Category Archives: Tree Nursery

THE CARBON GENIE

Global Change and Politics

It’s hard to get the general public to grasp the vast size of our carbon problem, that we will not only have to stop emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere BUT ALSO find a way to pull vast amounts of CO2 already in the atmosphere and put the carbon genie back in the bottle.

Pick a reason for forgetting about our grandchildren who will all be living in a new world of Global Change: Ignorance; Greed; Denial; Tribalism (following the group thinking); Short-term Thinking.

Carbon GenieAt least half of our wise leaders don’t even see our carbon emissions as a serious problem. Very few leaders will support any change because no-one in power wants what would disrupt the cosy status quo.

Here are the facts: the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that a massive amount of CO2 removal will be required this century — at least 500 billion metric tons pulled back out of the air — if we are to avoid the worst of global warming. 

There is no current magical technology to absorb all the harmful CO2 in our atmosphere. But there’s worse news. There are almost no business cases for carbon removal right now. In other words, it still costs nothing to spew CO2 into the sky, so people have no financial incentive to stop dumping, let alone pay to clean up the air.  At the very least that we can do now is to require a price to be put on CO2, making it more expensive to emit.

 

Nature is our untapped solution. Tropical forests are incredibly effective at storing carbon – providing up to 30% of the solution towards climate change. Despite this, nature-based solutions only receive 2% of all funding devoted to climate solutions.

Carbon Genie

What we need is a Marshall-style construction programs, and an acknowledgment that we have to escape failed paradigms. 

We don’t have the luxury of a lot of time: the best science says we have less than 10 years to reduce carbon emissions by at least 90% if we expect civilization to deal with the possibility of extreme global warming. 

Carbon Genie

The irony is that it will take far more funds to recover from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, if we decide to wait to act. The cost and consequences of inaction are too high to risk.

Hopefully, it will not take a climate catastrophe to motivate such action, such as the drowning of some coastal city like New Orleans.

What are we to do?

Continue reading THE CARBON GENIE

Unstable Weather

Phenomena of Unstable Weather

HEAT WAVES

The deadly weather phenomena, heat wave, is a long period of hot unstable weather. Heat waves have increased in frequency and duration in recent years and will continue to do so.

Unstable Weather

Carbon Tax is not Enough!

Carbon should not flow unpriced into the atmosphere, any more than you should be allowed to toss your garbage in the street. A rising carbon tax would discourage carbon emissions in every single economic transaction, every day of the year. 

Once one major country or region adopts carbon dividends with border carbon adjustments, other countries are compelled to follow suit [to prevent paying border adjustments to countries with carbon taxes]. One by one the dominoes fall.

Since every action of a modern life involves using fossil fuel, the only way to get enough change is to send a price signal through the matrix, so that everyone from investors to car buyers to milk-drinkers will find their behavior changing automatically. Carbon pricing is also one of the tools clean tech entrepreneurs cite as key to supporting innovation.

Carbon pricing plans now cover about 12 percent of the world’s emissions — have been far from earth-shaking.  At best, a carbon tax is one arrow in a quiver full of other arrows we’re going to need to let loose in a volley.

Unstable Weather

Bill McKibben’s “Step It Up!” campaign to stop global warming.

Step It Up, a nationwide campaign to combat global warming, drew thousands of Americans concerned about climate change. Holding 1,400 events around the nation, participants in National Day of Climate Action got creative. In lower Manhattan, protesters formed a line at the place where rising sea levels are predicted to reach. But that was ten years ago. Where is this model now?

Unstable Weather

If there is a model within American memory of what must be done, it is the civil rights revolution of the 1960s.

 Will FORESTATION occur rapidly enough to avert the worst effects of a warming world? 

Unstable Weather

The 2020 gap is, according to a recent United Nations Environment Program report, the difference between global emission levels consistent with the 2°C and emission expected if country commitments are implemented. “Global emissions should not be higher than 44 Gt CO2. However the range of expected global emissions (median estimates) from the pledge cases is 52 – 54 Gt CO2 in 2020. The gap in 2020 is therefore 8 – 10 Gt CO2.”  This gap can be CLOSED by FORESTATION.

