Slash-and-burn subsistence agriculture has fed millions of families over past centuries; today it maintains some 250-300 million of their descendants in poverty; and its widespread failure is an underlying cause of rural-urban and out of country migration from the tropics. The consumptive process by which forest cover is converted to invasive grassland, over vast swathes of former tropical forest, is estimated to be contributing around 2 billion tons of carbon (C) annually to the atmosphere; more than all global transport combined. Neither this process, nor the families’ attempts to feed themselves, are sustainable today.
TIMELINE/PROCESS
Founded on 25 years of proven scientific research by tropical ecologist Michael Hands of Cambridge University, Inga alley-cropping is a simple, scientifically-proven, and sustainable solution to stopping the devastation of the world’s tropical rainforests. This revolutionary agroforestry system uses nitrogen-fixing tree species from the genus Inga...
Slash-and-burn subsistence agriculture has fed millions of families over past centuries; today it maintains some 250-300 million of their descendants in poverty; and its widespread failure is an underlying cause of rural-urban and out of country migration from the tropics. The consumptive process by which forest cover is converted to invasive grassland, over vast swathes of former tropical forest, is estimated to be contributing around 2 billion tons of carbon (C) annually to the atmosphere; more than all global transport combined. Neither this process, nor the families’ attempts to feed themselves, are sustainable today.
TIMELINE/PROCESS
Founded on 25 years of proven scientific research by tropical ecologist Michael Hands of Cambridge University, Inga alley-cropping is a simple, scientifically-proven, and sustainable solution to stopping the devastation of the world’s tropical rainforests. This revolutionary agroforestry system uses nitrogen-fixing tree species from the genus Inga to regenerate land depleted by slash-and-burn, sequester millions of tons of carbon, and transform the lives of subsistence farming families. Inga alley-cropping is a fully integrated ecosystem that naturally recreates conditions on the forest floor. This not only stabilizes and replenishes the soil but also prevents erosion and protects wildlife and marine habitats. Inga alley-cropping also effectively anchors a family to a single plot of land, thus eliminating slash-and-burn and allowing them to achieve “land for life.” Inga seedlings are planted every 20 inches in rows 13 feet apart on steep, degraded slopes and require no herbicides, or pesticides. Inga alleys out-compete aggressive weeds with no heavy equipment or chemical fertilizers (only a small rock phosphate supplement). This closed system is a revolutionary, integrated cycle-- organic food/cash crops, and a sustainable economic system. After 1-2 years, the trees are pruned, with the branches supplying a year's worth of firewood and the leaves a soil-protecting mulch. Crops are planted between the pruned tree rows and shaded as the trees regrow. After the crops have matured, they are harvested and the cycle repeats.
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Mike  Hands
Admin
Mike Hands Founder/Director a doggedly stubbon, patient, and persistent tropical ecologist dedicated to teaching the world about Inga Alley Cropping