The A to Z of soil biodiversity

The soil is the “living, breathing skin of our planet.” It is the basis of food production and essential for clean water, health, greenhouse gas capture and numerous other functions that support life on earth.

Soil biodiversity is intimately connected with all terrestrial life. Thanks to advances in technology and global scientific cooperation, huge strides have been made in our understanding of the dazzling diversity of life forms beneath our feet; and especially that of microscopic bacteria, fungi, and nematodes that are invisible to the naked eye. Read more…

‘De-risk’ the wood energy sector to unleash green growth

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.

Charcoal traders in DR Congo. Photo courtesy of Jolien Schure/CIRAD
Charcoal traders in DR Congo. Photo courtesy of Jolien Schure/CIRAD

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. . .

Forests and society a major theme at the XIV World Forestry Congress

Forest give food and oxygen, stabilize land, improve water quality and availability, reduce the effects of climate change, and provide spaces for cultural activities, reflection and enjoyment.

Convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and hosted in Durban by the Government of South Africa, the XIV World Forestry Congress (#Forests2015 on twitter) 7-11 September 2015, will have a strong focus on young people, women and local communities in defining a vision for a sustainable future of forests and forestry. Read more. . .

For smallholders, an abundance of opportunities in climate-smart farming

Rose Koech, a farmer in Bomet, Kenya, cuts calliandra shrub for her dairy cattle. She is a member of the East Africa Dairy Development Project. Photo by Sherry
Rose Koech, a farmer in Bomet, Kenya, cuts calliandra shrub for her dairy cattle. She is a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project. Photo by Sherry Odeyo/ICRAF

The landscape appears ripe with opportunity for small-scale farmers worldwide, as their contribution towards feeding the world and fuelling development amidst a changing climate is more widely acknowledged.

“That smallholder farmers’ role in food production and natural resource stewardship is recognized as one of the quickest ways to lift over one billion people out of poverty and sustainably nourish a growing world population is an outstanding opportunity in itself. We should not lose sight of this focus,” said Delia Catacutan, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) senior social scientist, gender program coordinator, and Vietnam country representative.

Catacutan said many fresh prospects for the world’s billions of small-scale producers in developing countries are also coming from “trends towards increasingly secure land tenure and property rights; pro-poor food security initiatives; freer trade across national borders; and private-sector investments in smallholder agriculture value chains.”Read more. . .

Quotes from TEDx Nairobi: The City Rebooted

Professor Virgilio Viana at TEDx Nairobi

The TEDxNairobi event on the theme ‘The City Rebooted” surpassed expectations. A stellar cast of speakers, each provocative and with memorable quotes and moving stories, left audiences inspired and enlightened. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) hosted the event on 30 October 2013 at its Nairobi Headquarters.

We produce here a small selection of memorable quotes from the event. The full presentations will be curated at in the coming weeks.Read more. . .