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On 24 July, three experts from the IUCN’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group will

  • Give an overview of plant conservation planning
  • Describe the steps in national conservation planning
  • Elaborate on how planners, conservationists, and stakeholders should work together
  • Highlight the importance of linking conservation to human use
  • Summarize the content of conservation strategies and action plans
  • Explain how levels of conservation planning from local to international should interconnect

Register here.

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The ‘World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future’ is out and the news is that “there is no silver bullet.” Rather, there’s a whole list of things that need to be done. For example, we need “Genetic tools allowing farmers to select for size, flavor, and temperament of vegetables.”

No wait, that’s The Onion, my mistake. It’s National Geographic I was looking for.

Here’s the actual, very sensible, menu:

  • Reduce growth in demand by cutting food loss and waste, eating healthier diets, and more
  • Increase food production without expanding agricultural land area via yield gains for both crops and livestock
  • Protect and restore natural ecosystems by reducing deforestation, restoring peatlands, and linking yield gains with ecosystem conservation
  • Increase fish supply by improving aquaculture systems and better managing wild fisheries
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production through innovative technologies and farming methods

Needless to say, agricultural biodiversity underpins pretty much all of the above, including attitude-free vegetables. Maybe there is a silver bullet after all?

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Agricultural Biodiversity by Luigi Guarino - 2d ago

Susan Bragdon has a question on that goopy maize agreement:

But what about the possible impacts of this agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity?

Indeed.

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There’s an update on the nitrogen-fixing maize goop story that we blogged about a few months back. It’s from YaleEnvironment360, so you know it’s going to be good.

A Mars subsidiary called BioN2 had signed an agreement with a village to share financial benefits from the maize’s commercialization. That village turned out to be Totontepec, a Mixe indigenous community in the mountains of eastern Oaxaca… The UC Davis/Mars researchers received a certificate of compliance with the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement aimed at compensating indigenous communities for their biological resources and traditional knowledge.

Sounds good, right? But questions remain.

Still, the situation surrounding Totontepec’s maize raises complex questions about how indigenous communities equitably benefit when research scientists and multinational corporations commercialize local crops and plants. Should Totontepec’s maize turn out to be a miracle, self-fertilizing crop whose genetic traits can be replicated worldwide, will the community’s Mixe people receive a significant long-term share of profits, which could potentially number in the millions of dollars? How does Nagoya ensure that the rights and interests of small indigenous communities are safeguarded when their leaders negotiate complex deals with international lawyers and executives? And, not least, when a valuable plant is found throughout a region, is it fair for a single village such as Totontepec to reap financial benefits from its maize while neighboring communities with identical or similar maize receive nothing?

These questions, and others, are discussed in the article, which is really a model of its kind, courtesy of Martha Pskowski.

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The CIAT/CropTrust proposal for the calculation of “Comprehensiveness of conservation of socioeconomically as well as culturally valuable species” is up on the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership website.

Here’s a recent blog post on the indicator, which is relevant for Aichi Target 13 and SDG 2, Target 2.5.

And here’s the underlying paper which described the method in detail: Comprehensiveness of conservation of useful wild plants: An operational indicator for biodiversity and sustainable development targets.

Finally, here’s the website where you can explore the data.

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There’s been a spate of papers on reforestation just lately and I was despairing of being able to keep track of them, let alone read them. But along comes Jonah Busch, Chief Economist at Earth Innovation, to make sense of all the maps in a couple of tweets:

Here are maps of reforestation's potential, feasibility and benefits, and costs pic.twitter.com/fK3jyFPjSr

— Jonah Busch (@jonahbusch) July 5, 2019

Here are the papers:

Thanks, Jonah!

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We will need many new ideas like these to help farmers be prepared to meet the challenges of our changing climate. If they are, we will all have an answer to the question “What’s for dinner?” for years to come.

That’s His Billness on the importance of CGIAR and its scientists. Would have been nice to have a shoutout for the genebanks too, but I know he appreciates them just as much as the breeding work.

Can we feed 10 billion people? I’m optimistic that we can if we invest in research that will help poor farmers adapt to climate change. https://t.co/KjKNQRMBJy

— Bill Gates (@BillGates) July 9, 2019

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