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Meet the Speakers: Prof. Sir Gordon Conway

Gordon_Conway Prof. Sir Gordon Conway Gordon Conway is Professor of International Development in the Centre for Environmental Policy of the Imperial College of London and holds five honorary degrees and fellowships. Trained in agricultural ecology, he attended the universities of Bangor, Cambridge, West Indies (Trinidad) and California (Davis). In the 1960’s he was a pioneer of sustainable agriculture, developing integrated pest management programs for the State of Sabah in Malaysia. He joined Imperial College in 1970 setting up the Centre for Environmental Technology in 1976.

Tropentag extends abstract submission deadline

Tropentag organisers have extended the deadline for submission of abstracts until Monday, 30th May 2011. If you are a researcher in the fields of resource management, environment, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food, nutrition and related sciences, don't miss you chance to share results and insights with the world of development-oriented research. Tropentag 2011 takes place in Bonn, Germany, with participants coming from almost 70 countries. Among others, keynote speakers include Gordon R. Conway (Imperial College London), Rattan Lal (Ohio State University), Paul Richards (Wageningen University), Tewolde Berhan (World Future Council), Hans J. Preuss (GIZ), Anthony Patt (IIASA), Christian Borgemeister (ICIPE), Ravinder Paul Singh Malik (IWMI), and Carla Roncoli (University of Georgia). Short biographies of this year's keynote spekers coming up in this blog!

Be a Student Reporter at Tropentag 2011!

With hundreds of contributions and some prominent figures of international, development-oriented and interdisciplinary research in the line-up (to be announced soon...), the organisers of Tropentag 2011 are aiming to increase the outreach of the conference with a team of 12 Student Reporters. Drawing experience from the success of Tropentag 2010 in Zurich, the ATSAF e.V. with the support of the Robert-Bosch Foundation, the fiat panis Foundation and the Böll Foundation invites students to join the team. Application is open to students affiliated to a European university, with great interest in the Tropentag topics. The applicants should be fluent in English and have basic experience in interviewing, concise writing and knowledge in the use of Web 2.0 social networks. Applicants should send a short CV, outlining their experience in the relevant fields and a motivation letter (maximum ½ page). Please also state which topic of the conference you would be most interested to report: (1) Marginal land and marginal people (2) Development on the margin and nature protection (3) Resource use and ecosystem services (4) Perspective for development on the margin, or (5) keynote presentations.

Rushing for land

Food prices are 36% above the levels of a year ago and remain close to the 2008 peak, driven in part by higher fuel costs connected to instability in the Middle East and North Africa. With current double digit food price inflation in crisis-striken Egypt and Syria, a major World Bank report shows wheat, maize and soya costs have soared, requiring a relaxation of grain export controls and a rethink on biofuels. "Already 44 million people have fallen into poverty since June 2010. If the food price index rises by just another 10% we estimate another 10 million people that fall into extreme poverty. And a 30% increase would add 34 million more people to the world's poor, who now number 1,2 billion" said World Bank President Robert Zoellick while presenting the World Bank's Food Price Watch last month. Eager to capitalise on rising food and energy prices or shore-up their own country's food security, foreign investors are pouring in to lease or buy huge tracts of cheap land that governments have cleared of people in the developing world. This high-stakes global land rush is essentialy a third wave of outsourcing and is taking place in the largest recipient countries of humanitarian food and development assistance. From Ethiopia's lowlands to the hilltops of Madagascar, vast tracts of farmland and forests are being gobbled up by foreign investors creating super-sized farms.

Tropentag contribution receives distinction by international Journal

A contribution to the Tropentag 2010 received the best article prize, awarded by the editorial board of the Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension . Drawing conclusions from case studies in local seed managemnet systems in Bangladesh, the authors critically examined two major styles of participatory video production. The prize recognised the contribution of the authors in the advancement of innovation in rural communication and extension, by providing a solid basis for the effective use of video in innovation and extension processes. Principal author and Student Reporter Team member Ataharul Chowdhury, from Bangladesh, said to the Tropentag blog: "I am looking forward to getting ways and opportunities to further this research along cultural, ethical, and political dimensions that have enormous influence to shape participatory and second generation media”. The article can be openly accessed: Chowdhury, Ataharul Huq , Hambly Odame, Helen and Hauser, Michael (2010) 'With or Without a Script? Comparing Two Styles of Participatory Video on Enhancing Local Seed Innovation System in Bangladesh', The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 16: 4, 355 — 371.

Living on a (thin) margin

Tropentag 2011 will have a focus on development on the margin. Watching the images and the video from Japan calls for a re-definition of our perspective on margin. There is no nation more modern and more organised than Japan, nevertheless the thinness of the edge on which modernity lives was revealed in the most striking way. JAPAN-QUAKE Photo: Yomiuri Shimbun/AFP/Getty Images JAPAN-QUAKE Photo: Kyodo/Reuters JAPAN-QUAKE/LEAKAGE Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Tropentag 2011 - Call for Papers

Tropentag 2011 will take place at the University of Bonn, Germany on 5 - 7 October 2011. The call for papers and the first conference information is now published on the Tropentag website. Original research abstracts of 250-350 words must be submitted using the online form until the deadline of May 15th, 2011. Young scientists are especially encouraged to submit their contributions. All accepted contributions will be published in the conference proceedings and on the Tropentag homepage. Contributions of an interdisciplinary nature will be preferred for oral presentations.

Scientists flee as China's leading rainforest restoration project is devastated by 'controlled' fire

2 Reporting from China: A fire has ravaged one of the world's most advanced projects for rainforest restoration projects following the Rainforestation Farming technology, previously presented in Tropentag conferences. The blaze conferred a biological damage of increased significance as many acres of precious forest were burned. An international delegation of researchers and sponsors had to make an emergency evacuation of the site as the fire engulfed the project, designed and implemented by the TianZi Biodiversity Research & Development Center, in collaboration with numerous international partners. Hundreds of local people have been fighting the blaze at the site of the project in the Bulang mountains of Xishuangbanna in the Yunnan Province of China, but they have been unable to prevent a severe loss of bio-culture.
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