Agro-forestation and reforestation are two different land management strategies, both of which are beneficial to the environment in which we work. Agro-forestation is the cultivation of a wide diversity of trees that produce a sustainable revenue stream for the landholder. In this case, timber trees and/or fruit trees are often combined with undergrowth of lucrative perennial crops such as coffee or cacao. A cultivated forest landscape provides most of the benefits of a natural forest, and ecologically it is vastly superior to cattle ranching and slash-and-burn agriculture. More importantly, it is economically viable for landholders, and therefore is a realistic alternative that can be broadly applied.
Reforestation is the re-conversion of deforested land to native forest. The difference between reforestation and agro-forestation is that agro-forested land is managed for sustainable harvest, whereas reforested land is left alone and is merely managed for the ecosystem services that it provides. While agro-forestation can be applied on lands owned by rural landowners, reforestation is best applied strategically along riparian corridors or as a means to connect forest fragments. Technically, reforestation can be achieved through the planting of trees or through a practice known as assisted natural regeneration (see below for details), depending on the severity of deforestation.
Native Species and Polyculture: In the case of reforestation, only native species are planted. With agro-forestation, non-native species (such as fruit trees from other parts of the Tropics) can be planted, however TMA heavily favors native species, particularly with respect to timber trees. In all cases, a wide diversity of trees is planted. TMA has not and never will participate in the planting of a monoculture of any kind.
Click on the links below to see the list of species that TMA has experience working with: