49 research outputs found

    Introducing farmer group learning and development into organic small holder farming systems in the global south -including a case study from the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.

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    On most continents food production has surpassed the growth in population (Knudsen et al. 2006). Still it is estimated that approximately 1 billion people are undernourished (FAO 2011) and the greatest number of people suffering from chronic hunger are living in South and East Asia (FAO 2012a). More than half (3.1 billion people) of the developing world’s population live in rural areas. Of these, approximately 2.5 billion derive their livelihoods from agriculture (FAO 2012a). The majority of small scale farmers in the global south lack financial and natural resources to be able to improve production and food security (Knudsen et al. 2006). A United Nations’ report on organic agriculture and food security concludes that organic agriculture increases the availability and access of food in the location where hunger and poverty are most severe (FAO 2007). According to UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) non-certified organic practices in Africa outperforms conventional industrialized agriculture and provides improved soil fertility, retention of water as well as resistance to drought (UNEP 2008). The Millennium Development Goals are targeting sustainable agriculture specifically (United Nations 2009) and in the report by the IAASTD panel, focus on small scale farmers and the use of sustainable agricultural practices are recommended (IAASTD 2008). Organic farming emerged in the 1920s with the concept of an inextricable link between soil, plant and animal health and of the composting process as an important element to obtain this. Hence artificial fertilizer was looked upon with great concern. In the 1960s and 1970s organic farming faced a turning point due to the negative consequences of industrial farming methods including the use of chemical substances. The work of many volunteers, heavily engaged in organic farming, led to the foundation of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) in 1972 (Kristiansen & Merfield 2006). IFOAM has formulated four basic principles: Principle of health, ecology, fairness and care. They serve to inspire the organic movement, are the basis from where standards are developed and are presented with a vision of world-wide adoption (IFOAM 2005). According to IFOAM organic agriculture is: “A production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved” (IFOAM 2008). Frequently, in the global south, the meaning of organic agriculture is confused with “farming without chemical inputs”, “traditional farming” or “certified organic farming for export purposes” (Vaarst 2010). In this assignment organic agriculture is defined by the above mentioned four basic principles and description of organic farming. This includes the use of agro-ecological methods in agricultural systems which do not necessarily have to be certified organic. 2 Agro-ecological methods include the use of compost and legumes to improve soil fertility. Mulching conserves soil moisture and suppresses weeds. Intercropping increases yields and keeps the soil covered, hence preventing soil erosion and promoting soil moisture. Crop rotation with high species diversity prevents pests and diseases from building up as well as contributing to a diversified diet. Agroforestry is less affected by drought (deep root system). At the same time it increases soil porosity, reduces runoff and increases soil cover leading to increased water infiltration and retention in soil (Nakasi et al. Unknown; Vaarst 2010). Livestock are an integrated part of organic agriculture supporting biological cycles within the system, in particular nutrient recycling (Hermansen 2003). Another important aspect is that organic farming does not rely on input of costly artificial fertilizers and chemicals. High inputs can force farmers to borrow money from private lenders with high interest rates. Hence farmers are vulnerable if the harvest fails (Halberg et al. 2006). Also pesticides can lead to poisoning when applying it and through accidents (Pretty 1995 cf. Halberg et. al. 2006). Conscious use of agro-ecological methods requires many skills, a lot of knowledge, assessment and planning (Vaarst et al. 2012). Therefore it is relevant to create a situation where knowledge can be exchanged, developed and debated (Vaarst et al. 2011). Organic farming is labour intensive, for example it requires labour to make compost, dig trenches, mulch and weed (Vaarst et al. 2011). Farmer Family Learning Groups (FFLG) creates a situation where farmers and their families go together to share their knowledge and experiences as well as help each other perform labour demanding tasks (Vaarst et al. 2011). Organic farming and Farmer Field Schools (FFS) is a way to assist vulnerable groups to empower themselves to claim their rights and have access to resource mechanisms (FAO 2007). The objective of this assignment is to evaluate the benefits and barriers of introducing farmer group learning and development into organic small holder farming systems in the global south. The farmer group learning is exemplified by the concepts of FFS and FFLG. The first section describes the concept of FFS and FFLG. Afterwards benefits and barriers of introducing FFS and FFLG are presented. Finally a case study from three districts in Madhya Pradesh, India is reviewed and analysed in terms of introducing farmer group learning

