November 27, 2017

Thank Goodness for Inga

Thank Goodness for Inga

Slash and burn agriculture is a major contributor to rainforest degradation. Forest soils lose their fertility quickly so new plots are cleared each year, leading to a pattern of destruction.

With smallholder farmers in the tropics responsible for more than 70% of the food calories produced in these regions, there is nothing small scale about the impact on the rainforest and global emissions.

Cool Earth has focused on halting this cycle using a miraculous native plant. Inga is the Swiss Army Knife of trees. It fixes nitrogen, restores phosphorous, provides shade for crops and yields firewood. When planted in rows, it can also stabilise soils and enhance the yields of crops planted in between, whilst promoting the use of the same garden plots over time.

Pioneered in Honduras by the Inga Foundation, this type of alley-cropping is becoming a mainstay of Cool Earth’s partner villages in Peru. Annual study visits to Honduras have created Inga specialists who become community trainers to keep food gardens thriving, stoves burning, and bellies full.

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