Icon for: Nathan Jensen


Cornell University
Years in Grad School: 1
Judges’ Queries and Presenter’s Replies
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Presentation Discussion
  • Leora Falk

    May 21, 2012 | 03:42 p.m.

    This was really fascinating! Did you look into what hurdles would have to be overcome in order to implement programs like the insurance program, or how to inform development agencies about what would or wouldn’t work? Thanks!

  • Icon for: Nathan Jensen

    Nathan Jensen

    Lead Presenter
    May 22, 2012 | 09:49 p.m.

    Hello Leora,

    Thank you for your question. The IBLI product is currently available in Kenya and is opening in Ethiopia. There is also a livestock pilots in Mongolia, as well as a number index based crop insurance products around the world. Each has approached the implementation a little differently so there is beginning to be a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. I think that a few of the large hurdles to any implementation involve access to historic data for creating the contract, getting existing insurance providers online as providers of a new product and stimulating demand in populations that are often very unfamiliar with insurance. I am sure that you are looking for something a little more specific but I think that the context will pay a large role in determining those barriers. Thankfully, there are a variety of products to look towards for information on how to overcome specific issues.

    Thanks for your question.

  • Icon for: Carolyn Johnson

    Carolyn Johnson

    Project Coordinator
    May 22, 2012 | 03:02 p.m.

    A very interesting project Nathan. Do you have any information on how both types of anthropogenic activities – heading and farming – have had on the local ecosystem overall? Are there pressures rising on other native species, both from human activity and from the perceived increase in drought conditions? Finally, have you found data to give you more information on climate change/variation in the area? Again, thanks for a very interesting and informative poster and video.

  • Icon for: Nathan Jensen

    Nathan Jensen

    Lead Presenter
    May 22, 2012 | 09:48 p.m.

    Hi Carolyn,
    Good questions. The verdict is still out on many of them. There is evidence of increased climate variation and drying in the area. The USGS/USAID just came out with a report on the area ( http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2012/3053/FS12-3053_eth...). The pastoralist themselves report increased frequency and duration (although, as you note, human induced land degradation may cause herders to experience greater impacts even w/o changes to frequency or duration).
    Anthropogenic activities certainly are a potential issue. There is mixed evidence on whether the regional ecosystem is governed by dynamic or static dynamics, which would indicate if over-stocking is likely to lead to rangeland degradation. In either case, it seems that as you move towards the dryer Kenya boarders and into northern Kenya, droughts become a greater determinant of rangeland condition than stocking rates. On the other hand, large scale cropping is relatively new to the area so little is known about it impacts. One thing that we do know is that cropping expands into the more fertile wet areas. This, along with loss of traffic rights, may cause some friction between those that sedentize to crop and those that continue to practice a highly mobile form of pastoralism.
    On a final note, bush encroachment is a big issue in southern Ethiopia. There are many different theories on it causes and how to best address it, but the current condition is that pasture land is being lost. Bush encroachment is a very real pressure that is proceeding independent of human activity so that action of some sorts would be essential even if other forces were not in motion.
    Thanks for posting. I hope that I have been able to answer your questions.

  • Icon for: Christopher Barrett

    Christopher Barrett

    Faculty: Project PI
    May 24, 2012 | 11:14 a.m.

    Great poster and video!

  • Garth Hul

    May 27, 2012 | 02:39 a.m.

    Excellent presentation; CARE looks forward to working with you more on these critical issues in Borena.

  • Charles Hopkins

    May 28, 2012 | 08:11 a.m.

    I would like to concur with Garth that this indeed is an excellent presentation. Thanks Nathan, you presented the facts very well. Farming is indeed having an impact on the ecosystem as well as increased population growth. There is no permanent river (or irrigation) in Borana and therefore, farming is rain fed. CARE and Save the Children UK conducted a Climate-Related Vulnerability and Adaptive-Capacity study in Borana and somali region of Ethiopia. You can also find this study and video on www.careclimatechange.org/file/reports/Ethiopia. This study looked at the magnitude and rate of current climate change, combined with additional environmental, social and political issues, etc. Thanks to Nathan and his team for this great work. Thank you!

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