Shrubs and trees in China’s western deserts are shown.
Credit: Xu Jianchu
New look at satellite data questions scale of China’s afforestation success
May 3, 2017
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
China has invested massive resources into halting and reversing tree cover loss. However, ‘planting trees is not the same as gaining forests.’ It is likely that much of China’s tree cover gains consist of low-height, sparse and/or scattered plantations, which are unlikely to provide the same benefits as natural forests, such as diverse habitats for wildlife, prevention of soil erosion, and timber resources.
Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb
By STACEY HAIRSTON SHairston@thefranklinnewspost.com
The STIC program was started in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As part of the program, students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to plant the trees, said Krista Hodges, DRBA education manager.
“Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer,” Hodges said. “The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.”
Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb, Hodges said. The limbs, when handled and treated properly, will root in a couple weeks and can be planted within three to four weeks after cutting.
“The Black Willows are perfect for the program because they are native to the area and love wet areas near streams,” she said.
Amazon – Recently, I came across a much publicized article in The New York Times about the impact of two of the world’s biggest grain traders, Cargill and Bunge, on deforestation trends in the agricultural frontiers of Brazil and Bolivia. Since we have entered an era of private commitments to deforestation-free supply chains, this article shows that there is still a way to go for some companies to improve their performance.
Deforestation estimates in 2016 from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) indicate a resurgence of deforestation in the Amazon, and deforestation hotspots identified by the Word Resources Institute suggest increasing pressure on the savanna forests in the Cerrado region, a biodiversity-rich ecosystem. Additionally, while there are no official deforestation estimates in lowlands Bolivia, it has remained at high levels, according to Terra-I. This suggests a need to examine the culprits.
Don’t miss the forest for the trees
The article mentioned above discusses a new report by the environmental campaign organization Mighty Earth that identifies deforestation in Brazil and Bolivia linked to Cargill and Bunge. Drawing on satellite imagery and supply-chain mapping information processed by the Stockholm Environment Institute, the article makes the case that new large-scale forest-clearing by Bolivian and Brazilian farmers for soybean production is associated with the demand from these two American-based food giants.
It is interesting to note that companies like Cargill and Bunge still buy soybeans originating from forestlands converted to agriculture and fail to implement due diligence procedures to verify their origin. In some cases, these purchases directly trigger soybean expansion across Brazil and Bolivia’s frontiers. Cargill and Bunge have argued, in their defense, that their role is minor, and that deforestation is a complex issue that requires all major buyers — not just them — to get involved.
While it is useful that environmental groups like Mighty Earth track how company supply chains are ‘contaminated’ by ‘dirty supply’, it would be more helpful if they could place these trends within a wider context. This would foster more practical and durable solutions, because even if these two soybean traders stopped buying soybeans from the Matopiba region in Brazil and the eastern lowlands in Bolivia, it is likely that deforestation would continue to expand in both of these regions.
I’ve been holding off on my willow-building experiment because I couldn’t quite decide whether our native black willow (Salix nigra) was too tree-like (eventual height 33 to 98 feet) to keep small in the format of a living sculpture. Then, while out hunting cattail spears for lunch, I stumbled across a stand of what are probably planted purple willows (Salix purpurea) and decided that this smaller (up to 15 feet), introduced species would be easier to keep within bounds.
I just participated in a restoration project a few days ago in the local Lagunitas Watershed in Marin County, CA as part of the Ecology/Plant Biology class I’m taking. Part of the project is to transplant willow cuttings from one area of a seasonal tributary creek to the devegetated shores of the creek just downstream. The idea is to get a root system going that will shore up the steep sides of the creek to as so decrease sediment falling into the tributary (saving salmon-spawning habitat). The 1-inch thick cuttings (2-5ft tall) that were put in a month or so ago have a nice little amount of vegetation on them already. The cuttings we transplanted last week were instead nestled horizontally in the soil along the creek bank. It was enjoyable.
The economics are clear. The benefits of trees far outweigh the cost of planting and maintaining them. Restoring 350 million hectares to contain global warming requires between $79 and $130 Bn (or an average $7 Bn per annum over the next 15 years.
In 2014, global GDP amounted to about 77.3 trillion U.S. dollars, this total investment to contain global warming represents merely 0,001% of 1 years’ global GDP or 0,08% of 1 years’ global military spending.
If creative mechanisms where private contributions are matched by public grants can be developed, like in the WeForest Zambia project where a grant from Finland (CSEF) is covering 60% of the project costs, corporates will enjoy a huge positive impact with a minimal investment. Ask us about this opportunity to contribute in Zambia.
 Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices from 2010-2020 (in billion U.S. dollars): Statista. (2015),
Vicious circle of drought and forest loss in the Amazon
March 13, 2017
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Logging that happens today and potential future rainfall reductions in the Amazon could push the region into a vicious dieback circle. If dry seasons intensify with human-caused climate change, the risk for self-amplified forest loss would increase even more, an international team of scientists finds. If however there is a great variety of tree species in a forest patch, according to the study this can significantly strengthen the chance of survival.
How can tree stumps improve agricultural productivity?
Farmer managed natural regeneration is making a difference in developing countries but institutions need adapting for it to work
by Caspar van Vark
There’s a received wisdom that tree stumps, shoots and bushes should be cleared from a field before planting crops. It seems logical, but the experience of farmers in southern Niger suggests otherwise. There, the practice of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) has been found to significantly improve soil quality and crop yields, along with additional resources and income from tree products.
FMNR takes advantage of living underground root systems of previously cleared trees. Rather than remove new shoots, farmers practicing FMNR will nurture five or so of the strongest, most upright stems, pruning the rest away. These stems are allowed to grow, and some are harvested for firewood and timber.
The presence of shrubs and trees helps fix nitrogen in the soil and lessens wind erosion so that seeds don’t blow away and have to be replanted, while falling leaves scattering around fields enrich the soil.
The practice was first introduced in Niger in the 1980s on a small experimental scale in response to widespread drought and land degradation, and a new publication by the World Agroforestry Centre describes how transformational this straightforward practice has been.
It cites a farmer from the Maradi region in southern Niger who estimates that most farmers were getting yields of around 150kg of millet per hectare before FMNR became widespread. Many now get more than 500kg.
“The trees also increase the infiltration rate, and farmers are finding their local water table is going up,” says Dennis Garrity, UN Drylands Ambassador and a senior fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre.