climate change

Indigenous Vegetables, Rubber, Manure and Much More....

Session1.3Biodiversity One of the highlights of this year's Tropentag is the introduction of the elevator pitch. This refers to a short summary that can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride. During the guided poster session "Climate change, Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gases" presenters were allowed to speak for only two minutes. Continue after this pitch :)

When will we Discuss “Bridging Gaps” between Research and Practice? Reflections from the Conference Introductions

“Are we going to talk about nationality or internationality?” asked Michal Lošťák, Vice-Rector of CULS, as he welcomed the crowded assembly to Tropentag yesterday. Taking the conference theme of ‘gaps’ to be ‘bridged,’ he focused on gaps between perspectives from different cultures. “A scientific community operates across borders,” he continued, “[it is] interesting to hear how African students agree or disagree with European students.” While I agree that points of conflict are intellectually illuminating, for me something was missing in all the introductory speeches at the Plenary session yesterday. (Continue...)

Consider climate change in cultivar selection

At the oral sessions on cropping system and environment, Eike Luedeling reports about "potential fruit trees production decline induced by climate change". Tropentag 2012Eike Luedeling Temperate fruit trees need winter chill in order to produce fruits. The climatic requirements during the dormancy season are poorly understood. With raising temperature production is at risk. Adaptation planning is needed in order to maintain the production. Eike Luedeling emphasizes the need for long-term adaptation strategies. He promotes the use of the dynamic model to consider climate change in cultivar selection and to find climate analogues.

Stuck under the Weather

A short film depicting impacts of the Orissa Floods on land and livelihoods by Dr. Joe Hill (Tropentag October 6, 2011). The Cyclone warnings on the radio were only sent out hours before it hit. The people of Orissa suffered significant losses and after the storm resided, their only resort was to salvage rice and coconut water. Relief aid only came 4-5 days later. This can almost be seen as an regular scenario in Orissa. Farmers have no land of their own, and if they do it's not fertile to grow enough. Farmers are also aware of their fertilizer use degrading their land fertility, but they have no choice despite the fact that it could cause the next floods to be even worse. Many farmers have resorted to fishing in order to survive but this too is not enough. While cyclones and floods wipe out any coastal aquatic life, industrial fishing in deep waters outside Orissa significantly reduce fish numbers coming into the coast, significantly reducing local fishermen's catch. On land, there is a lack of water and a lack of work. "Every day is a struggle to make ends meet."

Climate Change: still getting hot!

DSC_0226 Nowadays, discussions about climate change are almost a guaranteed part of any scientific or academic forum. Tropentag 2011 is no exception. It is not only that climate change had one thematic session and two posters sessions dedicated to it, but the topic was constantly mentioned in other sessions such as Food Security, Ecosystem Services, Soil Fertility, Crop Production, Water and Irrigation, and Forests. I am not implying that climate change is THE ISSUE, but it seems clear that it was one of the key issues connecting the theme of marginality. If you follow the “whereabouts” of climate change (as I do!), you won’t be surprise to hear that nothing really new came out the Tropentag 2011. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of useful new data, nice climatic models, experimental results and adaptation activities; but they were in most cases, an improved version of what we saw in previous gatherings dealing with the issue -nothing really new-. Where the heat comes from? I was actually surprised to see that during the thematic session, the large lecture room was overflowing with people. It was probably the most attended session apart from the plenary session on Wednesday 6 October, clearly indicating that visitors to Tropentag 2011 considered climate change as one of the hottest issues at the conference.

“Soil has to be the engine of economic development, use them, improve them and restore them”: Prof. Rattan Lal grants interview

A bit of background information about Prof. Lal Prof. Rattan Lal is a professor of Soil Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University, USA. He has been involved in several activities both in research and teaching. He is a member of the U.S National Committee on Soil Science of the National Academy of Sciences (1998-2002) and (2007-to date). He is the lead author of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Read more about him at Student reporter : What would be your take home message to someone who is not present here at the Tropentag 2011 conference? Prof. Lal : Several things depend on soil such as food security, water quality, climate change, production and biodiversity. Many ecosystem services which depend on soil are jeopardized because of poor soil management. Taking soils for granted has been the cause of many serious problems and we should avoid it. Student reporter : How can we achieve good production on marginal soils?

Nobel Prize winner, Prof. Rattan Lal speaks on marginal soils

Agriculture is a major contributor to global carbon dioxide emission according to Prof. Rattan Lal, distinguished professor at the Ohio State University, USA who presented on marginal soils at Tropentag 2011 . He defined marginal soils as “soils of poor quality and characterized by low ecosystem functions and services”. He also underscored the linkages between soils and the ecosystem and spoke about the importance of soil for humanity. He said that when soils get marginalized, people also get marginalized and that when farming occurs, nutrients are removed and these nutrients must be replaced one way or another, otherwise soils then get marginalized. According to him, if the millennium development goals would be achieved, then soils should be taken more seriously and properly protected. Soil degradation Land is needed for human settlement especially with population growth and urbanization, and Prof. Lal estimates that up to about 400, 000 ha of land is needed per year for one million people which means that about 3 million ha is converted to areas of human habitation each year. Another cause of soil degradation he mentioned is the use of top soil for brick/block making as well as use of soil for sale. He stated that, “soils can provide for our needs but not our greed”.

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
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