Defining Analog Forestry

Apply to Intern/Manage Analog Forestry Demonstration at Saha Astitva

Mumbai: Analog Forestry event May 12th 2013

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Analog Forestry is a system of forest management silviculture,  that combines the values of local forest biodiversity with organic crop cultivation. It seeks to establish a forest type environment, restoring local biodiversity, analogous in architectural structure and ecological function to the original forest ecosystems that once existed in the area. At the same time it provides economic opportunities to small-scale farmers.

Making use of the design of the natural forest, land is redesigned to incorporate economically viable trees and plants in a polycultural system that aims to unite biodiversity and economic gain for the small-scale farmer.

Analog Forestry was inspired by Sri Lanka’s legendary tradition of ‘home gardens’, where local people select subsistence or cash crops according to specific needs and preferences. Analog Forestry holds enormous potential to rehabilitate and use deforested lands which are now lying waste, while also enabling poor colonists to settle down and develop their land.

Combing local forest biodiversity with organic crop cultivation has a number of advantages. Using ecologically sustainable farming practices:

  • Encourages high biodiversity

  • Produces clean water and soil

  • Gives watershed protection

  • Conserves soil

While the first few years of converting a system to Analog Forestry can be intensive, the long-term economic and biodiversity gains make this a sustainable system. Although crops give lower yields than in more intensive farming practices, their diversity provides economic stability. For example, if one crop fails or market prices fall for one commodity, the other crops can still be sold to provide a stable income. Organic farming techniques also require less expenditure on external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, as there is a higher resilience against plagues and diseases.

The practical value of this system is demonstrated in over 25 years of research that is being translated into community projects across the world.

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