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From lab – to rainforest – to lab: carbon-rich alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture

Wednesday 15 February 2017, 16.00-17.15
School of Earth and Environment seminar rooms (8.119)
Mike Hands (Inga Foundation), Anthony Melville (Rainforest Saver) and Lachlan McKenzie (Tropical Permaculture Guidebook)
LEAF/United Bank of Carbon seminar

Seminar on innovative agricultural techniques aiming to reduce deforestation in the tropics, organised by Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest Research Centre (LEAF) and United Bank of Carbon (UBoC). All welcome!


Mike Hands is a tropical ecologist and Founder of the Inga Foundation. During his research career, Mike advanced our understanding of the impact of slash-and-burn agriculture on rainforest soil and developed the Inga alley-cropping system as a sustainable alternative. Mike will tell us about applying his research in Honduras and the sustainable, integrated rural livelihood that it has allowed farmers to develop over the past decade. The Guama Model in Central America includes Inga alley-cropping for food security in basic grains, the same system for cash-crops, Inga in wider planting configuration as shade or companion trees for fruit production, most notably Cacao.  The final component, made possible by the successful implementation of these three, is reforestation by high-value timber trees.

Antony Melville helped set up the Rainforest Saver charity in 2007. He raises funds, promote awareness, and seeks new partners across the tropical Americas, for Rainforest Saver, while putting down permaculture roots in Oxford. Antony will describe Rainforest Saver’s work across Honduras, Cameroon and Ecuador, as well as the steps needed to establish carbon sequestration figures for the Inga-alley cropping technique.

Lachlan McKenzie has been involved in permaculture for over 20 years and is part of the Tropical Permaculture Guidebook International Edition Team. Lachlan will take us through a whole-systems permaculture approach to carbon capture and storage, as an important and currently un-tapped potential for the carbon market. Tree planting, reforestation and soil carbon sequestration are vital, but for farmers and communities in developing countries, integrating these approaches with permaculture design to provide multiple livelihood and food security opportunities on top of the carbon storage benefits leads to truly viable projects for all stakeholders. By also addressing the causes of deforestation and soil loss through appropriate strategies and technologies, carbon storage as well as other environmental and social benefits are further enhanced.

Directions to the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds can be found here