId=56221

Warning that diminishing natural resources and a changing climate have put humankind’s future ability to feed itself “in jeopardy,” the United Nations underlined today that while the planet still has the potential to produce enough food, “major transformations” are needed to make production sustainable and to ensure that all of humanity benefits.

In The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights that while “very real and significant” progress in reducing hunger has been achieved over the past 30 years, these have often come at a heavy cost to nature.

“Almost half of the forests that once covered the Earth are now gone. Groundwater sources are being depleted rapidly. Biodiversity has been deeply eroded,” noted the report.

“[As a result,] planetary boundaries may well be surpassed, if current trends continue,” added FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, underlining the gravity of the situation.

With global population estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050, world-wide demand for agricultural products could be pushed by as much as 50 per cent above current levels, intensifying pressures on already-strained natural resources.

At the same time, the report argues, greater numbers of people will be eating fewer cereals and larger amounts of meat, fruits, vegetables and processed food – a result of an ongoing global dietary transition that will further add to those pressures, driving more deforestation, land degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.

Failure to act now will compromise future food production, sabotage 2030 development agenda

 

Photo credit: FAO

Members of an Indian farmers group measure local groundwater levels at an observation well.

FAO Director-General urges more support to help small farmers adapt to a changing climate

Failure to act now to make our food systems more resilient to climate change will “seriously compromise” food production in many regions and could doom to failure international efforts to end hunger and extreme poverty by 2030, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva warned today.

“Agriculture holds the key to solving two of the greatest problems now facing humanity: eradicating poverty and hunger, and contributing to maintaining the stable climatic conditions in which civilization can thrive,” he told participants at a roundtable on climate change during the World Government Summit in Dubai.

The FAO Director-General stressed in particular the need to support smallholder farmers in the developing world adapt to climate change.

“The vast majority of the extremely poor and hungry depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, he said, adding: “They are the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and an unstable climate.”

Innovative approaches exist that can help them improve yields and build their resilience, he said, such as green manuring, greater use of nitrogen-fixing cover crops, improving sustainable soil management, agroforestry techniques, and integrating animal production into cropping systems.

“But farmers face major barriers, such as the lack of access to credit and markets, lack of knowledge and information, insecurity about land tenure, and high transaction costs of moving away from existing practices,” the Director-General noted.

He pointed to the fact that 70 countries do not have established meteorological services as an example. FAO is working with the World Meteorological Organization to develop low-cost, farmer friendly services to address this need.

To withstand the vagaries of a harsher, less predictable climate, small farmers will also need better access to other sorts of technologies and to markets, information and finance — as well as better land tenure and improved agriculture infrastructure, added Graziano da Silva.

Ultimately, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, he argued.

Read the full article: FAO

To change the mentality of the producers and empower the role of the women

 

Photo credit: Cadena Agramonte

Cuba develops program for the sustainable use of the land

Specialists from Operation 15 Program whose objective is to stop processes that leads to drought and desertification in four countries among them Cuba and Namibia has created a communication strategy for the sustainable management of the land.

The objective of the program is to change the mentality of the producers and empower the role of the women, said a team from the School of Communications of the University of Havana.

They toured on Wednesday two cooperatives where the OP-15 is being executed and which are supervised by the World Environmental Fund in support of the national Program in the Fight against Desertification and Drought.

The students from the University of Havana exchanged with private farmers and agricultural workers from the Enrique Campos Credit and Services Cooperative on the outskirts of Havana and the Los Cerezos Basic Unit of Cooperative Production in Imias, one of the five municipalities hard hit by Hurricane Matthew.

The hypothesis was demonstrated, in the areas visited, located in the only semi-desert in Cuba that if organic material is used in a highly mineralized land, its humidity retention properties are multiplied 60 times, benefiting the cultivations.

The program has five projects, the first paid special attention to the semi-arid strip in the south, some one thousand 752 square kilometers in extension, fragile ecosystem with high rates of aridity and degradation for its salinity and erosion and only of its type in Cuba.

Read the full article: Cadena Agramonte

The connection between migration and land degradation

 

Photo credit: In Depth News

Photo: Burkina Faso: 20 000 trees are planted to create living hedges. Credit: UNCCD

UN Launches Campaign to Invest in Degraded Lands

By Rita Joshi

BONN (IDN) – The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly over the past fifteen years – reaching 244 million in 2015, up from 222 million in 2010 and 173 million in 2000.

Behind these numbers, says the Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), are the links between migration and development challenges, in particular, the consequences of environmental degradation, political instability, food insecurity and poverty.

The 2017 World Day to Combat Desertification (#2017WDCD) on June 17 will therefore look closely at the connection between migration and land degradation by addressing how local communities could build the resilience against existing multi-fold development challenges through combating desertification and land degradation.

UNCCD is mobilising global support with the rallying call: “Our land. Our home. Our Future.” The slogan draws attention to the central role productive land can play in turning the growing tide of migrants abandoning unproductive land into communities and nations that are stable, secure and sustainable, into the future.

The UNCCD has also released the campaign logo for use by any group, organization, government or entity that will organize a celebratory event for the Day. The new logo, designed by Beth Johnson, is an all-encompassing symbol of UNCCD’s endeavours.

It combines the key elements of the Convention in an elegant manner that can be instantly interpreted by an international audience. The elements are: the landscape representing land stewardship; the hand showing human presence; nature suggesting hope, progress and life; the circle symbolising an inclusive convention with global reach; the traditional UN laurel wreath demanding respect and demonstrating authority.

The backdrop to the new corporate logo is that following landmark decisions at COP 12 (conference of parties to the UNCCD) in Ankara, the UNCCD is set to become a driving force in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15 “Life on Land” and target 15.3 on land degradation neutrality.

Read the full article: In Depth News

Combating desertification is not fighting against nature, but restoring a respect for it.

 

dust-storm-china

Dust obscures the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan (2001). Credit: Provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

3 WAYS YOUR FOOD CHOICES COULD REVERSE DESERTIFICATION

Flash floods and desertification destroying arable land in Sudan

 

Photo credit: The Guardian

A community garden in Siraj Alnour village in Gedaref state, where farmers are benefiting from irrigation projects that can feed gardens and help to grow crops year-round. Photographs: Hannah McNeish

Farmers in Sudan battle climate change and hunger as desert creeps closer

Haphazard rains and increasing desertification in the eastern state of Gedaref are destroying previously fertile soil and leaving villagers unable to farm