Barren no more: farmers restore forest landscape

The denuded hill in My Loi. Photo: Elisabeth Simelton (ICRAF)

“What can we do with our land?” This simple question started a successful farmer-managed revegetation of a denuded hill in Viet Nam. There are more moments of opportunity for farmers to diversify against climate shocks. Researchers just have to seize such moments.

A team of researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Viet Nam came to My Loi village in central Viet Nam to assess the farmers’ vulnerability to extreme events and climate change. During a transect walk with a group of farmers and the leader of the Farmers’ Union, they came across a recently cleared hill. The farmer leader asked the researchers what they could do with the hill.

Mr Bac Viet Dam, ICRAF Viet Nam’s forestry expert, explained how the intercropping of trees and crops and the establishment of contour lines could reduce soil erosion. The team also discussed how important it is to maintain some vegetative cover, rather than clearing the whole area.

One and a half years later, some members of the team returned to the village and saw the hill replanted with acacia trees on the hillside facing a reservoir. The other side was planted with trees intercropped with cassava and other annual crops. These plantations were self-funded by the farmers. The researchers saw more opportunities for developing a multi-purpose slope, which could motivate others to diversify the landscape as well.

My Loi was recently inaugurated as a Climate-Smart Village (CSV) under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Three flagship projects of the program have started there this 2015. Upcoming activities in the village include the creation of a site inventory, biophysical suitability ranges, and the identification of investments needed for establishing mixed upland farming systems.

Learn more:

Read the original blog story Catch the climate moment on the ICRAF blog.

Watch: My Loi CSV in the news 1My Loi CSV in the news 2

This is a synthesis of the original blog post, Catch the Climate-Change Moment, first published on the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) blog.