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ICRAF Highlights Importance of Agroforestry in Lower Mekong Basin

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)27 February 2014: The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) released a working paper on the role of agroforestry in supporting ecosystem services and livelihoods in the Lower Mekong basin. The study examines agroforestry systems in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam, with a particular focus on land-use change and climate change as drivers of vulnerability.

The paper, titled 'Are Trees Buffering Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Agricultural Landscapes of the Lower Mekong Basin - Consequences for Climate Change Adaptation,' notes the importance of the Mekong basin as the source of half the world's rice exports and, in spite of increasing land use for cash crops, reveals that the number of trees outside forests is growing. These trees outside of forests are highlighted in the paper for the role they can provide in terms of ecological and economic buffering if the appropriate species are planted in the right location. According to ICRAF, this buffering is an important component of climate change adaptation in the sub-region.

The paper calls for further research on agroforestry in order to assess benefits compared to other land uses, identify priority areas and species, and better combine scientific and local knowledge in decision making processes. It also calls for more attention to development pathways that promote ecosystem resilience, participatory approaches and sustainable agricultural landscapes. ICRAF is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [ICRAF Press Release] [Publication: Are Trees Buffering Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Agricultural Landscapes of the Lower Mekong Basin - Consequences for Climate Change Adaptation]