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.
Another hymn to organic farming, with its emphasis on biodiversity and the services it provides, graces the pages of The Jakarta Post. There’s a lot of familiar stuff in the piece, and a couple of real eye openers, like this:
“It’s extraordinary, but many farmers today do not realize that the vegetables they grow produce seed. That they can harvest and grow seed from their vegetable crops. They are so used to having to buy seed for growing, it’s as though that’s all they know.”
I knew this was true for many people in the “North” but I had no idea it was also true for small farmers in Indonesia. The article contains lots of sound suggestions for increasing on-farm diversity, even without going the whole hog of organic certification.
The latest issue of New Agriculturalist online has several items of interest, among them a special section on biofuels and news of Aloe Vera in Kenya. Not strictly relevant, a report on how Lusaka has cleaned up its attitude to street food. No mention of whether nutrition there has improved along with hygiene though.
A paper in the latest GRACE looks at coloured potatoes as sources of natural colourants (anthocyanins). I suppose it is good to find other uses for these under-utilized varieties, but surely there are lots of people out there who’d really like to taste a purple potato. I know I would. And what about levels of micro-nutrients?