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African Agriculture
In This Issue
Agroforestry - fostering the transition to multifunctional agriculture
Sustainable Land Management in Africa
Climate Change and Conservation
Local Knowledge and Climate Change
REDD+ Potential for the Himalaya Region
SGI Updates
ELP ALUMNI UPDATES!
Note From Sarah
Sarah with ELPers
Greeting from Sarah Sawyer, ELP Alumni Network Coordinator

I was so lucky this year, to finally take part in the summer ELP program!  It was a wonderful time, and we had a really great group of environmental leaders.  Perhaps the most exciting part was our foray into post-training field trips.  After the course concluded, I traveled with participants particularly interested in Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation to three California Protected Areas, where we met with local officials to exchange ideas and knowledge.  The trip was such a success that we hope to add more optional post-training field trips to our program next year, including Sustainable Agriculture and SF Bay Area Green Corridor tours.  I hope you enjoy our Fall 2011 Newsletter, the final in our three-part series on climate change.  And, as always, please keep me updated on all the exciting things you all are doing.   

Sarah
bear mgmt in Yosemite
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Top Greeting from Robin Marsh, ELP Co-Director
Robin1
Dear ELP alums - 

In this photo, though you can't see it, I'm sitting on a small tractor on a pineapple farm in northern Costa Rica.  The farmer is showing me his land still in primary forest as we discuss possible incentives to reward producers for conservation practices.   I was there at the end of September to work on a UNDP/Ecoagriculture Partners project that is supporting a multi-stakeholder platform to promote sustainable pineapple production and marketing in Costa Rica.  Did you know that Costa Rica is the largest exporter of fresh pineapple in the world?  Production is dominated by the large multinational companies, Dole and Del Monte, but there are also more than 1.000 small and medium producers.  The industry has boomed over the last ten years and high profits have driven expansion into forest, wetlands, food crop farms, and grazing land, increasing to more than 50,000 hectares by 2010.  As a result of denunciations about agrochemical contamination and unfair labor practices, European markets have threatened to reject Costa Rican imports.  On the other hand, demand for sustainably grown pineapple is growing in both Europe and the United States.  These elements and others have spurred the platform initiative. 
Robin & Alums
And guess what?  I've had the pleasure of working with two ELP alums on this project - Professor Ramon Leon (2009) of EARTH University, and Gianluca Gondolini (2011) of Rainforest Alliance (see photo with Ramon on my left and Luca on my right).  We are collaborating on a report offering recommendations for developing a "PES" type program for on-farm and landscape conservation in pineapple.

One thing you may notice from the ELP 2012 Brochure,  is that we are working to organize our Alumni Network, now 420 members(!), into six thematic groups:
  •     Agriculture & Ecosystem Services
  •     Biodiversity Conservation & Wildlife/Fisheries Management
  •     Forests & Society
  •     Climate Change & Renewable Energy
  •     Urbanization, Pollution & Waste Management
  •     Population, Health & Environment
All of you will have the opportunity to join one or more of the groups depending upon your interests and expertise.  Some of you will be approached soon to be co-leaders of a group.  Each theme will have a webpage to foster knowledge sharing among members.  Eventually, we hope that the groups will evolve into strong communities of practice for your professional and activist pursuits.

A few important reminders: 1. Don't forget to submit your Buck Kingman SGI proposals, including ideas for regional alumni meetings, by December 1.  2. Thanks to all of you for circulating our ELP 2012 course brochure to your colleagues and friends, and sending us nominations of people you think will especially benefit from the course and network.  3. If you have changed jobs, let us know!  Send Sarah a two sentence update with your new contact information and she will update the Searchable Alumni Database.  
And finally, a warm welcome once again to ELP Administrator, Anita Ponce.  Bienvenida, Anita.  

Pura Vida, 

Robin
Greeting From David Zilberman, ELP Co-Director

ZilbermanClimate change has become less prominent in the political landscape today. People are more occupied with the Arab spring, the Greek financial situation, China's housing bubble and the US recession.  Yet the emissions of carbon to the atmosphere continue to go on being accumulated. The October 22nd issue of the Economist presents results of a recent study by scientists from Berkeley and elsewhere that states that despite some missteps, the evidence of human contribution to Global warming are consistent and scientifically sound.

 

In this sad state of affairs, the work of many ELPiers around the world is a source of pride and hope. They investigate, design, and implement actions that aim to prevent deforestation and contribute to biodiversity protection strategies.   Being realistic, some engage in developing adaptation strategies to the changes in climate. These strategies are valuable, as frequently the early victims of rising temperatures are the most vulnerable members of populations. It is most gratifying to us that we share a network that tries to address some of humanities most crucial problems during a period where others ignore it. The activities themselves and the lessons they provide are important contributions to human well being and environmental sustainability. 


David

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Agroforestry - fostering the transition to a multifunctional agriculture under climate changeagroforestry - shaded coffee


Edmundo Barrios ELP 2003

 

Agriculture represents the predominant form of human-environment interaction by employing more people and consuming more natural resources than any other human activity.  

 

Agricultural intensification, particularly in the last 50 years, has been responsible for net gains in human well-being and economic development but at the cost of significant degradation of natural resources. 

Farmers thus represent the largest group of natural resource managers in the planet and have a critical role in the transition towards a multifunctional agriculture that simultaneously addresses the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation, while also increasing food production for a population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050.     


read full article

 

Sustainable Land Management: The Pathway to Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africaagriculture africa

Mohamed I Bakarr, ELP 2006

For much of Africa, agriculture land use represents the most appropriate interface between climate change mitigation and adaptation.  On the one hand, agriculture land use accounts for 43% of Africa's total CO2 emissions, due largely to clearance and burning of vegetation (including forests) for crop production. And with poor management practices of crop lands, vast quantities of below-ground carbon are also lost annually from African soils. On the other hand, managing agricultural landscapes is crucial for enhancing the resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems to climate change for millions of Africans.  

 

In Africa, climate change mitigation calls for sustainable land management (SLM) in productions systems. The value-added of SLM lies in its potential to enhance sustainability and resilience of ecosystem service flows in production systems, especially those that are prone to persistent risks of degradation. SLM is therefore the pathway to climate-smart agriculture, especially on a continent where more than 70% of the population is dependent directly on land resources.  With the current drought and famine crises in the Horn of Africa, now is the time for African leaders to promote SLM as a practical option for achieving transformational impacts on the ground.   

  

read full article  

 


Climate change and conservation: new systemic approach challenges
local community program
Margarita O. Zethelius  ELP 2008

Colombia acts as a large carbon sink, not only because of its large areas of tropical forest, but also because of its extensive wetlands and mangroves. The goods and services that this mega-diverse country provides are crucial for the maintenance of global ecological systems. Nevertheless, Colombia faces daunting problems, including: a growing population, inadequate use of resources, inappropriate infrastructure and land development (eg. boom in mining), huge social conflicts, and climate change.


Some local communities are developing interesting systems for sustainability and adaptation, that, if applied on a larger scale, may help Colombia surmount these growing obstacles.  Many of these processes and initiatives have not been adequately documented and researched, and our understanding of their utility is currently limited. To facilitate systematization and knowledge sharing to attack Colombia's challenges, I have decided to go for a Master's Degree in Conservation and rural Development and conduct research in Community-level climate change adaptation. 

read full article  

 

Relevance of local knowledge and experiences on climate change to effective environmental leadership

Negash Teklu ELP 2011 & Mesfin Kassa, Population, Health & Environment Ethiopia Consortium


Recent research conducted in a highland district of Ethiopia (3600masl), Menz Gera Midir, has shown that it is vital for environmental leaders to understand and learn from the knowledge and experiences of local communities on the patterns and impacts of climate change.Ethiopia FOcus Group

 

Based on Likert scale measurement, perception of 99% of respondents have identified that unusual increase in temperature has occurred in their locality when they compare it with what they knew decades ago. These small-scale farmers provided their traditional knowledge and local evidences for the rise in temperature. According to them, they have already changed clothing style to a lighter one, changed farming time as early as possible to escape the scorching sun, increased household water consumption, and spent more time to fetch water as a result of dried up nearby springs  (Mesfin, 2010).    

 

read full article

 

 

REDD+ Raised Prospect of Restoring Degraded Himalaya Forests through Community Participation

Ngamindra Dahal and Eak Rana, ELP 2011, Nepal   

hemalaya  community forestryForests managed through active engagement of local communities in the Himalaya region have demonstrated high rate of carbon accumulation capacity and significantly contributed to abating climate change mitigation through community based forest-carbon finance initiatives. At the same time, mountain forests offer several ecosystem services serving to strengthen local livelihoods and thereby enhance climate change adaptive capacity of locals.  

Evidence shows that community managed forests in the Himalaya region showcase a perfect example of sustainable forest management practices, with the prospect of enhancing quality of life in the communities while mitigating greenhouse gases from forests. Research and piloting of REDD on various land use conditions of the 2500 km long Himalaya topography reveals that restoring mountain forests of the Himalaya is possible through community based REDD+ interventions.  This paper focuses on how REDD+ efforts offer a bright prospect of saving and restoring the Himalaya forests that are critically important not only for reducing emissions from land uses but also for saving the ecosystem services on which millions of populations in the region depend.

 

read full article  

Buck Kingman Small Grants Initiative Project Updates
 Brazil 1

 

 

ELP ALUMNI UPDATES
 



 
BarriosArticleAgroforestry- fostering the transition to multi-functional agriculture under climate change
Edmundo Barrios

 

By Edmundo Barrios ELP 2003

 

The global environment is changing at an alarming rate as a result of human activities. There is substantial evidence and increasing consensus that changes in global climate patterns and increases in temperature are directly linked to greater anthropogenic concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Global conventions, however, have had limited success in stopping the increase in atmospheric GHG concentrations.  It is now increasingly recognized that mitigation efforts alone would only be able to partially reduce the impacts of climate change.  Adaptation efforts, therefore, have gained greater relevance and attention in recent years.  

 

The combined contribution of agriculture, forestry and livestock management to GHG emissions is close to 20%. Agriculture represents the predominant form of human-environment interaction by employing more people and consuming more natural resources than any other human activity.  Croplands and pastures already occupy about 35% of the ice-free land surface, without counting forest under management or logging. Agricultural intensification, particularly in the last 50 years, has been responsible for net gains in human well-being and economic development but at the cost of significant degradation of natural resources.  Farmers thus represent the largest group of natural resource managers in the planet and have a critical role in the transition towards a multifunctional agriculture that simultaneously addresses the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation, while also increasing food production for a population estimated to reach 9 billion by 2050.      

agroforestry - shaded coffee
Shaded coffee system including Erythrina poepiggiana (pruned) that is often combined with naturally regenerated Cordia alliadora grown for timber (Photo credit: Philippe Vaast).

 

Agroforestry, broadly defined as where agriculture and trees interact, involves land use practices that combine trees with crops and/or animals in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence that results in significant ecologic and economic interactions among trees and agricultural components (Photo 1).  Agroforestry includes practices designed to enhance productivity that are often also contributing to climate change mitigation through enhanced C sequestration and storage in tree biomass and soil.   Trees in agricultural fields can also reduce the impacts of extreme weather conditions and facilitate adaptation to increased temperature and rainfall variability.   

 

The Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS), developed by integrating local and technical knowledge, is a good example of multifunctional agriculture in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation (Photo 2).  The wide adoption of the QSMAS by more than 6,000 resource-poor farmers in western Honduras has been closely related to the benefits it provides to increased food security and its resilience to extreme weather events like the El Niño drought in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.  While soil erosion rates in the QSMAS were reduced to about 10% of that found in the predominant slash and burn agriculture, 20% more available water for crops contributed to doubling of maize and bean yields.  This effect has been largely attributed to four key management principles: i) no-burning, ii) permanent soil cover by mulch, iii) minimal soil disturbance, and iv) efficient use of fertilizers.   

agroforestry-maize
Maize crop growing under diverse naturally regenerating trees (pruned and free growing) in the Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS) of Western Honduras. (Photo credit: Edmundo Barrios).

 

The increased abundance and activity of soil organisms influencing soil structure found near trees suggests their potential contribution to increased soil porosity and infiltration and consequently to reductions in surface flow and soil erosion.  Farmers also recognize that soil cover provided by mulching with tree prunings significantly extends the duration of soil water availability and this provides greater flexibility for planting date that contributes to farmer's adaptive capacity to increasingly variable climatic conditions.  Other studies have also shown that slash and mulch management was able to generate four to five times lower GHG emissions compared to slash and burn agriculture. Agroforestry, therefore, has the potential to become a delivery mechanism for multifunctional agriculture that effectively addresses the concurrent challenges of food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

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MohamedArticleSustainable Land Management: The Pathway to Climate-Smart Agriculture in Africa
Mohamed Bakaar
By Mohamed I Bakarr, ELP 2006

In December 2011, world leaders will convene in Durban, South Africa for the 17th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Once again, world expectation for a climate 'deal' is riding high. Or maybe not - "Durban climate talks may result in an impasse, diplomats say" was the headline for a story that was published on Monday, September 26, 2011, by Nathanial Gronewold, Energy and Environment Reporter for The New York Times. Deal or no deal, South Africa will likely lay the ground work for a very important and hitherto overlook reality in the global climate change discourse - the need to bring agriculture land use front and center.

 

For much of Africa, agriculture land use represents the most appropriate interface between climate change mitigation and adaptation.  On the one hand, agriculture land use accounts for 43% of Africa's total CO2 emissions, due largely to clearance and burning of vegetation (including forests) for crop production. And with poor management practices of crop lands, vast quantities of below-ground carbon are also lost annually from African soils. On the other hand, managing agricultural landscapes is crucial for enhancing the resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems to climate change for millions of Africans. As a result, the need for increased agricultural productivity, enhanced climate resilience, and greenhouse gas mitigation represents an opportunity for African leaders to score a significant milestone in Durban.  

 agriculture africa

This so-called triple-win underpins climate-smart agriculture, which the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) defines as "....agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals.[1]" In Africa, this calls for sustainable land management in productions systems. SLM is defined as "....a knowledge-based procedure that integrates land, water, biodiversity, and environmental management to meet rising food and fiber demands while sustaining livelihoods and the environment[2]".  The value-added of SLM lies in its potential to enhance sustainability and resilience of ecosystem service flows in production systems, especially those that are prone to persistent risks of degradation. SLM is therefore the pathway to climate-smart agriculture, especially on a continent where more than 70% of the population is dependent directly on land resources.  With the current drought and famine crises in the Horn of Africa, now is the time for African leaders to promote SLM as a practical option for achieving transformational impacts on the ground.   

 

senegal drought
http://www.unb.ca/fredericton/cps/projects/africa.html

From dryland regions prone to frequent droughts to the humid tropics with rampant deforestation, SLM will pave the way for all African countries to have greater leverage in the global climate change discourse. It also represents a unique opportunity for enhancing synergies between the UNFCCC and other Rio Conventions - Biodiversity (CBD) and Desertification (UNCCD), especially in light of global aspirations for a low-carbon development pathway that also seeks the interest of agriculture-based economies in the developing world. As the world looks ahead to Rio+20 in 2012, there is no doubt that Durban promises to be a significant step for advancing Africa's place in future global environmental agreements. It will be a loss of opportunity if the leaders fail to seize this important moment.  

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[1] http://www.fao.org/climatechange/climatesmart/en/

[2] World Bank, 2006. Sustainable Land Management: Challenges, Opportunities, and Tradeoffs.

MargaritaArtcileClimate change and conservation: new systemic approach challenges

By: Margarita O. Zethelius 
ELP 2008
(Graduate Student MSc Conservation and Rural Development. DICE Institute, University of Kent)
Margarita

Colombia is facing big challenges regarding peace, poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation, development, and climate change adaptation. Having worked for several years in community-based conservation efforts, I have experience in how all of these issues are strongly interdependent. I am therefore working to increase my understanding of how these connections work, and how we can propose and implement integrated and systemic programs and policies in order to have more successful and efficient results surmounting these challenges. Climate change is having an increasingly devastating effect in the country; and my recent efforts have therefore focused on understanding the relations between changes in climate patterns, conservation and development, initially in protected areas buffer zones.  

