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Climate Change Disaster

I am receiving reports from several SSA countries that many crops have been destroyed by drought and/or flooding in recent weeks so no food is being produced!
It may be that in these countries only trees will survive in the future?.
Apart from Moringa, what other trees can be suggested to small farmers?


@Roger_Gietzen is an Agroforester who does a grat deal in design and promotion of syntropic systems.
@Michael_T_Cooley is an Agroforester who does consultation work in Africa.
@Luke_Little is ECHO Florida’s tree specialist and grew up in West Africa.
@Bryan_Beachy is a fruit tree expert who has tried lots of different trees, systems, and approaches to trees in agriculture. He also has seen what trees survive natural disasters in Haiti.
Hopefully, these men can encourage you by suggesting some tree species they have had success with in their contexts!

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This topic of growing trees is an practical alternative for our communities. We have had crops washed away due to heavy downpours

What trees I would recommend depends on the primary focus of the farm and how much they are willing to manage the trees. There are few trees that do well in prolonged flooding situations, but many that can help with drought.

For syntropic farming, you can plant basically any trees on the farm, but the farmer needs to know what niche the tree fills in regards to stratum and life span. They also need to be willing to prune the trees regularly to maintain correct sun exposure for all levels of the system.

If you are just looking for some species that are good for interspersed tree planting then gliricidia and inga are well proven options. They will create some resilience to drought (inga would do better with brief flooding), but not nearly as much as a syntropic system.

I hope this is helpful and the other guys mentioned also have a wealth of knowledge to share too.


Roger, thank you for the advice. We shall come back once we have questions to ask .

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There are, of course, the classic tropical soft fruits - mango, papaya,… For protein, starch, and/or oil: edible (seed) acacias, breadfruit and breadnut (Artocarpus spp.), mesquite (Prosopis spp), Maya nut (Brosimum spp), coconut, avocado, banana/plantain (Musa spp., not botanically a tree, but perennial root system), tropical almond (Terminalia spp.), Inca nut (Plukenetia spp.), cashew, Canarium spp., numerous palms. (ECHO published Franklin Martin’s “Palms for Development”.) Dead trees can be used to grow edible fungus.
I have articles/books/references on all of these.

Macauba: a promising tropical palm for the production
of vegetable oil

Edible Acacias

I would agree with Roger’s summation (of course!) and add to the list that Robert gave with nitrogen fixers such as Leucaena and Gliricidia, or trees such as Inga as a row mulch species to grow crops between for better resilience to drought and flooding, also as Roger mentioned. Alley-cropping can be a very simple way to build crop resilience and incorporate trees into a farm system.

I always recommend the following 4 vegetable trees in the tropics: moringa of course, chaya, chaom (climbing wattle for edible fencing), and ketuk (sweetleaf). And of course any hardy and reliable fruit and nut trees. Edible bamboo is also a must on any farm for its many uses.

We think and teach in functions needed, which will differ from person to person. Having household (and community) conversations about what is available, what needs they fill, and gaps throughout the year is key.

Indigenous species are sorely ignored - we don’t need e.g. moringa around the world, we have our own treasures to tap into.

Here are tools we use in Malawi:

This flyer is continually updated with Malawi foods (from the sustainable nutrition manual) highlighting indigenous, native species: SNM Flyer Malawi Food List (2022.07.18 updated).pdf - Google Drive

Sustainable Nutrition Manual (SNM): Food, Water, Agriculture & Environment Free manual, flyers, drawings, and posters Sustainable Nutrition Manual | Never Ending Food