Managing Concurrent and Repeated Risks: Explaining the Reductions in Opium Production in Central Helmand Between 2008 and 2011

Managing Concurrent and Repeated Risks: Explaining the Reductions in Opium Production in Central Helmand Between 2008 and 2011 Published by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, August 2011

David Mansfield

“This paper seeks to explore what factors have driven recent reductions in poppy cultivation in Helmand and how sustainable they are. It finds that while household concerns about food security because of high wheat prices were key in driving down poppy cultivation between 2008 and 2009, the coercive power of the Afghan state and international military forces has been significant in determining levels of cultivation in central Helmand in 2010 and 2011. Sustainability of these effects will vary among different communities.

Eradication delivery by year and force on ten year double cropping ability

Eradication delivery by year and force on ten year double cropping ability

“Broadly speaking, this research suggests that reductions in poppy cultivation are:

  • most sustainable among communities close to urban centres with access to diverse income opportunities, government support programmes and better security;
  • least sustainable among communities that have responded to the government’s poppy ban but lack viable alternatives and remain exposed to violence and intimidation by both sides in the conflict;
  • and non-existent among a growing number of communities in the desert north of the Boghra Canal where opium production has provided the means to own and cultivate land, and the Taliban is increasingly seen to provide a relatively secure environment for households to secure income and accumulate assets.”

Read the paper [PDF]

Spatially Explicit Analysis of Metal Transfer to Biota: Influence of Soil Contamination and Landscape

PLoS ONE, Published 31 May 2011

Clémentine Fritsch, Michaël Cœurdassier, Patrick Giraudoux, Francis Raoul, Francis Douay, Dominique Rieffel, Annette de Vaufleury, and Renaud Scheifler

“Concepts and developments for a new field in ecotoxicology, referred to as “landscape ecotoxicology,” were proposed in the 1990s; however, to date, few studies have been developed in this emergent field. In fact, there is a strong interest in developing this area, both for renewing the concepts and tools used in ecotoxicology as well as for responding to practical issues, such as risk assessment. The aim of this study was to investigate the spatial heterogeneity of metal bioaccumulation in animals in order to identify the role of spatially explicit factors, such as landscape as well as total and extractable metal concentrations in soils.

Iso-concentration lines of predicted total Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations in topsoils from Metaleurop-impacted area.

Iso-concentration lines of predicted total Cd, Pb and Zn concentrations in topsoils from Metaleurop-impacted area.

“Over a smelter-impacted area, we studied the accumulation of trace metals (TMs: Cd, Pb and Zn) in invertebrates (the grove snail Cepaea sp and the glass snail Oxychilus draparnaudi) and vertebrates (the bank vole Myodes glareolus and the greater white-toothed shrew Crocidura russula). Total and CaCl2-extractable concentrations of TMs were measured in soils from woody patches where the animals were captured. TM concentrations in animals exhibited a high spatial heterogeneity. They increased with soil pollution and were better explained by total rather than CaCl2-extractable TM concentrations, except in Cepaea sp. TM levels in animals and their variations along the pollution gradient were modulated by the landscape, and this influence was species and metal specific. Median soil metal concentrations (predicted by universal kriging) were calculated in buffers of increasing size and were related to bioaccumulation. The spatial scale at which TM concentrations in animals and soils showed the strongest correlations varied between metals, species and landscapes. The potential underlying mechanisms of landscape influence (community functioning, behaviour, etc.) are discussed. Present results highlight the need for the further development of landscape ecotoxicology and multi-scale approaches, which would enhance our understanding of pollutant transfer and effects in ecosystems.”