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Learning to Communicate the Lessons of the Loess Plateau

Author: John D Liu

John D. Liu, Director of the EEMP, has documented the rehabilitation of the Loess Plateau since 1995, and since then has presented his findings and the images of the Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project to over 300 audiences in China, Europe, Africa, and USA.

Here is a clip from a recent interview with Liu where he recalls the significance of the project:

RI: Apart from the ecosystem benefits, the Loess Plateau project also helped lift 2.5 million people in four of the poorest provinces in China out of poverty. Is that correct?

Liu: Well, there are different ways to look at it because the Loess Plateau project influenced more than just the project areas. It changed national policy. Some of the negative behaviors, such as slope farming, tree cutting or free ranging of goats and sheep—behaviors that were devastating to biodiversity, biomass and organic material—were banned nationwide because of the work done on the Loess Plateau.

Landscape restoration does not only change ecological function, it changes the socio-economic function and when you get down to it, it changes the intention of human society. So if the intention of human society is to extract, to manufacture, to buy and sell things, then we are still going to have a lot of problems. But when we generate an understanding that the natural ecological functions that create air, water, food and energy are vastly more valuable than anything that has ever been produced or bought and sold, or anything that ever will be produced and bought and sold – this is the point where we turn the corner to a consciousness which is much more sustainable.”

Liu later produced a report that outlines lessons learned from the project.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT FROM ACADEMIA

 

Agroforestry offers sustainable alternative to worrying trend in Mekong region

Author: Kate Langford

A shift towards monoculture plantations and higher chemical use is of great concern to many in the Mekong region, particularly due to the impact this is having on food security and health.

Farmers who have resisted monoculture cropping, and opted to maintain or create mixed-species agroforestry systems, are benefiting from income and food security and reduced reliance on fertilizer and pesticides.

“Rubber trees are invading fruit orchards and watershed forest,” explains Cheardsak Kuaraska, vice-dean of the Faculty of Technology and Community Development at Thaksin University in Phattalung, Thailand. “Oil palm is invading rice paddy and lowland forests, especially peat forests.” He warns that southern Thailand is now faced with a food security problem.

Kuaraska estimates that rubber and oil palm now cover 33 per cent of the province of Phattalung in Thailand. Not only are they replacing food crops, he says, they are impacting on ecosystems; farmers are using higher amounts of fertilizer which is causing damage to the environment and health problems.

Lamphoune Xyvongsa from the Faculty of Forestry at the National University of Lao explains that it is becoming more difficult for people to gather food from the forest because many natural forests have been converted to plantations.

Kuaraska and Xyvongsa are among a group of researchers and farmers from Thailand, Lao, Cambodia and Viet Nam who appear in a series of 13 short films produced by the World Agroforestry Centre, discussing land-use problems in their countries and the role agroforests play in solving them.

Both believe agroforestry offers a sustainable alternative for farmers in the Mekong region; providing them with year-round income and a diversity of foods and other products while also offering many environmental benefits.

“How can we expand this knowledge to other farmers so that they can change their practice from monoculture to mixed-species?” asks Kuaraska. “Research is still necessary. We need to collaborate so that we can compare data on how one kind of farming practices is better than other kinds.

Farmers Chamni Yodkaewruang and Charus Kaewkong from Phattalung, Thailand and Pasith Pimpramote, from Vientiane in Laos, say agroforestry gives them different products at different times which can be consumed and or sold.

KEEP READING ON GLOBAL LANDSCAPES FORUM

Hornbill Hunting Impacts Spread of Forests

Author: PTI

NEW DELHI: Hunting down hornbills has a direct impact on the spread of forests as the bird is known for its seed dispersal abilities, a study has found.

The study was conducted by the Indian Institute of Science and Mysore-based Nature Conservation Foundation in Namdapha Tiger Reserve and Miao reserve forest in Arunachal Pradesh. The Namdapha Tiger Reserve is the third largest national park in the country in terms of area. The Miao reserve forest is located to the west of Namdapha National park. Both are known for hornbill sightings. The former is a known to be a well-protected area, while the latter is hugely disturbed.

The Namdapha Tiger Reserve is the third largest national park in the country in terms of area. The Miao reserve forest is located to the west of Namdapha Tiger Reserve.

The study indicated steep decline in both fruiting plants and hornbills, and very low rates of seed dispersal in the disturbed Miao reserve forest, as compared to the Namdapha Tiger Reserve.

Keep Reading in The Economic Times

Onarıcı Tarım: TOPRAK KURTULUŞUMUZ OLABİLİR Mİ?

