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Agroforestry is not rocket science but it might save DPR Korea
Date:4/30/2012

KOREA (30 April 2012) There is more going on in DPR Korea than rocket science: local people in collaboration with natural resources scientists are taking control of their food supply through agroforestry. This is according to a report published in Agroforestry Systems journal.

How participatory agroforestry restored land and secured the food supply

The report published online on 24 March, notes that in DPR Korea a bottomup participatory process of developing locally appropriate agroforestry has been a revelation to many and is helping to reverse the chronic food shortages and land degradation of the 1990s.

Xu Jian Chu, lead author of the report and head of the East Asia Node of the World Agroforestry Centre, says that, "The emergence of agroforestry as a way of managing sloping land highlights how food technology innovations can take root once social and institutional constraints to land access have been reduced."

In the 1990s, DPR Korea suffered from food and energy shortages and large-scale deforestation. Triggered by a combination of the withdrawal of favourable trade conditions with the former Soviet Union and an inefficient agricultural production system, the conversion of forested sloping land to food and fuel uses was inevitable, which lead to widespread soil erosion and landslides.

Additionally, DPR Korea faces the challenge of extreme weather conditions: it experiences one or two typhoons each year leading to flash floods.

All of these conditions compromised the government's ability to supply food for rural people. Despite the government's implementation of more forest policy restrictions to reduce illegal cutting and steep slope farming, the country's forest cover reduced by 25% (from 8.20 million hectare in 1990 to 6.19 million hectare in 2005).

Participatory approaches in agroforestry technologies

In the early 2000s, in order to reverse degradation, inc
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Contact: Paul Stapleton
P.Stapleton@cgiar.org
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Source:Eurekalert

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