Sustainability is the ability to maintain a certain status or process in existing systems. The most frequent use of the term “sustainability” is connected to biological or human systems in the context of ecology. The ability of an ecosystem to function and maintain productivity for a prolonged period is also sustainability.
Living a sustainable lifestyle is one way to help. In this series pages we will go into what sustainability has to with ecology, recycling, water, and more. We will also reveal what some companies (like Petsmart and Disney) are doing to make a difference by operating their businesses in a sustainable way.
Sustainability Agroforestry / What is Agroforesty?
Agroforestry is the system of developing agricultural land in combination with forestry technologies. Through this system, land with shrubs and trees are used to also grow crop and livestock to encourage health, profitability, productivity, diversity, and sustainability.
Agroforestry is not as simple as planting trees on farmland. It requires the ability to select species carefully and to manage both trees and crop well in order to minimize the effects of negative competition.
Sustainability Agroforestry / Why is Sustainability in Agroforestry Important?
There are numerous benefits to agroforestry as it encourages the adaptation of natural ecological processes within the commercial system. It helps farmers in terms of controlling land degradation, sheltering crop and livestock, improving their landscape, and enhancing wildlife habitat while making the most out of commercial opportunities.
All that can be done through sustainable agroforestry without the use of complicated machinery and man-made technologies that can be expensive and also have the potential to produce unnecessary waste.
Sustainability Agroforestry / What is Being Done in the Field of Agroforestry as it Relates to Sustainability?
Because of all the benefits that can be gained through sustainable agroforestry, much effort has been exerted to manage forests worldwide. In fact, in 1994, countries with boreal and temperate forests formed the Montreal Process Working Group to develop sustainability assessment criteria for proper forest management.
The above-mentioned crucial elements involve key indicators such as biodiversity, productive capacity, ecosystem health, soil and water maintenance, carbon contribution, socio-economic benefits, and legal frameworks. These criteria have helped in the periodical assessment of forests worldwide to encourage better sustainability practices.
Sustainability Agroforestry / Agroforestry in Australia
Australia has adapted the criteria of the Montreal Process Working Group to better suit its unique forests. Through that effort, it has developed what is considered among the highest forestry standards across the globe.
This has made the country better able to manage and maintain its plantation forests covering 1.9 million hectares and native forests covering 147.4 million hectares as well as the rich biodiversity that depend on those forests.
Sustainable agroforestry is taken seriously in Australia where national policies enforce responsible forestry practices. There are also various organizations that ensure the adherence to high standards for proper forest management as well as research and develop better sustainability practices.
One such organization is the Joint Venture Agroforestry Program led by industry professionals and government groups.
This organization was formed in 1993 to encourage the growth of natural biodiversity while developing industries for profitable forestry. Its activities as well as research and development efforts have encouraged some of the best agroforestry practices around the world.
Among its projects include the Australian Master Tree Grower Program (http://www.mtg.unimelb.edu.au) which educates landowners on how to grow and manage trees on their farms.
All these efforts have changed agriculture and forestry in Australia and around the world. Today, sustainable agroforestry practices have equipped landowners with better ability to manage their farms while benefiting from natural processes and without doing harm to the environment.
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