Issue 19: September 2012

Issue 19 | September 2012 |
Our feature story takes us right to the forest's edge, where farmers have traditionally gone to gather valuable tree products (such as fruits, nuts, medicinal plants, gums, wood and animal fodder). With most people now living far from forests, and the forests themselves shrinking due to land and population pressure, there is a new urgency to bring additional, valuable tree species onto farms, through agroforestry.

We also bring you a selection of recent stories, news and new publications, in case you missed them on the website. This edition has several links to video and audio content. To keep up with all the happenings in agroforestry, find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Happenings On the forest's margins: bringing the benefits of trees from the wild into the farm
Trees for Food Security project launched in Rwanda and Ethiopia

A four-year, four-country action research project that will bring to bear the benefits of agroforestry throughout eastern Africa was launched early August. Coordinated by the World Agroforestry Centre, and funded largely by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the four-year, four-country project will be carried out in Ethiopia and Rwanda in its first two years, and expand to Burundi and Uganda starting 2014. The project will be implemented by a multidisciplinary partnership of institutions, including three CGIAR Consortium Research Centres (World Agroforestry Centre, CIMMYT and ILRI), CSIRO, World Vision, and partner-country national agricultural research centres and universities.

Read more on:
Rwanda launch: Building on Strength: Trees for Food Security project launched in Rwanda

Ethiopia launch; Trees for Food Security project launched in Ethiopia

Intercropping improves Ugandan banana and coffee yields

Coffee and bananas grow at approximately the same altitudes (800 to 2300 meters) and so can be easily combined on the same farm plot. Besides leading to more effective use of scarce land, intercropping banana and coffee brings other benefits such as helping with adaption to climate change, and pest control.

Farmers know trees help with climate change; Do nations?

A recent study found that smallholders in Vietnam used agroforestry to shield themselves from climate-change-related productivity loses. The study, published in the journal Climate Change, reports that farmers in Cam My grow a diversified range of annual and tree crops. "Trees that produced fruit, nuts and berries were much more resilient and also provided other benefits such as income, timber, fodder for livestock, medicines and, of course, fresh air and soil protection," says Dr. Meine van Noordwijk.

Leakey book says 'trees of life' could nourish the planet, build wealth

In Living with the Trees of Life: Towards the Transformation of Tropical Agriculture, Professor Roger Leakey argues that abject rural poverty, food insecurity, land degradation and climate change can all be "relatively easily addressed" through the widespread application of agroforestry, especially in the tropics and sub-tropics. And 'The Convenient Truth' he adds, is that we already know that agroforestry works, thanks to over three decades of research.

Evergreen in action: Food security and environmental health for Africa's farmers (video)

Across Africa millions of farmers are embracing a system of agriculture that is turning around their crop production and bringing their households and communities myriad additional benefits to boot. The farmers are finding that 'Evergreen' agriculture, agroforestry that integrates beneficial trees with annual crops, intensifies production while building environmental resilience.
Trees for Food Security project launch on Ethiopian TV (video)

Trees and the city: How urbanization is driving agroforestry (audio)

Dennis Garrity Speaks during the Rio+20 Summit.
Interface of human dwellings and the forest in Moshi, Tanzania
Photo by P. Stapleton/World Agroforestry Centre

For millennia communities have depended on forest trees to provide products like wild fruit, timber and medicinal plants, but natural forests are shrinking and the supply of these valuable products is now threatened. Trees on farms provide people with the tree products they need, take the pressure off remaining natural forests, and do much more. "This is exactly what we hope to achieve through the domestication of useful trees, bringing them into wider cultivation in farmers' fields" says Dr. Ramni Jamnadass, leader of the World Agroforestry Centre's Global Research Priority on Quality Trees. "Wild tree species harbour as yet unknown products that could find application in medicine and other spheres, and these must not be lost to us," she adds.

Domestication means selecting desirable traits from wild species and developing propagules with these properties that can be grown read more.

New Publications
Annual Report 2011-2012
The growing worldwide interest in agroforestry makes the activities of the World Agroforestry Centre all the more pertinent for the future of agriculture and natural resource management.

Our Annual Report contains the development outputs and outcomes of the Centre's research to produce new knowledge on scaling up agroforestry, water, climate adaptation, soil health, targeted tree interventions and value addition to agroforestry products. This knowledge transforms lives and landscapes.
Agroforestry tree domestication: a primer
Tree domestication started thousands of years ago for some species, but more recently modern knowledge has enabled scientists to work in collaboration with farmers to continue and expand these activities.
Taking the heat out of farming: an innovative agroforestry project is helping Indian smallholders to join the global carbon market
'Taking the Heat out of Farming' covers the work and success of a World Agroforestry Centre project that is empowering smallholder farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, and Uttrakhand states in India to build up carbon stocks and hopefully sell these as credits on the international market. Author, Charlie Pye-Smith explains in the booklet that the ICRAF project has succeeded because it uses innovative ways to tackle the issues that restrict farmers from entering the carbon market.
Falling by the wayside: improving the availability of high-quality tree seeds and seedlings would benefit hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers
Every year, millions of farmers in the developing world sow tree seeds and tree seedlings of poor or variable quality. It may be many years before they realise they've devoted time and energy to growing trees which will fail to yield the benefits they anticipated. This booklet explains why this is happening, and describes a range of solutions which could provide farmers with the high-quality seeds and seedlings they need to improve their livelihoods and incomes. Improving the availability of high-quality tree seeds and seedlings would benefit hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers.
For more publications, visit our online library
Upcoming Events
World Agroforestry Centre Science Forum, 3-7 September at the ICRAF Headquarters in Nairobi
The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) will hold a week-long Science Forum at its Nairobi campus from 3-7 September 2012. The Science Forum allows the Centre's scientists to come together to exchange results and discuss ways to collaborate along various themes to further enhance the practice of agroforestry.

As part of the opening celebrations for the Science Forum, Professor Roger Leakey will launch his book 'Living with the Trees of Life' with a special lecture.

Research and fellowship opportunities
Agroforestry and natural resource management are well-established research and development disciplines worldwide. Other than the World Agoforestry Centre, many national, regional and international institutions offer a broad range of fellowship and scholarship opportunities that develop and strengthen the capacity of individual learners in these areas.

Follow this link to view more opportunities:
Transformations is produced by the World Agroforestry Centre Communications Unit.
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