China : Hyundai Motor to Begin ‘Green Project’ (Google / The Korea Times)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Hyundai Motor to Begin ‘Green Project’ in China

By Kim Hyun-cheol
Staff Reporter

Hyundai Motor will promote an ambitious global environment project in China of turning a desert into grassland. The nation’s top carmaker announced Wednesday that it will begin the five-year joint project with the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) in a 50 square kilometer district in Chakanor, China’s Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. Hyundai Motor and the KFEM had a signing ceremony for the project with officials from Korea and China present on Wednesday. Continue reading “China : Hyundai Motor to Begin ‘Green Project’ (Google / The Korea Times)”

Global warming, hunger and poverty (Willem)


Dear Sirs,

Today I have been reading your article

entitled : Global Warming Batters Nigerian Ecosystems.

I found it most interesting and I agree fully with the conclusions on the Nigerian contribution to global warming.

However, the most important paragraph in the text for me is :

Rainfall in the Sahel has been declining steadily since the 1960’s. The result has been the loss of farmlands and conflicts between farmers and herdsmen over ever decreasing land. Many different communities, including fishermen, farmers and herdsmen, are now confronted with difficulties arising from climatic changes. Peoples’ livelihoods are being harmed, and people who are already poor are becoming even more impoverished. Climate refugees are being created, as the changes make some land unlivable and affect water supplies.

Indeed, recognizing the importance of the discussion on global warming, one should be aware that the more “immediate” problems are :

Loss of farmlands.
Conflicts over ever decreasing land.
Climate refugees.
Unlivable land.
Poor water supplies.

It will take an extremely long time to change national and international attitudes and behavior concerning industrial (economic) exploitation of  natural resources, like oil and gas, not only in Nigeria !  On the contrary, urgent solutions for the above mentioned basic problems of land degradation, food security, migration and poverty are badly needed.

Therefore, one should take into account that successful application of a cost-effective combination of traditional agricultural methods with modern technologies has shown that within the shortest time the combat of desertification and the alleviation of poverty can be won.  Let me refer to a number of “best practices” documented by some international institutes and organizations and to successes booked with small-scale development programs, like the one of UNICEF ALGERIA on the creation of family gardens and school gardens in the Sahara desert in S.W. Algeria.

With these family gardens, it was clearly shown that with minimal investment maximal results were booked within the shortest time, e.g. 6 months, whereby families in refugee camps (migrants) were enabled to grow their own food with a minimum of irrigation water.  A very simple soil conditioning method offered a maximum of chances to grow vegetables and fruit trees in two different seasons : a milder autumn-winter period and a hot spring-summer season.

Being aware of the necessity to take care of the global warming problem (a long-term task), the international community should FIRST provide short-term ways and means to solve the food problem in all the drylands of this world.  The solutions are known.

Poor rural people in the drylands, climate refugees, drought and political migrants, they all may show some concern over climate change and global warming. However, their most urgent wishes, their basic priorities are not directly related to the climate, but to their empty stomach and poverty.  If there is any option for us, then let us first take care of their water and food problems.  For no one can be fully active with an empty stomach !  And let us not forget : the cost-effective solutions are well-known.  Is the bell ringing ?

Nigeria : Global Warming Batters Ecosystems (Google / VOA News)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Global Warming Batters Nigerian Ecosystems

23 April 2008

Nigeria has a variety of ecosystems, from mangroves and rainforests on the Atlantic coast in the south to the savannah in the north bordering the Sahara. Whether dry or wet, those ecosystems are being battered by global warming. While excessive flooding during the past decade has hurt farming in coastal communities, desertification is ravaging the Sahel. Traditionally, desertification in the Sahel has been blamed on overgrazing practices of the local population. But it has been discovered that the real problem is climate change. Rainfall in the Sahel has been declining steadily since the 1960’s. The result has been the loss of farmlands and conflicts between farmers and herdsmen over ever decreasing land. Many different communities, including fishermen, farmers and herdsmen, are now confronted with difficulties arising from climatic changes. Peoples’ livelihoods are being harmed, and people who are already poor are becoming even more impoverished. Climate refugees are being created, as the changes make some land unlivable and affect water supplies. Continue reading “Nigeria : Global Warming Batters Ecosystems (Google / VOA News)”

Para-ecologists aim leave development ‘footprint’ in desert (Google / Namibian)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Para-ecologists aim leave development ‘footprint’ in desert


In an effort to help the Topnaar people to farm and to use natural resources in a sustainable manner, the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre has trained two local young people in various methods of livestock and crop farming.

