Hitting The Sweet Spot – How the Inga Method acts as solution for both the Climate and Biodiversity Crises

As world leaders come together for COP’s 27th gathering, we once more call on those in power to recognise the importance of nature-lead solutions when tackling runaway climate change.

Put simply, if we aim to meet our Paris Agreement goals, we must reverse our current trajectory. As a result of human activity, nature is being destroyed faster than it can regenerate. The toll on people living in climate vulnerable areas could be catastrophic, and might result in a humanitarian crisis that would be – frankly – unimaginable.

Slash-And-Burn Agriculture

Slash-and-burn agriculture is a method of farming that relies on burning vegetation and forest to leave behind a thin layer of fertile ash into which crops can be planted. Unfortunately, after a single yield, the fertility of this layer drops dramatically, meaning the farmer must move on to new land and burn and plant once more.

Once upon a time, this method could have been described as sustainable. However with more people and less land available, slash-and-burn agriculture is not only environmentally unsustainable, but also financially perilous for its practitioners who are locked into a cycle of poverty.

So what scale are we looking at? 250-300 million families across the tropics rely on slash-and-burn agriculture to get by, producing a colossal 1-2bn tonnes of CO2 annually. This is greater than all global transport emissions combined!

The Inga Method As A Solution

The IPCC Report of 2021 highlighted the need to tackle the biodiversity and climate crises together. This is where the Inga Method comes into its own.

The Inga Method grants farmers food security within two years of adoption. Where previously each family would have required 8 hectares to rotate slash-and-burn crops, the Inga Method requires only 1-2 hectares. This frees up large swathes of land for cash crops, sustainable logging and rewilding. The Inga tree itself is also a renewable source of firewood.

This method (using native alternatives to the Inga genus) is replicable across the tropics of Africa, Asia and beyond. The net gain for biodiversity upon mass adoption of the Inga Method would be enormous, and would result in huge potential for carbon drawdown – something the planet is in dire need of.

The fruit of this system is not isolated to emissions reduction. The Inga Foundation’s Land For Life programme is one of the only initiatives in the world that addresses, either directly or indirectly, at least 15 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Benefits include climate resilience, action on poverty, reduction in hunger, good health and wellbeing, affordable and clean energy, life on land amongst others.

What Next?

Over 420 families in Honduras have now adopted the Inga Method, sequestering a combined volume of 425,000 tonnes of atmospheric CO2. By putting farmers and their families at the centre of our efforts, and prioritising trust over prescription, adoption has far outstripped all targets we have set ourselves.

We believe that with the support of committed funding and resources, a people-focused rollout of the Inga Method across the tropics could catalyse life changing results – on both the local and global scale.

We are always on the look-out for introductions, funding partners or advice. If you believe you have the ability to help us scale up this fantastic nature-based solution, please do get in contact! info@ingafoundation.org