World Agroforestry Congress Highlights Tree-Planting for Adaptation to Climate Change

28 August 2009: The World Agroforestry Congress, which convened at UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, discussed tree-planting solutions that could help the African continent deal with climate change and also provide a long-term solution to the continent's food scarcity problems.

Dennis Garrity, the Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre, highlighted some of the Centre's most recent research, which is designed to increase maize production in Africa by up to four times by planting trees that act as organic fertilizers. Garrity highlighted the qualities of a tree called Faidherbia, which sheds its leaves and goes dormant during the early rainy season making it compatible with food crops because it does not compete with them for water, nutrients or light. According to the Agroforestry Centre, farmers in Malawi testify the tree is like a “fertilizer factory in the field,” as it takes nitrogen from the air, fixes it in the leaves and subsequently incorporates it into the soil. [UNEP Press Release]