Green Horizons Newsletter - AgEBB

Green Horizons

Volume 8, Number 4
Fall 2004

1st World Congress of Agroforestry addresses challenges, successes

The University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry played a key role in the 1st World Congress of Agroforestry, held June 27-July 2, 2004, in Orlando Florida.

Gene Garrett and Michael Gold
Gene Garrett, UMCA executive director (left) and Michael Gold, UMCA associate director (right) address conference attendees at the 1st World Congress of Agroforestry in June in Florida. The event brought agroforestry researchers and professionals from more than 80 countries together to address the ongoing challenges and successses of agroforestry on both a local and a global level.
The conference, titled "Working Together for Sustainable Land Use Systems" represented two years of planning among a global organizing committee of distinguished researchers and innovators of the agroforestry field.

Gene Garrett, UMCA executive director, served on the World Congress global committee and presided over the Science and Education in Agroforestry congress plenary session.

Additional key speakers at the conference were Dr. P.K. Nair, director of the Center for Subtropical Agroforestry at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Nair was chairman of the Global Organizing Committee and is also a co-founder of the World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Nair’s address called agroforestry "no longer a practice in search of science" and cited a need for greater numbers of university-trained professionals in agroforestry to share the expanding body of scientific knowledge about agroforestry.

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, acclaimed by Time magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and described by the United Nations as the "father of economic ecology," also presented a keynote conference address. Dr. Swaminathan emphasized the value of agroforestry in reconciling shortterm food and livelihood needs with long-term environmental conseration on a global scale.

Gene Garrett and Surindar Hara
Gene Garrett (left) discusses agroforestry in the coming decades with Surindar Hara, (right) from Haryana, India, at the 1st World Congress in Florida.
"The first World Congress had an enormous impact on me personally and led me to realize just how far agroforestry has come in the past few decades," said Garrett. "The advantages of the age-old practice of growing trees and crops together, which have been largely ignored for so long because long because of a lack of scientific underpinnings, are now being recognized and accepted. Today, agroforestry is truly a science-based technology that offers both poor and wealthy nations many opportunities, including the reduction of poverty and providing ecosystem services. This congress demonstrated to me that agroforestry has finally come of age."

Conference abstracts, summaries and photos are available at WCA/

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