 

Colombia is one of the mega-diverse countries of the world, with immense cultural and natural richness. The country has 14% of the world's biodiversity, in less than 1% of the continental surface. It has a high variety of ecosystems (65 types estimated, Humboldt Institute 1998) that play a very important role in providing vital environmental services such as water regulation, oxygen production, food production and Carbon sequestration. The country acts as a large carbon sink, not only because of its large areas of tropical forest, but also because of its extensive wetlands and mangroves. The goods and services that this mega-diverse country provides are crucial for the maintenance of global ecological systems. Nevertheless, Colombia faces daunting problems, including: a growing population, inadequate use of resources, inappropriate infrastructure and land development (eg. boom in mining), huge social conflicts, and climate change. 2010 was a dramatic year in terms of extreme weather conditions, characterized by the heaviest rainfall in the country for decades, and as a result, 28 of the 32 departments of Colombia suffered drastic floods. Over 2 million people were affected, according to the country's interior ministry.

Colombia flood

 

Nevertheless there are communities that have developed (in many cases with the support by various organizations) interesting systems for sustainability and adaptation. They are medium and small-sized communities located in regions with high biodiversity (crucial in the path towards global sustainability), some are indigenous, other peasant farmers and afro-Colombian communities. These local processes have developed a wide range of initiatives, such as: alternative productive projects (forest products and services), use of clean technologies for sanitation, energy production, agro-ecology systems, water management, waste management, ecovillages, education for sustainability, etc. Other initiatives are related to ecotourism or responsible tourism programs, environmental education projects, creation of new private reserves, and local zoning plans.

 eco hostel Colombia

The communities and the individuals are developing and tapping into great skills in terms of: implementation of alternative/traditional technologies and techniques, decision making, education and communication strategies, ecosystems approach, among others.  These skills can be key elements to address the challenges of climate change adaptation.

 

 

Many of these processes and initiatives have not been adequately documented and researched. There is a growing need to systematize them and make information about them easier to access. We need to know more about aspects such as the adaptation process behind the programs, the specific tools and methodologies developed by the communities, the work done in social, cultural, economical and environmental aspects, the conservation results, and also any negative impacts or results. All of that information can have a great impact on the design of new conservation and adaptation programs and the exchange of experiences between communities and organizations. This information is also very important for community planning, and finally, for policy making.

 

local community programTo facilitate systematization and knowledge sharing to attack Colombia's challenges, I have decided to go for a Master's Degree in Conservation and rural Development and conduct research in Community-level climate change adaptation.  My work will consist of case studies in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development from Colombian protected areas buffer zones. The investigation proposal aims to address this research need by working with local experiences in different regions of Colombia. It is another step on the path towards better understanding of the complex systems we are living in, and the role of people and groups that can make great contributions to the challenges we are facing.  

As Albert Einstein said "problems we face now cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them".   

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NegashArticleRelevance of local knowledge and experiences on climate change to effective environmental leadership

 

By Negash Teklu ELP 2011 & Mesfin Kassa, Population, Health & Environment Ethiopia Consortium


Is it vital for environmental leaders to understand and learn from the knowledge and experiences of local communities on the patterns and impacts of climate change?

Ethiopia Focus Group

A recent research conducted in a highland district of Ethiopia (3600masl), Menz Gera Midir, has shown this fact. Based on Likert scale measurement, perception of 99% of respondents have identified that unusual increase in temperature has occurred in their locality when they compare it with what they knew decades ago. These small-scale farmers provided their traditional knowledge and local evidences for the rise in temperature. According to them, they have already changed clothing style to a lighter one, changed farming time as early as possible to escape the scorching sun, increased household water consumption, and spent more time to fetch water as a result of dried up nearby springs  (Mesfin, 2010).    

Ethiopia 

How much of this perspectives of the local people coincide with the scientific knowledge? To triangulate with their perspectives, research also analyzed the temperature changes and the trend over three decades (1974-2003). The result shows a rise in temperature by 0.250C over this period. Important questions remain about how best to incorporate traditional knowledge into climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies: How can environmental leaders acknowledge the life time experiences of local communities on patterns and impacts of climate change? How useful would this information be to leaders, policy makers and development practitioners? What lesson can environmental leaders draw from the knowledge and experiences of local people?

 

Ethiopia FOcus Group

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Reference:

Mesfin Kassa Admassie, Farmers Perception & Local Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in Menz Gera Midir District, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia

EakNamindraArticleREDD+ Raised Prospect of Restoring Degraded Himalaya Forests through Community Participation
Eak and Ngamindra
By: Ngamindra Dahal and Eak Rana, ELP 2011, Nepal


 

Introduction:

 

Forests managed through active engagement of local communities in the Himalaya region have demonstrated high rates of carbon accumulation capacity and significantly contributed to abating climate change mitigation through community based forest-carbon finance initiatives. At the same time, mountain forests offer several ecosystem services serving to strengthen local livelihoods and thereby enhance climate change adaptive capacity of locals. Evidence shows that community managed forests in the Himalaya region showcase a perfect example of sustainable forest management practices, with the prospect of enhancing quality of life in the communities while mitigating greenhouse gases from forests. Research and piloting of REDD on various land use conditions of the 2500 km long Himalaya topography reveals that restoring mountain forests of the Himalaya is possible through community based REDD+ interventions.  This paper focuses on how REDD+ efforts offer a bright prospect of saving and restoring the Himalaya forests that are critically important not only for reducing emissions from land uses but also for saving the ecosystem services on which millions of populations in the region depend.

 

Prospect of REDD in the Himalaya

 

The origin of REDD lies on the concept of reducing emissions from large-scale deforestation in the tropical forests. Therefore, issues related to the tropical forests still dominate REDD in terms of rule setting, particularly in baselines, additionalities, leakages and MRVs. However, while the Himalaya region is facing significant deforestation and forest degradation, the characteristics of forests and land use patterns of the region do not resemble those of tropical forests.  In the case of the Himalaya, strict interpretation of a REDD finance mechanism alone would provide few benefits, and a preferred strategy will combine enhanced forest management (REDD+) combined with agriculture, agroforestry, and rangelands.

