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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Development of sustainable agroforestry systems based on indigenous and maroon knowledge in the Guyana shield region

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Rainforest socioeconomics

Local populations in Guyana's rainforest areas have learned how to become more sustainable through improved agriculture and forestry systems.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Degradation in recent decades of the rainforests in South America has been well documented, while calls for promoting sustainability of these valuable, biodiverse regions have increased. The EU-funded project Guyagrofor aimed to assist tribal communities in combating environmental degradation, poverty and cultural demise. The project aimed to exploit natives' know-how in Guyana of flora and fauna to balance the ecosystem, developing novel approaches based on traditional ones. This would encourage sustainable agroforestry from cultural and socioeconomic perspectives that empowers indigenous people. Through a robust interdisciplinary approach, Guyagrofor established subprojects on different important areas to address. One of these involved exploring the market chain to help natives produce eco-friendly viable crops. Another involved improved communication among stakeholders to help local communities commercialise cash crops, timber and non-timber forest products in a sustainable manner. After conducting case studies in different regions using integrated farming strategies, the project realised an increase in soil fertility and showed promising results. This has enhanced productivity of farming and forest systems, in addition to creating a more balanced ecological environment. Lastly, the project outlined a set of recommendations and guidelines that enable sustainable environmental management, improving the product chain and strengthening institutions to effect positive changes in rainforest economies.

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