Turning back to traditional trees
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CTA. 2005. Turning back to traditional trees. Spore 117. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47929
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore117.pdf
Pacific Islanders were once among the most self-sufficient and well-nourished peoples in the world, building their agricultural systems around a diverse base of local tree species
Pacific Islanders were once among the most self-sufficient and well-nourished peoples in the world, building their agricultural systems around a diverse base of local tree species. But as traditional trees were cut down and replaced with cash crops, much of the valuable knowledge was lost and there is now a critical shortage of information about local tree species and their roles in resource conservation and food security. The Traditional Tree Initiative, launched by the NGO Agroforestry Net, aims to reverse the trend, recognising that time-honoured indigenous tree species are essential for sustainable agriculture and economic development in the islands. The project offers a unique educational resource for anyone interested in learning about traditional trees, and provides essential information about their cultivation, as well as their uses and by-products. The goal is to foster the planting and conservation of native trees across the landscape, whose benefits aside from the valuable crops and timber they yield include soil conservation, crop shade, use as windbreaks, and protecting wildlife habitat. The first step in the Traditional Tree Initiative is the launch of a series of fact sheets covering 50 of the most important species in the region. Each one offers detailed, practical information on products, uses, interplanting applications, environmental requirements, and propagation methods. The fact sheets will be freely available on the internet, and will also be distributed as a searchable CD, with live internet links, to 200 agricultural offices, libraries, and schools in the region. An important target will be extension agents, often forced, through a lack of information, to turn to newly introduced exotic species whose applications and products are well-documented in international literature. Many of these exotics are untested in the region, unfamiliar to local growers, and pose a potential threat to Pacific Island ecosystems through the introduction of potentially invasive plants. Website: http://agroforestry.net/proj/tradtree.html