WHAT IS INGA ALLEY CROPPING?
Alley cropping is the growing of crops between rows of trees. Inga alley cropping consists of growing crops between rows of Inga trees. This has been found to increase yields. It is sustainable as it enables the same plot to be cultivated over and over, thus eliminating the need for the continual burning of the rainforest to get new fertile plots (slash and burn or shifting cultivation). Rainforest Saver is supporting Inga projects in Honduras and Cameroon.
The inga tree is native to many parts of Central and South America, but has been found to grow well in other parts of the world in the tropical rainforest belt.
The Inga is suitable because
- it grows well on the acid soils of the tropical rainforest and former rainforest soils,
- is a leguminous tree that fixes nitrogen (converts nitrogen into a form usable by plants),
- has mycorrhizae (special fungi that grow with its roots) that take up phosphorus allowing it to be recycled instead of being washed out from the soil,
- grows fast,
- has thick leaves that when left on the ground after pruning form a thick cover that protects both soil and roots from the sun and heavy rain,
- branches out to a thick canopy so as to cut off light from the weeds below, and
- withstands careful pruning year after year.