Cameroon forests, wildlife being preserved by farmers using agroforestry

John Munsell (right) interviewed Cameroonian farmers about the benefits of integrating trees into their farms. The farmers included men and women in about equal numbers.

John Munsell (right) interviewed Cameroonian farmers about the benefits of integrating trees into their farms. The farmers included men and women in about equal numbers.

Nov. 15, 2014 – Agroforestry has been introduced in the African nation of Cameroon as a way to enhance agricultural productivity and financial gain, with a side effect of being good for the environment. It turns out that farmers value its environmental benefits foremost.

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist John Munsell conducted a study of Cameroonian farmers who have used agroforestry practices for at least three years. “I wanted to know whether and why they have adapted their practices, what their needs are for continuing, and the impacts of agroforestry farming at the village scale,” he said.

Agroforestry is the integration of tree crops into crop and livestock agricultural systems. Examples include using trees as “live fences” around production sites and as windbreaks, and growing crops in large alleys between rows of trees. Species that provide medicinal products, nuts, food, or livestock fodder often are used. Some tree varieties can increase soil nitrogen, and several provide pollen, enabling farmers to raise bees for honey.

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