Not sure whether this is a good thing or not. On Friday, the Chinese government released a series of documents dealing with biofuels. According to Biopact, a blog, one paper says that “Through a series of measures, unused land in mountainous areas will be made available and utilized for planting biofuel feedstocks, mainly sweet sorghum, corn and sweet potato”.
On second thoughts, it is probably not a good thing.
I’ve just come across a blog maintained by Kathryn Garforth, a research fellow with the International Sustainable Biodiversity Law programme of the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) who describes herself as “an independent legal researcher and consultant working in the areas of biodiversity, health and intellectual property rights.” Recent postings deal with the Starbucks Ethiopian coffee kerfuffle, biofuels and the Indian Biodiversity Act. Some very thoughtful stuff.
Us plant people went through this over ten years ago, but the animalÂ genetic resources crowd are gearing up for their First International Technical Conference on Animal Genetic Resources, which will be held in Interlaken (Switzerland) in September 2007. FAO is behind it, as it was with plants. As part of the preparations, a workshop was just held, entitled The Future of Animal Genetic Resources: Under Corporate Control or in the Hands of Farmers and Pastoralists? Lots of papers in pdf here.
The BBC reports that the government in Kuala Lumpur is planning to give cash incentives to people who want to open Malaysian restaurants abroad. I’m all for it, Malaysian food is great. And it’s got to be good news for all those weird local vegetables, fruits and spices, right? But of course the idea wont get anywhere without a celebrity chef.
A mammoth metadata study of 111 different papers concludes that “biodiversity matters”. Well, duh. But it is good to have data. The study is published in Nature (press release here) for 25 October. To demonstrate the value of biodiversity, the study’s author Bradley Cardinale chose a paper that shows that the presence of three aphid predators has a greater impact on pests than one would expect from each of the three alone. In a single state — Wisconsin — this pesticidal service was worth millions of dollars, Cardinale said. Not to dismiss all the other services that biodiversity performs, but it seems that one way to get decision makers to understand its importance is to turn those nebulous “services” into something they do understand: cold hard cash.