Halting deforestation is a global challenge largely due to unsustainable agricultural practices that degrade natural ecosystems.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the world’s forests lost about 20% of their coverage. Ninety percent of deforestation is the result of agriculture, with 60% due to the extension of agro-industrial intensive farming (soya, palm oil, corn…), and the remaining 30% caused by small-scale and subsistence farmers. Close to 20% of all carbon emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation.
Climate change will increasingly affect agricultural conditions and there is an urgent need to make farming practices evolve to adapt to climate change. In 2007, experts at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) stated that agro-ecology was the most reliable way to guarantee food security in our future. They based their findings on tangible data, collected in developing countries where industrial agronomy has already showed signs of reaching its limits with: catastrophic erosion, increased climatic instability, desertification.
Agroforestry is the smart integration of trees into farming systems. Unlike full-sun fields, vulnerable and contributing to ecosystems degradation, agrofrestry is a way to preserve productive ecosystems and adapt to climate change. The trees provide multiple services for improved quality and long-term sustainability of the production.
Different agroforestry models with trees integrated in the perimeter of fields, intercropped, or at landscape level will deliver a mix a various ecosystem services for the farmers.
We envision carbon projects as a way to foster socio-economic development while enhancing and preserving the environment. This is the spirit of the Kyoto protocol. It is important to keep it in mind the development aspect of the carbon market. It is a key component and fundamental criteria. While the carbon market is often perceived as simply a financial market, or perceived at best only as an environmental initiative to fight climate change, it is actually a way to fight climate change by bringing additional funds from rich countries (listed in the “appendix 1” of the UN) to poorer countries (in appendix 2 of the UN).
Forestry projects are fully in line with this vision of solidarity especially in how PUR Projet operates. Reforestation projects help small and disadvantaged populations to plant trees and reforest their parcels where they previously could not afford it, or did not have the capacity to implement. They benefit in terms of natural resources preservation, soil enrichment, increased and diversified incomes.
Land conservation with agroforestry is a powerful tool to restore degraded ecosystems and improve farmers’ livelihood. Together with trees, multifunctional agroforestry systems acting as natural ecosystems allow a progressive self-enrichment of the system. It is well adapted to small areas and local farmers.
The Sidama project aims at regenerating and preserving forestry ecosystems in the SNNP region of Ethiopia through reforestation inside and around smallholder coffee farmers’ plots. Tree plantations through agroforestry provide the community with food (fruit trees), fuelwood, environmental benefits while increasing coffee yields and quality.
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Trees for Survival is an environmental education program involving school children to grow and plant native trees, mostly on private farmland of voluntary farmers. The project, focused in Auckland district, is working with around 150 schools and aims at raising awareness and education level on trees planting.
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In Guatemala, in the Huehuetenango area, PUR Projet assists cooperatives of coffee producers in this region as they wish to develop a high quality coffee sector through the implementation of agroforestry systems. Plantations of trees within the plots will allow regeneration and soil fixation, preservation of biodiversity, improved productivity and quality of coffee, and diversification of income for local communities.
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The priority of the “People of the Forest” project is to restore degraded areas in the Amazon, in partnership with native communities, such as the Ashaninka people. The Ashaninka communities depend on the forest for their livelihood. This reforestation project enables them to plant fruit trees to restore their soils and recreate what they call “The Fruit forest” which enhances their self-sufficiency. It also contributes to revive the Ashaninka culture by helping them to take root in their territories through forest conservation activities.
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