Helping the farmers and preserving biodiversity

The destruction of the upland forests

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Sri Lankan farmers practised sustainable agriculture for thousands of years. Their ingeneous use of water is legendary. The thousands of ancient man-made water storage tanks in the dry zones continue to be used to this day.

Sri Lankan kings knew that the water cycle was dependent on leaving the upland forests intact and cutting any forests above an elevation of 2000 feet was strictly prohibited.

From the time of western colonisation in the 1500s this ancient system began to disintegrate. It accelerated rapidly from the 1800s when the British discovered that coffee grew well and could be a money-earner for their empire.

They cut the virgin upland forests for their coffee plantations, most often burning all the trees that they felled and thus changing the climate and water availability which affects Sri Lanka to this day.

Hansa understands the need to look after farmers and biodiversity

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Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the 18 bio diversity hotspots of the world.

However if farmers do not receive a fair price for their commodities then they are forced to find work in the cities or use unsustainable agricultural practices which deplete the land and its biodiversity.

We feel that plantation tea as it is grown today continues to be highly destructive to the upland ecosystem. This can be witnessed by the fact most tea estates have no A-horizon of soil remaining and very little biodiversity.

We at Hansa Coffee are helping repair this damage by supporting farmers who practice analog forestry.

At present it is estimated that there are over 3000 farmers pratcising analog forestry in Sri Lanka. We pay our farmers more for the higher quality beans that go into Hansa Coffee.

An Analog Forest Garden

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An Analog Forest Garden is a tree dominated environment established on the principals of Analog Forestry, where crop plants are grown so that they form a physical structure to the original forest. This planting exhibits ecological relations that are also analogous to those of the original forest and provides micro-habitat to many species that could not exist without it.This system generates polyculture tree plantations and is managed on long rotations over 30 years or more. These forests consist of many age classes and function as long term carbon sinks.