Living with the Trees of Life Edition 2

A Practical Guide to Rebooting the Planet through Tropical Agriculture and Putting Farmers First

June 2024
More details
  • Publisher
  • Published
    4th June
  • ISBN 9781800624986
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9"

With our world torn by climate change, deforestation, land degradation, hunger, malnutrition, poverty, loss of wildlife habitat, zoonotic pandemics, illegal migration and social injustice, this book seeks to find a practical and pragmatic way forwards.

Based on the author's extensive experience of tropical agriculture and forestry around the world, as well as his combination of practical and academic agricultural qualifications, the second edition of Living with the Trees of Life presents a unique and positive perspective on resolving these big global issues. It identifies principles, strategies, techniques, and skills to find a path through the maze of options for sustainable living in the tropics and subtropics.

The book specifically draws heavily on a single case study which involved working to resolve the failure of tropical and subtropical agriculture to feed, sustain and support the needs of rural communities. To address the "big picture" facing society, the work identified the traditionally important indigenous trees of tropical ecosystems - the trees of life - as a missing component of farming systems. These trees are keystones of the natural environment. Their products and critical ecological and social services have been overlooked by modern agriculture and should be recognized as the natural capital of the environment providing the very many day-to-day needs of local people. Many of today's big problems can be traced back to the breakdown of the natural, social and human capital of farming systems. Hence, a focus on restoring the natural capital also has important benefits for the livelihoods of the rural population, as well as for the productivity of the agroecosystem. However, the real potential is to go much further and to build new natural capital in the form of new socially-modified tree crops producing a very wide range of food, medicinal and other non-food products for new local business enterprises. This then restores the degraded social and human capital and starts to create new physical and financial capitals much needed for employment and economic development. There is, however, a missing sixth capital - the political and social will to change the way we manage our world by re-booting tropical agriculture and putting the needs of local people at the forefront of farming systems.

Drawing on the technologies from across the spectrum of current conventional approaches to agricultural production, Living with the Trees of Life seeks to promote the adoption of a new way ahead - described as Land Maxing - that also increases the returns on past investments in agriculture. The target readership of this book is a wide and diverse array of people engaged in advocating and/or adopting ways to address the issues affecting our divided and dysfunctional world, before it is too late.

Written in an accessible and engaging style, this book tells the story of how a new area of crop science has emerged across the tropics to create highly nutritious crops which can enhance food security and start to address the big issues facing humanity. Thus, this book is a vital read for academics, policy makers, and the environmentally and socially aware public alike.

About the Author
Foreword to the First Edition
Frequently Used Acronyms
1 Revelations in Kumba
2 The Big Global Issues
3 Journeys of Discovery in Agroforestry
4 Diversity and Function in Farming Systems
5 Finding the Trees of Life
6 Selecting the Best Trees
7 Vegetative Propagation
8 Case Studies from the Pacific
9 Marketing Tree Products
10 Redirecting Agriculture – Going Multifunctional
11 Multifunctional Agriculture – Proof of Concept
12 Ups and Downs of Tree Domestication in the ‘Third Decade’
13 In Praise of Trees and What They Can Do
14 Saving the Planet – Take-home Messages for Decision Makers
15 The Convenient Truths

Roger Leakey

Roger Leakey D.Sc., Ph.D., B.Sc., FRGS., FIBiol., NDA was born and brought up in Kenya and is an agricultural botanist by training, with over 400 publications. He was a former Director of Research at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (1993-1997); Head of Tropical Ecology at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh, UK (1997-2001) and Professor of Agroecology and Sustainable Development of James Cook University, in Cairns, Australia (2001-2006). In 2006-2008 he was a Coordinating Lead Author in the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development. He is Vice President of the International Tree Foundation.

agroforestry; agronomy; biodiversity; climate change; clonal selection; domestication; ecology; conservation; food and nutritional security; genetics; holistic solutions; horticulture; ideotype; one health; participatory research; poverty alleviation; social justice; vegetative propagation; zoonotic disease