European Union leaders are wrestling in with a surge in “boat people,” tens of thousands of refugees from Africa and the Middle East crossing the Mediterranean in dangerous boats in the hopes of finding a better life. While media reports have focused on the political crises spurring this migration, there's another driver—land degradation and food insecurity.
Promoting effective, informed decision making on climate change adaptation.
President Obama is in Africa this week to discuss development, investment, health, and, notably, food security. The trip comes on the heels of the president’s groundbreaking announcement of a U.S. Climate Action Plan. So it’s a fitting time for Obama and other global leaders to take notice of a strategy that addresses both climate change and food security in Africa—re-greening.
Re-greening—a process where African farmers manage and protect trees that grow on their farms, rather than cutting them down—is already beginning to transform the continent’s drylands. Supporting and scaling up the low-tech process can not only increase crop yields in drought-prone regions, it can mitigate climate change and reduce rural poverty.
The History of Re-greening in Africa’s Drylands
Re-greening in Africa first garnered international attention back in 2007, when the New York Times published a front page article entitled “In Niger, Trees and Crops Help Turn Back the Desert.” Lydia Polgreen, who was the NYT’s West Africa bureau chief in those days, had visited Niger and reported “at least 7.4 million newly tree-covered acres.” The NYT article revealed that this large-scale re-greening was not due to expensive tree-planting projects, but was the result of farmers protecting and managing young trees that regenerated on their cultivated land.
This re-greening did not happen everywhere. It was observed in particular in dryland regions with high population densities. Life in dryland areas presents many challenges, and farmers and decision makers are continuously searching for ways to restore their resilience and agricultural productivity.
Double Standards on an Uneven Playing Field
This article examines how forestry policy and implementation maintain double standards in a manner that excludes the rural poor from the natural wealth around them. It originally appeared in the October, 2007 issue of *Sustainability Science.* The [original article](...
Attempts at Combining Social Purpose and Sustainable Business
Reveals vital but overlooked ingredients for spreading innovative sustainable agriculture techniques -- mainly institutional collaboration, farmer participation, and political support.