From expansive evergreen forests to lush tropical forests, the Earth’s forests are disappearing on a massive scale. While deforestation poses a significant problem to the environment and climate, trees also offer a solution.
Nancy López lives in a house made of clay, wood and corrugated metal sheets, on private land dedicated to agriculture. She is part of an indigenous community of 12 families in northern Argentina that, like almost all such communities, has no title to the land it occupies and lives under the constant threat of eviction.
As governments scramble for corrective options to the worsening land degradation set to cost the global economy a whopping 23 trillion dollars within the next 30 years, a humble grass species, the bamboo, is emerging as the unlikely hero.
The small pulp mill that uses native fruits that were previously discarded is a synthesis of the multiple objectives of the Adapta Sertão project, a programme created to build resilience to climate change in Brazil's most vulnerable region.
Cattle ranching has been severely affected by drought in Brazi's Northeast region, but it has not only survived but has made a comeback in the Jacuípe river basin thanks to an optimal use of water.
Trees are a vital component in the ecosystem—they not only give oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give refuge to wildlife, but also provide materials for tools, shelter and ultimately, food for both animals and human beings.
Two-thirds of the 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have already submitted or are preparing to submit to the United Nations their land degradation goals, to combat a problem that threatens agriculture and the lives of their people.
In Zimbabwe, the bulk of rural communities and urban poor still get their energy supplies from the forests, leading to deforestation and land degradation.
Jazziel Baca lives in the municipality of Esquías, in western Honduras, one of the areas hardest hit by the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis), which damaged almost 500,000 hectares of forest in that Central American country between 2013 and 2015.
“We have various financial obligations that push us to charcoal making. Top on the list is farming inputs and school fees,” explains Arclay Moonga, a charcoal producer and chairperson of the recently formed Choma District Charcoal Association in Southern Zambia.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 31.1 percent or about 337,000 hectares of Jamaica is forested. Of this, 26.1 percent or 88,000 is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest.
Mountain communities in the Himalayan region are almost entirely dependent on forests for firewood even though this practice has been identified as one of the most significant causes of forest decline and a major source of indoor air pollution.
Too hungry to play, hundreds of starving children in Tiaty Constituency of Baringo County instead sit by the fire, watching the pot boil, in the hope that it is only a matter of minutes before their next meal.
A three-year drought, added to massive deforestation in the past few decades, has dried up most of Nicaragua’s water sources and has led to an increasingly severe water supply crisis.
As the festive season begins, some farmers say that consumers should be asking about the origins of their food, and thinking about who produces it, especially in light of the historic accord reached at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) on Dec. 12 in Paris.
When Dr. Evelyn Nguleka says that the world’s people shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds them, she explains that she’s not only referring to protecting farmers, but also to safeguarding the environment.
In the northern Brazilian state of Pará, the construction of a port terminal for shipping soy out of the Amazon region has displaced thousands of small farmers from their land, which is now dedicated to monoculture.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently affirmed
her commitment to the land rights of Liberia’s local communities, who rely on the forests for their livelihoods and have cared for them for generations.
Following growing concerns in the United States about the risks of trans fat since 1999, demand for palm oil, a cheap substitute for trans fat, more than doubled over the last decade and is expected to increase, eliciting concerns about deforestation in several Southeast Asian countries that provide 85 percent of the world’s palm oil.
For Jamaica, planting more trees as a way to build resilience is one of the highest priorities of the government's climate change action plan. So when Cockpit Country residents woke up to bulldozers in the protected area, they rallied to get answers from the authorities.
Seventy-seven-year-old Grace Ngwenya has an eye for detail. You will never catch her squinting as she effortlessly weaves ilala palm fronds into beautiful baskets.