Newsletter of WeForest 🌎 đŸŒż

WeForest 🌎 🌿 <contact@weforest.org>

“How much would it cost to halt global warming ?”

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[1], 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[2].

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.

[1] Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices from 2010-2020 (in billion U.S. dollars): Statista. (2015),

[2] Reuters. (2015), Top News, , 02.06.2015.

Ogentroostlaan 15, B

Overijse 3090

Belgium

Amazon into a vicious dieback circle ?

 

 

Vicious circle of drought and forest loss in the Amazon

Date:
March 13, 2017
Source:
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Summary:
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.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Tree stumps found to significantly improve soil quality and crop yields

 

Photo credit: Google

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

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.

Read the full article: The Guardian

Use drought tolerant Portulacaria afra (spekboom) to combat desertification, e.g. for the Great Green Wall.

 

Photo credit: Google

Figure 3.1: Portulacaria afra Jacq. (spekboom) tree. Notice the skirt of rooted branches

Spekboom multiplication for combating desertification 

by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

Ghent University (Belgium)

One of the most interesting African plant species used to combat desertification, limiting soil erosion, producing a dense vegetation cover and a remarkable number of small, edible leaves (fodder, but also vitamin-rich food for humans), is the Spekboom or Elephant’s Bush (Portulacaria afra).

This plant species is swiftly covering dry, eroding soils and should be recommended to all global projects for alleviation of drought, combat of land degradation and halting of wind erosion.

portulacaria_afra_nana
Portulacaria afra, variety nana, a hybrid variety easily covering dry soils (Photo credit Google: http://kumbulanursery.co.za/sites/kumbulanursery/files/styles/plant-large/public/plant_pictures/portulacaria_afra_nana.jpg?itok=YLJ5wknw)

My good friend Johan VAN DE VEN of Bamboo Sur was so kind to offer me some rooted cuttings.  These are growing very well in pots and PET-bottles in my garden in Belgium.

yaiza_playa_blanca_-_calle_la_caveta_-_portulacaria_afra_02_ies
Photo credit Google: Yaiza Playa Blanca – Calle La Caveta – Portulacaria afra 02 ies.jpg (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Yaiza_Playa_Blanca_-_Calle_La_Caveta_-_Portulacaria_afra_02_ies.jpg)

In order to study different ways  of multiplication of this Spekboom (with succulent branches and leaves), I started taking off small lateral shoots  (cuttings) and planted them in some potting soil in a cake box.  I also planted some of the succulent leaves (see my photos below).

Within the plastic cake box humidity is kept high (condensation of droplets on the cover).  Therefore, I opened the cover from time to time to let some fresh air (oxygen) in.

Quite soon both the cuttings and the separate leaves started rooting.  The cuttings swiftly developed some new leaves.   A month later I transplanted them into small plastic bottles, twice perforated 2-3 cm above the bottom (for drainage, keeping a small quantity of water at the bottom for moistening the bottle’s content and the rootball).

Once fully rooted within the plastic bottle, I cut off the bottom of the bottle to set the lower part of the rootball free.  Then I planted the young Spekboom in a plant pit without taking off the plastic bottle, sitting as a plastic cylinder around the rootball.  That plastic cylinder continued to keep the rootball moistened (almost no evaporation) and it offered  possibilities to water the sapling from time to time, whenever needed.  Irrigation water runs through the plastic cylinder towards the bottom of the rootball, growing freely in the soil (irrigation water directed towards the roots growing into the soil at the bottom of the plant pit).  Thus a high survival rate was guaranteed.

It is clear that multiplication of the Spekboom with rooting cuttings and leaves is very easy.  It is another interesting aspect of this remarkable plant.  I can only recommend a broader use of the Spekboom for reforestation, fodder production and even production of bonsais for enhancement of the annual income (export to developed countries).

Here are some photos of this experiment.

2010-04-06 : A Spekboom cutting planted in potting soil in a PET-bottle is rooting very quickly in my garden in Belgium. (Photo WVC)
2010-04-06 : Massive root development in the bottle, perforated 2-3 cm above the bottom. (Photo WVC)
2010-04-06 : Lateral shoots with succulent leaves (Photo WVC)
2010-04-06 : Small cuttings in the back (lateral shoots) and some leaves planted in potting soil in a plastic cake box. (Photo WVC)
2010-05-23 : Rooted leaves, an easy way to produce a huge number of plantlets of the spekboom starting with one single cutting (Photo WVC)
2010-05-23 : Rooted small cutting (lateral shoot), ready to be transplanted (Photo WVC)
2010-05-23 : Rooted cutting transplanted into potting soil in a plastic bottle,
perforated at 2-3 cm above the bottom (drainage). (Photo WVC)

—————-Considering that people working at the Great Green Wall in Africa (or any other interested group on other continents) are looking for practical solutions to cover as soon as possible huge areas of a desertified region, one is tempted to believe that setting up nurseries to produce a sufficient number of plants should not be a problem (as these plants only need a minimum of water).

variegated-elephant-food-portulacaria-afra-variegata
Variegated Elephant Food (Portulacaria afra) – (Photo credit Google: http://www.budgetplants.com/369-thickbox_default/variegated-elephant-food-portulacaria-afra-variegata-.jpg)

I keep dreaming of successes booked with this nice edible plant species in the combat of desertification.  The day will come that the Elephant bush will be growing in all the drought-affected regions of the world.  Animals will eat from it, but also malnourished children and hungry adults will find it an interesting supplement to their food.

2287a
Portulacaria afra – http://www.ladwp.cafriendlylandscaping.com (Photo credit Google: http://www.ladwp.cafriendlylandscaping.com/PlantMaster/Photos/2287a.jpg)

Deforestation and Desertification

 

Photo credit: Green Heart at Work

Map 1: Deforestation data on occurrence around the world (Source: The World Bank 2011).

Deforestation and Desertification: A comprehensive look at its causes, contributors, spatial and temporal characteristic and human impacts thereof

http://greenheartatwork.blogspot.be/2015/09/deforestation-and-desertification.html

Two of the most important and widespread environmental changes will be discussed in detail. The first is the occurrence of deforestation which is globally a problem and desertification also occurring on the majority of continents. Deforestation has an impact on desertification. Various aspects such as the spatial and temporal scale, the causes, and contributors of such manifestation, as well as human impacts and whether all types of global environmental change can be generalised, will be comprehensively considered.

Introduction to Deforestation
An important environmental issue, deforestation, is both a complex global and local problem and Africa, being a developing continent, is being most widely and devastatingly affected by such rapid occurrence. It compromises the notion of sustainable development by impacting the environment in a very immediate and detrimental way. Even though forests play an imperatively environmental vital role, as it supports vital ecosystems and houses a myriad of fauna and flora, it is being destroyed and cleared at an astronomically fast rate without having enough time to restore itself, causing inestimable habitat changes, as well as reducing carbon storage. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that, from 1990 to 1995, the annual loss was estimated at 12.7 million hectares Furthermore, deforestation account for roughly one-sixth of total anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and degradation may account for 10% of total emissions in the tropics. Tropical deforestation is responsible for 6–17% of global carbon dioxide emissions that affect climate change (Angelsen & Kaimowitz 1999; Pfaff et. al 2013; Cassea et. al 2004).

Spatial characteristics
It is widely known that deforestation occurs in both developed and developing countries, but at different geographical contexts in specific localities and are characterised by different regional aspects, such as aridity, as well as diverse human-environment conditions.

Read the full article: Green Heart at work

Understanding how drought affects seeder and resprouter plants during post-fire regeneration is important

 

Post-fire environments are favourable for plant functioning of seeder and resprouter Mediterranean shrubs, even under drought

Authors: Antonio Parra, JosÊ M. Moreno

  • DOI: 10.1111/nph.14454

Summary

  • Understanding how drought affects seeder and resprouter plants during post-fire regeneration is important for the anticipation of Mediterranean vegetation vulnerability in a context of increasing drought and fire caused by climate change.
  • A Mediterranean shrubland was subjected to various drought treatments (including 45% rainfall reduction, 7 months drought yr−1), before and after experimental burning, by means of a rainout–shelter system with an irrigation facility. Predawn shoot water potential (Ψpd), relative growth rate (RGR), specific leaf area (SLA) and bulk leaf carbon isotopic composition (δ13C) were monitored in the main woody species during the first 3 yr after fire.
  • Cistus ladanifer seedlings showed higher Ψpd, RGR and SLA, and lower δ13C, than unburned plants during the first two post-fire years. Seedlings under drought maintained relatively high Ψpd, but suffered a decrease in Ψpd and RGR, and an increase in δ13C, relative to control treatments. Erica arborea, E. scoparia and Phillyrea angustifolia resprouts had higher Ψpd and RGR than unburned plants during the first post-fire year. Resprouters were largely unaffected by drought.
  • Overall, despite marked differences between the two functional groups, post-fire environments were favourable for plant functioning of both seeder and resprouter shrubs, even under the most severe drought conditions implemented.

