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Overcoming Poverty Through 'Regreening'

Many parts of Africa have been deforested by the expansion of agricultural land. This loss of trees has many detrimental effects. Soil erosion increases because trees no longer block wind and their roots no longer hold soil together. Soil fertility decreases because the input of nutrients in the form of organic matter like leaves from trees vanishes. Renewable sources of fuel and building materials are lost when trees are removed to convert land to agricultural landscapes.

Chris Reij and Robert Winterbottom, senior fellows of the World Resources Institute, have written a report detailing efforts to reverse the trend of deforestation in agricultural landscapes in Africa, a practice that they define as “regreening.” In the report “Scaling Up Regreening: Six Steps to Success, A Practical Approach to Forest and Landscape Restoration” Reij and Winterbottom describe methods by which regreening may be able to occur at landscape levels.

The authors define “regreening success” as “situations in which significant numbers of farmers, individually or collectively, have developed ways to protect, regenerate, and sustainably manage an increased number of shrubs and trees in their farming systems.”

David Stanley

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