Transformative Practice

Analog Forestry

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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