 

Due to the mountain terrain, the Himalayas provide unique ecosystems conditions for REDD implementation. Along with opportunities, mountain systems also create unique problems for REDD design. Community forestry, communal ownership and a high diversity of land tenure and legal frameworks will require flexible REDD policies. Methods, approaches, and mechanisms applicable in lowland forests may not be applicable in mountains, where for example remote sensing is inaccurate due to terrain and shadow. Like many mountainous areas, the Himalaya region is a particularly data deficient area. REDD efforts are likely to be hampered by the lack of forest inventory data, low capacity to estimate biomass, lack of secondary data for ground truthing, and the area's remoteness for verification and monitoring. Additionally, forest degradation is a more important process than deforestation in the Himalaya, but is more difficult to estimate, so that estimation of baseline change is difficult to achieve.

 

 

Table 1: Biophysical Potential of Improved forest management activities in HIMALAYA region.

Country

Eligible forest area for IMF activities (000 ha) (% of total forest area)

Mitigation potential

(t CO2 ha-1 year)

Biophysical potential

(million t CO2yr-1)

Potential annual revenues

(US$ in millions)

Afghanistan

0

n.a.

n.a.

n.a.

Bangladesh

191 (23%)

0.27-4

0.4

4

Bhutan

1050 (45%)

0.27-4

2.7

28

China

13995 (33%)

0.27-4

29.8

298

India

9705 (48%)

0.26-1.5/0.27.4

13.4

133

Myanmar

310 (2.2%)

0.27-4.0

0.7

6.6

Nepal

3711

0.26-1.5/0.27.4

5.6

55.8

Pakistan

387 (17.5%)

0.27-4

0-8

8.2

 


 Based on carbon price of US $ 10 per ton CO2 Source:ICIMOD 2009

 

Forest ecosystems in the HIMALAYA region are among the most highly vulnerable natural systems to climate change coupled with persistence anthropogenic pressures. Growing incidents of forest fires, mainly during long and severe droughts, sudden outbreaks of diseases in tree species, rapid and frequent induction of invasive alien species having detrimental effects on endemic forest ecosystems are evident in the Himalaya region. In addition, the majority of mountain dwellers in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region live on marginal resources to support their livelihoods, depending on subsistence agricultural businesses and local forests to meet their daily needs of firewood for cooking, fodder for livestock and litters for manure among others. An appropriately designed REDD+ mechanism could therefore create a unique opportunity to reverse the deforestation and forest degradation trends, thereby, contributing to reduce the vulnerability of both people and ecosystem in the area.  However, the strict nature of REDD finance mechanism is likely to fail to recognize the immense geographical and cultural diversity of the region. REDD+ offers a vast scope of mobilizing resources for dual purposes of addressing climate challenges and benefiting the local communities who provide the stewardship to protect the ecosystems.

 

 

Implications of expanded REDD to the Himalaya

 

An agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) approach greatly expands the potential for carbon sequestration in the land-use sector with greater benefits for the countries of the Himalaya region. Comparative analysis of the biophysical potential of the various mitigation activities in the region draws a clear picture showing that only a mitigation approach combining activities in different land-uses provides benefits for all countries in the region, and sufficient incentive for all countries to show interest. With regard to the political debate on whether to establish a broader land use mitigation mechanism for the forthcoming post-Kyoto commitment period, the results for the region favor developing a regional approach integrating most land-uses into one mechanism, along the lines of proposed AFOLU (sometimes referred to as REDD++) approaches.

 

CO2 graph
Annual carbon mitigation potential from in Himalaya region (in million ton per year) Source: ICIMOD 2009

 

With respect to avoided deforestation and avoided forest degradation (REDD) Myanmar and Nepal have the highest potential. Despite being proportionally smaller than the big Himalaya countries China and India, Myanmar and Nepal have the highest potential on a per hectare basis with regard to avoided unplanned deforestation. The potential for avoided forest degradation has certainly been both over- and under-estimated in some of the countries, but the results indicate a definite potential throughout the whole region. Due to its high percentage of pristine tropical rainforests, Myanmar can be seen as a 'classical' country for future REDD project activities.

 

Improved forest management (IFM) and afforestation, reforestation or re-vegetation (ARR) activities have high potentials in China and India as well as in Nepal. The large areas of waste and marginal land in India and China suggest potentially higher reforestation activities. The potential of IFM, which is dependent on existing forestry institutions, is concentrated in China, where vast areas of forest plantations (mainly pine) need to be silviculturally improved. To some extent, this also applies to India. In Nepal, there is a high potential for IFM within the forest areas under the community forest management regime. According to FAO (2009), in Nepal about 75% of the forest in the mid hills and 15% in the Terai will be managed directly by local forest user groups by the year 2020. Bhutan, though the smallest country in the region, also has considerable potential for IFM due to the high proportion of forested areas.

 

Rangeland management activities, notably in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in China, in north-western India and in Afghanistan, show high carbon mitigation potential. Studies from Tibet show that grasslands are overstocked and carbon finance could play a role in providing herders with an incentive to reduce stocking rates (Tennigkeit and Wilkes 2008), thus leading to a high biophysical potential. In the semi-arid rangelands of India and Afghanistan, the activities of vegetation cultivation for increased biomass could lead to additional potentials (not considered in this study).

