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Source: Solutions from the Land news release

Sustainable solutions to the challenges of food and energy security, economic development, biodiversity conservation and climate change are the goals of a coalition of resource organizations that was formally announced today. The Solutions from the Land (SFL) initiative will examine how land, water and other natural resources can be managed in an integrated manner at the scale necessary to meet these challenges, both here in the United States and across the globe.

The United Nations Foundation, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Farm Foundation NFP are the founding sponsors of the new initiative. They will be joined by agriculture and forestry groups, conservation interests, businesses, nongovernmental organizations, universities, land users' associations and bilateral and multilateral institutions, all seeking to ensure agricultural systems, forests and other land uses are managed in a way that addresses the needs of a changing world.

"We have set ambitious, yet attainable goals," said A.G. Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and co-chairman of a "design team" charged with guiding the initiative. "We believe that by 2050, our resources can be managed to simultaneously satisfy domestic and global demand for safe, abundant and affordable food, feed, and fiber, while supporting economic security and sustainable development," said Kawamura, who is also a farmer.

"At the same time, we believe that with the proper management principles and incentives developed through Solutions from the Land, hunger and malnutrition can be reduced; soil, water, and air quality can be improved; biodiversity and ecosystem health can be enhanced; and mitigation and adaptation solutions to a changing climate can be delivered," Kawamura added.

Tom Lovejoy, Biodiversity Chair at the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, and design team co-chairman, said that over the next six months, Solutions from the Land will utilize several work groups made up of experts who can develop a roadmap detailing how the agriculture, forestry, and other land use and conservation sectors can achieve the SFL vision. "We'll engage in consensus-based decision-making that respects the values and views of participating stakeholders," he said.

"It won't happen overnight," Lovejoy said. "We're developing systems that can work over the long haul; systems that reward incremental progress against what we know are very bold goals."

Ernie Shea, president of Natural Resource Solutions LLC, and the SFL project coordinator, said that while the initial focus of the initiative is domestic, the scale is global. "Once the roadmap is established and vetted domestically, the coalition will engage in global forums where sustainable land management strategies are being explored," said Shea, a former CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts. Furthermore, the coalition will look to build a global alliance of stakeholders in support of the SFL vision, he added.

The coalition seeks to provide a plan that will increase production on working lands, while offering a broad range of value-added goods and services, including ecosystem services. The coalition's work will be guided by principles that aim to protect and restore high-value conservation areas and conserve biodiversity, and utilize landscape-scale planning that balances production and conservation. The tools developed through SFL can be applied on multiple scales, whether on the farm, across the landscape, regionally or globally. At the same time, solutions tailored to meet unique values, needs, assets and limitations of developed and developing countries will also be created.

While recognizing the importance of private property rights, the initiative will seek to effect change through policy, voluntary initiatives and consumer awareness campaigns, including mitigation markets, government payments and buyer-to-buyer arrangements. Market-based solutions that reward innovation and incentivize healthy land use will also be encouraged.

For more information on the Solutions from the Land initiative visit

Other members of the Solutions for the Land design team are:

Sarah Alexander, Director of Sustainability and Leadership Programs, The Keystone Center.
Ralph Ashton, Senior Policy Fellow, The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment.
Mohamed Bakarr, Senior Environmental Specialist in the Secretariat of the Global Environment Facility, based at the World Bank in Washington D.C.
Gale Buchanan, former USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.
Mark Cackler, Manager, Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the World Bank.
Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Markets, World Wildlife Fund.
Neil Conklin, President, Farm Foundation NFP.
Chuck Conner, CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
Gretchen Daily, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
Dan Dooley, Vice President - Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Senior Vice President, External Relations, University of California.
Cornelia Flora, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Sociology at Iowa State University.
Richard Hamilton, CEO, Ceres Inc.
John Hardin, former Vice Chair of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade for USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative.
Jim Lyons, lecturer and research scholar, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Marty Matlock, associate professor in the Ecological Engineering Group of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, University of Arkansas.
Cassie Phillips, Vice President of Sustainable Forests and Products, Weyerhaeuser Company.
Debbie Reed, President and Director, DRD Associates.
Nathan Rudgers, Senior Vice President, Farm Credit of Western New York.
Bart Ruth, former President, American Soybean Association.
Sara Scherr, President and CEO, Ecoagriculture Partners.
Jerry Steiner, Executive VP, Sustainability & Corporate Affairs, Monsanto Company.
Dave Tenny, President and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners.
Neal Van Alfen, Dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

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