Planting trees and energy saving technologies needed in Kenya

Photo credit: Google

United Nations News Centre – Cost of deforestation in Kenya far exceeds gains from forestry and logging,

Kenya: Study – Kenya Loses 5.6 Million Trees Daily

EXCERPT

According to the study by Green Africa Foundation, a non-governmental agency, Kenya loses an astonishing 5.6 million trees daily, despite relentless campaigns on environmental conservation.

Forest being extensively cleared in Kenya - http://www.plant-talk.org/images/content/CopyofMaasaiMau-Extensiveclearingofindigenosuforest.JPG
Forest being extensively cleared in Kenya – http://www.plant-talk.org/images/content/CopyofMaasaiMau-Extensiveclearingofindigenosuforest.JPG

The research findings reveal that 64.6 percent of all Kenya’s 8.7 million households (based on the 2009 national population census) depend entirely on firewood as their cooking fuel, where each harvests between 10kgs and 20kgs of firewood daily.

This settler in the Mau Forest, Kenya is clearing land for subsistence agriculture, which was previously thought to be one of the main factors contributing to deforestation. The new study shows that the most important causes of deforestation in the 21st century are probably an expanding urban population and global agricultural trade. © Christian Lambrechts, UNEP - http://www.plant-talk.org/images/content/CopyofMaasaiMau-Asettlerburnstheforesttoplantcabbagesandothercrops_001.jpg
This settler in the Mau Forest, Kenya is clearing land for subsistence agriculture, which was previously thought to be one of the main factors contributing to deforestation. The new study shows that the most important causes of deforestation in the 21st century are probably an expanding urban population and global agricultural trade. © Christian Lambrechts, UNEP – http://www.plant-talk.org/images/content/CopyofMaasaiMau-Asettlerburnstheforesttoplantcabbagesandothercrops_001.jpg

The deforestation problem in Kenya captures the situation on the entire African continent.

Studies show that at the end of 1990, Africa had an estimated 528 million hectares, or 30 percent of the world’s tropical forests. In several Sub-Saharan African countries, the rate of deforestation exceeded the global annual average of 0.8 percent.

While deforestation in other parts of the world is mainly caused by commercial logging or cattle ranching the leading causes in Africa are associated with human activity.

Developing countries rely heavily on wood fuel, the major energy source for cooking and heating. In Africa, the statistics are striking: an estimated 90 percent of the entire continent’s population uses wood fuel for cooking, and in Sub-Saharan Africa, firewood and brush supply approximately 52 percent of all energy sources.

Read the full article: allAfrica

 

Comment on soil erosion by Josef Garvi (via Linkedin)

 

West Africa: Can ‘Down to Earth’ Innovations Keep Hunger At Bay in the Sahel?

by Jerome Bossuet – Read the full article: allAfrica

COMMENT BY Josef Garvi

This problem of soil erosion is precisely the reason why introducing tractors into the agriculture of the Sahel is a really, really bad idea. Look at any tractor-ploughed field and compare it to neighbouring hand-worked land, and you will see an immediate difference: tractor ploughed fields typically have no perennial vegetation left at all, and thus no protection for its top soil.

My conclusion is that desertification in the Sahel is currently far more man-made than climate-made. Rainfall since the 90’s onwards has been reasonable again, and the growth potential of trees and shrubs can easily be observed. But on most of the land, this growth is being suppressed by A) poor land management (keeping fields clear for annual crops), B) overgrazing (in pastoral zones one can see how many trees are clearly stunted from browsing, whilst for bigger trees, grazing animals provoke erosion around the tree trunks, exposing roots and provoking the trees to fall over with time), and C) firewood collection.”

Home gardens are promoted as the backbone of poor rural households, but …

Photo credit: IWMI

A bag garden in Kenya
Photo credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT

Why work to promote home gardens in Africa needs a rethink

Research on home gardens in Africa must rewind and refocus on the grassroots, according to a new report published today by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). It explores the available knowledge and lessons learned from past experiences in promoting home gardens in Africa, with a special emphasis on water management.

Onions on a bag - Photo Ville Farm - 1381604_213004272206571_304135207_n.jpg
Onions on a bag – Photo Ville Farm – 1381604_213004272206571_304135207_n.jpg

The report, which is part of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) project, highlights the lack of research directly involving the rural home gardeners at the grassroots level. It points out that research needs to be framed around actual home garden practices, as well as issues and opinions of the gardeners.

It also emphasizes the need for researchers to focus on more inclusive assessments. In this respect, the report urges fellow researchers to break away from the conventional approach of treating home gardens in isolation. Instead, they should be viewed as part of a bigger picture that takes into account agriculture, water supplies and prevailing health, social and economic systems. Follow-up of research results is seen as the critical missing link in actually making use of research results.

Read the full article: IWMI-CGIAR

 

How to Keep Hunger At Bay in the Sahel?

