Over the years many Big Ideas have been imposed on Africa from outside. The latest is that the region should sell or lease millions of hectares of land to foreign investors, who will bring resources and up-to-date technology. None of the blueprints has worked, and African farmers have become increasingly impoverished.
Forests are power bases, but often for the wrong people. As attention turns from making an international deal on REDD to making it work on the ground, the hunt will be on for practical ways of shifting power over forests towards those who enable and pursue sustainable forest-linked livelihoods.
In West Africa two rice species (Oryza glaberrima Steud. and Oryza sativa L.) co-exist. Although originally it was thought that interspecific hybridization is impossible without biotechnological methods, progenies of hybridization appear to occur in farmer fields.
International investors have recently shown a fast-growing interest in land in developing countries. The IIED, the FAO and IFAD drew attention to the phenomenon of large-scale real estate purchases. In this article, two of the study's authors bemoan that international media coverage has since emphasised the risks involved-without much regard for opprtunities.
In a novel intercontinental educational initiative, schoolchildren from Ghana and the United Kingdom got to grips with problems facing coastal environments in their countries and produced their own recommendations for sustainable management. A schools link then enabled them to interpret their findings on this and other topics in a world context.