More and more people are realizing that agroforestry can enrich biodiversity. Trees add to the diversity and complexity of plant communities and provide shelter and corridors for wildlife. Birds, insects and small mammals nest, feed and shelter from predators in trees, which in turn attract insects and birds that pollinate crops and destroy pests. Planting local trees adapted to local conditions maintains the native flora fauna.

Trees on farms don’t just boost the biodiversity around them. Farmers who have improved their incomes are much less likely to exploit nearby forests, so growing trees on farms actually reduces pressure on biodiversity in other areas. Currently there are activities aimed at developing strategies to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor in the dry lands of the Sahel through the management and enrichment of local plant diversity; to reverse deforestation and desertification, fight climate change, and promote sustainable agricultural practices that protect biodiversity.

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