Aug. 5, 2014 – Agroforestry has been introduced in the African nation of Cameroon as a way to enhance agricultural productivity and financial gain, with a side effect of being good for the environment. It turns out that farmers value its environmental benefits foremost.
John Munsell, associate professor and Virginia Cooperative Extension forest management specialist in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, conducted a study of Cameroonian farmers who have used agroforestry practices for at least three years.
“I wanted to know whether and why they have adapted their practices, what their needs are for continuing, and the impacts of agroforestry farming at the village scale,” said Munsell, who focuses on human dimensions and forest management.
Agroforestry is the integration of tree crops into crop and livestock agricultural systems. Examples include using trees as “live fences” around production sites and as windbreaks, and growing crops in large alleys between rows of trees. Species that provide medicinal products, nuts, food, or livestock fodder often are used.
Some tree varieties can increase soil nitrogen, and several provide pollen, enabling farmers to raise bees for honey. Chickens range free in the forest gardens, feeding on tree foliage. (read more.....)