Hawaii’s FARM Center Showcases Innovative Model of Agro-Forest Restoration

farm-hawaiiCenter for Sustainable Economy (CSE) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Hawaii-based Forest Agriculture Research Management Center (FARM) to propagate an innovative model of forest restoration designed to manage watersheds as successional agro-forests. FARM Center’s mission is to assist in the recovery and vitalization of our planet’s varied forest ecosystems by protecting healthy watersheds and cultivating biological and cultural diversity. The restoration model FARM Center is demonstrating is the agro–successional restoration (ASR) system. ASR holds great promise throughout the arid tropics because it combines restoration of native flora with the need to enhance food security. In Hawaii, restoration of native sandalwood forests can be co-mingled with staple foods such as taro, sweet potato, manioc, yacon, banana, papaya, pineapple, and certain vegetables and legume crops suitable for polycultures that provide microclimate and income while the young sandalwood trees develop.

But ASR is not just applicable to the arid tropics. CSE is keenly interested in promoting this kind of model in many regions of the US where collapsing and unsustainable industrial agriculture and forestry systems have replaced natural forests and woodlands. In Oregon, for example, the Willamette Valley once supported over 400,00 acres of while-oak savanna – a habitat that is now just hanging on by a thread. For thousands of years, Native Americans actively manipulated these habitats to produce high yields of foods like acorns and mushrooms, plant medicines and materials for building and basketry.  A restoration strategy for white-oak savannas can be used to replace agricultural systems with high carbon and water footprints that pollute rivers and streams with both nutrient and temperature pollution to ones that provide food for local consumption while providing habitat and shade, reducing erosion, and mitigating an increasingly hot micro-climate.

CSE is providing fiscal sponsorship to the FARM Center, and will be collaborating with their experts as we continue to build out our Wild and Working Forest Program in the years ahead to promote a vision of ecological restoration. Short-term goals for the FARM Center include:

  • Developing bio-regionally appropriate ecological education networks.
  • Assisting in the R&D of relevant Agro–Successional Restoration (ASR) systems supported by ecologically, culturally and economically appropriate crops.
  • Educating and training interested communities in the implementation of ASR systems in a manner that is culturally sensitive and reinforces an ecological paradigm integral for the long-term system maintenance.

For more information about the FARM Center, please click here

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