An Amazing Agroforestry Story: The Inga Model in Central America

Tropical ecologist Mike Hands presented a virtual webinar for the Life Saves the Planet lecture series co-hosted by GBH Forum Network and Biodiversity for a Livable Climate on Feb. 22, 2021. Professor Rattan Lal of Ohio State University and Recipient of the 2020 World Food Prize joined him at the end of the presentation for questions and to talk about the program’s success and promise.

Watch the webinar.

Additionally, The Royal Society Open Science Journal published an article by tropical ecologist Mike Hands: "The search for a sustainable alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture in the World's rain forests: the Guama Model and its implementation."

This paper describes the context, history and remarkable outcomes of a series of studies into the ecology of slash-and-burn agriculture in the world's humid tropics.

The ability of the resilient Inga tree to stabilize/regenerate/enrich depleted soil dramatically transforms the lives of subsistence farmers in the tropics by providing food security and organic cash crops as well as significantly reduces global carbon emissions, protects wildlife and marine habitats, and preserves water sources. This low-input, debt-free, and bottom-up approach is available now — regenerating highly degraded land and providing farmers and their families the means to achieve both organic and sustainable agricultural practices while putting an end to tropical slash-and-burn agriculture.

Read the paper.