Yazar: Durukan Dudu

Onarıcı tarımla uğraşanlar çiftçiliğin, çobanlığın, kırsalda yaşamın, gıda üretiminin “toplumun alt tabakalarına”, “cahillere” layık olduğunu söyleyen ana akım paradigmayla dalga geçen ve önemli kısmı sonradan olma çiftçilerden oluşan genç, yaratıcı, özgürlükçü bir nesil. Toprak Atlasından bir makale;

Bizi asla bırakmayacağına, hep bıraktığımız yerde duracağına, sadık yârimiz olduğuna emin olduğumuz toprak hakkında ne biliyoruz? Her gün adımladığımız toprağın içinde ne olup bittiği hakkında bilgilerimiz, gizemli ve sır dolu evrenin işleyişi hakkında bildiklerimizden fazla değil. Bildiklerimiz ise coğrafya kitaplarında yazanın aksine toprağı onarıp geleceğimizi güvence altına alabileceğimizi söylüyor.

Her şeyden önce toprak, gezegendeki en zengin ve bereketli ekosistem. Dünyaca ünlü toprak uzmanı ve “Soil Food Web” (Toprak Gıda Ağı) kurucusu Dr. Elaine Ingham ve Avusturalyalı bilim insanı Christine Jones başta olmak üzere “bütüncül” toprak bilimcilerinin ısrarla hatırlattığı çok önemli bir nokta var: Toprak, mineraller, toz ya da kaya segmentleri, oksijen ve mikro organizmalardan oluşan “ayrılmaz ve ayrılması teklif dahi edilemez” bir bütün. Sabanla, pullukla, traktörle, kimyasal gübreler ve zehirlerle sıkıştırılıp havasız hale getirilmiş ve mikroorganizmaları soykırıma uğramış toz parçaları bilimsel olarak da toprak değil. Çünkü toprak canlı bir habitat. Bombalarla yerle bir edilip içindeki tüm canlıların yok edildiği, binaların moloz yığınına dönüştüğü bir yere nasıl yaşam alanı; şehir, köy ya da kasaba demiyorsak artık, içindeki tüm yaşamın yok edilip bununla bağlantılı olarak toprağın fiziksel yapısının bozulduğu zemine de toprak demiyoruz.

Öte yandan “bir santim toprak 1000 yılda oluşur” söylemi tamamen yanlış değil ama önemli ölçüde eksik. Toprak fiziksel ve biyolojik olmak üzere iki süreçle oluşur. Evet, fiziksel toprak oluşumu için uzun zaman gerekir: kayalar aşınacak, çatlayacak, toz haline gelecek, mikroorganizmalar tarafından sindirilip toprağın yapıtaşlarına dönüşecek. Ancak biyolojik toprak oluşumu ki; esas süreç budur, bir çoğumuzun hayal edebileceğinden çok daha hızlı gerçekleşebiliyor: Onarıcı tarım yöntemleriyle, aynı arazide bir yandan çok sağlıklı ve verimli gıda üretimi yapıp bir yandan da senede 1-2 santim toprak yaratmak işten bile değil. Bu toprak oluşumu fotosentez ve toprak üstü çürüme döngülerini güçlendirerek kısmen yukarı doğru, çoğunlukla ise üst toprak altındaki kayaç kısımları canlı üst toprağa dönüştürerek aşağıya doğru gerçekleşiyor. Türkiye’de son 50 yılda hızlanan yok edici tarım pratiklerinin de etkisiyle 30-50 santimlik üst toprak katmanı “görece iyi” kabul ediliyor bugün, halbuki 3-4 metrelik üst toprak katmanlarına yeniden ve oldukça hızlı bir biçimde ulaşmak mümkün. Teknik bir detay zannedilmesin bu, böylesi bir değişimin sonuçları en ala bilim kurgu kitabını aratmayacak kadar derin ve radikal.

Okumaya devam edin

TOPRAK ATLASI – Toprak, araziler ve tarlalar hakkındaki olgular ve rakamsal veriler

Arazi fiyatları neden sürekli yükseliyor? Her yıl ne kadar toprak kaybediliyor? Beslenme için yılda kaç kilometrekare tarla ve mera arazisi ithal ediliyor? Arazinin gerçek sahibi kim?

