Soil is back on the agenda

In this period of rapid change in land use, hunger is still a problem. In order to fight hunger, the promotion of ecological resiliency is needed. This is the main message Dr. Deborah Bossio, holding a PhD in Soil Science from the University of California, USA and working at the International Center for International Agriculture (CIAT), conveyed in today's second plenary speech. Tropentag 2012Dr. Deborah Bossio At the beginning of her speech, Dr. Bossio speaks to the audience about food issues such as chronicle hunger and yield gaps. She points out that the population density is high in areas of quality crop land, showing maps from the African continent found on the website of the Harvestchoice. She also highlights that soils and land use are central to planetary boundaries (climate change, chemical pollution, phosphorus cycle, nitrogen cycle, etc). Land use changes...some facts! Then, by means of examples, Dr. Bossio, shows land use changes. In Lao PDR, 200'000 ha of rubber were planted, 260'000 ha open to Australian minning company, and 100 dams built on the Mekong for hydropower production (, In Africa, thanks to farmer driven investments, the area under small-scale private irrigation increases drastically, 10'000 ha in Burkina Faso, 350'000 in Ethiopia, and 185'000 in Ghana. With those examples, she demonstrates that ecological resiliency is a complicate concept to grasp. The panarchy theory and adaptive circles can help in this matter. Land use changes can be worrisome when adaptive circles move towards a state of breakdown. Therefore, resiliency has to be well understood. To help us, Dr. Bossio unpacks the term resiliency in: i) contingency response, ii) response diversity, iii) adaption and transformation, and iv) ecological buffering capacity. Building the needed resilience in our changing world Finally, in a fashion way, she advocates to reduce land degradation and hunger, and to promote climate smart-agriculture. For this, she urges to learn from farm fields, to embrace variability, to marry environment, food security, and poverty agendas, and to foster new partnership for change. --------------------------------------------------------------- For you, Dr. Bossio presents herself and the message she comes to deliver at Tropentag 2012.


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