Farmer Managed Reforestation (credit: World Vision Australia)
The Right Livelihood Award, often called the Alternative Nobel Prize, was presented to the Australian agronomist Tony Rinaudo in 2018. Rinaudo created a practical and low-cost solution to deforestation in the Sahel region in Africa. Using simple land and horticultural management practices, farmers themselves regenerate and protect trees on their land. In the process they improve their livelihoods at the same time.
Rinaudo practices the Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) method that relies on the ability of certain trees to naturally regrow from underground root systems when properly pruned. Stumps of old, cut trees are still connected to a large root system that can rapidly regrow into a new trees if properly tended. Using the FMNR approach, Rinaudo has restored over 12 million acres of land resulting in more than 200 million regenerated trees in Niger alone. The cost to a farmer is less than US$20/acre.
A FMNR video explains how these successes has been accomplished.
Volumes have been printed on the problems created by deforestation but few people have developed a solution as simple, as inexpensive, and successful than teaching how to 'work with nature'. The Alternative Nobel committee certainly found a worthy winner in Tony Rinaudo.