  

hemalaya 2
Marcus Williamson, Marketing Biodiversity in Thailand,
http://www.adkn.org/en/agriculture/article.asp?a=2

Promotion of sustainable agricultural land management practices is well suited for regional project approaches covering whole landscapes. Soil carbon sequestration potentials are dependent on cropping systems (maize-based, ricebased), management systems (tillage, manure application), soil types, and climate factors. Thus a systems-based, regional project approach should be favoured in maize-based farming systems (e.g. focusing on residue management in mixed farming/livestock systems in the Indian and Nepali mid-hills). But projects in the agricultural commodity sector, such as tea, rice, and sugarcane, are also of particular interest.

 

Synergetic approaches: mitigation activities, particularly within a landscape approach, are clearly synergetic with adaption strategies to climate change. The Himalaya region, notably prone to climate change impacts with far-reaching consequences for ecosystems and livelihoods, needs clear adaptation strategies in the whole land-use sector. Promoting mitigation activities, especially as a holistic approach, can also be considered an adaption strategy since the reversing of land degradation, enhancement of the natural resource base, and increased crop productivity and food security are among the important potential co-benefits, apart from generating carbon credits.

 

Examples of rewarding community initiative

 

REDD+ initiatives undertaken in the region with support from international agencies e.g. World Bank, and UNREDD have reinforced community-led actions and provided supports to communities who manage local forests dealing with enhanced forest s REDD+ activities, CFUGs within the watershed are nestled in Watershed REDD Network- which acts as a sub-national institution for REDD+. It is active at local level for dispute resolution, communication, monitor and successful implementation of REDD activities. It facilitates the local community through their organizations called Community Forest Users' Group (CFUG) in identifying local drivers of forest degradation, finds the ways and involves forest users in forest improvement activities.

 

hemalaya  community forestry
Members of a Community Forest Users Group (CFUG) in Nepal measuring tree for carbon assessment

 

Now, local forest users are trained and involved in forest carbon inventory on their forest. They are oriented on sustainable practices of forest management and provided support with construction of biogas plant and improved cook stoves for meeting their firewood needs. With project supports, CFUGs have identified forest management activities and few have incorporated into their forest operation plan. Enthusiasm over forest activities and forest operational plan of users appeared when they received formal approval from the government forest authority. As part of restoration of degraded forests, watershed communities planted over 60 thousands of native and culturally valuable tree seedlings in nearly 40 ha of community and private forest land. They have improved grazing system and constructed forest fire for stimulating natural forest regeneration as well as avoiding forest damages.

 

For their outstanding contribution of forest conservation and saving, CFUGs of three watershed districts were rewarded under the scheme of pilot forest carbon trust fund designed by REDD+ pilot project. Pilot trust fund was designed by the project in multi-stakeholder consultative process in 2010 so as to provide performance - based incentive to local communities for their efforts to conserve forest. A total of US$ 95,000 was equitably disbursed to 105 CFUGs of three watersheds based on carbon saving performance, number of indigenous and poor households and women populations.

 

Forest users felt happy when they were awarded with incentives for their efforts. Mr. Harisharan Neupane, member of Simpani CFUGs Dolakha expressed "we had never thought someone rewards our forests management efforts. However, efforts have now been recognised and we have additional benefits from our forests and trees. Similar feeling was expressed by Ms. Sanu Maya Basnet, chairperson of Laxmi Women CFUG, Gorkha. Regarding the fund, both promised to spend on forest conservation and livelihood improvement of women and poor people as per suggestions of committee members and users."

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ShiraSGIAl 'Oja Village Greywater project update, October 2011
Shira Kronich, ELP 2009
Shira SGI

Over the last year, two wastewater treatment systems were built in Al Oja Village, in the West Bank. This system includes a greywater recycling for household agricultural use. After the construction and testing phase were complete, the effluent was monitored to evaluate the efficiency of the system in producing the desired water quality for the desired use. Concurrently numerous site visits were organized with scientists and researchers from the Southern Arava and Jordan Valley agricultural research and development stations. Shira SGI 2Now that the system is constructed and fully operational the core focus of the project is on safe agricultural productivity from the treated effluent.  

 

Additionally a number of workshops and meetings were coordinated between Israeli and Palestinian mayors and professionals for capacity building tours and a transboundary appreciation of the wastewater situations in the region. These site visits included tours of the Um al Fahm wastewater site, Ra'anana Water Corporation, Hiriya Recycling Park for solid waste recycling and others..

The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies' (AIES) Centre for Transboundary Water Management (CTWM)  and the Palestinian Wastewater Engineering Group (PWEG) were invited to present the Oja rural sanitation/wastewater reuse project, at the Genoa Festival dell Acqua. This is a weeklong festival of meetings, lectures, dance, music; and included a session modestly called "Water and Peace in the Middle East".  

 Shira SGI 3

In the coming months we will disseminate a final report of the wastewater treatment system, including recommendations for further agricultural development, food security, implementation potential and scalability. Furthermore, we are fundraising for a complete village scale wastewater master plan. This will include neighborhood 'centralized' systems and technologies as well as household decentralized system and an in depth economic plan for the systems. The master plan will analyze infrastructure installation and monthly operation and maintenance costs and tariffs.  

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RobinSGILocal Development: A Dialogue Among Universities and Communities
By Robin Marsh, ELP Co-Director and Angela Weber, ELP 2008

Brazil 2
The idea for this project started six years ago in a Bahian community called Iraporanga, also known as Parnaíba.   This remote community situated near to the beautiful national park, Chapada Diamantina, founded a community cultural organization in 2003 that set as its development goal to become a successful "eco-tourist" destination while conserving their cultural identity.  They committed to a development path that would sustain their fragile and precious natural resources.  To achieve these goals community leaders insisted on being co-creators, beneficiaries and actors of their own development. 

