Our Annual report is featured in this issue, highlighting the impact of our work around the word. "Trees in agricultural landscapes are now more in demand than ever, for a variety of reasons," said Eric Tollens, Board Chair, in his Foreword. "That is why the research conducted by the World Agroforestry Centre over the coming years, in partnership with others, will be more important than ever before." We also catch up on some major meetings and highlight the role of agroforestry in 2011, the International Year of Forests.
Putting trees on farms is fundamental to future agricultural development and forest conservation and the UN’s 2011 International Year of Forests provides an opportunity to place agroforestry within the context of the forest-agriculture continuum. 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 Forests by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF9) in New York on 29 January 2011, Dennis Garrity, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, highlighted the importance of mixing trees with agriculture.
Collaborative partnerships in agroforestry will be crucial in the future to achieve significant success in increasing food security and alleviating poverty. This was the message that emerged from a side event that the World Agroforestry Centre organized at the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) 9 in New York on 1 February 2011. The function was held in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the African Forest Forum (AFF).
Indonesia is home to the third largest area of tropical forest in the world and is seen to be the leader in carbon emissions due to high deforestation rates. The Government of Indonesia has clearly demonstrated commitment and leadership to reduce emissions from forests through its national Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) policy. However, more needs to be done as new evidence from the Alternatives to Slash and Burn (ASB) Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins shows that the highest risk for loss of woody vegetation and associated carbon emissions is posed by areas which are actually outside areas defined as forests. This evidence calls for a whole landscape approach that is all inclusive. In a new policy brief, World Agroforestry scientists from Bogor, Indonesia and Nairobi, Kenya explain that while two-thirds of carbon emitted each year is from areas institutionally defined as forests, one-third comes from areas that are outside forests. These are areas that do not fall under the official definition of forest in Indonesia, meaning they are left out in current forest-based mitigation efforts under the REDD umbrella.
Farmer-managed natural regeneration in West Africa as well as conservation agriculture with trees in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa is prompting the revitalization of African agriculture through a movement for an Evergreen Agriculture. Wide-scale desertification and unprecedented drought in the Sahel in the 1970s and 1980s crippled agriculture and prompted an innovative approach where the farmers themselves manage the regeneration of important tree species within their cropping systems. The trees are chosen to provide food, fodder, soil fertility, fuel, timber, and other wood products such as gums and resins while building land health and productivity.
World Agroforestry Annual Report 2009-2010 published
Assisting women to gain better access to the market will help to raise them out of poverty.
The Centre’s Annual Report has been published and it is available online at http://worldagroforestry.org/ar2010/. Printed copies are being distributed as usual. Below are summaries of the main stories.
Challenging the prevailing wisdom
Science has an important role to play in providing guidance to policymakers when they are faced with contentious and controversial issues. In Indonesia, the World Agroforestry Centre made an important contribution to the debate about the environmental costs of palm oil development. And in China, our scientists helped to dispel some of the myths surrounding the causes of the devastating drought in Yunnan province.
Surveying and restoring degraded lands
Large areas of agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa are degraded. This is one reason why crop yields have barely risen in recent decades. In Tanzania, soil erosion is also causing serious environmental problems by increasing the rate of sedimentation in Lake Tanganyika. Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre have helped to identify the cause of the problem and possible solutions.
Time to get REALU, in India and beyond
Deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, so saving forests is a good way of tackling global warming. Hence the idea of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD. However, in many countries a significant portion of forest-related carbon emissions occur outside areas officially designated as ‘forest’. This means that REDD projects will only tackle part of the problem. That’s why the World Agroforestry Centre is promoting REALU – Reducing Emissions from All Land Uses.
Facing up to a changing world
Some parts of the world are getting hotter, some colder; some are getting wetter, some drier. The frequency of floods, droughts and other severe weather events is also increasing. This has profound implications for hundreds of millions of smallholders who grow trees on their farms. The World Agroforestry Centre is looking at how they, and their tree crops, could adapt to climate change.
Shaping the future
Developing and promoting agroforestry technologies which can transform lives and landscapes lies at the heart of our work. However, if agroforestry’s potential is to be fully realised, we also need to form partnerships with other organizations working in the field of rural development to influence policy. The Agroforestry Policy Initiative does that.
Making the most of markets
Poverty in Africa is predominantly a rural phenomenon, with women and those living in marginal agricultural areas being hardest hit. Helping them to gain better access to the market would help to reduce poverty and raise incomes. Recent research in East Africa, funded by the Ford Foundation, provides new insights into which commodities and crops are providing the greatest benefits for marginal groups.
Working with the people who really matter
Much of our research is conducted in partnership. We work with a wide range of organisations, including other centres within the CGIAR, national research institutes, universities and non-governmental organizations. Our scientists also have a close working relationship with the communities and families who are using agroforestry to improve their livelihoods and the environment.
Learning from Mzee Mike, the master agroforester
Mzee Mike, a farmer who grows over 15 species of agroforesty trees in his one-acre farm, which he inherited from his father in the mid 1970s. At that time, it was full of rocks, with scattered bushes and grass, but no trees. After clearing the land, he built his house and following Pare (Tanzanian tribe) tradition, started growing banana trees around the compound. As time passed he introduced more and more trees in his farm and has today become a “master” agroforester.
Mzee Mike was one of the farmers visited during a recent field trip to Moshi by staff studying the potential of the Evergreen Agriculture project in Mwanga district. This district, one of the selected project sites, is situated between Moshi and Same districts in Tanzania. Its headquarters is 50 km north of Same on the Dar es Salaam-Arusha Highway and 65 km from Moshi town.
In his farm are several trees for timber (e.g. Acrocarpus fraxinifolius, Murkhemia lutea, Grevillea robusta, Maesopsis eminii, Eucalyptus globule and Cordial africana) and fruit trees (Artocarpus heterophyllus, Musa sapientum, Musa paradisiaca, Annona squamosa, Psidium guajava, Citrus limon, Coffea arabica and Rhus natalensis). He also grows food crops such as beans, cassava and maize, and the spice cardamom as a commercial crop. He keeps chicken and three bulls which feed on Napier grass, also grown on his farm.
Mzee Mike uses the timber and firewood for domestic use and also for sale in the local market. His main source of income is from the sale of bananas and cardamom. Other fruits and food crops that are grown on his farm are for subsistence. He also mentioned that the trees help to provide stakes and windbreak for the bananas and fodder for his livestock.
Since inheriting his piece of land, Mzee Mike has managed to purchase two more one-acre plots near water sources. He plans to grow horticultural crops such as tomatoes, Sukuma wiki, onions, cabbage and bitter tomatoes (Nyanya chungu) to earn more income.
Mzee Mike on his intensively agroforested patch of land in Tanzania
Transformations is produced by the World Agroforestry Centre Communications Unit.
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