Agroforestry for agro-ecological intensification and climate resilience

Agroforestry 4jThe 4th World Congress on Agroforestry, held from 20-22 May 2019 at Le Corum Conference Centre, Montpellier, France, called for a transformative change to tackle the disastrous impacts on our planet of the global food system

Organised by CIRAD and INRA, in partnership with World Agroforestry (ICRAF), Agropolis International and Montpellier University of Excellence, more than 300 presentations and more than 600 posters presented the latest research on the power of mixing trees and crops in agriculture.

Adding trees to crop fields and pastures delivers on biodiversity while maintaining or enhancing food security and nutrition. In addition, it often leads to increased farm profitability and helps mitigate and adapt to climate change, while optimising water management and restoring soils.

The congress called upon decision-makers, both public and private, to ensure a transformative change in governance, education and finance to speed up the adoption of agroforestry systems.

Diaminatou Sanogo, director of the National Centre for Forestry Research of Senegal’s Agricultural Research Institute (ISRA), commented, “Agroforestry can contribute to agro-ecological intensification and climate resilience.”

Her research group won the best poster award in the climate change category, with an innovation leading to greater nutrition security and resilience for farmers in the groundnut region of Senegal. Using native tree species intelligently with crops allows yield increases while greatly reducing fertiliser use.

Stephen Briggs, a leading agroforestry farmer from the UK, said, “There is increasing interest in agroforestry across the globe and locally in the European Union as a system that provides greater economic and production resilience, [which is] important to help deal with the impacts of climate change. To help further adoption of agroforestry, what we now need is advice and mentoring from local, regional and global agroforestry networks, as farmers learn best from other farmers.”

According to Christian Dupraz, scientific chair of the Congress and INRA Research Director, “After the worldwide move towards simplified and artificialised agricultural systems – which came with many unintended negative consequences – agroforestry embraces complexity in agricultural systems.”

It is important that tomorrow's agriculture mimics the processes of natural ecosystems so that some of the services that nature once gave us can be provided by agriculture.

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