conservation

Conservation and Development: What would trees, butterflies and spices have in common?

In East Usambaras Tanzania, domestication of the Allanblackia tree species, the Cardamom spice and butterflies is delivering on biodiversity conservation while at the same time sustaining livelihoods.

A study looking at their economic value over a period of five years found that the Cardamom spice generated 850USD per year for 10,600 households; the Allanblackia 20USD per year for 5000 households and the butterflies 200USD per year for 350 households.

The Cardamom attracts high economic value but with similar measure of environmental stigma because initially it prompted deforestation. However, there is now a law that prohibits clearing of forests to grow the product. In addition, farmers have realized that forests are essential for maintaining necessary climate conditions to grow the spice and so most retain or plant 75-100 trees per ha in a cardamom farm.  Allanblackia is said to be among agroforest tree species that provide local medicines, fruits, vegetables, poles, fuelwood and timber, resources that relieves pressure from forests and thus avoid deforestation and degradation. Butterfly farming has had positive effect on conservation as farmers in East Usambaras associate increased production with forests and as such have planted more than 30 native trees as part of the plantation used for food and egg-laying in butterfly rearing.

According to Meine van Noordwijk, Chief Scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) who is among study authors, it is often claimed that domestication of forest resources can contribute to effective conservation of natural forests in the landscape as a win-win outcome. But the counterpoint is also made that economically attractive options in the forest margins will lead to further forest conversion if they work out well for local livelihoods, and maintain the trend to further pressure on the forest if they fail, so there is no win.

“When a group of us visited the East Usambaras site where the Landscape Mosaics project had been active, we realized that there is an interesting ABC of domestication being tested here,” says Meine, “We decided to compile data on the actual performance of these three commodities as part of the landscape level income and its dynamics.”

“Domestication implies a move from collecting resources from forests to taking care of the full life cycle of the products. We found that the three commodities at different stages of the process offer lessons on efficiency, sustainability of the ecosystem and sustain agility of their use over time,” says Mathew Mpanda of ICRAF Tanzania and lead author of the study.

The study, which is titled Allanblackia, butterflies and Cardamom: sustaining livelihoods alongside biodiversity conservation on the forest-agroforestry interface in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania compares these three commodities at different stages of domestication and shows that the biological aspects need to be embedded in the broader socio-ecological system understanding of what goes on in the landscape, if development and conservation goals are to be reached.

Download and Read more from the study

 

Indonesia upholds Indigenous People’s Rights to Forest

By Elizabeth Kahurani with additional reporting by Martua Sirait, Meine van Noordwijk and Ujjwal Pradhan

Last Thursday, the constitutional court in Indonesia resolved a major ambiguity in Article 1 of the 1999 Forestry Law that claimed customary community’s forests were classified as state forest. This landmark ruling made a clear distinction between customary forests (hutan adat) belonging to the customary communities (masyarakat adat) that were controlled indirectly by the state, and state forests controlled directly by the state through the  Ministry of Forestry (MoF).

ASB congratulates Prof. Fahmuddin Agus on Research Professor award

Please join us to congratulate Prof. Fahmuddin Agus, a representative of the ASB Partnership Global Steering Group on his inauguration as a research professor in hydrology and soil conservation. The inauguration was held by The Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia and Indonesian Sciences Institute (LIPI) in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia on September 26th, 2012. 

Prof. Fahmuddin (left) being congratulated by familyDuring his inauguration, Prof. Fahmuddin talked about Soil and Carbon Conservation for Climate Change Mitigation to Support Sustainable Agricultural Development. He emphasized the importance of low carbon degraded lands for agricultural expansion and avoiding the use of forest and peatland for agricultural development. He also pointed out several mitigation options that potentially  contribute to economic development, agricultural and environmental  sustainability. These include rehabilitation of degraded lands for plantations, intensification of agriculture, especially among the smallholders and soil organic matter management. He added that appropriate selection of the options of mitigation-adaptation interface will contribute to Indonesia's national pledge of 26% emission reduction by 2020. 

Born in Bukittinggi, Sumatera,  Fahmuddin  earned his BS degree from Andalas University in Indonesia in 1983. His master and doctoral degrees in soil science were from North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, USA  in 1989 and 1993.  He is a senior soil scientist at Indonesian Soil Research Institute (ISRI). He coordinates ISRI’s climate change related research under the ASB Partnership consortium and under the national research programme. He is also actively engaged in sustainable natural resources management and climate  change mitigation fora, including the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and a lead author of the 2013 IPCC Supplement on Wetland Emissions.    

National Geographic Conservation Prize to ICRAF Scientist

Dr. Zacharie Tchoundjeu was on Thursday July, 14 2012 honoured by the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. with an award as a leader in forest conservation in Africa.

Forest cover falls 9% in East Africa in 9 years

Forest cover in East Africa has dropped by 9.3 percent from 2001-2009, according to a new paper published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE. The main reasons being that local people clear forests for agriculture, grazing land, and for charcoal to burn.

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