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THE TREE IS AN ENGINE OF NATURE — PUT IT TO WORK!

by Community Forests International on May 10, 2013

“THE TREE [IS] AN ENGINE OF NATURE — PUT IT TO WORK” - J. Russell Smith, Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (1929)

A call for permanent agriculture from 1929 may come as a surprise to those more familiar with the modern 'Permaculture' movement. Emphasis on trees in food production systems goes back even further than J. Russell Smith though, thousands of years back. The ancient Moxos of northeast Bolivia, for instance, practiced a wetland agriculture that included highly diverse hilltop “forest gardens”. These gardens included dozens of varieties of tree fruits and nuts, and once supported some of the densest populations in the Amazon. In a practice known as Agroforestry, CFI is now working with small-scale farmers across Pemba to incorporate food and forest trees into traditional agricultural systems. Appropriately selected trees provide an array of valuable ecosystem functions on farms, including erosion control, water conservation, increased fertility, microclimate regulation, and carbon sequestration. The results of transitioning from traditional monocrop agriculture to agroforestry include higher and more diverse yields leading to improved food security and nutrition, reduced reliance on external resources, and greater all around ecological health – all of which contribute to improving climate change resilience. CFI is helping to put trees to work on Pemban farms; harnessing one of nature's most powerful engines in the fight against climate change.  To learn more about Agroforestry, check out The World Agroforestry Centre.

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