    UNSETTLING REFUGE: SYRIAN REFUGEES’ ACCOUNT OF LIFE IN DENMARK

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    This doctoral dissertation examines the lived experiences of refuge in Denmark from the perspectives of Syrian refugees. Situated within feminist political geography, it moves beyond examining geopolitics merely from the perspective of the law, the state, and policy makers. Instead, it seeks to grasp the ways in which geopolitics are encountered, experienced, and negotiated on the ground – by the people who are most affected by state policies and practices. It draws on more than ten months of ethnographic fieldwork in Denmark with Syrian refugees, including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and participant observations, as well as interviews with state and non-state actors providing assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan. This dissertation brings insights from feminist political geography into conversation with those from critical refugee studies, border studies, geographies of law, and postcolonial studies in order to unsettle core ideas and terms of reference surrounding what refuge is and how it is practiced. This dissertation makes three distinct but closely related arguments. First, focusing on family reunification of refugees and how this form of protection became a target in the Danish state’s efforts to prevent refugee immigration, I argue that the geopolitics of refuge needs to be examined in a way that includes but also moves beyond the actual territorial border line as well as the legal border (i.e. the moment a person obtains protection and legal status). Second, through an examination of Syrian refugees’ everyday encounters with the Danish state, I draw attention to the disjunctures between idealized notions of refuge with its ostensible ‘humanitarian’ ethos and the practical articulations of refuge as manifested in the everyday lived experiences of refugees. This is what I term lived refuge. I argue, however, that the dissonances between idealized and actually existing refuge point to the persistent presence of governance within refuge, rather than a lack or an absence of ‘true’ humanitarianism - i.e. a promise of freedom, betterment, and prospect that did not fully materialize. Instead, the state practices, which refugees are subject to within refuge, are enabled and normalized through the asymmetrical relationships between the state and the refugee. Third, calling attention to how Syrian refugees experience, articulate and locate war, I trouble prevailing geographical imaginations of “Europe” and Denmark as spaces of peace, safety, and prosperity. Drawing on Syrians’ experiences of war, I argue that attending to everyday experiences of war in refuge prompts a re-articulation of where war is, what counts as war, and who decides

    The Everyday Spaces of Humanitarian Migrants in Denmark

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    Through an analysis of the Danish Immigration Law and asylum system, this research illustrates how the Danish state through state practices and policies permeates and produces the everyday space of humanitarian migrants. Furthermore, it examines how humanitarian migrants experience their everyday life in the Danish asylum system. An examination of state practices in conjunction with humanitarian migrants’ narratives of space and everyday practices, offers an opportunity to explore what kind of politics and political subjectivities that can emerge in the space of humanitarian migrants. This research contribute to our understanding of first, how the securitization of migration has direct impact on the everyday life of humanitarian migrants, second, second, how the state through practices and space governs and de-politicizes humanitarian migrants, and third, humanitarian migrants are able to act politically. Furthermore, this research problematizes the categorization of humanitarian migrants as “asylum seeker” in order to illustrate how the group of humanitarian migrants is a very diverse group of people from different places with various skills and education-, social-, and economic backgrounds. Even though “asylum seekers” are often portrayed as a homogenous group of vulnerable people we cannot assume that these people understand themselves as vulnerable docile “asylum seekers”

    The OrgTrace project: Content, Bioavailability and Health Effects of Trace Elements and Bioactive Components of Food Products Cultivated in Organic and Conventional Agricultural Systems

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    Trace elements, bioactive secondary metabolites and vitamins are among the most important quality parameters in plants. Yet, very little information is available on their content, bioavailability and health effects in organically grown plant food products. The main objective of OrgTrace is to study the impact of different agricultural management practices relevant for organic farming on the ability of cereal and vegetable crops to absorb trace elements from the soil and to synthesize bioactive compounds (secondary metabolites, antioxidant vitamins and phytates) with health promoting effects. Based on different plant products produced in OrgTrace, diets were composed and the bioavailabilities of health promoting substances were analyzed in a human intervention study. Moreover, various health effects such as immune system responses were studied using rats as model organisms. OrgTrace is the first study, which follows selected elements and bioactive compounds all the way from the plant and soil system to absorption in the human body. All experimental studies have now been finalized and we are able to draw final conclusions

    Correlations between life-detection techniques and implications for sampling site selection in planetary analog missions

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    We conducted an analog sampling expedition under simulated mission constraints to areas dominated by basaltic tephra of the Eldfell and FimmvörĂ°uhĂĄls lava fields (Iceland). Sites were selected to be “homogeneous” at a coarse remote sensing resolution (10–100 m) in apparent color, morphology, moisture, and grain size, with best-effort realism in numbers of locations and replicates. Three different biomarker assays (counting of nucleic-acid-stained cells via fluorescent microscopy, a luciferin/luciferase assay for adenosine triphosphate, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to detect DNA associated with bacteria, archaea, and fungi) were characterized at four nested spatial scales (1 m, 10 m, 100 m, and >1 km) by using five common metrics for sample site representativeness (sample mean variance, group F tests, pairwise t tests, and the distribution-free rank sum H and u tests). Correlations between all assays were characterized with Spearman's rank test. The bioluminescence assay showed the most variance across the sites, followed by qPCR for bacterial and archaeal DNA; these results could not be considered representative at the finest resolution tested (1 m). Cell concentration and fungal DNA also had significant local variation, but they were homogeneous over scales of >1 km. These results show that the selection of life detection assays and the number, distribution, and location of sampling sites in a low biomass environment with limited a priori characterization can yield both contrasting and complementary results, and that their interdependence must be given due consideration to maximize science return in future biomarker sampling expeditions

