Tacloban City in the Philippines was devastated by Tropical cyclone Haiyan

Can trees soften the blow of a natural disaster?

By Rodel Lasco In November of 2013 one of the strongest-ever tropical cyclones landed on the Philippines’ shoreline. Haiyan practically flattened its epicenter, Tacloban City, killed more than 6,000 people and set the country back an estimated US$ 1 billion in damage to property and infrastructure. Such extreme weather events are among the most dramatic […]

oil palm agroforestry system

Evidence mounts for oil palm under agroforestry in Brazil

Can Brazil avoid the widespread deforestation which has occurred in Southeast Asia and develop an oil palm industry that is both productive and environmentally friendly? A study of oil palm grown in trial plots of ecologically diverse agroforestry systems in the Amazonian state of Pará, northern Brazil suggests it may be possible. Results after 5 […]

The right trees can enrich landscapes and prevent soil erosion

Using agroforestry to restore ecological balance, land health

Five years ago, a two-hectare piece of sloping land in Addis Ababa’s Gurara slum lay bare, allowing rainwater runoff to carry its topsoil into a nearby stream. But after trees were introduced on terraces and the land converted into a demonstration ‘bio-farm,’ it is now productive, with different high-value crops. “I believe every problem has […]

Photo: C. Capeche, Embrapa

Sharing knowledge to better manage our natural resources

Farmers constitute the largest group of natural resource managers on the planet, but how can they be expected to make the best decisions about soil, land, water and trees without all the facts? During the World Congress on Agroforestry in February 2104 a new methodology for effectively sharing knowledge between farmers and technical professions to […]

thumb-Woman coffee farmer in Nicaragua

Partnerships for Fairtrade coffee supply: What works?

Fairtrade coffee is big business. In the UK people drank 2 billion cups of Fairtrade coffee in 2012 and over a quarter of all roast and ground coffee sold was Fairtrade-certified. In addition to assuring coffee aficionados of a high quality and ethically sourced brew, Fairtrade for coffee has a development agenda: Coffee buyers, cooperatives, […]

Photo: Miyuki Iiyama

What really happened with jatropha in Kenya

It was touted as a wonder crop to improve farmer incomes and aid rural development, but jatropha failed miserably in Kenya. Scientists have been analysing what led farmers to grow jatropha in the absence of reliable markets for the product and with limited knowledge about its successful cultivation. “Jatropha is just not viable in Kenya,” […]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Forests disappear, trees reappear. So deforestation isn’t an issue?

Many countries have already turned the corner on “deforestation” and now report increases in forest area. Asia is now following in the footsteps of Europe and North America with China, India and Viet Nam leading the way. Does this mean that deforestation no longer is an issue for policy makers? asks Meine van Noordwijk   […]

tree, Philippines, farmer

What do farmers really know about climate change?

A new study from the Philippines shows that the coping strategies of farmers are mostly reactive and many tend to do nothing during climate events like La Niña, El Niño, seasonal variations and typhoons. Scientists need to communicate better their knowledge of adaptation, says Regine Joy P. Evangelista   According to World Agroforestry Centre researcher […]

sushila gavel

Trees, women and men: surprises and new questions

Renewed attention on gender across all of the research agendas of the CGIAR is leading to some surprising and intriguing results, which were presented and discussed at the recent Open Science meeting of the Global Land Project in Berlin, says Meine van Noordwijk   Most of the literature on the way people interact with forests […]

rainbow-with-waterfall-1965-Billy-Apple-sculpture

Rainbow water: new findings set to start policy dialogue

The Second Open Science meeting of the Global Land Project reviewed the latest findings on “rainbow water”, the atmospheric moisture from which rainfall derives. Scientists discussed evidence for a renewed focus on terrestrial vegetation and the special roles of trees in contributing to rainfall, says Meine van Noordwijk   The direction and distance that recycled […]

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