Nairobi, Kenya (9 February 2011) Trees growing on farms will be essential to future development. As the number of trees in forests is declining every year, the number of trees on farms is increasing. Marking the launch of the International Year of Forest by the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF9) in New York on 29 January, Dennis Garrity, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, highlighted the importance of mixing trees with agriculture, the practice known as agroforestry.
"Over a billion hectares of agricultural land, almost half of the world's farmland, have more than 10 percent of their area occupied by trees," said Garrity, "and 160 million hectares have more than 50 percent tree cover."
Growing trees on farms can provide farmers with food, income, fodder and medicines, as well as enriching the soil and conserving water. As natural vegetation and forests are cleared for agriculture and other types of development, the benefits that trees provide are best sustained by integrating them into agriculturally productive landscapes.
Speaking at the High Level Dialogue of UNFF9 on 3 February 2011, Garrity said, "Agroforestry is a crucial bridge between forestry and agriculture. Essentially, agroforestry is about the role of working trees in agricultural landscapes, particularly on, but not limited to, small-scale farms."
Over the next two decades, the world's population is expected to grow on average by more than 100 million people a year. More than 95 percent of that increase will occur in the developing countries, where pressure on land and water is already intense. A key challenge facing the international community is, therefore, to ensure food security for present and future generations, while protecting the natural resource base on which we all depend. Trees on farms will be an important element in meeting those challenges. In some regions, such as Southeast Asia and in Central America, tree cover on ag
|Contact: Paul Stapleton|
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)