Even though the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe and suffocated the global economy, deforestation has continued largely unchecked. Every day, vast swaths of tropical forests are burnt to a crisp for the production of agricultural commodities such as soybeans, palm oil, and beef that end up on our supermarket shelves. Not only does deforestation release huge amounts of carbon already stored in trees and soils, but it also eliminates the future potential of the forest to sequester additional carbon as the land is cleared and burned. Protecting and restoring these forests and natural landscapes are equally as important as eliminating our fossil fuel use to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
At Keystone we’re integrating agroforestry practices on the ground. Agroforestry is a land management system that enables both trees and crops to grow together. First we begin by acknowledging the individual climatic and soil conditions, as it helps us determine which native trees and crops are able to survive the sparse and degraded landscapes. By carefully choosing native species, we are able to regenerate the land and reinvigorate it to its true state.
This unique system is designed to improve the quality and productivity of society and the environment, all the while increasing food security through greater crop yields - turning our negative ecological impact into a positive. It also helps relieve the pressure of overgrazed land, reduces erosion, increases biodiversity and is capable of improving water infiltration which is vital for increasing soil fertility for agriculture and ameliorating the microclimate.
The programme will bring about huge social benefits, such as increasing the farmers’ self-reliance, by encouraging them to supplement and diversify their diet with the plethora of crops that will be grown. Furthermore, it will strengthen the local communities and invigorate the local economy by providing an opportunity for many to sell their surplus crops.
Agroforestry is part of a growing movement for sustainable and organic agricultural practices. It has taken on a new urgency with the recent coronavirus pandemic as scientists warn that the climate crisis and escalated land development will heighten the chances of another deadly virus jumping from animals to humans. The fears of another global pandemic on the horizon could be the very reason that more sustainable agricultural practices are introduced to help reinvigorate our planet.
As global warming reaches historical new highs, both corporates and individuals are increasingly looking towards concrete climate change solutions to reverse, or at least mitigate the severe damage that has already occurred. Tree planting is the one of the worlds biggest and cheapest ways of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere., which will in turn help offset emissions from sectors like aviation where alternatives are not yet available.