Syntropic Agroforestry

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Syntropic Agroforestry is a whole systems approach to agroforestry developed by a Swiss-Brazillian agronomist names Ernst Gotsch. It is a system of managed succession, where high-biodiversity plantings in rows and aisles are actively managed with pruning and harvest to accelerate evolution of a dynamic and productive ecosystem. The end point replicates the structure of native forest. Because is designs complex and productive systems that can then be "released" as mature native forest, it may provide a useful framework for more intensive and biodiverse restoration of native vegetation on disturbed sites, that also provides harvest opportunities (see Working Buffer Pilot Project and Native Riparian Agroforestry.

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Notes

  • Most substantive materials are in Portuguese.
  • Life In Syntropy is a video with English subtitles introducing Syntropic Agroforestry - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HhSjGfVBCE
  • File:Geitzen 2019 syntropic agroforestry is among the first technical interpretations of Syntropic Agroforestry distributed in English (and other languages) by an advocate to support community development in Haiti.
  • https://agendagotsch.com/en/ - is the website of the originator of these methods.
  • Plants are organized in terms of their time to production, and their tolerance of life under canopy. A wide mix of species are planted simultaneously or in quick succession.
  • A substantial set of plants are grown primarily for biomass production, and aggressive pruning and placement of debris is used to accelerate soil development, increase water retention, and increase nutrient cycling.
  • Tropical rates of growth and decomposition are much higher. A temperate system may be slower.
  • Tropical solar radiation is perhaps 30% more intense than at our latitudes, and so syntropic systems are operating with a much higher overall energy budget, allowing for more leaf area per area of ground.
  • Higher labor costs may affect the economic viability of syntropic systems under existing economic conditions.

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