 

Brazil 3At this time Angela Weber (ELP 2008), was a student at CIAGS - Interdisciplinary Center for Development and Social Management, Federal University of Bahia, taking a specialization training in management and social responsibility. As part of the training, Angela participated in the Environmental Leadership Program's summer certificate course in Sustainable Environmental Management at the University of California in 2008. At the ELP, while relating with environmental leaders from all over the world who were working in diverse fields, Angela came to realize that critique of the classic development paradigm, and the goal of "sustainable development", were the common aspects  of all their work.  With this realization also came some interesting questions:  What is the development that communities are seeking? How do they plan to achieve it?  How might universities and other "expertise" be useful to communities seeking to manage their own development processes?  

Brazil 4 

These ideas led to the collaborative project, partially funded by the ELP Small Grants Initiative, called:   Collaborative Research to Understand and Integrate Local Community Values and Leadership for Sustainable Development.  The project was also funded by PETROBRAS.   The main research objective was to test the hypothesis that local villages can start with their "traditional knowledge", and, given certain methodological tools, have the capacity to produce their own data and perspectives on their development process and sustainable model for the future.   The action part of the project was to give the communities an opportunity to speak out for themselves in creative, innovative and transformation ways, with a focus on youth, followed by a culminating seminar held in May 2011 at CIAGS in Salvador, Bahia.  Professor Robin Marsh assisted on designing the project, visited the Chapada communities, and participated in the May 2011 seminar. The project also resulted in a co-authored article with ELP 2008 alum, Roberto Rivas, from Nicaragua, that was published in the ISTR International Society for Third Sector Research 2010 congress in Istanbul, Turkey.   A second article has been submitted for publication in an anthropology journal. 

 

The project had three stages....(read more...)  


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AlumniUpdatesALUMNI UPDATES:

Celeste Cedillo (ELP 2002) shares: I'm now working as a consultant for the Hewlett Foundation and studying a PhD on the evaluation of environmental public policies.  I got married and I have a handsome son named Nicolás.   I live in Mexico City.

 

Wondimu Tekle Sigo (ELP 2005) writes that he has a new job at the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Water and Energy Ministry.  He is now a State Minister, located in Addis Ababa.   

     

Zoely Ramanase (ELP 2006) sends this news:  Starting April 2010, I became a f reelance Consultant and mainly focused in "USG Environmental Compliance". Each single project funded by USAID has to comply with Reg 216, and my role is to help people from technical staff to local community to ensure that their Environmental Mitigation Plan, written in the Project document are really implemented and monitored at field level. I've worked so far with two MYAP (Multiple Year Assistance Program) involved in Food security to promote this "Go Green" 

 

 

Dr. Anthony Penaso (ELP 2007), from the Philippines, was lucky enough to have a brief ELP alumni reunion/networking in April 2011 at the University of Oxford.  He participated in the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) Action Lab at the University of Oxford, UK, where he met up with Dr. Alejandro Mendez Lopez (ELP 2005).

 

 

 

Robert Wandera Odonya (ELP 2008) has been collaborating with Donald Hodge (ELP 2008). He is currently working for Uvumbuzi Youth Organization as a program coordinator. He is in charge of the project that they are undertaking -coming up with Eco Houses within his division for sustainable income generation for youth. This project is underway and almost complete! He wishes to appeal for contacts for support if any of our alums has suggestions, in order for his organization to accomplish their project.
Next March, Robert will be attending a course at Wageningen UR.  The course will be about climate change in agriculture and sustainable development.  Robert also hopes to meet up with Kenyan and East African ELP Alums to come up with something and exchange ideas for a better future.    

 

Monique Mikhail (ELP 2008) writes that she is now at Oxfam GB, working as sustainable agriculture policy adviser on their new GROW campaign all about food security in a resource constrained world. She also recently got engaged to her partner.

 

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Roberto (Beto) Rivas Hermann (ELP 2008) writes:

Dear ELPs, after four years since my participation in the program, I found each time new opportunities to increase the inspiration from UC Berkeley. This year was particularly productive in professional and family life. On June 16th, I presented my MSc Thesis entitled "Cleaner shipping drivers as ecopreneurial opportunities; the case of Frederikshavn".  I concluded the Joint European Master in Environmental Studies at Aalborg University. I will continue researching at Aalborg University for my PhD project which I'm just starting in October. The project aims to contribute to the understanding of clean technology innovation and diffusion in the maritime industry (especially freight transportation).  As part of the project I'll conduct empirical studies in the Baltic Sea, and I'm deeply considering going back to California as well.  I'm pretty sure that my participation at the ELP 2008 opened my eyes into the world of environmental innovation and entrepreneurship. I  include here a picture of two ELP Nicaraguans (with Kirkman Roe, ELP 2011), it was taken during my quick visit to this year's ELP graduation dinner.       

 

Mimi Damwyk (ELP 2008) shares: In 2009 I got married with my American boyfriend and I moved to Los Angeles.  Since then, I have not been able to find a job that is suitable to my background and experiences, so I've tried volunteering in another field that is very different than what I used to do, but I enjoy it.  I am volunteering in Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena now and I am joining their docent training program so I will also become voluntary docent in that museum.  
I sincerely hope that someday I will be able to take part in environmental field again because it is something that I have big passion about, and if other ELP alums have ideas, I'd welcome them.

