Nav: Home

UTIA student fellows to tackle sustainable agriculture in the Rainforest

March 22, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Producing sustainable yields in harmony with conserving the rainforest: a win-win for the people of Belize and the world as a whole. This is the lofty goal of a new project led by faculty with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and the University of Florida.

As part of the highly competitive Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, faculty with the Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the UTIA Office of International Programs will recruit 14 undergraduate Research and Extension Fellows over three years to explore agro-ecological farming. The goal is for the Fellows to increase their understanding of farm and natural systems through the investigation of wildlife, crop, economic, forest and social interactions and to suggest methods for producing sustainable agricultural yields in harmony with conservation.

The faculty involved include Drs. Adam and Emma Willcox, John Stier, David Butler, Don Hodges and Tom Gill of the UT Institute of Agriculture as well as Drs. Bill Giuliano and Michael Andreu, of the University of Florida. The group was awarded more than $281,000 by the US Department of Agriculture to pursue the effort. The funding will provide undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct agriculture, forestry and wildlife research and outreach with farmers and forest managers in the lowland tropical rainforests of western Belize.

Faculty mentors and students will work with farmers in and around the Vaca Forest Reserve, an area of tropical rainforest that is part of the Maya Mountain Massif, the largest continuous forest in Central America and a hotspot for tropical wildlife and biodiversity. The team will be working hand-in-hand with local partners such as the Friends for Conservation and Development, Friends of the Vaca Forest Reserve, Cayo Women for Conservation, the Belize Zoo Tropical Education Center and the Belize Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Ultimately, the research and extension projects will empower local forest and wildlife stewardship. Concurrently, the undergraduate Fellows will learn invaluable skills to become leaders in agricultural and conservation efforts at home in the U.S. and abroad. The Fellows also will increase their intercultural competency, facilitating their participation in the global workforce needed to feed the 7 billion inhabitants of planet Earth in a sustainable and responsible manner. More information is available online at this link: ag.tennessee.edu/international/Pages/NIFA-Belize.aspx.

After the initial faculty mentor visit to Belize in March 2017, Adam Willcox stated, "I am excited to share the vibrant culture and biodiversity of Belize with our undergraduate fellows. It is our sincerest hope that our research and extension can contribute positively to the incredible efforts of our local partners and friends to manage the Vaca forest by supporting local livelihoods concurrently with conservation."
-end-
This project is supported by the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences Education and Literacy Initiative Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2016-06392.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu.

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Related Fisheries Articles:

Invitation: Global warming to cause dramatic changes in fisheries
New research from scientists and economists at the University of California Santa Barbara, Oregon State University and Environmental Defense Fund identifies the dramatic future impacts of climate change on the world's fisheries and how fishing reforms are vital to sustaining the global seafood supply.
HKU and international researchers promote marine fisheries reform in China
A study highlighting the challenges and opportunities of fishery management in China has just been released in a perspective piece 'Opportunity for Marine Fisheries Reform in China' in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, with the combined efforts of 18 international researchers all over the world, including an ecologist from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
How China is poised for marine fisheries reform
China has introduced an unprecedented policy platform for stewarding its fisheries and other marine resources; in order to achieve a true paradigm shift a team of international scientists from within and outside of China recommend major institutional reform.
Profitable coral reef fisheries require light fishing
Fishing is fundamentally altering the food chain in coral reefs and putting dual pressures on the valuable top-level predatory fish, according to new research by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Lancaster University, and other organizations.
Investing in fisheries management improves fish populations
Research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that successful fisheries management can be best achieved by implementing and enforcing science-based catch or effort limits.
Integrated approach vital for fisheries management
A comprehensive perspective on evolutionary and ecological processes is needed in order to understand and manage fisheries in a sustainable way.
Lake Tanganyika fisheries declining from global warming
The decrease in fishery productivity in Lake Tanganyika since the 1950s is a consequence of global warming rather than just overfishing, according to a new report from an international team led by a University of Arizona geoscientist.
Under-reporting of fisheries catches threatens Caribbean marine life
Marine fisheries catches have been drastically under-reported in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, threatening the marine environment and livelihoods of the local community, reveals a recent study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Marine Science.
Organism responsible for paralytic shellfish poisoning may affect fisheries
New research by scientists at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology suggests that ingestion of toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense changes the energy balance and reproductive potential of Calanus finmarchicus in the North Atlantic, which is key food source for young fishes, including many commercially important species.
Inland fisheries determined to surface as food powerhouse
No longer satisfied to be washed out by epic seas and vast oceans, the world's lakes, rivers, streams, canals, reservoirs and other land-locked waters continue a push to be recognized -- and properly managed -- as a global food security powerhouse.

Related Fisheries Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...