Recent News

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Egyptian invention cuts rice irrigation water by half

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[Cairo] Experts and stakeholders in Egypt warn of imminent water poverty as a result of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is about to become operational. Meanwhile, agricultural production consumes about 85 per cent of the country’s water resources, half of which goes towards rice irrigation. Rice cultivation consumes more than 10 billion cubic meters of water annually, or more than one-sixth of Egypt's share of Nile water, Khaled Ghanem, professor of Organic Farming in Al-Azhar University, told SciDev. Continue reading..

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem

FAO and UNHCR launch new tool to save forests in displacement-affected areas

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20 June 2018, Rome/Geneva - The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched today a new handbook to help restore forests in displacement-affected areas, where heavy reliance on woodfuel puts forests and woodlands in jeopardy. An estimated 2.4 billion people - about a quarter of the global population - depend on wood as their main energy source for cooking. Continue reading..

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Course grains better than rice for health, environment

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[NEW DELHI] Shifting away from white, polished rice to a diet that includes more wheat and coarse grains can improve how Indians deal with micronutrient deficiencies, and reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions associated with paddy cultivation, says a new study. Published in the March edition of the journal Global Environmental Change, the study’s findings are described by Narasimha Rao, the paper’s author and project leader of ‘Decent Energy Living’ at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, as the result of a “hypothetical (ideal case) scenario analysis”. India grows a variety of coarse grains — including sorghum, pearl millet, maize, barley, and finger millet — as well as many ‘small millets’ such as kodo millet, little millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, and barnyard millet. Continue reading..

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem

World's biodiversity lost faster than it recovers

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[MEDELLÍN] The planet's biodiversity is being lost faster than it recovers, with developing regions expected to bear the brunt of future soil degradation, warns a global assessment report produced by hundreds of scientists, government officials and civil society. Forty per cent of the biodiversity in the Americas will be lost by 2050, according to figures released during the Sixth Plenary session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which brought together some 550 researchers and officials from 129 countries this month (March 17-24) in Medellin, Colombia. Four regional assessment reports were approved at the meeting, covering biodiversity and ecosystem services in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia and Europe. Continue reading..

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Genomic models predict shorter time for banana breeding

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[NAIROBI] Scientists have shown through genomic prediction models that it is possible to speed up banana breeding, giving hope to breeders and smallholders looking for improved varieties.   Banana is an important staple crop for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially those in East Africa.   In a study published in The Plant Genome last month (2 March), researchers collected data on 15 key traits from 307 banana types that were grown in two fields in Uganda under low and high input field management conditions. Continue reading..

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem

Study counts lives saved with push for 1.5°C climate target

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Speeding up progress on reducing carbon emissions would save millions of lives, mostly in metropolitan areas of Africa and Asia. To keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world would need to cut the majority of fossil-fuel related carbon emissions this century – and because this would also reduce air pollution locally, it would prevent 150 million premature deaths, according to a paper published in Nature Climate Change. Continue reading..

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem

Forty per cent of global e-waste comes from Asia

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[NEW DELHI] Humans generated a staggering 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) in 2016 — the equivalent of 4,500 Eiffel Towers, and five per cent more than the electrical and electronic goods discarded just two years earlier, says a new study. The trend is set to continue, with volumes of e-waste expected to rise to 52. Continue reading..

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem

Disasters causing billions in agricultural losses, with drought leading the way

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15 March 2018, Rome/Hanoi - Natural disasters are costing farmers in the developing world billions of dollars each year, with drought emerging as the most destructive in a crowded field of threats that also includes floods, forest fires, storms, plant pests, animal diseases outbreaks, chemical spills and toxic algal blooms. According to a new report  from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), between 2005 and 2015 natural disasters cost the agricultural sectors of developing country economies a staggering $96 billion in damaged or lost crop and livestock production. Half of that damage — $48 billion worth — occurred in Asia, says the report, which was launched today at a conference in Hanoi convened by Viet Nam's government in collaboration with FAO. Continue reading..

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Kenyan innovation takes plastic bags out of forestry

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Plastic bags are known for their environmental impact. They slowly release toxic chemicals once in the soil, for instance, and find their way into the guts of animals that often choke and die as a result. Kenya banned the use of plastic bags in 2017. Continue reading..

Restoration of Degraded Ecosystem

Plastic debris linked to coral disease, death

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[NEW YORK] An international group of researchers has found that plastic trash entering the world’s oceans attracts microbes that cause corals to sicken and die.  “Plastic debris acts like a marine motorhome for microbes,” says Joleah Lamb, research fellow at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and lead author of the study published last month (26 January) in Science. Plastics can cause physical injury to coral tissues, facilitating invasion of pathogens associated with disease outbreaks, the study says. Continue reading..