Photo credit: ZOUBA

Irrigating an onion field

West Africa: Can ‘Down to Earth’ Innovations Keep Hunger At Bay in the Sahel?

by Jerome Bossuet

EXCERPT

Poor soils means poor farmers

Echoing the Montpellier Panel conclusions in their “No ordinary matter” report, sustainable soil management is urgently needed because land degradation is a huge burden, particularly in developing countries. Nearly 3.3% of agricultural GDP in sub-Saharan Africa is lost annually because of soil and nutrient losses, estimated at over 30 kg/ha/year.

Agriculture in Mali - http://zouba.org.free.fr/Mali/AGRICULTURE/Culture%20et%20enfants.jpg
Agriculture in Mali – http://zouba.org.free.fr/Mali/AGRICULTURE/Culture%20et%20enfants.jpg

Malian agricultural policies do not precisely state preservation of soil fertility as a priority. The high population growth rate (2.9% per year) means the land under cultivation is continually expanding, but this cannot continue.

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Inclusive innovation platforms

Whatever the strategies to adapt and restore soils, it is important to work through farmers’ organisations. Innovation can stem from NGOs, academics, the private sector and farmers themselves.

“Given that soil is the cornerstone to food security, better rural livelihoods and agricultural development; its conservation, restoration and enhancement must be a global priority,” says Ramadjita Tabo, Director of ICRISAT’s West and Central Africa Regional Hub and member of the Montpellier Panel.

Read the full article: allAfrica

COMMENT BY Josef Garvi

“This problem of soil erosion is precisely the reason why introducing tractors into the agriculture of the Sahel is a really, really bad idea. Look at any tractor-ploughed field and compare it to neighbouring hand-worked land, and you will see an immediate difference: tractor ploughed fields typically have no perennial vegetation left at all, and thus no protection for its top soil.

My conclusion is that desertification in the Sahel is currently far more man-made than climate-made. Rainfall since the 90’s onwards has been reasonable again, and the growth potential of trees and shrubs can easily be observed. But on most of the land, this growth is being suppressed by A) poor land management (keeping fields clear for annual crops), B) overgrazing (in pastoral zones one can see how many trees are clearly stunted from browsing, whilst for bigger trees, grazing animals provoke erosion around the tree trunks, exposing roots and provoking the trees to fall over with time), and C) firewood collection.”

Deforestation in Uganda

Photo credit: Google

http://newnaturefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/deforestation.jpg

Let’s reverse deforestation

Written by Editorial

EXCERPT

Yet the importance of forests can’t be overemphasized. We need forests to maintain a friendly ecosystem; to get rainfall, oxygen and feed water bodies. We also need forests to sustain the construction industry, provide energy and food, among other benefits. In short, we need forests to live. However, despite clear evidence that forests and people’s livelihoods are intertwined, we continue to be oblivious of the destruction going on around us.

Ongoing deforestation activities in Mpigi District a case study of Katabalalu forest in Uganda - http://satoyama-initiative.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Figure21.jpg
Ongoing deforestation activities in Mpigi District a case study of Katabalalu forest in Uganda – http://satoyama-initiative.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Figure21.jpg

According to the ministry of water and environment, global deforestation is now rated at 13 million hectares annually, accounting for 12-20 per cent of the global carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change.

Forest degradation in Uganda is estimated at about 92,000 hectares annually, which some experts suggest is roughly the size of the well-known Mabira forest reserve.

According to the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (Acode) deputy executive director, Onesmus Mugyenyi, Uganda’s forest cover has reduced from 53 to 24 per cent in the last 50 years. What is left, Mugyenyi says, will be gone within the next 50 years at current degradation levels.

Read the full article: The Observer

‘Smart Tree-Invest’ in Viet Nam

 

‘Smart Tree-Invest’ Promotes Climate-Smart, Tree-Based Agriculture in Viet Nam

ifad_cgiar

EXCERPT

Local government agencies in Viet Nam have expressed support for the ‘Climate-Smart, Tree-Based, Co-Investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia’ (Smart Tree-Invest) project, co-funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the CGIAR Consortium Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, during a visit from the regional project team from Bogor, Indonesia, that took place from 11-14 March 2014.

Following research activities carried out in the first year of Smart Tree-Invest, the second and third years will focus on: identifying threats to farmers’ resilience, including changes in ecosystem services, climate patterns and other environmental and socio-political changes; and developing co-investment schemes that promote climate-smart, tree-based agriculture, enhance the provision of ecosystem services in the watershed and improve smallholders’ livelihoods.

Read the full article: IISD

 

 

 

Civil Society Organizations and Desertif’actions 2015

 

Civil Society Organizations Hold National and Online Consultations Ahead of Desertif’actions 2015

As part of preparations for the global civil society forum, Desertif’actions 2015, local and international organizations are holding a series of national preparatory workshops and a multilingual online consultation between February and May 2015 on the theme: ‘Climate change and the preservation of drylands – time to act!’

The preparatory events will be structured around the three main themes of Desertif’actions 2015: integrating climatic evolutions into decision making and actions; creating greater synergy among the three Rio Conventions; and achieving a pluralistic and organized civil society.

Read the full article: IISD