Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration

September 02, 2019
A translation for this article is available in French

Deforestation and severe land degradation have contributed to poverty around the world. Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is a low-cost, simple, sustainable land regeneration practice that communities can use to restore their land, increase their productivity, and build resilience relatively quickly and effectively. FMNR is also a tree management practice, involving selection, pruning, protection, and maintenance.

The central principles are:

  • The systematic pruning and management of existing indigenous trees and shrubs by the land user.
  • An overall increase in tree or shrub coverage and biomass across the landscape.
  • An improvement in the ecological functionality and therefore human well-being (economically and socially) in the landscape being managed with FMNR.

Learn more about FMNR in this manual, produced by World Vision Australia: https://fmnrhub.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/FMNR-Field-Manual_DIGITAL_FA.pdf

The manual includes 11 chapters:

  1. Introduction to Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration
  2. Using FMNR in a development program
  3. Taking stock with the community
  4. How to practice FMNR
  5. Community engagement to create sustainable FMNR practice
  6. Managing fire and other potential problems
  7. Ensuring FMNR is inclusive
  8. FMNR partnerships
  9. Designing FMNR projects
  10. Monitoring and evaluation
  11. Some final thoughts

In March 2019, the United Nations Environment Programme published an article about the benefits of FMNR in Niger and Mali: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/surprising-benefits-age-old-land-regeneration-technique

World Vision Australia has created an entire website about FMNR, including stories from their projects: https://fmnrhub.com.au/

Tony Rinaudo, agronomist with World Vision Australia, has also written an account of the history of FMNR, which he has been promoting in West Africa since the 1980s. He explains that, while working in the Maradi Department in southern Niger, he discovered that there was a vast underground forest that would sprout from tree stumps, meaning that it was not necessary to plant new trees. All that was needed was to convince farmers to change the way they prepared their fields. Read his story: https://permaculturenews.org/2008/09/24/the-development-of-farmer-managed-natural-regeneration/