A fine mist of rain falls on the world’s oldest desert, the first rain in 24 months. In a valley apparently devoid of life, the local nomadic Himba women, with babies strapped to their backs, bend over spider-like plants and harvest golden beads of precious resin. This is the Myrrh of the Bible. Excreted from the bark of the Commiphora species, gathered and traded since ancient times for its deep notes of leather and denim.
The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) recently completed an evaluation of the Comic Relief Trade Programme, examining its impact on smallholder producers in Africa. As well as assessing the impact of the programme, the evaluation also identifies the key factors supporting positive impacts and the effectiveness of the Comic Relief approach.
The first book devoted to the subject of 'Radar Entomology', the technique used to observe the movements of insects, has been co-authored by Alistair Drake of the University of New South Wales, Australia and Don Reynolds of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), entitled 'Radar Entomology: Observing Insect Flight and Migration'.
In the first week of January 2013 Professor Bob Cheke from the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) will appear on the new BBC Nature TV series ‘Nature’s Weirdest Events’ which will unpack the science behind strange and amazing events in the natural world. The programme will cover topics ranging from the bio-control of invasive fire ants in America to unusual cloud formations. Bob will advise on the swarming nature of the Quelea birds and their threat to crops. A flock of 2 million birds can destroy up to 50 tons of grain per day.
The role of women in the global economy is crucial but often under-appreciated. Dr Ana Marr, Reader in International Development Economics at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), was invited to take part in a TV programme called 'Real Talk' on the topic of Women and Finance, which was broadcast on Sky TV earlier this year.
The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) co-hosted a workshop last week with ISEAL - the international membership body for a range of sustainability standards. Participants represented Rainforest Alliance, the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation, 4C Association, UTZ Certified, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, Union for Ethical Biotrade, the Forest Stewardship Council and ISEAL itself.
Building gender and community engagement capacity in land and natural resource management in Mozambique
The issue of land rights and natural resource management in Mozambique is a challenge affecting millions of people. A recent study indicates that women in these areas experience only limited access to and control over their land and natural resources, compared to men, and are often excluded from decision making.
NRI experts working on the project 'Agroforests: A critical resource for Megadiversity in Guatemala', have initiated studies to evaluate the biodiversity on coffee farms in Guatemala. Diego Pons from the University of Valle leads the study with support from Francisco Pacay of the Foundation for the Defence of Nature which manages the Sierra Las Minas Biosphere reserve.