Trees everywhere

Our friends at World Agroforestry (the centre formerly known as ICRAF) have been very busy with their data wrangling in support of policy recommendations. So much so, in fact, that it may be getting complicated for outsiders to keep all their information products straight, so here’s a quick recap.

Let’s start with the premise that we need more trees. I don’t think anyone disputes that. The problem, as has been repeated many times now, is to have the right trees in the right places. That starts with the right seeds, of course. In a recent paper, World Agroforestry scientists and partners suggest that what we need for that is more transparency (and accountability) about where those seeds will be coming from.

But which species should be sourced? That’s where GlobalUsefulNativeTrees comes in. As described in another recent paper, this has data on “14,014 tree species that can be filtered for ten major use categories, across 242 countries and territories.” So if you want to know what trees can be used as animal food in tropical montane Kenya, say, this will tell you. The answer is Prunus africana, by the way.

Ah, but you may be worried about how the trees you have selected to plant (or indeed have already been planted) will do under climate change. Fear not, World Agroforestry again has you covered with TreeGOER. That has data on the climatic preferences of 48,129 tree species, and their likely vulnerability as the climate changes. The results may well send you back to GlobalUsefulNativeTrees for a rethink.

Hope that clarifies the tree data landscape a bit. Looking forward to other use cases from readers.

LATER: Oh, and there’s also a climate change atlas.

Brainfood: Food security, Genebank risks, Climate-smartness, Improved veggies, Tree database, Potato disease, Seed system resilience treble, Community seedbanks, Varietal replacement, Kenyan maize diversity

Nibbles: Ukraine genebank, Inequality, Olive breeding, Colorado apples, Indian rice diversity, Edible trees, Australian Grains Genebank

  1. Spanish-language article about the effort to save Ukraine’s genebank.
  2. Report on “Reducing inequalities for food security and nutrition” from the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). They don’t say so explicitly, but genebanks can help with that.
  3. They can certainly help with breeding new olive varieties, which are much needed.
  4. Genebanks come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes an apple orchard is also a genebank.
  5. Sometimes rice farmers are genebanks.
  6. I wonder how many genebanks conserve trees with edible leaves. This book doesn’t say, alas.
  7. The Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) gets a boost. No word on whether it will start conserving edible trees.

Nibbles: Milpa revival, Cretan olive, Lost apples, Moche meals, African agroecology, Global Tree Knowledge Platform, Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity

  1. Marketing the milpa.
  2. Marketing a traditional Cretan olive variety.
  3. Finding lost apples in New England. Now to market them.
  4. Taking new passion fruit varieties to market in Australia.
  5. Deconstructing Moche history, society and culture through compost and struggle meals. No sign of markets.
  6. Reviewing the state of agroecology in Africa. Does “economic diversification” count as marketing?
  7. The Global Tree Knowledge Platform must have stuff on marketing somewhere.
  8. The books series ISSUES IN AGRICULTURAL BIODIVERSITY, now free to download, has lots on marketing.

Nibbles: SDG funding, GBIF RoI, Food system revitalisation, Bean Power, British baked beans, Cock beer, Access Agriculture, SCANR, Nuts, Hawaii, USDA livestock, Norway livestock, SPC, and WorldVeg genebanks, Millet ambassador, Mango orchards, Wild foods, Degraded lands, Orphan crops, PPB, Biofortification, Ugali, Variety ID, Variety definitions

  1. The SDGs need proper long-term financing, say Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and co-authors. Maybe he’d like to have a look at the the Crop Trust’s endowment fund for SDG 2.5?
  2. There’s a 15x return on investment from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)? Ok, do Genesys next.
  3. Want to revitalize the food system? Think lentils, bananas, kale and walnuts. My take? Why stop there?
  4. I mean, there’s all sorts of cool pulses besides lentils, nice as they are.
  5. Really no end to them.
  6. Want some cock beer with your Lincolnshire beans? I bet you do.
  7. Shout out for the Access Agriculture farmer-to-farmer educational video platform from the Seed System Newsletter. Nothing on walnuts, alas. Or cock beer.
  8. As we’re on online resources, there’s also the Support Centre for Agriculture and Nutrition Research (SCANR). It “connects researchers with resources and guidance for carrying out interdisciplinary research related to agriculture, food systems, nutrition, and health.” I wonder what it has to say about walnuts.
  9. Nut genebank gets an upgrade in Oregon. No, not walnuts, alas. It’s Miller time!
  10. Lots of genebank action in Hawaii too.
  11. Livestock also getting the genebank treatment in the US.
  12. But not just in the US: Norway too. Love these back-from-the-brink stories.
  13. The regional genebank for the Pacific is one of my favourites.
  14. It’s up there with that of the World Vegetable Centre, which is getting a write-up in the New Yorker, of all places.
  15. Of course you can have community-level genebanks too. Here are two examples from India: conserving millets and mangoes.
  16. Maybe there should be more genebanks for wild food species, but these cool in situ conservation stories will do for now.
  17. Investing in community farming projects can revitalise degraded lands.
  18. Those farming project don’t have to involve orphan crops, but it wouldn’t hurt.
  19. You could do participatory plant breeding on them, couldn’t you. This book says that be just the ticket for rural revitalisation. Lots of revitalisation in these Nibbles.
  20. They would help with malnutrition where maize biofortification hasn’t worked so well, for example.
  21. Maize? Maize needs to be decolonized, not biofortified.
  22. Extension workers need to be better at identifying different crop varieties. IITA is on the case, but doesn’t seem to have thought about putting the data on GBIF. Walnuts next?
  23. Wait, what’s a variety?