Unstable Climate

Tropical forests are incredibly effective at storing carbon – providing up to 30% of the solution towards climate change. It has been estimated that 8 – 10 Gt CO2 could be stored in tropical plantations.

Despite this, nature-based solutions only receive 2% of all funding devoted to climate solutions.

Politicians are completely overwhelmed by the sheer complexity, size and number of crises in the world at present. Politicians should not be lurching from crisis to crisis like a drunk. They lack the leadership that Winston Churchill brought to the Second World War.

Unstable Weather

The Copenhagen Accord commits developed countries to the goal of sending $100 billion per year to developing countries in assistance for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation through 2020. If ten per cent of this went to African farmers this would be around a micro finance support of $800 per farming household per year, which could provide a powerful incentive to change.

There was also a collective commitment by developed countries for $30 billion in “new and additional” resources in 2010-2012 to help developing countries reduce emissions, preserve forests, and adapt to climate change; and a goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year in public and private finance by 2020 to address developing county needs.

Aside from saving the planet, Are Tropical Nurseries a Good Investment?

YES!

Continue reading Unstable Weather

Next Green Revolution

The Next Green Revolution

Science prevented the last food crisis. Can it save us again?

 

Africa’s cropland biome occupies ~38% of the photo synthetically active land area of the African continent (~19.8 M km2) and encompasses more than 90% of its rural population living in 54 countries.

Next Green RevolutionRegion of Interest

We must concentrate on the biomes of Africa that include forests and rangelands, but exclude deserts

Next Green Revolution

Overall Region of Interest

A big, risky decision for small holder farmers is what type and how much fertilizer to apply to their crops. There is lot of uncertainty about how the crops will respond, with a risk that the farmers will even lose when they harvest and sell the produce. Testing the soil beforehand and knowing how plants will respond can play an important role in reducing this risk. But the high cost and lack of access to testing services have been major bottlenecks for farmers in developing countries.

Low-Cost Soil AnalysisNext Green Revolution

Similarly, planners in governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations who are working out what to supply to small holder farmers are also faced with large uncertainties on what types and combinations of inputs to supply and where, in relation to the local soils. For example, a number of agencies in Africa are designing fertilizer blending and liming programs and so need to know how strongly acid soils are and what soil micro nutrients may be limiting in different areas. Existing soil maps do not provide up-to-date information on specific soil properties that are needed to guide such decisions.

New advances in rapid, low-cost soil analytical techniques in the laboratory that simply measure light reflecting from a soil sample are reducing the cost of measuring soil properties. Soil infrared spectroscopy allows a soil sample to be scanned in just 30 seconds and the resulting fingerprint used to predict a number of soil properties based on calibration databases. And this costs just $1 compared with at least $100 using conventional soil testing methods. With the availability of satellite imagery and from space and now unmanned aerial vehicles at ever increasing spatial resolution (250 metres to sub-metre), it is becoming possible to make high resolution soil property maps at low cost.

Next Green Revolution

To successfully close the gap, we’ll need to adopt a variety of innovative strategies. We must produce more crops, while more efficiently using the food we already grow.

What are we to do?

Continue reading Next Green Revolution

Reforesting the Tropics

Saving Humanity: Reforest the Tropics

Buying Time to develop alternative technologiesReforesting the Tropics

Planting trees remains one of the most cost-effective means of drawing excess CO2 from the atmosphere. Therefore, reforesting the tropics will act as carbon sinks, alleviating the greenhouse effect. There are millions of acres of tropical pastures available. When given proper care, orchard tropical trees bear fruit up to 50 years or more.

Reforesting the TropicsPLANT MORE TREES around the world — because… trees are carbon storage (sequestration) experts.

The United States has cut down over 50% of its original forests in the last 400 years, which would have absorbed 50% of its carbon emissions. Once carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere it stays there for a long time. About 33% continues to cause damage after 100 years.

 It is estimated by the U.S. Forest Service that all the forests in the United States, combined, sequestered approximately 309 million tons of carbon each year from 1952 – 1992, offsetting approximately 25 percent of human-caused emissions of carbon during that period in the United States.

The world’s forests remove over one quarter (27%) of current annual human carbon emissions from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of about 2.4 billion tons of carbon according to the latest published scientific research.

Reforesting the TropicsThe tropical zones of the world seem particularly attractive for forestation because of the high rates of productivity that can potentially be attained there, and because there appear to be large areas of land that would benefit from tree planting.

Reforesting the Tropics

TREE MATH

Young trees absorb CO2 at a rate of 13 pounds per tree each year. Trees reach their most productive stage of carbon storage at about 10 years at which point they are estimated to absorb 48 pounds of CO2 per year and one acre of trees absorbs 2.6 tons of CO2 every year.

 For every ton of new-wood growth, about 1.5 tons of CO2 are removed from the air and 1.07 tons of life-giving oxygen is produced.

POSITIVE GROWTH OF TREES IN THE TROPICS

Borial zone trees absorb 0.5 Pg C/yr compared to Temperate zone trees at 0.7 while tropical trees grow at the rate of 1.3 or 185% more efficiently year-round than trees in a temperate zone

Younger and faster growing orchards generally have higher annual sequestration rates and they are given higher personal care of proper fertilizer and water: add a further 25% increase. We conclude there is an additional (185% + 25%) or 210% increase in the value of CO2 absorption.

Reforesting the TropicsThis map shows solar-induced fluorescence, a plant process that occurs during photosynthesis, from Aug. through Oct. 2014 as measured by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. This period is springtime in the Southern Hemisphere and fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Photosynthesis is highest over the tropical forests of the Southern Hemisphere but still occurs in much of the U.S. Grain Belt. The northern forests have shut down for the winter.

 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia), CSIRO forests researcher Dr Canadell estimate that tropical forest re-growth is removing an average of 1.6 billion tons of carbon per year. Combining the uptake by established and forest re-growth plus emissions from deforestation, the world’s forests have a net effect on atmospheric CO2 equivalent to the removal of 1.1 billion tons of carbon every year. Reforesting the TropicsReforesting the Tropics

In terms of cutting emissions a 53% reduction in 2010 emissions is equal to almost 20 Gt of CO2 emissions. For some perspective, global emissions from coal fired electricity generation were about 9 Gt CO2 in 2010.

Reforesting the TropicsThe larger predictions from climate models are due to the fact that, within these models, the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds, act to greatly amplify whatever CO2 does. This is referred to as a positive feedback. It means that increases in surface temperature are accompanied by reductions in the net outgoing radiation – thus enhancing the greenhouse warming. … Satellite observations of the earth’s radiation budget verify this fact.

VALUE OF TROPICAL TREES

Moisture created by the rain forests travel around the world. America’s Midwest is affected by the forests in the Congo which is roughly a distance of 6000 miles. Moisture from the Amazon falls as far away as Texas.

The Benefits of Tropical Trees:

Continue reading Reforesting the Tropics

Decentralized Tree Nurseries in Africa

DECENTRALIZED TREE NURSERIES

More than 92 percent of all nurseries catering for villages are still located at regional and district levels. As a result, seedlings have to be transported long distances, sometimes even beyond 50 km. The inadequacy of transport is one of the major setbacks in tree-planting, in terms of both availability and cost. All efforts must be made to decentralize nurseries as much as conditions allow.

To bridge this energy supply-demand gap, a massive amount of tree-planting is needed. The natural forest is shrinking very fast, and most alternative energy sources have had no significant impact so far.

One of the main reasons tree-planting is failing among some African communities is that they are often given species only for firewood, like eucalyptus. 

 Weak village leadership contributes directly to delays over deciding whether to plant trees or not; and then, even if trees are planted, it can retard or neglect maintenance.

THE NEXT STEP: ORCHARDS AND BIOCHAR

Each woman farmer and their family will begin the task of preparing to plant 300 fruit and nut trees on their leased 1.5 acre farms, Every tree will need a 2- 3 feet diameter excavation, where a biochar earth mound will be built of branches.

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EARTH MOUND KILN

biochar mound

The earth mound kiln is built in the following manner:

The bottom of the base is covered with logs forming a grate or crib on which the wood is piled vertically. The grate forms a free space between the bottom and the wood charge through which the air necessary for the carbonization process passes. The piled wood is covered with leaves and grass and then earth about 20 cm (8”) thick.

The pile has an outside stack made of steel drums, which is connected to the pile through a flue cut into the ground, running under the pile and covered with round logs. The pile has a number of air vents located around the circular base.

biochar soil management

The carbonization process is started by introducing a torch into the firing flue opposite the stack. This type of pile is reported to be easy to operate to produce good charcoal quality with a yield of 55% charcoal to wood by volume. The pile’s volume varies from 100 to 250 m³ of wood. The whole cycle takes 24 days; four days for charging, six days for carbonization, ten days for cooling and four days for discharge.

 Carbon Emission to be Solved

Continue reading Decentralized Tree Nurseries in Africa

DEFORESTATION PREVENTION

 PREVENTING DEFORESTATION

Preventing deforestation is our best chance to conserve wildlife and defend the rights of forest communities. It’s one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to curb global warming.

Worldwide, two billion hectares of land are currently degraded – an area larger than South America. Of this, 500 million hectares are abandoned agricultural land.

The amount of under-utilized and degraded land available in the region to accommodate for future agricultural expansion is estimated at 0.7-1 million hectares.

The Suitability Mapper enables users to identify potentially suitable sites for sustainable palm oil production in the following area:

degraded land

How do we prevent further deforestation?

It is still economically valuable to clear the forest for plantations. As current agricultural land becomes more and more degraded, producers move on to pristine, more productive land, with often harmful consequences such as the loss of forest cover.

If we’re going to stop deforestation, we need governments to do their part. That starts with cracking down on corruption and ensuring fair enforcement of forest conservation rules. Corruption fuels illegal logging and unsustainable forest management.

What is behind DEFORESTATION?

Continue reading DEFORESTATION PREVENTION

Productive African Farms and Emissions

More productive African farms could help both people and emissions.

Boosting the efficiency of Africa’s productive lands is not only necessary for feeding larger populations, but also a possible means of reducing emissions.

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An article in the Economist, “World climate talks address agriculture” identifies the problem.

SINCE the 1960s farm production has risen fourfold in Africa. But the continent still lags far behind the gains seen in South America and Asia. The extra food has appeared largely because more land has been planted or grazed, rather than because crop yields have improved. Instead, poor farming methods progressively deplete nutrients from soils; almost all arable land in Africa lacks irrigation, for example. This is a particular problem in a continent whose population is set to double by 2050 and which faces regular droughts, floods and heat waves.

The world is already 1°C warmer than it was in pre-industrial times. As it heats further, weather cycles are set to speed up, leaving wet parts of the world wetter and dry parts drier. At either end of the scale, extreme weather events will probably intensify. By 2050, even if temperature rise is successfully limited to 2°C, crop yields could slump by a fifth.

The costs of climate change already come each year to 1.5% of the continent’s GDP, according to the European Commission, and adapting to it will cost another 3% each year until 2030. This is in spite of the fact that, overall, Africa is responsible for just 4% of global emissions annually.

Soil: potential carbon sinks

Fertilizer is extremely important. We cannot feed people if soil is degraded. The production of fertilizer in a form of biochar is absolutely huge which help to absorb carbon in the soils.

Soil in a long-term experiment appears red when depleted of carbon (left) and dark brown when carbon content is high (right).

Scientists say that more carbon resides in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined; there are 2,500 billion tons of carbon in soil, compared with 800 billion tons in the atmosphere and 560 billion tons in plant and animal life. 

degraded land
Soil in a long-term experiment appears red when depleted of carbon (left) and dark brown when carbon content is high (right).

Well-nourished soils are better at absorbing carbon dioxide rather than allowing it to enter the atmosphere. But the continent’s over-grazed, over-used soil currently means Africa only stores 175 gigatons of carbon each year of the 1,500 gigatons stored in the world’s soils. Smarter farming could change all that. The world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock, much of which has oxidized upon exposure to air to become CO2

If we treat soil carbon as a renewable resource, we can change the dynamics.  Restoring soils of degraded and desertified ecosystems has the potential to store in world soils an additional 1 billion to 3 billion tons of carbon annually, equivalent to roughly 3.5 billion to 11 billion tons of CO2 emissions. (Annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning are roughly 32 billion tons.) 

 Soil carbon sequestration needs to be part of the picture. Currently deforestation takes place where vast areas are cleared for new fields because too little grows in existing ones.

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Vast areas of deforested land that have been abandoned after soil degradation are excellent candidates for replanting and reforestation using biochar from the weeds now growing there. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, grasslands, which cover more than a quarter of the world’s land, hold 20 percent of the world’s soil carbon stock. Much of this land is degraded.

The biochar solution for small farms involves branches of fruit trees, which are cut every year to facilitate the harvest, weigh about 50 tons/ha. If this biomass is converted by pyrolysis to biochar, about 1/3 will revert to 16.7 tons of black carbon/ha and this can be mixed with compost. This will enhance the way biochar develops microbes.

Biochar

If one third of the degraded land, 660 million ha, are used and every year 15 tons/ha biochar is mixed in the soil, this will be together 10 billion tons of Carbon (10 Gt carbon is equivalent to 3.7 Gt CO2) taken from the air and stored in the soil. This is the amount of fossil CO2 which is just released every year.

co2-emissions

The only problem with this solution is the scale. Imagine what it means to use soil carbon sequestration techniques on 10% of all arable land: Millions of farmers must change their way of doing agriculture to make it happen. But the alternative — staying the course of ecological ruin — is not very appealing. 

Hilly Lands

Hilly Land Sustainable Agriculture (HLSA) farming systems feature the establishment of single or double hedgerows of either leguminous tree species, shrubs or grasses seeded or planted along contour lines. Hedgerows, serving as barriers, will conserve surface soil by building up organic mass, increasing plant nutrient elements and improving the water holding  capacity of the soil, thus conserving surface soil by slowing down erosion. Rocks,stubble,  branches and other farm debris are piled at the base of the hedges to further reinforce the foundation of the hedgerows. 

The densely planted hedgerows are pruned regularly to encourage the growth of a thick vegetative canopy and provide a continuous supply of green manure that is scattered on the planting strips between hedgerows.

Trees or shrubs alone used as hedges cannot control effectively soil erosion that can lead to flooding and mass destruction of hilly lands that took centuries to build.

Vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanioides) provides high biomass production for hedgerows; they have been successfully used in some parts of Thailand, Indonesia, China, and India. The grass has the potential to markedly reduce erosion and rapidly develop natural terraces on slopes with less management attention. It stays alive for 25 to 45 years without being replanted.

AFRICA AGRICULTURAL HOPESPOTS

Continue reading Productive African Farms and Emissions

CLIMATE CHANGE

Optimism on Climate Change

 In the book, Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, Johan Norberg points out that humans are a gloomy species. Some 71% of Britons think the world is getting worse; only 5% think it is improving.  It’s been devastating to see inaccuracies and confusion on the subject sometimes perpetuated by the media, especially on the topic of Climate Change. 

Blood and guts and disasters are what make for headlines. Is it any wonder that we feel apprehensive — with so many disasters “all around us”? The media amplify this distortion. Famines and earthquakes all make gripping headlines; “40 million Planes Landed Safely Last Year” does not.

Pessimism has political consequences. A whopping 81% of Donald Trump’s supporters think life has grown worse in the past 50 years.

Sweden in those days was poorer than Sub-Saharan Africa is today. “Why are some people poor?” is the wrong question, argues Mr. Norberg. Poverty is the starting point for all societies. What is astonishing is how fast it has receded. In 1820, 94% of humanity subsisted on less than $2 a day in modern money. That fell to 37% in 1990 and less than 10% in 2015.

As people grow more adept at abstract thought, they find it easier to imagine themselves in other people’s shoes. And there is plenty of evidence that society has grown more tolerant. The main reason why things tend to get better is that knowledge is cumulative and easily shared.

There is still the question of global warming, which is a worry?  Can human ingenuity tame it?

CAN we change? And the answer, fortunately, is now YES!

We’re seeing a continuing sharp, exponential decline in the cost of renewable energy, energy efficiency, batteries and storage  —  and the spread of sustainable agriculture and forestry  —  giving nations around the world a historic opportunity to embrace a sustainable future, based on a low carbon, hyper-efficient economy. 

WILL we change?

In December, 195 nations reached a historic agreement in Paris, which exceeded the highest end of the range of expectations. And the Paris Agreement is just the most recent example of our willingness to act. Much more change is needed, of course, but one of the binding provisions of the Paris Agreement requires five-year transparent reviews of the action plans put forward by every nation, and the first will begin in less than two years. These countries pledge to act to keep global temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees.

Also, over 1,000 non-state groups, from Tesco and Tata to Aviva and Cisco, have so far signed the Paris Pledge for Action on Climate. This new movement is  really self-preservation.  It begins with the investors. Would you invest in a company that was insensitive to climate change? Company executives know this insensitivity and they are acting accordingly.

Not only do we have to feel hopeful, but we have to speak hopefully because people are motivated by hope.  For example, global investment in renewables is predicted to be $8,000 billion over the next 25 years;

Carbon Offsetting by Planting Trees –                     Is it a realistic Proposition?

The oceans are enormously important. Carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean. If that hadn’t happened, and if the oceans weren’t there, climate change would already be much worse.  When CO2 is released into the atmosphere, about three-quarters of it dissolves into the ocean over a few decade (Acidity).

We must concentrate on the rest of the carbon dioxide emissions, which will only be neutralized by a variety of longer-term geological processes over 250 years.

The only true solution to combat climate change is by tree planting. Ending deforestation, which cause 10% of the problem, will not solve global warming by itself —urgent action is needed to cut the other 90 percent of emissions.

The world is home to over three trillion treeswith almost half of them living in tropical or subtropical forests. There are roughly 400 trees for every human. 12,000 years ago, before the advent of agriculture, Earth had twice as many trees as it does now. (The previous estimate of trees in the world was 400 billion.)

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 Time to get the calculator and do some sums:

Continue reading CLIMATE CHANGE

Rabbit and Fish Agroforest

 AGROFOREST WITH RABBITS

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization for a more productive Rabbits in an Agroforest.

What is Agroforestry?

Agroforestry can help to achieve climate change mitigation and adaptation while at the same time providing livelihoods for poor smallholder farmers in Africa.

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Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and technologies in which woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, etc.) are deliberately combined on the same management unit with herbaceous crops and/or animals. For example, the African oil palm, when grown as part of an agroforestry system and treated well, can provide a valuable and healthy source of oil for local consumption. Simultaneously, planting legumes (including edible beans, cow pea, pigeon pea) is essential to ensure healthy and fertile soils in an agroforestry system, as they replenish the nitrogen taken away with the harvest. These legumes can be grown as cover crops, inter-cropped or in rotation.

Many small holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa have already been practicing agroforestry. These systems have prevailed despite persistent attempts to introduce mono-culture production of annual crops, which have been much less successful in Africa than elsewhere. Agroforestry has been shown to provide a number of benefits to farmers. For instance, it can enhance soil fertility in many situations and improve farm household resilience through provision of additional products for sale or home consumption.

Agroforestry has a potential to contribute to food security and to meet the challenge of climate change. More ecological techniques such as agroforestry can improve yields, while increasing biodiversity and not requiring imports of foreign fertilizers and seeds, together with high genetic diversity in traditional crop mixtures, ensured most stable yields.  Trees also tap into deep groundwater rather than top soil moisture that annual crops rely on.

Trees are in fact critical to agricultural production everywhere. When crops and livestock fail, trees often withstand drought conditions and allow people to hold over until the next season. They also provide non-wood products such as indigenous fruits, mushrooms, thatch grass and material for medicinal use.

Agroforestry is often absent from recommendations for ensuring food security under climate change, even though many practices have been shown to deliver benefits for rural development, buffer against climate variability, help rural populations adapt to climate change and contribute to climate change mitigation. 

Many studies have shown that agroforestry practices can slow or reverse land degradation, sequester carbon from the atmosphere and secure rural livelihoods through provision of ecological and economic benefits. 

 A recent paper showed that agroforestry reduced food insecurity during drought and flooding in western Kenya by 25% due to increased income and improved livelihoods. 

In Malawi, maize yields were increased up to 280% in the zone under the tree canopy compared with the zone outside the tree canopy. In Zambia, recent unpublished observations showed that unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of the Faidherbia acacia tree averaged 4.1 tonnes per hectare, compared to 1.3 tonnes nearby but beyond the tree canopy. They recommend that farmers establish 100  Faidherbia trees on each hectare of maize that is planted.

In Africa, there is very little high quality produce…period. If you have high quality vegetables and fish, you will find a market.

One could  simply filled in our Single Crop Projection Tool V1.1.xlsx spreadsheet with their local expense and income numbers, and find out if one  also lost money on paper, without even spending $10,000!

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Why Rabbits in an Agroforest?

You can raise baby rabbits (gestation period) in 30 days (goats: 150 days, cattle: 280 days). Rabbits give birth to an average of 5 kits and 8 or more kits are not uncommon. Rabbits eats a large variety of greens and crop residues; and thus easy to collect (grass, weeds, leaves) or generated from weeding crop fields. The meat is lean and has a very low cholesterol content when compared to other animal protein. It is encouraged as a healthy meat for hospital patients.

One will have 800-1000 rabbits in 4000 m 2 (i.e. 1 rabbit to 4-5 m 2 space). At least 100 rabbits will be removed/harvested every month.

Micro-livestock will play a growing role in animal protein supply in the very near future. Like the development of ostrich meat industry as a luxury meat, rabbit meat industry will develop quickly and serve as a meat for both the poor and the rich.

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One acre Farm Colony and the Fish Canal that borders it Continue reading Rabbit and Fish Agroforest

The Rabbit Fish Farm

THE RABBIT COLONY & OUR MISSION 

Our mission is to be the best in the world in micro hydro electric and water resource management: by evolving innovative damless hydroelectric and water transfer technology. We create Today’s Tall Tree Nurseries to support Micro Finance for women farmers and their families using the Carbon Tax Fund, a new form of foreign aid. We export Mechanization for a more productive Rabbit Colony Farm.

1. Rabbit Colony Farm

Basics: land space needed is about 10 m² per breeding doe. Weaned rabbits are removed from mother and placed into separate enclosure(s). There are various options and methods for creating the “barrier”.

2. Rural Community:

Basics: a unit is a rabbit cage for 2 breeding does (1 m 2 or more in size) in a family backyard. A family can have more than one unit.

Option 1: weaned rabbits is sold to or exchanged for an adult rabbit at the rabbit farm

Option 2: family who wishes to keep weaned rabbits until they are 2 kg in weight can still sell to rabbit farm that helps in marketing.

The goal is to build a rabbit colony farm of 1 acre (4046 m²or 43,560 ft² ) and to contain about 1000 rabbits (asset value of 200,000 Ksh). One will have a 10 m wide canal surround it to serve as a physical barrier and to grow fish; instead of constructing a fence that extends 2 ft underground and at least 3 ft (1 m) high. The fish “canal” will also yield an income (wire fencing don’t).

In a free range rabbit keeping one must activate a self-catching system (otherwise you have to shoot them), one must keep the density of rabbit very low otherwise diseases will be a problem. Broilers, exceeding bucks and old does must be collected regularly and sent to the market. Greedy farmers tend to increase the number of rabbits quickly and lose the lot of them at the end.
There will be a need for a structure with indoor enclosures with outdoor “runs” to keep rabbits for a few days to prepare for an order for meat. For this there will have a multi-purpose building/workshop outside the “restricted” area (i.e. the 1 acre colony and the fish canal that borders it).

Since costs of construction of cages is the main hurdle, one approach is that weaned rabbits are delivered to the Rabbit Farm in exchange for adult rabbits. This way each family only needs to have only one cage and they can even avoid keeping a male adult. There are other benefits from their partnership with the Rabbit Farm, which will help to slaughter and market them.

It would be wise to build a proper peripheral fence. This is essential to avoid conflicts (people/thefts, owners of animals/predators). Eventually it needs to be done as the food situation becomes worse in the future.

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It is amazing at the rate at which these rabbits give birth: Continue reading The Rabbit Fish Farm