Analog forestry is a transformative approach to the ecological restoration of degraded lands. Natural forests are used as guides to create ecologically sustainable landscapes, which support the social and economical needs of local communities.
Modern agriculture and forestry practices have had a devastating effect on many natural ecosystems. Intensified agro-industry, the relentless need for new agricultural land and extractives like mining and palm oil are the main drivers for deforestation, converting high biodiverse landscapes into mono cultures, polluting water and degrading the fertile soil. These resulting landscapes are unsustainable, vulnerable to climate change and highly dependent on external inputs that further pollute the environment. Millions of people lost their essential resources and means of living when the forest disappeared. The method of Analog Forestry can be used to reverse this trend.
Analog forestry restores degraded ecosystems
Analog Forestry restores the productivity of degraded land and provides new sources of food and income to local communities. It can be seen as a specific approach to agro-forestry, but taking it a step further, and integrating trees and plants in the whole design of a farming plot, setting highest biodiversity targets.
Analog forestry, being an agroecological practice, forbids the use of external inputs such as agrochemicals, but works with natural fertilizers and composting, and creates an ecosystem that prevents plagues and diseases. The method enhances biodiversity, soil fertility as well as water retention and quality. Thus analog forests serves as a buffer against climate change, they are robust production systems that can withstand droughts and floods, transform degraded soil into fertile, flourishing forested areas and restore water bodies. The principles of analog forestry can be applied in many different ecosystems and climate zones, the specifics depend on the local context. Experiences with tea plantations have proven successful, so up-scaling to larger acreage is certainly an option.
Analog forests as a livelihood strategy
An analog forest or forest garden (quite similar to a "food forest" in the Northern hemisphere) is designed in such a way that it imitates the original native forest in an area and has similar (analogous) structures and ecological functions. Trees, bushes and crops are planted in different layers, providing food and marketable products such as spices (like pepper, cinnamon), fruit (like mango, citrus, bananas) and nuts. Likewise cash crops such as tea, coffee and cocoa grow particularly well in the shade of the trees and can be combined with the fruit and nut trees. The analog forests also provide firewood, fodder, construction materials and medicines for daily use and to sell.
The International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN) unites local CSOs in more than 20 countries around the globe. IAFN has set up its own certification system, Forest Garden Products, which is recognized by IFOAM and taken up in their family of standards. Additionally, Participatory Guarantee Systems are used for local low cost certification and selling in local markets.
Analog Forestry is a Gender-Just Climate Solution
Analog forestry also contributes to more social and gender justice. It helps support women and girl's leadership in advancing feminist climate resilience and environmental practices. It does so by empowering women to defend and restore critical ecosystems and lead climate action. It provides the tools for women to assume leadership roles in local efforts to care for the land, water and forests by learning how to apply Analog Forestry designs. By restoring biodiversity and connectivity, they adapt to the effects of climate change, leading to improved food security and better health and nutrition for their families.
Physical and online trainings, as well as personalized accompaniment by means of the various interactive platforms available, allow for women's personal development and resilience, strengthening their voices, gaining the ability to explain and present concepts regarding regenerative alternatives which combat climate change, to their families, communities, local and national authorities – stories to be recorded and used in lobbying forums attended by members of the broader Both ENDS network.
Both ENDS supports Analog Forestry and the IAFN global network
Both ENDS closely cooperates with the International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN) to promote Analog Forestry and Forest Garden Products certification worldwide. We provide support to IAFN training centers on three continents for strengthening women led Analog Forestry implementation sites in Asia, Latin America and Africa. These sites provide ecosystem services and food sovereignty, while at the same time building the leadership capacity of women-led CBOs. Since 2022 a micro grant program provides locally customized grants.
Jointly we engage in networking and exchange with strategic allies for collective lobby & advocacy on Analog Forestry as a gender-just climate solution, influencing local and national government authorities, climate finance institutions and international bodies on climate change mitigation and adaptation, including forums where international agreements on this subject are discussed and promoted.
