Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

New Dwarf Trees Set to Revolutionize Palm Oil Market

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The dwarf trees at a government research center in Malaysia’s southern state of Johor are clones of a new variety bred to be 30 percent smaller than regular oil palms when they mature. That’s a significant advantage for farmers harvesting the red and orange fruit that can grow between thorny fronds up to five stories high. Seedlings of the Clonal Palm Series 2, or CPS2, variety -- which can cost up to two times more than conventional plants -- are being rolled out by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, the agency responsible for promoting and developing the country’s most valuable agricultural export. Continue reading..

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

In Indonesia, commuters pay for the bus with plastic waste

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RESIDENTS of Indonesia’s second largest city Surabaya can now pay for the bus in a novel way – by trading in used plastic. The city’s mayor Tri “Risma” Rismaharini last month announced the roll out of the new Suroboyo Bus, comfortable, air-conditioned buses which are, importantly, accessible for disabled, elderly and pregnant passengers. While the buses might be shiny and new, passengers are invited to pay for their rides not just with money, but with plastic they turn in at designated bus stops and recycling stations around the city. Continue reading..

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Intensified farming 'rarely' aids wellbeing, environment

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[NAIROBI] Agricultural intensification rarely leads to simultaneous benefits for ecosystem services such as biodiversity and human wellbeing, researchers say.   In a study published in Nature Sustainability journal, which involved analysis of 60 case studies from countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, they found that fewer than 20 per cent of cases had benefits across both these outcomes.   Agricultural intensification — activities that aim to increase either the productivity or profitability of agricultural land — tends to get high priority as a strategy for sustainable food production. Continue reading..

Sustainable Management of Intensively Used Ecosystems/Landscapes

Software helps cut Indian cows’ methane emissions

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[NEW DELHI] A software tool developed by India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) is helping balance the diets of 2.4 million heads of Indian cattle leading to increased milk output and reduced methane emissions, an international livestock conference heard. The software tool, called Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH), was presented at the annual Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock Meeting held at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia this month (11—15 June) by Vinod Ahuja, a policy officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization. Continue reading..

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..

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..

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..

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..