Bu ve benzeri sorulara tarla, arazi ve toprağa dair sayı ve olgularla yanıt veren ilk toprak atlası Türkçeye çevrildi. 2015 Toprak Atlası çok sayıda grafik ve metinle üzerinde yaşadığımız toprağın durumuna ve bunların maruz kaldığı tehlikelere dair güncel bilgiler sunuyor. Öncelikle Almanca ve İngilizce olarak hazırlanan raporun Türkçe versiyonu, Türkiye’den güncel bilgiler ve uzman görüşlerinin katkısıyla daha zengin bir içeriğe sahip.

Türkiye’den Atlas’a eklenen makaleler köylü, toprak ve iktidarın Türkiye’deki sancılı ilişkisini ve mülksüzleştirilme tarihi üzerinden toprağı irdeliyor. Bunların yanı sıra Atlas dünya literatüründe çoğunlukla yabancı bir ülkenin hükümeti ve/veya şirketleriyle bağlantılı olarak anılan toprak gaspının Türkiye’de bizzat devlet eliyle nasıl mümkün kılındığını, son dönemde çıkan yasaların etkilerini ve kadınların toprak mülkiyetindeki paylarını da anlatıyor.

2015 Toprak Atlası, arazi ve toprak hacminin giderek daha da azaldığını açıkça gözler önüne seriyor. Almanya’da kent ve karayolları inşası, günde 70 hektar, yani 100 futbol sahasından geniş bir alanın tüketimine yol açıyor. Almanya aynı zamanda, kendi büyüklüğünün iki katına tekabül eden, yaklaşık 80 milyon hektarlık bir alandan gelen tarım ürünleri ve diğer tüketim malları ithalatı yapıyor. Avrupa Birliği’nde de durum pek iç açıcı değil. AB nüfusunun tüketimi için, 28 üye ülkenin toplam alanının bir buçuk katı olan 640 milyon hektarlık bir alana gereksinim var. Avrupa’daki tüketim için kullanılan alanın yaklaşık yüzde 60’ı, AB sınırları dışında yer alıyor. Bu nedenle Avrupa gerek yaşam tarzı, gerekse tarım sanayi ve enerji gereksinimi için sınırların dışına en fazla bağımlı olan kıta konumunda.

 

Okumaya devam edin

We Don’t Need Ketchum in Our Mustard

Monsanto’s PR – attempting to control science.
-Dr Vandana Shiva

Around the time The New Yorker published a personal attack on me, in 2014 (my response – Seeds of Truth), there was also an effort to quickly approve field trials of 12 GMO crops, illegally. Currently, as Monsanto’s push in India, through corruption and lobbying, to get approval for Genetically Modified Mustard becomes stronger, Monsanto’s ‘typewriters for hire’ are preparing another attack on me to distract from the science and international laws, in a bid to rush the approval of Terminator GM Mustard, illegally.

I had to look up Kavin Senapathy when I got this email from her.

She is obviously a bright girl, in her thirties, full of promise. A college graduate from the University of Wisconsin and resident of Madison, Kavin studied Business and Marketing. But lists herself as a “science defender” and “science popularizer”- whatever that means?!

Kavin has an account at academia.edu, where she publishes her work, in her area of study.

Her undergraduate education, in Business and Marketing helps/ed her as a gifted Business Development Manager at Genome International Corporation (GIC),a bioinformatics corporation that provides IT solutions for genome mapping and has various patents, which I’m certain, are licensed by/to/from/with Monsanto – the company Kavin will defend in her forthcoming blog post.

Either she still works for GIC, or is so gifted at her Business Development work, that she has found a richer, new employer  – Monsanto. To help with their Business Development, i.e. propaganda or “pro-GMO writer”.

In a blog post attacking Vani Hari (on Biology Fortified, a small biotech propaganda outlet), she states:

“I’m a mother and science writer, and I’ve been critical of Hari’s work over the last several months. I am not a scientist by the traditional definition. I don’t have a PhD., nor have I authored peer-reviewed research publications. Still, I have a unique perspective afforded by the intersection of a sound working knowledge of genomics, genetics, and bioinformatics. I’ve garnered this knowledge being raised by a molecular biologist, working for a small private-sector genomics R&D company, and via coursework and extensive reading on the subject.”

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We care for Life – The Power in Caring – A message from Dr Vandana Shiva

The Global Movement for Seed Freedom invites you to join people and communities around the globe, from the 2nd to the 16th of October to celebrate our seeds, our soils, our land, our territories, and to create an Earth Democracy based on Living Seed, Living Soil, healthy communities and living economies.

We are living in a changing and challenging world.

We clearly have two totally different world orders, two totally different world views, two totally different paradigms evolving.

One is based on ONE Corporation with one paradigm, one agriculture, monopolies, monocultures, crushing the soil, crushing the biodiversity, crushing the small farmers, crushing our bodies with disease. On the other hand we have billions of species, millions of people.

We, the people – cannot fail the Earth, each other and the future.

We believe that in the seed and the soil we find the answers to every one of the crises we face.

The crisis of hunger and disease, the crisis of violence and war; the crisis of the destruction of democracy.

If each of us takes a pledge to protect the Living Seed and protect the Living Soil, to grow our food as close to home as we can, in our balconies, on our terraces, with our farmers closest to us, we can also solve the climate problem, without waiting for governments to come to an agreement.

Join us in an amazing uprising of love and care where we act as one heart, as one mind and one consciousness to say no to this ecocide and genocide that is no longer a theory: it is happening all around us, to every society, in every generation and to every species.

We care for Life and we believe in the power of caring.

We will build living economies, we will become the change we want to see.

With our love: for biodiversity, for the soil, for the Earth, and for fellow human beings. And we’ll draw inspiration, hope and strength from the fact that the will to live is stronger than the will to kill: the power to love is stronger than the power to destroy.

Join us in the revolution of caring for Life

Add your actions to the Seed Freedom Calendar

Bija Swaraj not Bt Raj : The Future is Organic, not GMOs

Farmers, first of all, are breeders. They might not have the lab coats that have come to define modern plant breeding, but their wisdom, knowledge and contribution is unquestionable. To be able to continue breeding, using their own seed,  is their first right, their first freedom and their first duty.

This right has been recognised in India’s Plant Variety Protection and Farmers Rights Act

“39 (iv) a farmer shall be deemed to be entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act”

All seeds bred by the public sector or by private corporations are based on varieties bred by farmers.

For the last 2 decades, Monsanto has forcefully monopolised the cotton seed sector with its Bt Cotton seeds, through illegal, illegitimate and corrupt means. It controls 95% of the cotton seed supply and collects royalties in the form of technology fees even tough it does not have a valid patent – because Monsanto introduced Bt cotton into India illegally, before India changed its patent laws (following a WTO – TRIPS dispute), and when we did amend our patent act we introduced clause 3 (j) clearly defining that biological processes are not inventions.

Keep Reading on Dr. Vandana Shiva’s Website

Seed Satyagraha (Civil Disobedience to end Seed Slavery)

Read more: Download Seed Satyagraha Booklet

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people” – Henry Kissinger

“Control seed and you control life, itself” – Dr. Vandana Shiva

Humanity has sustained itself through organic agriculture for the last 10,000 years, working with nature, using nature’s inherent urge to grow, adapt, create diversity; selecting good seeds for nutrition, taste and resilience. Food is Organic and despite corporate efforts, 70% of the food people eat worldwide still comes from small farms. Organic can feed the world if it was allowed to create the abundance it can deliver instead of being criminalised.

Since the second world war, fought over the control of resources, Oil Companies and Chemical Corporations that were beneficiaries of the World Wars – like Monsanto – have influenced geopolitical policy (masquerading as food policy) to create peace-time demand for and dependence on fossil fuels and toxic chemicals in the global food system. A system waging war on nature and human beings forcing countries to use war chemicals and technologies in the name of agricultural innovation. A system that creates heavily subsidised chemical food and commodities that are incapable of nourishing humanity or protecting the planet and its vital ecological processes. A system that, by design, wastes 50% of global food and creates global hunger leaving a billion people perpetually hungry and 2 billion people suffering from food related diseases. A system that contributes 40% of green house gas emissions and is largely responsible for the climate crisis we face.

Within the last century, healthy, natural, organic food has been made more difficult to produce because of the chemical pollution, at first, and genetic pollution, more recently. A handful of companies have spread these toxics across our planet diverting US$ 400 Billion of public money to subsidise their high cost chemical commodities to make them artificially “cheap”. The costs of this “cheap” food are astronomical in terms of the health of people, the ecological damage it causes and it’s exploitation of farmers. If the true costs of chemical food were taken into account it would be unaffordable. Instead of subsidising chemical food and creating epidemics of food related diseases, public money, used for nourishment and the protection of public health through organic food would save us billions in health care. Denying people their right to healthy, poison-free food by manipulating laws, policy, science and the use of public money to impose a non-sustainable, unhealthy food is food-dictatorship.

This food-dictatorship has now grown to threaten our seeds, the source of all food. Without the diversity of open-pollinated, freely available, freely exchanged open-source seed humanity will not have food – we will only have toxic commodities.

Keep Reading on Seed Freedom