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All around the world small-scale farmers are using sustainable and inclusive methods to produce food. Working together with nature and each other, they provide their families and communities with sufficient and healthy food. But their production methods are under pressure from large-scale agriculture and the globally dominant system of industrial food production. Together with our partners, Both ENDS is trying to turn the tide in favour of sustainable, local practices that are mostly known as 'agro-ecological' or 'nature-inclusive'. Why are we focusing on these methods? Agro-ecological practices are climate-proof and inclusive and increase the opportunities for communities around the world to produce their food sustainably.
Rich Forests promotes a sustainable and future-proof production system and supports, among other things, the transformation of degraded land into food forests. With this, people provide for their livelihood, increase their income and at the same time restore soil and biodiversity.
News / 18 March 2022
Today is International Day of Forests. An ever more important day, as the amount of forest and forested area's on this globe is shrinking at a fast pace. One the main causes is our ever increasing demand for products such as soy and palm oil from area's that have been deforested for their cultivation. The current proposed EU-deforestation law to prevent this, is not strict enough and does not include the protection of other crucial natural areas such as grasslands, savannas and swamps, as well as the human rights of the millions of people living in these area's. During these past few weeks we therefore participated in the campaign #Together4Forests, calling on citizens to send a letter to their own responsible ministers. The campaign paid off: almost 54,000 letters were sent to European ministers across the European Union, demanding a strict forest law that guarantees the import of only deforestation-free products in Europe.
To celebrate this International Day of Forests, we would like to emphasise the great value of forests and other natural areas, directly or indirectly, for the livelihoods of at least 2 billion people. Below, we selected some examples that show how, throughout the world, local communities use many different ways to collect and produce food and other natural products in a sustainable way, while protecting and restoring the forests and forested area's they are so dependent upon.
News / 27 September 2021
In times of ecosystem degradation, deforestation and climate change, rural communities often struggle to make a living in a healthy and autonomous way. One of the solutions to counter their problems is Analog Forestry, a sustainable practice promoted by many of Both ENDS's partners. We spoke to Carolina Sorzano Lopez*, Analog Forestry trainer from Colombia for the International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN), and Luz Marina Valle*, a local Analog Forestry promotora in her community of El Jocote in Northern Nicaragua, to explain to us the advantages of Analog Forestry.
News / 16 October 2020
To Eric Wirsiy, director of CENDEP, the importance of forests is clear: not only do they function as a "free supermarket", providing foods and other things to local communities, but they are crucial to make landscapes resilient to climate change and other impacts.
External link / 29 May 2019
Due to their role as environmental leaders, women are key actors in restoring degraded ecosystems. Within the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA), we work with local women's groups to promote the use of Analog Forestry.
News / 15 October 2018
Last September, approximately 30 women and men from community based organizations of Honduras and El Salvador learned the tool of analog forestry which uses natural forests as guides to create ecologically stable and socio-economically productive landscapes.
Video / 3 May 2017
This short video is an introduction to 'Rich Forests, a Dutch initiative aiming to promote food forests or 'analog forestry' all over the world, together with working together with local partner organisations.
Video / 11 November 2016
Rich Forests' is an initiative that promotes the restoration of degraded and eroded areas in the whole world into sustainable, productive ecosystems, using the so-called Analog Forestry method. One of the many advantages of this method is that it can help to combat climate change. This video paints a picture of how this works, who is involved and what results are to be expected in the short and in the long run.
Publication / 1 July 2016
Publication / 30 June 2016
Publication / 22 December 2015
Video / 21 December 2015
News / 27 March 2014
Our first edible forest is a fact! On Saturday the 29th of March, the first Dutch ‘Analog Forestry food forest’ will be opened by Rich Forests (an initiative of Both ENDS and others) together with Sustainsville on the Welna estate. With ‘analog forestry’, a method used by our Southern partners for years now, forests and forest landscapes are not only restored to their original condition, but enriched in such a way that they produce food products that can be used and sold by local residents.
Publication / 12 December 2012
Publication / 25 November 2011