Over more than 30 years in west Africa, Tony Rinaudo has regenerated more than 6m hectares – an area nearly as large as Tasmania. His farmer-managed natural regeneration technique is responsible for 240m trees regrowing across that parched continent.
Cool! I don't think I understand the method though. It sounds like they're just switching from trying to plant trees, to instead just pruning existing shrubs. How does that generate so many new trees though, are they propagating those existing shrubs from the cuttings, or does pruning alone spur the shrubs to spread via root suckers?
Best news i heard in ages!
Here's a video of the Tenth International Permaculture Conference (t 2017) in Amman, Jordan, explaining it all.
It's an hour, for you who don't want to spend that time, i made this summary with some added comments of mine.
Tony Rinaudo has been in desperate Niger in Africa for over 30 years, he planted many trees, they all died, basicly because of drought and plagues because of a defunct eco system. The farmers had been cutting down all the trees to make money and use as wood to cook on. So he prayed to god (his words) and the the answer came when he had a flat tire. He noticed the shoots around cut down treetrunks desperate to grow back that the trees were already there. FMNR was born!Farmer-managed natural regeneration. So he talked farmers into pruning these treestumps, take the biggest straightest of the sprouts and cut the rest, use it for firewood. Non of the farmers wanted to believe him, common believe was trees are bad for agriculture, they're competition. Famine came and he had a work for food program, got some farmers to do as he told and trees grew. Cattle came and rested in the shade leaving dung, there where fruits growing on the trees which the farmers could sell, the trees functioned as wind breaks causing a lot less evaporation, the farmers didn't have to import fire wood any more because the trees grew rapidly, they were less receptive to brought because of the extensive root system(my thinking). The farmers had wood to repair handles on tools and chairs and have structure to create roofing structure. They even have wood markets now instead of importing it from neighboring Nigeria. The women don't have to walk for hours for fire wood or burn goat dung. Kids sold forgotten fruits and managed to buy books. Beneficial birds and insects came back, spiders, lizards, frogs and praying mantis keeping a check on the grubs, caterpillars and aphids improving the crops three fold. At first farmers where still reluctant to have more then 40 trees per hectare (100X100 meter) but soon after trial and error upped this number to a 100/150 he noticed. The farmers where completely free to experiment as they saw fit, farmers talked to farmers and by the making of this film 5 million hectares of land has been regenerated, it has taken off and is visible from space. The farmers have seen what works in their area, which are the nitrogen fixing trees etcetera.
He recons this is possible in 2/3 of Africa, he is a travelling consultant now been to Indonesia where it could even happen quicker.
A huge drawback he came across is that most illiterate farmers do not have any land rights with the result being that nobody owned the trees and people just did what they saw fit, cutting it down, keeping sprouts tiny, even burning the tree.
The government of Ethiopia very cleverly wants to secure Carbon credits by implementing this system, but because the bureaucracy surrounding assigning these Carbon Credits for regenerating land is so massive and difficult it is not the major driving force behind implementing FMNR on a massive scale. (quelle surprise)
Despite that the Ethopian government is not waiting for the trailing western democracies and has pledged to start a program to implement FMNR on 15 million hectares and work on the ownership issue.
Tony Rinaudo has also found that you must use the excisting structures to get the farmers to try FMNR and identify the leader figures in society.
The film talks about advancing biodiversity for instance the australian Acacia, because it is extremely drought resistant, loves temperatures of 50 degrees celsius(122F) and is basicly a bean crop. It's beans got 25%proteine,40%carbohydratesand 6%fat, and he had a meal with them on the plane to Jordan.
Haven't seen the last ten minutes, because i got too excited.
That was it basicly. Excellent. Time to start promoting this technique everybody!
Short version: the trees are already there, but they have been felled for fuel and then frequently grazed so that all that is left are the roots and a few shoots. When the grazing pressure is removed the roots rapidly send up shoots that grow beyond browse height and can reestablish themselves as proper trees.
The increased shade and biomass in the system increases water retention in the landscape improving conditions for pretty much everything else.
Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.
Its really great video, and at the same time it is really depressing how almost all human practices are wrong and harming to nature....so most solutions and amazing brain power activity is just to realize that what you are doing is wrong lol. Well I am guilty of that too when I look back at some of the things I have been doing, so I am not judging.
What I am thinking these people should try is to plant even more of these trees that are really good at growing in these hard conditions, then they should use the leafs and branches to fill big holes in the ground and to cover that with soil, then they can try growing other trees that have more valuable nuts and fruits, I am not sure it will work better than what they are doing now, but it should be estimated how much water a cow consume, and how much plant material it uses for the production of X kg of food, both milk and meat, and how much Y kg of production a tree will give, if you provide that water to it, and invest in that improvement of the soil, sure it takes more labor to bring the water to the trees, digging holes and stuff, its just that trees somehow grow despite human activity, and not because of human help, if people try to invest effort to help trees produce I think it will worth it big time.
I became a practitioner of this method at the age of 16. My family built a house on our back lot in the 1970s, which until that point had been grazed by goats. There were plenty of velvet mesquite seedlings (most dating back to when I was a seedling myself) that got chewed down to nubs and never showed much aboveground size. As we were finishing the house, I noticed a few bushes in places that I thought would be good to have trees, so I thinned out the tangle of stems and left one or more leaders. In the first year, especially thanks to a decent monsoon that summer, the one in the front yard shot up taller than me. After only five years it had branches above the two-story roofline and by year ten the canopy had a 6m spread. I drove by the place a couple of months ago and it's looking pretty impressive for a 50ish mesquite. I'm pretty sure the two out back are still there as well, providing filtered shade, abundant leaf litter and heaps of beans.
Most dryland environments with native tree species have either or both grazing and fire pressure in addition to the hydrological limits. It's no surprise that woody plants from these regions are adapted to resprout from stumps and leverage all that hard-won root development. It just took a persistent and dedicated visionary with some pretty awesome people skills to connect the dots and turn this resource into a means of rehabilitating landscapes and supporting livelihoods at the same time.
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2019 PDC for Scientists, Engineers, Educators and experienced Permies