Dynamic agroforestry is a solution

Farming without deforestation and slash-and-burn? It really does work - as can be seen in our project in Madagascar. Here, we use the method of dynamic agroforestry.

Dynamic Agroforestry (DAF) is based on the principle of cultivating agricultural products and native tree species for reforestation or charcoal production on one and the same area. This combination offers not only ecological but also economic benefits. The goal is to combine the benefits of forestry and agriculture for a higher overall agricultural and monetary return.

Dynamic agroforestry in Ankafobe
We are also applying the promising cultivation method in Ankafobe. Here, 30 pilot farmers in the three villages of Andranofeno, Firarazana and Ampitambe, which are located near the protected area of Ankafobe, were selected to learn the Dynamic Agroforestry cultivation method and to apply it independently in the long term. We are also training five DAF trainers to help local farmers sustainably manage their land, as well as a project field coordinator to track the progress of the farmers and plots. The trainers' responsibilities include continuously monitoring the plots five days a week, reviewing the activities carried out by the farmers, advising the farmers on implementation, jointly planning next steps, and recording the development of each plot. The trainers also help with yield measurement and crop management, as well as seed storage planning. 

Long-term implementation of DAF
DAF is a solution to sustainably build a long-term successful organic agriculture in Madagascar. Thus, crops and companion plants are planted closely together on the same area, creating a dynamic planting system. In keeping with nature, native plants are placed in synergy with each other. As a result, DAF leads to healthy plants, a high yield, and increased resilience to drought and heavy rainfall. By covering the soil throughout, humus can build up and the soil becomes fertile again. The local plant knowledge of the DAF trainers and the farmers is of great importance here, because they know which plants in synergy together positively influence their growth.

So in the long run, Dynamic Agroforestry can restore the healthy biodiversity of the soil. At the same time, rainforests are reforested, because where a plant system already exists, it can be further expanded and propagated. In addition to pure crops, trees from the tree nursery supported by Naturefund are planted on the plots. This creates fertile soil for the farmers, while at the same time creating a rainforest rich in species.  

Continuation of the work on site
Since the use of DAF at other project sites in Madagascar was associated with great success, Naturefund was asked by Missouri Botanical Gardens in 2020 to continue the activities regarding DAF. This means: to support the pilot farmers especially with regard to the technical implementation of DAF and thus to preserve the unique flora and fauna of Ankafobe. 

You will find more details about the plots in our next project news. Until then, you can read more about the project in Madagascar here.