To sustain and increase natural resource
productivity for maize and wheat farmers by:
* Developing and disseminating maize and
wheat research methods that preserve natural
* Clarifying the causes and processes by which
resources are degraded.
* Identifying and evaluating solutions to
natural resource problems related to maize
and wheat production.
* Supporting and enhancing research efforts by
CIIMMIYT scientists and their research
* Sharing information by participating in
Complex problems threaten the natural resource
base. Sustainable increases in agricultural
productivity require research methods and
institutional arrangements capable of
responding to these complexities.
For the Natural Resource Group, problems
include threats associated with resource
degradation, as well as untapped opportunities
for environmentally safe production increases.
The Natural Resource Group has four
interrelated objectives: overcoming resource-
management problems, refining research
methods, improving maize and wheat
productivity, and strengthening national
Depending on the current needs of our
collaborators, the Natural Resource Group can
enter the problem-solving process at any of the
follow ing stages:
* Defining problems, their incidence, pace,
causes, and consequences.
* Setting research priorities that address crucial
* Identifying and assessing prototype solutions
through strategic research.
* Conducting adaptive research so farmers can
tailor prototypes to their own needs.
* Assessing adoption constraints to improved
* Extrapolating and synthesizing research
results, thus moving from the site to the
regional level of analysis.
* Identifying police' changes that foster
adoption and overcoming adoption barriers
by encouraging broad social debate.
* Assessing program impacts, or the
consequences of inaction, on productivity and
More detailed information about the
Natural Resource Group can be obtained by
contacting the Group Manager at the
address listed below.
Larry Harrington. Natural Resources
International Maize and Wheat
Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
Apdo. Postal 6-641
06600 Mexico, D.F.
Telephone: (52-5) 726-9091
Fax: (S-5) 726-7558
Tht~e tre te niturl rsoures po9
Whih I~tins 711filandrou
De~~~i~~ratlc ~ ~ ths9eore n h eut
111T(II to peit ble:
he challenge is clearly framed: increase
agricultural production, reduce threats to
the environment. The fate of future
generations depends, in large part, on the
fulfillment of these twin imperatives.
For the impoverished -and their
numbers are increasing CIMMYT's maize and
wheat systems provide hope: of more food from
less land, of better grain from fewer chemicals,
of greater stability from less
Efficient management of the
natural resource base is the
key to these improvements.
Such efficiency has long
been a watchword at
By sustaining yield increases on productive
lands, for example, we have helped feed
growing populations while reducing the need to
cultivate less productive, easily degraded areas.
1750 1800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050
World Population Growth, 1750-2050.
Source: World Resources Institute
With world population increasing at a rate of 90
million per year, the strain on productive lands is
intensifying. Hillsides are degraded. Rainforests
are burning. Fragile areas are deteriorating.
The Natural Resource Group was formed
with these problems in mind. By
specifically targeting natural resource
issues, we help CIMMYT and its
collaborators answer key questions:
What are the untapped CIM
environmentally safe increases
in maize and wheat yields?
How can maize and wheat
technologies help slow or
reverse resource degradation?
How can the long-term
consequences of technical change best
* CIMMYT NRG Outreach Staff and Associates
The Natural Resource Group is CIMMYT's
principal mechanism for collaborating in
ecoregional initiatives that involve natural
resource issues. The following are
representative of the work in which the
Natural Resource Group participates.
* Sustainability of Rice- and Wheat-
based Cropping Systems in the Indo-
Recent evidence suggests that resource
degradation is reducing the productivity of
South Asia's rice-wheat systems. Such news
has sobering implications for the 150 million
farmers who depend for their livelihoods on
this croppmng'equence. Sobering too is the
possibility that widespread degradation has
been $w by in6eased use of fertilizers
and ota uts.' This raises the risk that
irre\ Ei '^ i ge may occur before the
dan iV appreciated.
o ess this threat, the Rice-Wheat
tiaju or the Indo-Gangetic Plains is
v kg t9 understand and solve the
s stem'sp'odxtivity and sustainability
.rob ticiparfs include national
rIm_'n adesh, India, Nepal,
sIar-iv(with China as an associate
as well as universities and
international institutions. CIMMYT leads
work on land management and tillage, as
well as on crop establishment; CIMMYT
contributes to work on nutrient management,
water management, and system ecology.
ch*n de Empresas, tb
:ent of vegetated land)
: l'With theRIl4
* Hillside Maize Systems in
Across Central America's hillsides, many small
farmers can see the future disappearing-right
under their feet. Indeed, land degradation-
primarily from erosion-affects 40-50% of the
agricultural area along these slopes.
maize systems are one key to reducing this
problem, since the area devoted to hillside
maize is three times the combined area devoted
to other domestic food crops.
CIMMYT leads a collaborative effort to
develop such improvements. Prototype
solutions use cover crops and conservation
tillage (with crop residues as mulch) to reduce
erosion, enhance moisture retention, and
Improve soil fertility. Research has also focused
on why farmers adopt (or fail to adopt) new
technologies. Particular attention is devoted to
policy measures that promote adoption.
CIMMYT's principal partner is the
Program Regional de Maiz, a NARS-
managed Central American research
network. Other collaborators include
Centro Internacional de Agricultura
Tropical, International Food
Policy Research Institute,
SInstituto Interamericano de
Cooperaci6n para la
Agron6mico Tropical de
Investigaci6n y Ensefianza,