Forestry, agroforestry, and forest landscape restoration are about more than just planting trees. To help equip farmers, scientists, and development institutions with useful information and tools to find the “right tree in the right place for the right purpose,” CGIAR researchers have combined years of in-depth knowledge and a vast collection of research with easily accessible technology to create a global tree knowledge platform.
Comprising a wide range of interlinked databases, maps, R open-source software packages, guidelines and other decision-support tools to guide the planting – and survival – of trees in a range of environments, the platform, developed by CGIAR researchers at World Agroforestry, now merged with the Center for International Forestry Research as CIFOR-ICRAF, has been accessed and used millions of times since its establishment.
Since starting work on the platform in 1996, ICRAF has continually added updated agroforestry knowledge and expanded the tools to help farmers face new challenges
The platform’s components include the Agroforestree database for use by farmers and development practitioners to understand tree uses and ecologies, which has been accessed nearly 300,000 times; and the Agroforestry Tree Domestication primer for use by researchers and development specialists to know ‘how’ to bring new tree species into cultivation, which has been downloaded more than 53,000 times. It also includes the vegan community ecology package for use by ecologists and other scientists to scrutinize ecology data, which has been installed more than 2 million times.
The tree knowledge platform enables users to not only select the right tree species, but also to bring knowledge to action by disseminating seeds and seedlings to thousands of smallholder farmers across the tropics. The platform also features tools linking tree species to quality planting materials that are available from ICRAF’s global seed bank in Nairobi and from field genebanks established in 39 sites across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Since starting work on the platform in 1996, ICRAF has continually added updated agroforestry knowledge and expanded the tools to help farmers face new challenges. Recently developments include the Priority Food Tree and Crop Food Composition Database and the WorldFlora package that have both been viewed or installed more than 8,000 times since they were launched in late 2019.
Header photo: Farmers in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, learn and share knowledge as part of World Agroforestry’s TREEs knowledge platform. Photo by I. Nungky/ICRAF.