Re-greening sub-Saharan Africa with productive trees: how agroforestry combats land degradation and helps improve farm productivity in Eastern and Southern Africa uri icon


  • Farming and grazing have taken a toll on the health of soils in many developing countries. Yields in many areas are diminishing due to declining soil fertility and soil erosion. Agroforestry helps farmers to reclaim degraded land, especially if integrated with other soil fertility improvement practices. It improves the health of soils by improving water filtration, replenishing nutrients and soil microbes, retaining soil moisture, and reducing soil and wind erosion. Agroforestry protects forests by offering alternatives for people who exploit forests to eke out a living. In desert-prone areas agroforestry can help stabilize soils and ecosystems in addition to restoring degraded cropland. Nitrogen is one of the main nutrients that plants need. Fertilizers are often used to add nitrogen to the soil. Integrating leguminous trees into cropping systems can reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer, which is usually too expensive for the rural poor

publication date

  • 2014