natural resource management

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...)

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."

The Seeds of the Future

The thematic session on Crop Biotic Stresses on Friday 7 October, 2011 touched upon various research into crop production and crop management methods. While the results were also unique, the discussions at Tropentag focused their interest on the improvement of methodologies. The impacts of crop management. The session looked at the effects of Chlorpyrifos in Costa Rica and how they are having a negative impact on the children in the area. The exposure came from the use of Chlorpyrifos-bags used in banana and plantain Plantations. We were also introduced to the research through a microarray analysis of gene expression induced in tomato leaves. The genes were compared between treated/untreated/diseased/healthy tomato plants and observed for activation of plant resistance. Interestingly enough, someone in the crowd commented on the research and arrived at opposite results having done the same research. The debate was left up in the air… to be continued during the following coffee break. DSC_0236 Fellow presenters listening to their colleague's presentation. Africa stricken with Striga!

200,000$ Adoption

Huge investments are made to understand the factors motivating farmers to adopt new agricultural technologies. Smallholders are hesitant to implement innovative methods like improved seeds, new varieties etc. Their decisions are influenced by natural, human, physical, social and financial considerations. DSC_0242 Thomas Miethbauer and Guy Hareau conducted a study costing 200,000$ to understand Participatory Plant Breeding (PPB) among marginal potato farmers in Peru. The results from the study indicated that there must be an incorporation of the perception of farmer preferences and attitudes in research design, testing and diffusion. The involvement of farmers in terms of their requirements and expectations has to be merged in the development of any new agronomic expertise to make it work. The Role of Social Networking

To Feed or not to Feed?

The Tropentag 2011 Thematic Presentations on Animal Production Systems discuss various trade-offs between different animal feeds and feeding practices. The livestock in question ranged from cattle to shrimp and even guinea pigs! _DSC0215 Presentations on Animal Production Systems at Tropentag 2011. Transforming to Integrated Ecosystems The common thread through all the presentations was how to integrate livestock production into the natural environment. Sustainable aquaculture that aims at minimizing impact on the environment can in the long run provide farmers with much better livelihoods. We were presented with some great use of Google map imaging depicting the boundaries of land usage and how livestock production can be integrated without degrading the environments around it. A ratio between environmental land coverage and live stock land usage enforces the ongoing theme of 'doing more with less'.

Water crises affect development

Simon Cook, Challenge programme on water and food talks on how water crises affect development. He considers four major nested crises which inlcude water scarcity, vulnerability with related to hazards, lack of sharing of information, resources and distribution of benefits and water productivity . These problems can only be solved through multidisciplinary or transdisciplinar approach, and Tropentag contributes importantly to the existing knowledge of water and development. Watch and listen to his conclusive comments

Oral presentation II | Forest management (part 2)

Tropentag 2010 - Oral Sessions II Indonesia is in the spotlight! At least three out of the six participants who did their oral presentation at the Tropentag annual conference on Tuesday (15/9), had drawn their interest on the country known to the world as the third largest forest nation after Brazil and the Republic of Congo. And the theme on forest management was a kick off with a total of 6 participants (oral presentations) focusing on case studies coming from developing countries. The latest scheme of Reducing Emission on Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) was presented by Thomas Baldauf (vTI/ von Thuenen-Institute, Institute for World Forestry, Germany), with a topic of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD): A Climate Change Mitigation Strategy on a Critical Track who focused his research in Indonesia and Madagascar. According to the speaker, and as a result to his research, the REDD scheme was seen to benefit Indonesia the most, due to the high deforestation rates in the country that was lately ranked as the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter due to deforestation (based on a report study released by Worldbank).

Oral presentation IV: Land and soil use

Starting the session, Ruben Kretzschmar talked about the „largest mass poisoning in human history“, the arsenic (As) crisis in Bangladesh. For Boro rice production, which makes up 50% of total, shallow ground water polluted with As is used for irrigation. The long-term study revealed an As input due to irrigation, on the other hand monsoon flooding that counteracts the As accumulation but does not prevent it. Thus current agricultural practices in rice production are not sustainable. Jan Jansa’s study subject was the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) symbiosis for maize in humid Cameroonian soil. AMF help the maize with nutrient acquisition, soil structure and soil biological activity. Soil of forest, short fallow and crop land was compared in regard to AMF. It revealed that the more intensified the practise, the higher the AMF impact on maize growth. Further, fungal communities in forest soil differed from other cropping systems and proved to be least beneficial to maize. Conservation agriculture of maize in salt-affected irrigation systems of Uzbekistan carries great potential to make a crop production system sustainable. Mina Dekota compared two tillage systems (permanent bed vs conventional tillage) and two residue levels (retained vs harvested). The results were remarkable: Compared to conventional tillage, the permanent bed had greater biomass production, higher grain yield, higher water productivity and lower soil salinity.
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