The aim of the campaign
The aim of the BusyTrees campaign is to make sure that policy makers around the world recognise how important working trees are in helping to reduce the effects of climate change, fighting poverty and boosting biodiversity.
Policy changes that support agroforestry will have a major impact in reducing the effects of climate change and poverty in the coming decades, so we must make politicians aware of how important this issue is.
Agroforestry combats climate change
The problems climate change bring are affecting us all and we need to find ways to fight it. Agroforestry can help by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere – in fact, it’s estimated that investments in agroforestry over the next 50 years could remove 50 billion tonnes of additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees also makes it easier to keep animals and grow crops because the shade and water evaporation from the leaves help reduce daytime temperatures beneath them by 3°C.
Agroforestry fights poverty
Less than a quarter of African farmers apply chemical fertiliser to their crops, mainly because it’s expensive and they can’t afford it. Most grow the same crops year after year on the same land, but this eventually makes soil less fertile, so the farmers harvest less and less and their families go hungry.
But agroforestry is helping fight poverty by creating more sustainable farming. Growing trees allows farmers to diversify and rely less on field crops, to shield their crops from direct sunlight and to benefit from free, organic fertiliser in the form of decomposing leaves. It also stabilises their soil and replenishes it with nutrients so the land remains productive well into the future.
Growing trees on farms also gives farmers new products to sell (such as fruit), grazing for livestock (such as goats), timber for building materials and wood for fuel. All of this provides extra income, which the poor can then spend on food and school fees for their children, helping to break the cycle of poverty and allowing them to become self-sufficient.
Agroforestry boosts biodiversity
As the populations of developing countries grow, demand for farmland grows and forests are cut down to make way for crops and provide timber and fuel. So not only do we lose the forests, we lose the plants and animals (or biodiversity) that live in them, and a whole host of other environmental benefits as well.
Agroforestry helps to turn this around by meeting the need for timber and fuel wood, sustaining the ecosystem and providing homes for wildlife. It also encourages the return of endangered species and attracts birds, bees and bats which help pollinate plants and spread seeds.