    Synchronous in-field application of life-detection techniques in Icelandic Mars analogue sites

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    Field expeditions that simulate the operations of robotic planetary exploration missions at analogue sites on Earth can help establish best practices and are therefore a positive contribution to the planetary exploration community. There are many sites in Iceland that possess heritage as planetary exploration analogue locations and whose environmental extremes make them suitable for simulating scientific sampling and robotic operations. We conducted a planetary exploration analogue mission at two recent lava fields in Iceland, Fimmvörðuhåls (2010) and Eldfell (1973), using a specially developed field laboratory. We tested the utility of in-field site sampling down selection and tiered analysis operational capabilities with three life detection and characterization techniques: fluorescence microscopy (FM), adenine-triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence assay, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay. The study made use of multiple cycles of sample collection at multiple distance scales and field laboratory analysis using the synchronous life-detection techniques to heuristically develop the continuing sampling and analysis strategy during the expedition. Here we report the operational lessons learned and provide brief summaries of scientific data. The full scientific data report will follow separately. We found that rapid in-field analysis to determine subsequent sampling decisions is operationally feasible, and that the chosen life detection and characterization techniques are suitable for a terrestrial life-detection field mission. In-field analysis enables the rapid obtainment of scientific data and thus facilitates the collection of the most scientifically relevant samples within a single field expedition, without the need for sample relocation to external laboratories. The operational lessons learned in this study could be applied to future terrestrial field expeditions employing other analytical techniques and to future robotic planetary exploration missions

    Properties and local environment of p-type dopants and photoluminescent rare-earths implanted into zon single-crystals

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    Tese de doutoramento em FĂ­sica, apresentada Ă  Universidade de Lisboa atravĂ©s da Faculdade de CiĂȘncias, 2008This thesis presents an experimental study of the local environment of P-type and Rare-Earth dopants implanted in ZnO single-crystals (SCs). Various nuclear and bulk property techniques were combined in the following evaluations: Implantation damage annealing Implantation damage annealing was evaluated in ZnO SCs implanted with Fe, Sr and Ca. P-type dopants Cu and Ag implanted ZnO SCs were studied revealing that the solubility of Cu in substituting Zn is considerably higher than that of Ag. These results are discussed within the scope of the ZnO p-type doping problematic with these elements. Experimental proofs of the As anti-site behavior in ZnO were for the first time attained, i.e., the majority of As atoms are substitutional at the Zn site (SZn), possibly surrounded by two Zn vacancies (VZn). This reinforces the theoretical prediction that As acts as an acceptor in ZnO via the AsZn-2VZn complex formation. The co-doping of ZnO SC with In (donor) and As (acceptor) was addressed. The most striking result is the possible In-As pair formation. Two configurations are proposed for this pair , both with In and As at SZn. A purely In-related defect is also identified. These are preliminary experiments that can serve as guidelines for future and deeper studies. Rare-earths (RE) RE lattice site location, RE surface segregation and optical activation were investigated in Er and Tm implanted ZnO SCs, as a function of annealing temperature, implantation doses and implantation conditions. RE surface segregation and lattice recovery occur for high annealing temperatures, being more pronounced in the low dose implanted crystals. The RE-O clusters formation is suggested for the higher dose implanted samples. Er and Tm optical activation occurs at different annealing temperatures depending on the implantation doses, suggesting that the RE-related emission is associated with defects/impurities in the RE close vicinity that change with the annealings

    Biomarker and Geochemical Assay Validation in Mars Analog Sites: Lessons from the FELDSPAR (Field Exploration and Life Detection Sampling for Planetary Analog Research) Project

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    Missions looking for signs of life on other worlds can often only take a few samples once they arrive. Making sense of these "few and far between" observations is easier if we know what a "normal" level of variation for that kind of planet is. Recent eruption sites in Iceland are good places to learn about this, because they have very little life present and the same types of rocks as many places on Mars. We have visited several of these sites in Iceland and tested many different kinds of measurements: the energy available for life, the amount of DNA (an important biological molecule) present, the relative amounts of different kinds of micro-organisms, and the specific minerals that make up the rocks and ground. In addition to recommendations for future expeditions, we have also shown that using early on-site measurements to choose later on-site sample sites is very helpful in reducing the number of sample sites needed

    AMAP 2017. Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic: Perspectives from the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region

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