December 2011

On the frontlines of climate change: Sami reindeer herders
UNESCO media release, 19 December 2011

PARIS, FRANCE: The Laponian Area World Heritage Site, in the Arctic Circle region of northern Sweden, is the home of the Sami, or Lapp people. It is the largest area in the world (and one of the last) with an ancestral way of life based on the seasonal movement of livestock, now threatened by global change. A collaborative Climate Frontlines research project involving the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle and Sami reindeer herders focused on their nomadic livelihoods, the impact of climate change on the forests and animal species of the North and potential solutions that different stakeholders, especially farmers, are advocating. The research has contributed to an understanding of the impacts of climate change on Sami reindeer herders and different coping strategies available. Read the release …

Traditional farming ‘can save threatened species’
SciDev.Net, 22 December 2011

LONDON, UK: Traditional farming methods are crucial for protecting a number of threatened bird species in the developing world, including bustards, cranes, ibises and vultures, a study has found. Livestock grazing and features associated with arable farming, such as hedgerows, create environmental conditions that certain birds currently depend on for food, shelter and breeding, the authors report. But as industrial farming methods eliminate these habitats, these species are threatened with extinction, said Hugh Wright, a researcher in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, UK, and lead author of the study, published in Conservation Letters. The study found 29 bird species threatened by the decline of traditional agriculture in developing countries. This number could be much higher if all organisms, rather than just birds, are considered, as evidence from Europe suggests that traditional farming also benefits reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and even plants, Wright said. Farmers can benefit too from protecting biodiversity since it helps to justify traditional agriculture and could prevent big agri-businesses from forcing farmers off their land, he added. Also, by offering farmers economic incentives to continue these beneficial practices, governments can ensure that conservation and development move forward together. Read the article … Read the abstract of the study Agriculture – a key element  for conservation in the developing world by Hugh L. Wright, Iain R. Lake and Paul M. Dolman …

Terralingua, Vol. II, Issue 9, December 2011

This issue describes the latest projects that were added to Terralingua’s biocultural diversity portal, including articles on: biocultural values and conservation of Xhosa Forest in South Africa; maize in the Nicoya Peninsula; biocultural diversity and natural protected areas; Mbyá culture and biological diversity in the Atlantic Rainforest in Southeast Brazil; traditional textiles of the Cusco; the Kala language project; as well as the transcript of an online discussion on indigenous peoples and protected areas. Download the issue [pdf] …

Methodological Toolkit for Local Assessments
Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment, December 2011

This first edition of the IPCCA Toolkit aims to be a methodological guide for implementing local climate change assessments under the IPCCA initiative. It is not intended as a prescriptive tool, but rather, as a framework and guide which must be adapted by each team to the local context. Developed through a participatory process, it includes sections on the toolkit’s objectives; guiding principles; and methodological phases. Read the toolkit … Read the toolkit’s annex …

Intellectual Property, Agriculture and Global Food Security: The Privatization of Crop Diversity
Claudio Chiarolla
Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011 | ISBN: 978 1 84980 733 3

In this book, Claudio Chiarolla analyzes developmental implications of global regulatory reforms that impact of access to agricultural knowledge, science and technology for sustainable development. The book proposes ways to achieve international equity in the way agricultural research is conducted, how its results are disseminated and the benefits shared. Topics addressed include: patents, agricultural innovation and sustainable development; plant intellectual property protection; the international legal framework of access to plant genetic resources and benefit sharing; and a case study on the regulation of crop diversity in Viet Nam. Purchase the book from Elgar Publishing …

Beyond Carbon: Ensuring justice and equity in REDD+ across levels of governance
23-24 March 2012 (St Anne’s College, Oxford, UK)

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) has rapidly become a key pillar of international cooperation on climate change. Since its inception in 2005, REDD+ has grown in scope from being a cheap mitigation option and opportunity to address the 15-20% of global GHG emissions attributed to deforestation into a wider set of activities that reach beyond the carbon dimension of REDD+. They promote forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and forest conservation as well as deliver co-benefits such as biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. A host of state and non-state actors at all levels of governance have entered this emerging policy field. This conference takes stock of these developments to date. It addresses them from both natural and social science perspectives and discusses the role of justice and equity in current debates on REDD+. Its particular aim is to discuss the limits and opportunities in deriving co-benefits from REDD+ activities. Abstracts are invited for the following themes: ecological dimensions of justice and equity in REDD+; socio-political dimensions of justice and equity in REDD+; role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in REDD+; and how can REDD+ deliver more than carbon benefits. Abstracts are invited of up to 400 words for oral presentations, specifying one of the themes above, at by noon GMT, 4 January 2012. For questions please email Maria Mansfield at Read the call for papers …

Book on Amazon plants puts science in the hands of people
FAO news release, 20 December 2011

ROME, ITALY: Co-produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and People and Plants International, the book Fruit Trees and Useful Plants in Amazonian Life was unveiled during a ceremony at FAO marking the close of the International Year of Forests. The aim of this book is to integrate scientific and traditional knowledge in a form that is accessible and appealing to the people who need it most – rural villagers. Because products from the forest, such as wood, food and medicines, and ecosystem services sustain not only rural but also urban people, the book has also an audience in cities, as urban consumer habits and demands for forest goods have enormous consequences for the forests.

The book synthesizes ecological, market, management and cultural information of key Amazonian species in an effort to help expand the knowledge base of traditional forest communities about the value of forest resources. Each chapter of the trees and palm sections represents one species and is divided into six topics: ecology, economic value, uses, nutrition, wildlife and management. The voices of local people are found throughout the book: over 100 farmers, community members and rural women collaborated by helping to generate or share information. Read the news release … Download the book [pdf] …

Next Page »