Login What is Agroforestry?
An update on this story May - " Farmer Design Principles for the Agroforestry System " by Andrew Mittelman Government-promoted commercialization of agriculture was pushing Thailand's farmers into a downward spiral. Increasing cash outlays for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, destruction of natural soil fertility as a result of heavy chemical application and soil erosion, and water shortages due to extensive deforestation had left rural families with debilitating debts and a widespread sense of desperation.
But inwhen a development project helped farmers to achieve a shared understanding of their predicament, the farmers charted a strategy to restore their environment, economy, and community. Diversification through agroforestry-based farming, home processing of agricultural products, and community forest management enabled villagers to recapture control of their lives.
At the same time, restoration of their forest removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making a local contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and the control of global warming. The government launched a Western growth model with export-led development as its centerpiece.
If overall growth in gross domestic product is your yardstick, this policy was a raging success. But for small-scale farmer Thanawm Chuwaingan and millions like him, the story was entirely different. They found dense jungle with seemingly infinite resources — trees, good soil, fish, and wildlife such as wild boar, tigers and elephants.
The newcomers cleared a small portion of the land for crop production, and cut trees for house construction and firewood. The fish in the streams were easy to catch. Things started to change in the s.
Farmers were encouraged to modernize and grow cash crops such as rice, maize, jute, and cassava for export. An Agricultural Credit Bank was established to provide them loans for hybrid seed, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and farm equipment.
Thanawm and other farmers in the region switched from diversified traditional agriculture to monocropping cash crops with heavy use of chemicals. They cut more forest to expand their farmland and sold the timber as a bonus.
The farmers, who never had so much money in their pockets before, used the money from loans, farm earnings, and timber sales to buy electronic appliances, motorcycles, and other modern merchandise. After an initial flush of quick cash, crop prices began to decline because so many farmers were growing the same thing.
Matters became worse when droughts came and the crops started to fail. Unable to keep up with the payments on their loans to the Agricultural Bank, farmers fell prey to opportunistic informal money lenders who charged as much as 10 percent interest per month.
People began to go deeper into debt. This was the beginning of a downward spiral. Desperate to make good on their debts, villagers eventually cut the last remnants of forest to expand their fields.
By that time, there were virtually no trees left on the hillsides. People say that it became hotter and drier.
Soil fertility declined because mechanized plowing led farmers to get rid of their draft animals such as water buffalo, which had been a source of animal manure for the fields.
Extensive monoculture of cash crops on fields from which all remaining trees were removed was accompanied by increasing application of chemical fertilizers to compensate for the loss of natural soil fertility.
Soil erosion increased, along with crop vulnerability to dry spells, since the capacity of the hardened soil to retain moisture had declined. Rainwater just ran off the fields. Farmers struggled to compensate for depleted soil fertility by applying more and more chemicals, which only increased production costs and debt even further.NOTE: The commercial aspect of the Forestry South Africa (FSA) website, as well as the commercial side of the FSA Newsletter, is managed and run by Fevertree Media (Pty) Ltd which is a separately run entity to the non-profit organisation Forestry South Africa.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been called minor or secondary forest products. Other terms may include and non-traditional, special or specialty non-wood forest products.
Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices and Handbook for Agroforestry Planning and Design.
Minnesota approach to non-traditional forest Products. The Forest Service is recognized as a leader among Federal land management agencies in partnering appropriately and collaboratively with American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal governments and cummunities for mutually beneficial outcomes.
Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has varied benefits, including increased biodiversity and reduced erosion. Agroforestry practices have been successful in sub-Saharan Africa and in parts of the United States.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs), also known as non-wood forest products (NWFPs), minor forest produce, special, minor, alternative and secondary forest products, are useful substances, materials and/or commodities obtained from forests which do not require harvesting (logging) trees.
Domestication and commercialization of non-timber forest products in agroforestry systems. Non-Wood Forest Products 9. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.