Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Farmers Learn How to Preserve Rainforests in Honduras and Costa Rica

Climate
Farmers Learn How to Preserve Rainforests in Honduras and Costa Rica
In the tropics, farmers often slash and burn forests to clear fertile land for crops, but a new method avoids that technique. Inga Foundation video

Rainforests are an important defense against climate change because they absorb carbon. But many are being destroyed on a massive scale.


In the tropics, farmers often slash and burn forests to clear fertile land for crops. The practice involves cutting down vegetation and burning it. But the soil's fertility does not last long, so the farmers must clear a new patch of forest every few years.

"People believe it's the only possible way of growing crops," says ecologist Michael Hands.

But he says there's an alternative. Hands directs the Inga Foundation, which teaches farmers in Honduras and Costa Rica a method called inga alley cropping.

The inga is a fast-growing tree with roots that fix nitrogen, so it replenishes the soil.

In alley cropping, farmers plant inga trees in rows. Their shade kills weeds and creates space for planting maize or beans. Then the trees are pruned back so sunlight can reach the crops until harvest.

"And you can repeat the process the following year," Hands says.

The ingas' roots keep the soil rich, so the farmer does not need to slash and burn more land. That means less carbon pollution and less labor.

"It's definitely transforming people's lives," Hands says.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

The top three countries for total emissions from flying were the U.S., China and the UK. Caroline Purser / Getty Images

Another study finds evidence that the majority of climate-damaging flights are undertaken by a small minority of frequent travelers.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Biking strenuously in polluted air may harm young people's heart health. Seung-il Ryu / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Exercise is good for human health, but air quality warnings typically warn against outdoor activity when particulate matter levels rise above certain levels. At what point do the dangers of air pollution outweigh the benefits of physical activity?

Read More Show Less
Trending
Climate change protesters urge climate action and funding for the Green New Deal on September 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

While scientists and campaigners continue calling on world leaders to pursue more ambitious policies to cut planet-heating emissions based on moral arguments and physical dangers, a U.S. think tank released survey results on Tuesday that make a clear economic case for sweeping climate action.

Read More Show Less
An aerial picture shows a deforested area close to Sinop, Mato Grosso State, Brazil, taken on August 7, 2020. Florian Plaucheur / AFP / Getty Images

A new study published Wednesday found that the destruction of primary forest increased by 12% in 2020, impacting ecosystems that store vast amounts of carbon and shelter abundant biodiversity.

Read More Show Less
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris during remarks on COVID-19 response and vaccinations at South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 29, 2021. Demetrius Freeman / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Today in Pittsburgh, President Biden will outline his American Jobs Plan, proposals for major infrastructure investments in clean energy, water system updates, and other economy-growing initiatives designed to create millions of jobs, address aging infrastructure and lessen racial and other inequities throughout the economy.

Read More Show Less