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Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
WED5.6: Agriculture, land degradation and drought
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 2:40pm - 4:10pm
Session Chair: Yuan ZHOU, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
Session Chair: Frank GRAF, WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF
Location: Sanada 1



A wind erosion case study in an alpine meadow (Davos, Switzerland) compared to wind tunnel experiments with live plants

Frank GRAF

WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Switzerland

Today, it is generally accepted that the (re-)establishment of a protective vegetation cover is the most promising and efficient measure in restoring degraded land in the long term. Sustainable protection against wind erosion requires adequate information about suitable plant species regarding ecological aspects as well as with respect to their proper contribution to wind erosion control. The latter, however, is widely lacking. Within a broader conceptual framework, experiments were performed in the wind tunnel of the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, with the novelty of considering naturally grown vegetation covers. Furthermore, field measurements have been conducted on two test tracks in an alpine meadow (Davos, Switzerland). One track is representing the naturally alpine vegetated soil (15-20% plant cover) and the other, sheet-covered, is mimicking desertified soil (0% plant cover) providing a direct link to the wind tunnel experiments that were performed with a plant cover of 0 and 16%, respectively. Compared to the unplanted soil, only small amounts of sand were transported from the vegetated plot, even during heavy wind events. Overall the ratio varied from 1:50 to 1:175 depending on the position of the measuring points. Qualitatively similar findings, however quantitatively less pronounced (1:15), resulted from the wind tunnel experiments. The remarkable difference between the field and wind tunnel study implies that the sheltering effect of vegetation under natural conditions is 3 to 12 times higher. However, this conclusion needs careful reflection. After all, the two studies differ in several aspects of their set-up. Correspondingly, the data are comprehensively discussed, with respect to meteorological, hydrological, and ecological aspects, particularly focused on symbiotic relationships between plants and mycorrhizal fungi and consequences in terms of their practical application.

Agricultural risk micro-insurance product for Mozambique


1Risk Management Solutions, Inc.; 2Asia Risk Centre, Inc.; 3Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC

Agricultural insurance in developing countries is high on the public policy agenda. There have been great efforts by FAO, IFC, World Bank, regional banks, NGOs and others to launch a number of weather index based schemes for agricultural insurance based on the ease of administering these programs and fast payouts. The work presented in this paper has been collaboration between risk management solutions, Asia Risk Centre, and Guy Carpenter under a grant from the International Financial Corporation IFC (grant # 579027). The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and the funding of the project by IFC. Weather based indices ideally require densely spaced weather stations. In the case of many developing countries, Mozambique specifically in this case, face significant data challenges. The country only has 113 stations in 69 districts, while 73 districts are without stations. The problem is addressed by using additional data sources (reanalyzed gridded data), remote sensing data, and their integration in the risk assessment and product development. Limitations and assumptions in development of this data is also taken into account. Basis risk and its asymmetrical distribution are also issues with the highest impacts being on individual policies and primary layers and much smaller impacts on the higher reinsurance layers. This paper summarizes the approaches and issues in developing index based solutions under the severe constraints of low quality data, short and incomplete time series and ways how these issues have been addressed. The underlying conclusion of the paper is that risk quantification and product design for micro-insurance is not a micro modeling exercise, on the contrary it involves the use of different methodologies and combinations of technologies to resolve these challenges. Proposals are made to alleviate some of the key issues.

Enhancing farmer’s resilience toward droughts: perspective from northwestern region of Bangladesh


Kyoto University, Japan

Bangladesh, an agro-based country that experiences drought more in recent years than earlier decades. Particularly, the northwest part of Bangladesh is severe drought-prone area than other parts of country because of high rainfall variability. The average annual rainfall of this area is 1,329 mm whereas the country’s average annual rainfall is 2,300 mm. This rainfall shortage accompanied with high temperature hastens drought severity of northwest region. As a consequence of drought, agriculture is badly affected that has significant impact on farmer’s livelihood. Farmers of this region performed various adaptation measures to cope with this insidious disaster by their own efforts along with institutional supports. But, these efforts and supports are not sufficient enough for farmers to endure towards drought. Therefore, this study assessed drought resilience through SIP approach (socio-economic, institutional and physical) at institutional level and also measured drought resilience at farmer’s level. This study also tries to develop drought adaptation action policies for increasing farmers’ resilience towards drought. To facilitate successful implementation of these actions, farmers’ level has been categorized into individual and family level as well as community level. At individual and family level, results reveal that crop diversification; mango cultivation and extension worker’s role could significantly increase farmers’ resilience. On the other hand, establishment of mango orchard, vegetable gardening and community health care service would be helpful for community level to enhance drought resilience. Important policy message from this study suggested that justification of these actions through GO, research institutes and other relevant organizations will facilitate to develop the suitable drought adaptation action policy for this region. Accordingly, it would be effective for farmers as well as communities of this region to sustain their livelihood against droughts by practicing these actions from national to local level.

Livelihood improvement of the poorest farmer through degraded forest management in Nepal

Pashupati Nath KOIRALA

Government, Nepal, Federal Democratic Republic of

This paper highlights, a case of Jhirubas community in Palpa of Nepal, strengthening in a cluster of 227 households to move for collective efforts for livelihood support, which has shown a promising result in the leasehold forestry intervention within a two-year period. The entitlement received, through leasehold forestry programme, from the government has empowered the poorest vulnerable people to manage the degraded forest from low productivity to the higher productive land. A short period of intervention has geared up an optimistic impact on increasing income level of the members. The success of rejuvenating the fragile sloppy mountain and changing livestock farming practices have made rural poorest farmers towards a good prosperous life from miserable position. The threat of longer drought and rain fed agricultural system has been no more risk for their rural life set up and supporting income diversification. It is estimated that the income level of 227 households will increase 13 folds from forestry products such as broom production within three years. Similarly, from livestock 6 folds incomes will be increased. The experiences is leading the necessity of the intervention with all components of livelihood assets is necessary to make people self-reliant on a regular income sources from the degraded forest land. The results will have a very good lesson for several professionals and researchers to orient the idea into policy development. To conclude, the success cycle and story could be replicate into other shifting cultivated land and similar characterized social set up in the country.

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