Memory Dausas and Albertus Kootjie, both Topnaars, have learned about the local ecology and general ecological principles, which includes sorting and identification of insects, plants and animals. They are now called para-ecologists. The training also gave them general skills such as facilitating workshops, conducting interviews and assessing and documenting environmental data. Kooitjie, one of Gobabeb’s junior researchers who gave presentations on their work in Windhoek last Thursday, said they were facing a number of teething problems. These include community members asking money for the information sought, not arriving on time for interviews or even refusing to provide information. Kooitjie said their work also involves giving information to farmers on how to protect their crops, which plants are poisonous and which ones are of medicinal value. “The farmers then discuss the medicinal use of plants and give feedback,” said Kooitjie. Community visits are done once a month, he said. Continue reading “Para-ecologists aim leave development ‘footprint’ in desert (Google / Namibian)”

IUCN vacancy

Please find attached a

Vacancy Announcement
for an
IUCN Regional Drylands Coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Nairobi.
The deadline is already end of March 2008. For more information, please visit
Best wishes,

Caterina Wolfangel
Programme Officer Drylands

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Eastern Africa
Tel: ++254 (0) 20 890605 /12

vacancy IUCN

In my library : “ENVIRONMENT matters at the World Bank”

Publication :

Towards sustainable development : 2007 Annual Review

“ENVIRONMENT matters at the World Bank”

Title page

page 2
Click on the page to enlarge it

page 3

page 4

inside back cover

back cover

Nigeria : Plantation to Check Desertification (Google / allAfrica)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Nigeria: Bauchi Assembly Sets Up Plantation to Check Desertification


Bauchi State House of Assembly has passed a resolution for the establishment of wood lot plantations to check desert encroachment in the state. The resolution passed on recently, followed a motion by Abdullahi Yayu (PDP), representing Chinade-Madara constituency. The house, which unanimously adopted the motion, directed the government to raise tree seedlings and resuscitate its Technical Committee on Ecological Problem to protect and preserve the ecosystem. While presenting the motion, Yayu said that the desert which had made incursion into substantial parts of the state’s arable land, had affected food production. He said that the situation could lead to drought and economic decline in the 20 local government areas. He noted that the desert had taken over about 305 kilometres of land in 13 of the council areas in the past five years. Continue reading “Nigeria : Plantation to Check Desertification (Google / allAfrica)”

Forest adaptation to climate change (IISD)

Read at : Linkages Update


The Expert Panel on Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change, convened as part of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, met from 11-12 February 2008 in New York, US. Building on information provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Expert Panel is carrying out a sector-specific assessment of current knowledge concerning, inter alia: the interrelationship between the climate and forest ecosystems; threats and future impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems and socio-economic impacts on the forest sector; and adaptation practices, options and constraints. At this first of three planned meetings in 2008, the Panel began work on an Assessment Report, which will be externally reviewed and published in time for the 8th session of the UN Forum on Forests in 2009 (IISDRS Sources).

The Sahel (Google / Quiethands)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

The Sahel

Sahel Zone

Around 20 000 years ago, the Sahara had a similar extension to today. But during the subsequent wet period, it contracted to small surviving areas of North Africa. To the south, major river systems developed with extensive areas of fine sediments like those of the Niger Inland Delta and Lake Chad. The many mobile dunes were consolidated by the growth of natural vegetation. From around 3000 BC, however, the climate in the area of the northern tropic changed and the land reverted to its arid state. The Sahara expanded again. On its southern fringe, the current Sahel Zone, there have since been regular periods of drought.

The ecosystems of the savannas and the traditional forms of human economic activity have adapted to these climatically induced droughts, which have led to periodic desert-like phenomena in one region after another. The vegetation and the human and animal populations have recovered time and again from these dry periods, which have generally lasted for several years.


