Food for the Cities


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Wood and non wood forest products

The tree productive system in and around cities is complex: it is a mosaic of agroforestry systems, street trees, hedgerows, gardens, orchards, forests, recreational parks and isolated trees. Poor people can benefit from the products harvested such as food, medicine, non-wood forest products and fuelwood for their household consumption. Moreover, where families, neighbourhoods, periurban farmers and producers associations can, in a private or collective manner, access and sustainably maintain the productive capacity of the land, the selling of the products will bring auxiliary incomes. When production is the main goal, the smallholders mastering intensive and high economic value systems may generate even higher earnings. In this matter, the great proximity to the market becomes a significant factor for the profitability of these production systems. When associated to urban animal production, leguminous trees and shrubs have the potential to benefit livestock as a source of fodder. Furthermore, private and institutional enterprises generate green jobs through multi-usage management and maintenance of woodlands and trees, such as street trees, recreational parks and green areas. They can also get incomes from the sale of the products, such as fuelwood produced from the pruning of trees. Finally, the recycling of the waste produced by these maintenance activities is also a source of savings for small industries using wood to produce industrial energy, such a bakeries, brick producers, cooking of potteries, etc.

The challenge for the development of a green healthy city is to maintain an optimum tree cover highly contributing to respond to the environmental, economical and social needs of the population. The achievement of this goal relies on the art of combining spatial distribution, land security, restoration and rehabilitation of tree-systems, good practices, community participation and good governance. The rural of today may be the urban of tomorrow – let us keep it green with trees and forests.

Selected documents