Land tenure and agroforestry at the heart of a sustainable future Earth
Our suffering planet looks set on a path of destruction, according to many. But leading thinkers gathered at the World Agroforestry Centre’s annual Science Week see the possibility of a bright, and sustainable, future Earth with secure land rights and agroforestry at its core, says Robert Finlayson
Every year, most of the World Agroforestry Centre’s 300-plus scientists gather in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss their research methods and findings from projects in 38 or so countries around the world. The week-long event ended this year with a panel of distinguished guests discussing what is needed to create a future, sustainable Earth.
The panel was part of a contribution to the Future Earth initiative. The questions, ‘What is this future Earth? What does it demand of all of us? What can we identify as a path to progress?’ were put by the moderator, Dr Ravi Prabhu, the Centre’s deputy director-general research.
The first to respond was Achim Steiner, executive director and under-secretary-general of the United Nations Environment Programme, who argued that we needed more research into sustainable production landscapes. And to make such landscapes a reality, decision makers needed to receive more information that was relevant for implementation. So the real question was what could we do to make sure that people were properly informed and motivated to act?
For Steiner, the current age focuses on the ‘production maximisation curve’ but rather than exploit resources we need to manage systems if we are to feed 7 billion people without destroying ourselves in the process.