Friday, September 23, 2011

0 The Center for Sustainable Drylands (CSD) Established

The Center for Sustainable Drylands (CSD) has now been established at the LARMAT Department. This collaborative effort between University of Nairobi and Colorado State University promises to bring much more visibility to our research and training programmes.

About the Center
The Center for Sustainable Drylands is one of 11 partnerships between Africa and U.S. institutions of higher Education that has received a two-year funding through a competitive grant process by Africa -USAID/Higher Education for Development Initiative.

The implementation of the Center’s activities will be done collaboratively with other institutions/organizations such as; RUFORUM, Dryland Management Programme at University of Nairobi, ILRI, Reto-o-Reto Foundation, Ministry of Northern Kenya and IUCN among others. The Center for Sustainable Dryland Ecosystems and societies will have an Advisory Board composed of key players in development issues and institutions of higher learning and a Project Implementation Team headed by a Project Director/Coordinator.
Some of the Center activities include mainstreaming dryland issues in academic curricula review, short courses for skill building in dryland development and recruitment of Center interns among others. The center will also award short fellowships and grants for students and interns as well as faculty to work on needs-driven research for development on a competitive basis.

The Center for Sustainable Drylands will achieve this purpose through the following Five objectives:
  • creating a center in UON which results in effective co-ordination of interdisplinary education, research and outreach supporting sustainable dryland ecosystems and societies in Kenya.
  • Developing  a dryland leadership Learning Program at the UON resulting in greater capacity of students and faculty to address the problems of dryland ecosystems and societies in Kenya.
  • Developing  a comparative, trans-displinary Research-for-Development Program resulting in addressing the development and sustainability needs of dryland communities, their ecosystems and the policymakers who serve them.
  • Creating a dryland community outreach program resulting in greater participation in higher education by pastoralists, especially women, for development of more appropriate innovations for dryland systems and.
  • Developing a drylands learning platform for Knowledge exchange resulting in effective coordination and impacts of education, research and outreach for drylands of Kenya.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

0 Healing the Grasslands, Rangelands and Savannas of the World - We need a brown revolution (Allan Savory)

Allan Savory pursued an early career as a research biologist, game ranger, soldier, politician and international consultant in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Exiled in 1979, he co-founded the non-profit Center for Holistic Management in 1984 and in 2009 the Savory Institute with his wife Jody Butterfield and colleagues in the United States. In 1992, they formed a second non-profit (social welfare) organisation, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa.
In 2003, Savory was awarded the Banksia International Award for the person doing the most for the environment on a global scale. His current work in Africa is receiving much praise and recognition and the Africa Centre for Holistic Management won the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge for the organisation providing the most comprehensive solution to a pressing global problem.
Savory gave the keynote speech at this year’s UNCCD Land Day in Bonn on 11 June, where he spoke with UNCCD News editor Susanne Reiff.

Food security: the top issue is biodiversity

Today, we are producing more eroding soil than food. I think that is probably the most frightening statistic in the world. When we destroy soil, a vast amount of carbon is released into the atmosphere. Food security is impossible while this problem exists.

To achieve food security and human security, we need to focus on the degradation taking place in all environments. Every environment in the world is now degrading to some extent. Fish stocks have been destroyed and coral reefs are being destroyed, but we can find solutions to these problems through our conventional thinking. If these environments rest, they will recover. If overfishing stops, even if the world’s entire cod stocks have been depleted, the sea will recover, given time. The same applies to the world’s humid environments. But in areas of the world with only seasonal rain and in arid regions, biodiversity loss needs to be stopped as a matter of urgency, and current thinking changed. Biodiversity is not only about charismatic species. It is about humble soil-covering litter, soil microorganisms and many other factors. For food security, biodiversity is the top issue. 

When addressing food security, most people limit their view to the croplands. However, we also need to focus on stabilising all the catchment areas. Rainfall has to be effective – it needs to soak in the soil and stay there, rather than evaporate or run off. We cannot rely on irrigation or agroforestry alone for sustainability. They create oases in an expanding desert. 

Read on.........


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