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This week, members of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity are meeting in Japan to talk about how to protect the planet's flora and fauna. It's a noble and challenging goal, especially considering that they hope to do it without displacing or disenfranchising any of the world's poor, 70 percent of whom live in rural areas and are therefore more likely to look to hunting, fishing and resource extraction for their livelihoods.

The online magazine Slate takes a look at this challenge today and considers ways that biodiversity can be preserved at the same time poverty is reduced. Agroforestry, in which trees and agriculture are integrated, is one solution that Heifer promotes in many of its projects. Protecting soil by planting trees simply makes sense for the farmers who rely on healthy soil to produce healthy crops. You can learn more about some Heifer's work with partner Green Mountain Coffee to preserve biodiversity in Mexico in the Winter 2010 issue of World Ark magazine.

Read more about the Convention on Biological Diversity here.


Austin Bailey

Austin Bailey is a writer and editor for Heifer's World Ark magazine.