Sustainable Harvest International encourages biodiversity on participating farms and adopting cultivation methods that promote natural patterns. Agroforestry systems and multi-story farms mimic a natural forests with an over-story of hardwood trees (i.e. mahogany, Spanish cedar, rosewood, etc), which provide shade for crops like coffee, cocoa, and ginger, all of which thrive in shade. Below the upper canopy, farmers will generally incorporate mid-size species, including a variety of leguminous trees (Leucaena, earpod tree), and fruit & spice trees like all-spice, mangos, breadfruit and more. The next level generally includes the more shade loving species like coffee and cocoa, followed by cover crops like yellow and white ginger.
Creating such a system not only guarantees diversity of animal species, but productive and multi-purpose land-use systems for farmers which can subsequently improve their income. In agroforestry systems, families are able to diverse their “stock portfolio” of crops with timber, fruit and spices.
At present, SHI is working with farmers directly and training them on the benefits of multi-purpose land-use systems, and the beneficial impact it has for the ecosystem and their health. Through such systems, farmers are able to restore their local environments, repair watersheds and riparian zones, and restore wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
• Image from The Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison
How can you help? Give a Plant a Chocolate Forest Gift of Hope to your friends and family!
- Learn More: Belize
- Learn More: Honduras
- Learn More: Nicaragua
- Learn More: Panama
- Five-Phase Approach
- Successful Techniques
- Graduate Survey 2010