Energy News  





.
FARM NEWS
Putting Trees On Farms Fundamental To Future Agricultural Development

illustration only
by Staff Writers
Nairobi, Kenya (SPX) Feb 14, 2011
Trees growing on farms will be essential to future development. As the number of trees in forests is declining every year, the number of trees on farms is increasing. Marking the launch of the International Year of Forest by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF9) in New York on 29 January, Dennis Garrity, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, highlighted the importance of mixing trees with agriculture, the practice known as agroforestry.

"Over a billion hectares of agricultural land, almost half of the world's farmland, have more than 10 percent of their area occupied by trees," said Garrity, "and 160 million hectares have more than 50 percent tree cover."

Growing trees on farms can provide farmers with food, income, fodder and medicines, as well as enriching the soil and conserving water. As natural vegetation and forests are cleared for agriculture and other types of development, the benefits that trees provide are best sustained by integrating them into agriculturally productive landscapes.

Speaking at the High Level Dialogue of UNFF9 on 3 February 2011, Garrity said, "Agroforestry is a crucial bridge between forestry and agriculture. Essentially, agroforestry is about the role of working trees in agricultural landscapes, particularly on, but not limited to, small-scale farms."

Over the next two decades, the world's population is expected to grow on average by more than 100 million people a year. More than 95 percent of that increase will occur in the developing countries, where pressure on land and water is already intense.

A key challenge facing the international community is, therefore, to ensure food security for present and future generations, while protecting the natural resource base on which we all depend. Trees on farms will be an important element in meeting those challenges. In some regions, such as Southeast Asia and in Central America, tree cover on agricultural lands now exceeds 30%.

"The transformation of agriculture into agroforestry is well under way across the globe," said Garrity. "And there are drivers, including climate change, that ensure that this transformation will accelerate in the coming years, since agricultural systems incorporating trees increase overall productivity and incomes in the face of more frequent droughts, and agroforestry systems provide much greater carbon offset opportunities than any other climate mitigation practice in agriculture."

In many countries, it is now quite clear that the future of forestry is on farms. In countries such as India, Kenya, and many others, the majority of the nation's wood is derived from farm-grown timber.

Practiced by farmers for millennia, agroforestry focuses on the wide range of working trees grown on farms and in rural landscapes. Among these are fertilizer trees for land regeneration, soil health and food security; fruit trees for nutrition; fodder trees that improve smallholder livestock production; timber and fuelwood trees for shelter and energy; medicinal trees to combat disease; and trees that produce gums, resins or latex products.

Reinventing agriculture
Evergreen Agriculture is a form of agroforestry that integrates trees with annual crops. "We see Evergreen Agriculture as nothing less than the radical, but entirely practical, pathway to a reinvention of agriculture," said Garrity. "It is a vision of a future in which much of our food crops will be grown under a full canopy of trees."

Combining fertilizer trees with conservation farming techniques is doubling and tripling cereal crop yields in many parts of the African continent. The nitrogen-fixing tree Faidherbia or Acacia albida, is increasing unfertilized maize yields in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and in numerous other countries.

They are now being grown on millions of hectares of crop land throughout Niger, at densities of up to 200 trees per hectare, and show a tripling of yield in the crops growing beneath them. Producing food crops like maize, sorghum, and millets under these agroforests dramatically increases their drought resilience in dry years, because of positive soil moisture regimes, and a better microclimate.

This development is not happening only in Africa. The South Asia Network of Evergreen Agriculture has been launched to advance an evergreen revolution throughout the subcontinent.

Feeding the hungry
Planting trees that provide natural fertilizers on farms with poor soils helps farmers restore fertility and increase yields. Gliricidia bushes fix nitrogen in their roots and act as natural green fertilizer factories, tripling yields of maize on farms in Malawi.

The prunings are fed to the animals. The bushes also reduce the risk of crop failure during droughts and prevent waterlogging when it rains too much. The nitrogen-fixing tree Faidherbia increased unfertilized maize yield four times in Zambia. The trees are being grown on over 5 million hectares of crop land in Niger.

Relieving poverty
Domesticating wild fruit trees in the Cameroon has allowed smallholder farmers to increase their earnings five times. Thousands of farmers in Tanzania are planting Allanblackia trees and earning much-needed income by selling the oil-containing seeds to companies to make margarine.