The Sahel is the transition zone between the Sahara desert and the more humid tropical regions of Africa. Sahel comes from the Arabian “sahil”, meaning “edge” or “coastline”. The Sahel is the northern part of the transitional climatic zone with a precipitation of 150 to 450 mm and 8 to 10 months without any rainfall. The area ranges from the Atlantic Ocean across Africa to the Red Sea north of Ethiopia. The width varies from 300 to 500 km. As regards vegetation, the Sahel consists of semi-desert in the north and the Sahel savanna in the south. In this area the plant life is predominantly briars, shrubs and single trees, mostly Acacia albida and Acacia senegal. More vegetation grows after rainfall, but the plants very soon wither in the desiccated soil. Continue reading “The Sahel (Google / Quiethands)”

Nepal : innovative leasehold project (IFAD)

Read at : IFAD / Rural Poverty Portal

Nepal’s ‘poorest of the poor’ reap the benefits of innovative leasehold project

In the Middle Hills district of Nepal, an IFAD-funded project has helped reverse environmental degradation and bring people out of poverty. As a result of the project’s impressive impact, the government adopted a leasehold forest policy in 2002 and integrated the approach in its poverty strategy. Now a new project is building on the success of the first, introducing livestock and microfinance components.

Between the end of the 1970s and the mid-1990s, deforestation, land degradation and soil erosion spelled disaster for rural households in the Middle Hills district of Nepal, where a large percentage of the population is poor. As forests disappeared, people – especially women – were forced to spend more time collecting fodder and fuelwood, which in turn led to a drop in agricultural labour supply and production and decreased  food security. However, leasehold forestry, an innovative approach introduced by IFAD in the early 1990s, has significantly reversed this trend. Continue reading “Nepal : innovative leasehold project (IFAD)”

Chemical Ecology and Ecosystem Research (University of Vienna)


Read at : –

My good friend Gunter NATTKAMPER (Gisaf) oriented me to the very interesting website of the Department of Chemical Ecology and Ecosystem Research, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna

where I found a page on the excellent work of Prof. Dr. Roland ALBERT on

“Osmotic Adaption of Halophytes and Desert Plants” :


Scientific issues are plants exposed to salinity and drought conditions: which special physiological features can be seen as preconditions for successfully coping with these two adverse environmental conditions? A central point is the pattern of osmotically active substances (ions, organic solutes), especially the occurrence of cytoplasmatic osmotica („compatible solutes“ such as betaines, sugar alcohols, some amino acids). On the one hand, representatives of these two ecological plant groups (desert plants, halophytes) are collected in their natural habitats and examined for their ion and solute patterns with respect to their special environmental and taxonomic position. On the other hand, roadside trees subjected to a combination of anthropogenic drought and salt stress are a second research focus: by measuring the delta 13C-values and inorganic ion contents in the stem cores and leaves, the influence of both the drought and the salinity stress can be differentiated. The expected results will be of great practical importance for the development of optimal therapeutical and preventive methods to save the endangered roadside trees in the center of our cities.

contact: Roland Albert

There are several other Research Topics within the Department !

Water Resources Management (dgAlert)

Read at : dgAlert / Water Resources Management


Content update – Water Resources Management on the Development Gateway

1. Plants associated with small tank eco-systems in Sri Lanka
This article (pages 9-13) describes the types and role of a large variety of plants (trees, lianas, shrubs, etc.) associated with the functioning of irrigation reservoirs commonly known as tanks. The plants  have several roles such as increasing the inflow, retention …
Contributed by Anura Widanapathirana on 6 November, 2007

2. Effects of protected forest areas on drinking water supply
This report describes social, ecological and environmental roles of protected forest areas on the supply of drinking water to urban areas. The well-managed natural forests provide additional benefits to urban populations in terms of high-quality drinking water, …
Contributed by Anura Widanapathirana on 6 November, 2007

3. Climate Change Adaptation Strategy Workshops Held in South Africa and Ethiopia
Climate change is negatively affecting rural Africa. Farmers and pastoralists experience more droughts, floods, hailstorms, and fires, and are noticing rising temperatures. South African and Ethiopian policymakers discussed climate change adaptation strategies  …
Contributed by Christina Lakatos on 6 November, 2007
4. UNESCO-IHE starts MSc programme on Water Conflict Management
Water Conflict Management studies the management of conflicts over water resources. It focuses on negotiation, mediation and decision-making processes, in order to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts concerning water.

UNESCO-IHE offers this programme in collaboration …
Contributed by Ewoud Kok on 7 November, 2007

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