Recent investigations about hunter-gatherer landscape burning has a major implication for the current debate about the timing of the Anthropocene and the role that humans may have played in the production of greenhouse gases prior to the Industrial Revolution .  Studies on early hunter-gatherers raises questions about the current use of population size or density as a proxy for the amount of land clearance and anthropogenic burning that took place in pre-industrial times.   Scientists have questioned the correlation between population size and early territorial alterations.  Ruddiman and Ellis' research paper in 2009 makes the case that early farmers involved in systems of agriculture used more land per capita than growers later in the Holocene, who intensified their labor to produce more food per unit of area (thus, per laborer); arguing that agricultural involvement in rice production implemented thousands of years ago by relatively small populations have created significant environmental impacts through large-scale means of deforestation. 
Conservation is about the ecosystems that species define and on which they depend. Conservation is about finding alternative, sustainable futures for peoples, for forests, and for wetlands. Molecular gimmickry simply does not address these core problems. At worst, it seduces granting agencies and university deans into thinking they are saving the world. It gives unscrupulous developers a veil to hide their rapaciousness, with promises to fix things later. It distracts us from guaranteeing our planet's biodiversity for future generations.
At the end of last month a group of researchers from Ethiopia and Madagascar, who are part of the project NutriHAF (Diversifying agriculture for balanced nutrition through fruits and vegetables in multy-storey cropping systems) have visited Bonn, Germany. NutriHAF aims to create a better understanding of the possibilities to produce fruit and vegetable in agro-forestry systems, especially in areas of high biodiversity and with a focus on small holder farmers. It is a joint project of various organizations including GlobalHort, and various partners located in Bonn, such as the Center for Development research (ZEF), the German Horticultural Competence Centre (KoGa), the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE) and others. The eight day visit started with the participation at the Tropentag Conference in Vienna, Austria and was continued in Bonn with a workshop on participatory and gender-sensitive research at ZEF and excursions to an organic farm and allotment gardens. To read the full article on the visit please click here. To find out more about the NutriHAF project please visit our project website.