Trees grown on homestead farms, in woodlots and on communal lands are an important source of wood and other products. In humid-zone West African countries, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda in particular, trees grown in home gardens meet most household needs for fuelwood and timber.

In many cash-crop systems, trees are grown for shade and eventually provide wood - an example is Grevillea robusta in tea plantations in Kenya. In the Sudan, Acacia senegal, the source of gum arabic, is largely grown in agroforestry systems.

Accumulating carbon
Investments in agroforestry over the next 50 years could remove 50 billion tonnes of additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Most of the deforestation in Africa, and in parts of Asia, is caused by agricultural expansion, largely by smallholder farmers.

Agroforestry activities curb emissions of greenhouse gases by slowing the conversion of forest to farm land and holding carbon in the trees on the farms. Developing smallholder agroforestry on land that is not classified as forest could capture 30-40 percent of the emissions related to land-use change. Encouraging farmers to plant trees has the potential to increase farmers' income, sequester more carbon and benefit biodiversity.

"The International Year of Forests is a momentous opportunity to more fully recognize the tremendous importance of agroforestry and evergreen agriculture in building a better world," noted Garrity.

"Agroforestry is one of mankind's best hopes to create a climate smart agriculture, increase food security, alleviate rural poverty, and achieve truly sustainable development. And, thereby, better ensure that our world's forests can indeed be conserved far into the future."

The World Agroforestry Centre, based in Nairobi, Kenya is the world's leading research institution on the diverse role trees play in agricultural landscapes and rural livelihoods. As part of its work to bring tree-based solutions to bear on poverty and environmental problems, centre researchers-working in close collaboration with national partners-have developed new technologies, tools and policy recommendations for increased food security and ecosystem health.




Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology



Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
FARM NEWS
Pheromone Increases Foraging Honey Bees, Leads To Healthier Hives
Corvallis OR (SPX) Feb 14, 2011
The application of a naturally occurring pheromone to honey bee test colonies increases colony growth resulting in stronger hives overall, according to a new study conducted by scientists at Oregon State University and Texas A and M University. The study, which appeared this week in the journal, PLoS ONE, comes amid national concern over the existence of honey bee Colony Collapse Disorder ... read more

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  


FARM NEWS
Satellites Locate Seized Italian Oil Tanker

Biogeochemistry At The Core Of Global Environmental Solutions

TerraSAR-X-Image Of The Month: Calving Icebergs On Queen Maud Land

TRMM Satellite Totaled Cyclone Yasi's Heavy Rainfall In Queensland

FARM NEWS
SkyTraq Introduces Low-Power High-Performance GLONASS/GPS Receiver

JAXA Selects Spirent For Multi-GNSS Testing

Nokia in maps tie-up with China's Sina, Tencent

Russia To Launch New Batch Of Glonass Satellites By June

FARM NEWS
Canada heeds softwood lumber ruling

S.Leone anti-graft agency stops illegal timber exports

U.K. says forest-sale plans still alive

Along Sega, eco warrior and tribal chief, dies in Borneo

FARM NEWS
Biofuel plant planned for Florida

Cellulosic Biomass The Challenge For Biofuels

Biofuels Production From Integrated Seawater Agriculture System

Bioplastics And Biofuels Partnership Opportunities Are Drying Up

FARM NEWS
Italian banks join solar energy project

Arizona Commission Approves Crossroads Solar Energy Project

Mortenson To Construct World's Largest CPV Solar Plant

Sharp Solar Project To Provide Clean Energy To City Of Brea

FARM NEWS
GL Garrad Hassan Launches Onshore Wind Resource Mapping For UK

Construction Begins On Dempsey Ridge Wind Project

India's Suzlon wins $1.28 bn wind power deal

German wind sector hopes for 2011 comeback

FARM NEWS
China mine blast death toll up to 26: state media

Seven found dead in China mine flood: state media

China mine flood traps at least seven: state media

29 still trapped in New Zealand coal mine

FARM NEWS
Poignant Chinese AIDS film moves Berlin festival

Board games cafes offer web break in China

Manila bus hostage inquest to start in Hong Kong

China orders pro-party reporting: rights groups


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement