Agroforestry: An ancient Indigenous technology with wide modern appeal

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Erik Hoffner

Agroforestry, or forest gardening, is the practice of growing of trees, shrubs, herbs, and vegetables together in a group mimicking a forest, or within an existing forest, with each plant providing the others benefits like shade, protection from predators, life-giving humidity, and nutrients. A main group of practitioners of agroforestry are indigenous, and they often report that there is no phrase for it in their language; rather, it is often referred to, as with the Lenca people of Honduras, as “traditional technique.” It is best thought of as a technology, one that provides food, fuel, and marketable commodities like fiber crops, medicines, resins, and fruit in a harmonious natural system while providing a host of other benefits.

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