Article published in the Native Woodland Magazine by Davi Leon on Syntropic Agroforestry:
Developed by the Swiss Ernst Götsch, resident in Brazil since 1984, Syntropic Agroforestry, or Successional Agroforestry, is a system which attempts to incorporate the broad diversity of natural ecosystems patterns into agricultural practices. Through a holistic view of how Nature works, it promotes the development of a given landscape based on a set of techniques. Its objective is to create agricultural ecosystems inspired by the local and original ecosystems of any given place, allowing the production of food, timber, fibers and any other agricultural activities.
Based on natural processes instead of inputs/supplies (pruning, polycropping, plant succession, …) its has been extremely productive and financially viable in many ecosystems and biomes, whilst producing soil, improving water retention and promoting local biodiversity.
Through the optimization of life processes which create and maintain soil fertility, Syntropic Agroforestry promotes good agriculture productivity with very low dependency from external inputs. With this greater efficiency in natural processes and cycles, the soil remains always covered with biomass created in situ. Pruning and other interventions – which are producing this biomass for mulch – are also maintaining the growth of the plants with great vigor. Therefore all the local ecosystem operates at its highest potential which allows for greater harvests while regenerating soil and promoting accumulation of fertility within the ecosystem.
The comprehension of the ecophysiological function of each species and the planting and management through natural succession and stratification of layers allows for more complex and bio diverse systems and with greater density – real resilient macro-organisms that allow for more quality of produce and abundant harvests per area of production.
By creating this macro-organism, composed by the soil and the appropriate environment for plant development, the susceptibility to the so called ‘pests’ is diminished, instead they turn into optimizer of life processes and an indicator of the health of the ecosystem as a whole. They are agents that are ready to perform, when necessary, their part in the process of creating a system of abundance in an area.
Text by Felipe Amato.