January 11, 2023

Multi-purpose fast-growing tree and shrub (MPFG) - noun

Definition: Agroforestry trees and shrubs that are intentionally cultivated and managed to provide more than one product and/or function.

MPFGs in the Forest Garden:

Trees take up a sizeable amount of real estate in a Forest Garden. For that reason, Forest Gardeners are always thinking of ways to maximize the benefits they get from each tree they plant. Where possible, trees should be selected to provide more than one benefit.  

Forest Gardeners commonly select pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) in their alley cropping system for the many benefits it can provide. Beyond providing a harvestable product to generate income or supply nutrition in the household, pigeon pea has nitrogen fixing properties that neighboring crops will benefit from through more fertile soils. Though it is a short-lived shrub, it does produce an abundance of biomass, which can provide a protein-rich fodder for livestock or a steady supply of green manure from pruned branches. 

To learn about some of the most useful multipurpose trees planted in Forest Gardens, read Chapter 9 of the Technical Manual

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