 

Zabardast Khan Bangash (ELP 2010) sends Greetings from Quetta, Pakistan: I attended International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 5th Asia Regional Conservation Forum (RCF) held at Incheon, Republic of Korea from September 26-30. IUCN holds Regional Conservation Fora every four years around the world in advance of IUCN's World Conservation Congress (WCC), the next to be held in Jeju, Republic of Korea 6-15 September 2012. The Asia Regional Conservation Forum was co-hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea and the IUCN National Committee of Members in Korea. The RCF was jointly organized by IUCN and the Korean Organizing Committee for 2012 WCC. The RCF brought together some 500 representatives from IUCN's Membership, Commissions, Secretariat, Council, donors and partners in Asia. The RCF was intended to facilitate the identification of critical conservation issues facing the region and build consensus on how these concerns can be addressed. The theme for this year was "Greening Asia's Growth Nature+".  

 

Yulia Yevtushok (ELP 2010) works for the Russian representative office of Oxfam in Moscow.

She sends the following updates on her own behalf and on behalf of another ELP alum, Natalia Belova (2003):

 Oxfam launched the GROW Week of Action  http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blog/11-10-10-get-ready-grow-week-15-22-october.  Oxfam, Russia, translated the materials into Russian, and Natalia and I promoted the week in Russian social networks and blogs. We invite people to arrange food talks inviting their friends and relatives to talk about food justice in the world (http://grow.clicr.ru/news/44).  Oxfam invited people to send their food related stories, pictures and videos to GROWWEEK@POSTEROUS.COM where they are aggregated, and posted on the GROW website during the Week of Action (announcement in Russian is posted here: http://grow.clicr.ru/news/45)

And the Russian office of Oxfam is launching the online contest on grow.clicr.ru website. The people from different parts of Russia are welcome to post recipes of traditional food of their region/community/family with pictures of people sharing food. The recipes should be about food made of local products.

 

The Russian representative office of Oxfam posted the environmental campaigning toolkit to climate change online hub clicr.ru (Oxfam initiated the webportal where Oxfam partners and allies can share their climate related info). One of the Russian environmental activist Dmitriy Shevchenko, Coordinator of the Environmental Watch in the North Caucases, a well-known organisation by their campaigns defending Utrish natural park, and scandal around the prime-minister palace) developed the campaigning toolkit (http://clicr.ru/post/show/id/1064) The toolkit tells about the experience of several initiative groups and lessons learned from their successful campaigns and failures, and provides step by step information what should be done by activists if they want to initiate campaign. The toolkit is about the grass-root initiatives which grew from local/community initiative to regional or even national campaigns and movements. This is truly Russian experience (as we very often hear that it's much easier to campaign if you're a big international NGO with western support, rather than when you are a small unkown organisation or just a group of people).

 

I joined the Blog Action Day http://blogactionday.org/ to celebrate the World Food Day on the 16th of October 2011, and invite my colleagues, Oxfam partners and allies to join it.  I'm also going to the 37th session of the CFS/FAO in Rome from the 16th to 19th of October. I'm going there as a representative of Oxfam, Russia, and bring a representative of the Russian civil society, Alexander Novikov, President of the "Institute for Human and Economic Problems of Food Security" non-profit organisation. Alexander will share recommendations on behalf of Russian civil society concerning food security and nutrition.

 

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Maria Rita Borba (ELP 2010) notes: this year I met many of our ELP fellows in Rio - when Robin came to Brazil, including Margherita Vitale from Italy (ELP 2010) and Marcio Halla (ELP 2007).  I also met Karin Kaechele (ELP 2008) by chance in the US, this October - small world!

 

Ana Neves (ELP 2010) writes: 

Dear Friends, I am proud to tell you that my first literature book 'Pantanáutilus' is going to be launched on November 6, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It is a fiction for teenagers and young adults on the adventures of a girl and her monkey friend on board the submarine Pantanáutilus, in which they discover the nature of the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands in a unique perspective. Although it was still not launched, I am glad that the book was in the Rio Bienal and its reading was recommended by an important Brazilian newspapper. Only Portuguese version for the moment...

 

Margherita Vitale (ELP 2010) would like to share share with the other ELP alums that she left the climate change negotiations and now deals with the bilateral cooperation for the protection of the environment between Italy and Brazil.  She is currently coordinating a national project for the creation of an eco label in the italian wine production.       

 

Rebecca Sullivan (ELP 2010) writes: I am actually based in Australia now. Just got home and decided its time to stay.... Other than tree sisters, I am working on my baby now called Dirty Girl Kitchen. It is about protection of granny skills and socially linking elderly women with disadvantaged girls of all ages to teach these skills. Its going well here in OZ and very exciting.     

 

Gianluca Gondolini  (ELP 2011) sends the following update/announcement: Following and as result of ELP 2011 course, I decided to make a radical change in my professional career.  I am now leading the development of  a new project for setting up a global consultancy company focused on providing services for sustainable agriculture and rural livelihoods in developing as well as developed countries. The goal is to improve efficiency along the food value chain and streamline sustainability issues through capacity building, awareness-raising and a number of innovative approaches. We expect the company to be co-owned and managed by a team of colleagues from the Environmental/Agricultural sectors. I strongly encourage ELP peers to send their expression of interest outlining skills, contribution, expectations and commitments and proposed way of collaboration. All suggestions, contacts and ideas are mostly welcome. Contact me at gianlucagondolini@yahoo.it   On a personal note, I am planning to get back to California and for sure pay a visit to ELP staff and bring my family to explore the wonderful Bay area during spring time 2012.

 

Ngamindra Dahal (ELP 2011) wants to share the following updates with his ELP colleagues: I am Developing and implementing climate change and environment management training curriculum for the public sector (government) organizations in Nepal. I am Writing 2 research papers on REDD in the context of the HImalaya. I am also Pursuing PhD research.  I have been successful to add new value and energy to all these activities with my learning in ELP 2011.

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For more information about the Beahrs ELP, please visit our website.

Sincerely,

Sarah Sawyer
Beahrs ELP
Alumni Network Coordinator