Agrodiversity and Sustainability

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    Evonne Yiu

    Agrodiversity refers to the many and dynamic ways in which farmers use the natural diversity of the environment for livelihoods, including not only choice of crops but also management of land, water and biota as a whole. Agrodiversity integrates biological, technological and institutional components that offer flexibility and resilience to local farmers in adapting to climate and ecosystem change. Building on the past experience of UNU, the agrodiversity research focuses on the potential of agrodiversity in forest management to address climate change and biodiversity loss in mountainous mainland Southeast Asia (MMSEA). The three components of the project are on REDD+, sustainable forest rehabilitation, and the Joint Dryland MS Programme. The project outputs will include documentation of best practices in forest management and rehabilitation, training of postgraduate students and strengthening local capacities in mitigating and adapting to climate and ecosystem change. Currently, there are two ongoing projects: 1. Sustainable Forest Rehabilitation and Management Project With support of the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Yunnan Academy of Forestry of China (YAF) and Department of Agricultural Land Management of Lao PDR (DALaM) and Forest Research Institute of Myanmar (FRI) are implementing the joint project “Sustainable Forest Rehabilitation and Management for the Conservation of Trans-boundary Ecological Security in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia– Pilot Demonstration Project of Lao PDR, Myanmar and China/Yunnan” (SFR-MMSEA) to create new knowledge and alternative options for sustainable forest rehabilitation and management in the target areas among Laos, Myanmar and Yunnan of China for safeguarding the trans-boundary ecological security in the MMSEA region. The specific objectives of this 3 year project from 2013 to 2015 are: • Identify and adapt the best practice for forest rehabilitation in the target areas and around the MMSEA • Experiment and demonstrate good practice for forest rehabilitation, especially use of locally preferred, rare and endangered native tree species as well as local knowledge • Develop capacity in sustainable forest rehabilitation and reach out to farmers and policy makers • Integrate project lessons and network with other initiatives for a regional strategy on sustainable forest rehabilitation FRI and UNU-IAS co-organised the 2nd annual project workshop in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar on 8-9 January 2014. The next annual workshop will be held in Luang Prabang Province of Laos DPR in January 2015. 2. Coastal Forest Management In The Face Of Global Change Project With support of Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability(UNU-IAS), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Forest Research institute (FRI) and University of the Ryukyus are launching an joint research initiative on “Coastal forest management in the face of global change”. Three project sites, one each in the Philippines, Myanmar and Japan, suffer frequent typhoons or tropical cyclones. This comparative research initiative will: • Examine community-based forest management, including local knowledge in vulnerable communities to identify best practices and their integration with planning of human settlement and facilities to strengthen community resilience to climate change impacts as well as evaluate effectiveness and needs of policy interventions through a bottom-up process • Assess potential benefits of coastal forests in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change • Explore how different countries and local communities manage coastal forests to cope with coastal hazards under similar bio-physical conditions, but different socio-economic contexts and draw on their experiences for developing context-based solutions As part of the above joint research initiative, the University of the Ryukyus and the UNU-IAS will jointly organize the inception workshop in Okinawa, on 15 – 17 September 2014 to bring together experts from UNU, Japan, Philippines and Myanmar to kick off the research initiative.