SEE: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.14454/abstract;jsessionid=9ADA65653AA10E026CB044D12E807500.f01t04

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

Trees overlooked as a source of income for farmers

 

Photo credit: Science Daily

Farms near forests tend to have more trees, which provide income and other benefits for local people, such as these farmers in the buffer zone of W National Park, Benin.
Credit: Daniel Miller

Trees supplement income for rural farmers in Africa

Date:
January 23, 2017
Source:
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Summary:
Trees may be easy to spot on the plains of Africa but they are often overlooked as a source of income for farmers. A new study shows trees on farms may help reduce rural poverty and maintain biodiversity. The study used satellite images showing forest cover and nationally representative household-level data gathered from in-person interviews in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.

 

Read the full article: Science Daily

Deforestation and economy

 

 

Poor nations’ economies grow with rising deforestation

by Baraka Rateng’

Speed read

  • Researchers assessed the link between economic growth and deforestation
  • They found that in poor countries, increased deforestation leads to growth
  • An expert says the study is useful for formulating policies

Poor countries’ economic growth increases with deforestation rates but the effect disappears in wealthier economies, a study says.

According to researchers, climatic factors and inadequate data make it difficult to establish the link between economic development and overexploitation of natural resources.

But using satellite data, researchers were able to assess the link between deforestation rates and economic factors across countries.

“Our results quantify the potential costs that such policies could potentially have in terms of forest cover loss.”

JesĂşs Crespo Cuaresma, Vienna University of Economics and Business

The study published this month (16 January) in the journal Scientific Reports found that as developing countries become richer, a decrease in forest cover occurs, but such a relationship disappears at higher levels of income per capita.

“This implies that increases in deforestation, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, are expected as poorer economies converge in income per capita to that of developed countries,” says Jesús Crespo Cuaresma, a research scholar and professor of economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, who led the study.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Patterns of tree death during extreme drought

 

Photo credit: Science Daily

How much drought can a forest take?

Aerial tree mortality surveys show patterns of tree death during extreme drought

Date:
January 19, 2017
Source:
University of California – Davis
Summary:
Why do some trees die in a drought and others don’t? And how can we predict where trees are most likely to die in future droughts? Scientists have examined those questions in a new study.

Scientists from the University of California, Davis, and colleagues examined those questions in a study published in the journal Ecology Letters.

Using climate data and aerial tree mortality surveys conducted by the U.S. Forest Service during four years (2012-2015) of extreme drought in California, they found that when a drought hits the region, trees growing in areas that are already dry are most susceptible.

The research also showed that the effects of drought on forests can take years to surface, suggesting that such effects may linger even after the drought has ended.

Southern Sierra Nevada trees are most vulnerable

The study said that trees in the driest and densest forests are the most at risk of dying in an extreme drought. In California, that makes crowded stands of trees in the Southern Sierra Nevada the most vulnerable in the state.

The concept is simple: Trees in dense forests are like multiple straws competing for the same glass of water. In wet climate conditions, that competition goes largely unnoticed. But when it’s dry, few are able to quench their thirst, setting the stage for mass mortality.

‘How much drought a tree can take’

Read the full story: Science Daily

Green manure cover crops and agroforestry

 

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COMACO Gliricidia/maize intercropping field. Photo credit: Christian Thierfelder/CIMMYT.

Addressing smallholder farmers’ needs with green manure cover crops and agroforestry in Zambia

 

Read the full story: Africa Rising

Forests store more carbon after logging due to favourable climate

 

 

Study maps carbon recovery after Amazon logging

by Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade

Speed read

  • Selective logging improves carbon absorption by remaining trees
  • Research analysed 133 forest plots in 13 sites across Amazon rainforest
  • Forests from northern sites store more after logging due to favourable climate

Trees in the northern part of the Amazon rainforest recover their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere more quickly after selective logging compared with trees in the south where the climate is less favourable, a study reports.

Published in the journal eLife last month (December 20), the research assessed the dynamics of CO2 absorption in parts of the Amazon after they had been through selective logging — a practice where only the most valuable and biggest trees are cut down and collected.

“The low-impact, selective cutting of trees is vital to limiting damage to large, unharvested trees, which are critical for forest recovery.”

William Laurance, James Cook University

The Amazon rainforest accounts for up to 30 per cent of the total CO2stored by forests globally. But every year, selective logging contributes to the release of a big part of this stored carbon, contributing to global warming.

These emissions are cancelled out in the medium term, thanks to the carbon dynamics of the forests themselves: the remaining trees — those not harvested — and young trees — which regenerate naturally after logging— assimilate atmospheric carbon again.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

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