Rain forest

There are many threats to the world’s remaining rainforests, such as logging, cattle ranching, soybean cultivation and palm oil.The focus is on one of the largest of those, the practice of slash and burn farming. At present at least 200 million of the world’s poorest farmers are forced to eke out a living on some of the world’s poorest soils by slashing and then burning tropical forest.

This form of farming is so destructive because farmers cannot cultivate the same plot of land long term. The soil loses its fertility a few short years. This results in the need to cut down the rainforests to find new fertile land. Typically estimate are that around 8% of CO2 emissions come from slash and burn farming.

If farmers can cultivate the same plot year after year then this cycle of destruction is halted. Logging of primary rainforests is replaced with large plantations that remain in place year after year. This halts the nomadic lifestyle of poor farming families, raising them out of poverty. And such plantations are valuable carbon sinks.

Landless farmers can usually sustain themselves for between two and four years on the same patch of soil. They are faced with either a daily walk of several miles to a new patch of fresh soil or uprooting their families and moving to a new patch. Not only is this devastating the worlds remaining tropical forests but is also forcing many farmers to abandon the land, and migrate to city slums in the hope of feeding their families. After slash and burn farming there is little chance of regeneration of a plot of land, the tree seeds are lost and tough invasive grasses take over.

Inga alley cropping is a sustainable alternative form of farming, suited to the acid degraded rainforest, or former rainforest, soils. It is a system based on two decades of laboratory research, field trials and practice by farmers. The farmers can cultivate the same plot year after year without the need for expensive chemical inputs such as weed killer or fertilizer. At most they may need a little inexpensive rock phosphate to start off with.

Alley cropping involves growing crops between rows of trees. It has been widely used in Africa but until recently it didn’t work in Central and South America. Certain native species of Inga have now been found to be very suitable for alley cropping. This system has been found to be effective not only in maintaining the soil fertility of a plot, but in restoring fertility to previously degraded and unusable land.

The amazing solution helps just about everyone involved: ­sustainable farming, regeneration of degraded land, better lives for the farmers, a manageable workload, no more exposure to debt and the possibility of growing cash crops. ­No more rainforest needs to be cut down.Hence the purpose at Rainforest Saver Foundation to spread the idea far and wide for the benefit for all, and provide support for people wanting to implement it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Make Correct Pattern to CommentWordPress CAPTCHA