Who would have thought that the restoration of natural habitats, such as cloud forests, could help keep the light bulb on a bit longer during periods of water scarcity and electricity rationing?
How can we best protect forests for the myriad ecosystem services they provide – capturing and storing carbon, protecting river systems and soils, maintaining biodiversity and ensuring access to bushmeat? The presumption is that the local forest dwellers and users have to be kept out. But that increasingly looks like exactly the wrong approach.
Community-Based Natural Resources Management has been applied widely, from the forests of Malawi to the coastal zone of Bangladesh. But it appears that leaks are beginning to spring in the CBNRM foundation. No longer considered to be a panacea to natural resource management, many are beginning to recognize the weaknesses and limitations of the approach.
A new film spotlights a research project that demonstrates how the ‘big win’ is actually the result of the convergence of many small interventions. The project improved inland fisheries in Bangladesh from a number of angles that acknowledged the prevailing social system, market and ecosystem dynamics.
Business as usual in water management will not provide adequate water security, upon which our global economy relies ever more heavily. Part of the business as usual that needs to be shaken up is the process-based IWRM that has dominated discourse on water management over the past 20 years.
As global demands for food and biofuel escalate, foreign investors have shown a keen interest in African land. The furious pace at which large-scale land acquisition investments are occurring have raised questions about the underlying motives, benefits and long-term impacts of these investments on host countries.
The recommendations outlined in this post were shared with India’s Finance Minister during pre-budget consultations. The budget speech earmarked ~ USD 67 million for a new scheme to promote solar-power driven agricultural pumps. How the scheme will be implemented will be clear in the coming days.
During a “Dragon’s Den” session, researchers and communicators pitched policy recommendations to a panel who provided candid, straightforward and constructive feedback. “If you can’t explain your science to a policymaker, you aren’t going to do any science that’s going to make any difference to anyone,” said panelist Alex Awiti.
In 2009, businesses and farmers operating in Naivasha received a rude wake up call. Lake Naivasha almost dried up. In a basin that supports over 60% of Kenya’s flower industry, accounting for over 1% of the country’s GDP, policy makers and businesses were quick to respond.
Of all the causes of the horrendous on-going civil war in Syria, the one that is least discussed is water. It may be a stretch to call the conflict a water war. But, as Brian Richter notes in his book Chasing Water, years of drought in Syria have “created a tinderbox for revolt” as wells run dry and food prices in local markets soar.
What if a virtually unlimited energy supply like the sun could be effectively combined with the planet’s seawater supply to help ease global water scarcity issues? In their recently published paper (open access until Sept 2014), Sood and Smakhtin of IWMI assert that using renewable energy to purify seawater could one day revolutionize desalination.
Groundwater is the mainstay of irrigated agriculture in India. Hundreds of millions of smallholders depend on it for their livelihoods. These livelihoods, however, face serious threats from rapidly falling water tables in large parts of the country. What do farmers do when the wells run dry?
Since the Green Revolution, we’ve been relying heavily on a strategy to control variability in agricultural systems, as we strive to minimize agricultural nuisances through the use of chemicals and irrigation. This has won us some major successes in increasing yields, but at high cost to the many other benefits provided by agricultural landscapes.
Sources of novelty and innovation are key to building resilience in socio-ecological systems. “Nature” is the ultimate innovator and we only have to examine adaptations that have evolved in response to complex problems to realise that it is a decisive and creative force. However, we often tend to overlook sources of innovation provided by natural ecosystems.
The destruction by human action of ecosystems is leaving communities more vulnerable to natural disasters – in harm’s way. The solution lies not in a doomed effort to prevent floods, but in improving the resilience of the landscape by finding ways to embrace managed floods through reviving natural wetland ecosystems. Cyclone shelters can save lives, but not livelihoods.
Deep into the mountains of Colombia’s coffee region, a producer uses his mobile phone to find out the daily reference price for a sack of dry parchment coffee. He will use that information to decide the best moment to sell his crop, a choice that could represent additional earnings. A choice he didn’t have just a few years ago.