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.
Food manufacturers in Rajasthan, India, have created an ice cream made of camels’ milk. At a recent tasting, an Italian, no less, apparently described it as “an absolutely delicious desert treat”. Tommaso Sbriccoli, said it “compared favourably with the gelato-frozen desert in his home country” according to Daily India.
The serious point to all this is that there has actually been remarkably little selection for milk production in camels. That means an enormous diversity in how much herders can get from a female. I remember visiting a researcher in a desert country who was trying to improve matters, because a small decrease in the variation in milk production would make an enormous difference to the amount of milk poor nomads could get from their beasts. That idea crops up again from time to time but I’ve no idea whether any great progress has been made. Do you know?
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 UNEP News Centre has a press release and lots of links on theÂ Billion Tree Campaign. This
“encourages the planting of indigenous trees and trees that are appropriate to the local environment, with mixtures of species preferred over other options. The campaign identifies four key areas for planting: degraded natural forests and wilderness areas; farms and rural landscapes; sustainably managed plantations; and urban environments but it can also begin with a single tree in a back garden.”
Wangari Maathai, the Prince of Monaco and ICRAF are involved. Go to the website and make your pledge!
The GlobWetland project uses remote sensing and GIS to address the threats faced by the world’s wetlands. Do we know how many crop wild relatives are found in wetlands? Or even how threats to wetlands affect genetic diversity in adjacent agricultural areas? I think plant genetic resources people and the ecosystem conservation crowd need to link up a bit more, and I can’t help thinking that wetlands might be pretty good meeting ground.