With population growth and urbanization, the demand for energy from trees is growing rapidly around the world. This demand presents a golden opportunity for wood energy be a force for energy security, sustainable development and greener economies. But this exciting potential can only be realized when the wood energy sector, particularly the one in sub-Saharan Africa, is ‘de-risked’ to become orderly, legitimate and sustainable.
A special event at the recent XIV World Forestry Congress (7 to 11 September, Durban, South Africa) saw a high-level panel of experts discuss the situation of woodfuel and charcoal production, trade and consumption around the world, with a particular focus on Africa. The event titled “More than heat! Wood energy for the future,” went beyond wood as a household energy resource, to its potential—as a modern fuel—to power green growth for national economies. Read more. . .
This was Professor Wangari Maathai’s smart response to people who were questioning her decision to train illiterate rural women on how to grow and nurture trees.
To celebrate Africa Environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the Government of Kenya, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted a day-long Women and Environment Forum. The event at ICRAF Headquarters in Nairobi, 4 March, brought together over 60 participants from 6 countries. Read more..
Integrated landscape initiatives in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa are investing heavily in institutional planning and coordination, but they have had mixed results engaging different stakeholder groups, especially the private sector. This key stakeholder group was almost always missing from a selection of landscape initiatives surveyed recently.
“Incomplete” or “shallow” stakeholder engagement was the most frequently reported challenge by the nearly two hundred landscape initiatives from 54 countries (33 African and 21 from LAC region) that participated in the study. African initiatives were the most affected. Read more. . .
African smallholder farmers have a new ally in their effort to adopt farming practices that raise food production, build resilience to climate change, and create healthier and more sustainable landscapes—that is, practices that are climate smart.
The aim of a new initiative, the Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSAA), is to see 6 million smallholder in Africa practicing climate smart agriculture within the coming 7 years. This effort contributes to NEPAD’s Vision 25 x 25, which aims to reach 25 million African farm households by 2025. Read more. . .
As the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) launched a new book — designed to arm people with evidence and tools for designing climate smart landscapes—its lead editor underscored the fact that we are a long way from achieving sustainable, climate-smart landscapes across the globe.
Dr Peter Minang, the Global Coordinator of the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins at ICRAF, said, however, that “structured interactions, co-investments and negotiations among concerned actors can nudge landscapes towards multifunctionality.” Read more. . .
A series of eye-opening case studies from Africa take up a 44-page section of a new ICRAF publication that brings together, for the first time, original research and syntheses on landscape approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The programmes analysed in the section seek to put the concept of Climate Smart Landscapes into practice across large productive landscapes. They cover Kenya’s premier tea-growing district, cocoa agroforestry systems in Cameroon, and the Congo Basin Forests that cover 300 million hectares and span six countries in Central and West Africa. Read more…
new documentary by DW, Germany’s international broadcaster, gives a snapshot of the status of the African cherry tree, Prunus africana, in the Aberdare highlands of Kenya. The bark of P. africana is highly sought after for its medicinal activity, most famously its action against prostate conditions. Liquid extracts of the bark are used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (swollen prostate), which can predispose a person to prostate cancer.
Focusing on a traditional healer and two women —a farmer and a biochemistry postgraduate—the video, titled ‘Saving Kenya’s anti-cancer tree,’ chronicles some of the work being done to conserve this valuable but endangered tree species. Read more. . .
South Korea, South Africa and Ethiopia are among the many countries around the world that have successfully used or are now applying the power of trees to restore degraded landscapes and bring back life-giving ecosystem services and biodiversity.
The audience at Tree Diversity Day 2014 got insights into the efforts of these countries, and learned that landscape restoration is hard work that needs long-term commitment, spanning the breath of the populace—from the highest levels of government to grassroots communities.Read more. . .
When it comes to energy, countries—and in particular developing ones—could take a strong cue from Europe, where the use of bioenergy has been rising over the past two decades. Aware that the current reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable from multiple perspectives, EU countries are increasing their use of renewable energy—including that stored in trees—for varied purposes, including electricity generation from biogas-fired power stations.
“All fossil energy sources have either reached or passed their peak production. Even with new discoveries of oil reserves in Africa, and technologies such as fracking for gas, we are running out of energy,” said Philip Dobie, Senior Fellow at ICRAF.Read more. . .
“Women produce up to three-quarters of the food crops grown in West and Central Africa, and their actions, for better or for worse, affect natural resources, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and ultimately shape the trajectory towards sustainable development.
Cécile Njebet, an advocate for women’s rights and currently president of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests REFACOF network, said this in her invited talk at the ICRAF Science Week 2014 from 8-12 September.Read more. . .