Climate resilience: bountiful crops and miraculous springs

The climate change conversation is no longer only about mitigating emissions and global temperature rises. Now, much of the global focus is on climate adaptation and resilience: resourcing ourselves with the defences we need to withstand some of the changes we will certainly face in the future. This incorporates food security as well as physical challenges around where we live – acknowledging the fact that some areas of the world are more affected by climate change than others despite often having contributed less to the causes. At COP28, new pledges totalling nearly $188 million were made to the Adaptation Fund.

What if the answer was simply to support nature to thrive?

This is a story of abundance. For us, the simple act of planting trees and supporting the ecosystem with our agroforestry method has yielded remarkable results. In droughts: new springs appearing where there was no water, and we’ve seen bountiful crop yields despite parched soil. Through El Niño flooding events, mature tree roots that have held the soil and the landscape together, while elsewhere everything has been washed away. 

Our part in this was simply to support natural systems to thrive in the way they do best. We helped farmers to plant native trees, taught them how to maintain the land, and allow time for the soil to be restored and for roots to grow deep rather than be slashed and burned after a mere few years. 

In February 2016, our farmers began planting maize and beans using our agroforestry methods. It then didn’t rain at all between late February and September. And yet despite this, our farmers had bountiful crop yields (pictured above) – which grew on residual moisture protected by the mulch. Our method proved itself again this year, with no rain between February and July. In the violent storms of El Niño event of 2019, plants did defoliate but we didn’t lose a single tree, and there was no loss of soil. 

Martin O’Malley said “Reversing deforestation is complicated; planting a tree is simple.”

We’d say the same thing about climate change and its complexities. If we allow nature to thrive, all else will follow.