Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog

Improved natural resource management for livelihoods, food security and the natural environment


A small-holder irrigation scheme in the Dry Zone. Photo: Matthew McCartney/IWMI

When dry is wet, what’s the problem?

It seems obvious: if it’s called the Dry Zone it must be dry. Right? Located in a central plain, sandwiched by highlands to the east and west, the Dry Zone of Myanmar is the driest part of the country. But is lack of water really the problem?

The siting tool is being used to guide land use planning in oil palm - forest landscapes

Balancing competing land use goals

Large scale agricultural expansion is a controversial topic in current development debates. Investments in land for agricultural production can potentially bring important economic and social benefits. Yet, increasing the agricultural areal often happens at the expense of forests, resulting in biodiversity losses and greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo: CIFOR

Restoring land for conservation or development?

The new battle cry uniting climate campaigners, environmentalists, agriculturalists and advocates of a landscape approach to planning is for the restoration of former forest land. But what do we mean by “restoration”? Restoration to what? And for whom?

Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Calling an end to the search for ‘big ideas’

I am a journalist. I flit in and out of places. But I have spoken to enough people at the receiving end of aid to know that what they crave is engagement, time, consistency and above all people who listen and act on what they are told. Not much aid work these days looks like that.