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MULTISTRATA AGROFORESTRY 
CROPS FOR FOOD, ENERGY, SECURITY & WEALTH

MULTIPLE LAYERS OF VEGETATION ARE MODELED UPON THE NATURAL LAYERING OF MATURE FOREST SYSTEMS TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE PERENNIAL MULTI-CROPPING SYSTEM

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AN INTEGRATED MULTISTRATA AGROFORESTRY CROPPING SYSTEM – PROVIDING FOOD + POWER

WE REGENERATE SUFFICIENT LAND, ~10,000 HECTARES, FOR OUR OWN POWER FEEDSTOCK AND FOR SMALLHOLDER FARMING.

  • SUGARCANE FEEDSTOCK: Approximately ~5,000 to 6,000 hectares C4 sugar cane grasses, intended primarily for biomass power production. These C4 grasses are mechanically planted and mechanically harvested year-around.  They are directly owned by the Project to ensure a consistent supply for the power plant.  They are intercropped with fruit bearing trees, vegetables, legumes, herbs, and groundnuts.

 

  • SMALLHOLDER FARMING: Consisting of ~5,000 farms that are distributed according to farming experience and gender and social equity criteria.  These are devoted primarily to cash crops, including avocado trees, ginger, turmeric, and assorted legumes, herbs, and groundnuts.

A NATURE-BASED (NbS) SOLUTION THAT CLEANS UP THE NEGATIVE EXTERNALITIES CREATED BY MINING ACTIVITIES:

BY MODELING OUR AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM UPON NATURAL, FOREST SYSTEMS, WE ARE ABLE TO REGENERATE SOIL, REHABILITATE DEGRADED LAND, PROMOTE HEALTHY AND BIODIVERSE ECOSYSTEMS, AND SEQUESTER ATMOSPHERIC CARBON – ALL WHILE SUSTAINABLY PRODUCING FOOD AND ENERGY CROPS.

  • Regenerating ~10,000ha (~100 sq. km) of degraded former mining lands and soils in order to plant a multistrata agroforestry system

  • Utilizing one portion of the agroforestry system to mechanically plant and harvest feedstock ensuring its reliability

  • Intercropping the feedstock lands with trees, herbs, legumes, root plants, and groundnuts to increase food security and to promote ecological health and biodiversity

  • Creating 5,000 sustainable gender-equity focused smallholder jobs focused on cash corps within the agroforestry system – empowering women and youth, and promoting equity and inclusion

  • Cleaning above ground, subsoil, and river water to reduce malaria and other diseases and to ensure drinkability

MULTISTRATA AGROFORESTRY SIMPLIFIES & MIMICS VERTICAL LAYERS IN NATURAL FORESTS – CAPTURING CARBON AND GROWING FOOD

MULTIPLE LAYERS OF VEGETATION ARE MODELED UPON THE NATURAL LAYERING OF MATURE FOREST SYSTEMS

  • ROOT LAYER (RHIZOSPHERE): Comprised of air, water, minerals, organic matter, bacteria, rhizomes, and root structures that extend into the layers above ensuring biodiversity

  • FLOOR OR GROUND-COVER LAYER: Blanketed with decaying leaves, twigs, trees, animal scat, moss, and other detritus that decomposers and detrivores (e.g., fungi, bacteria, worms, insects and slugs)  fragment, consume and break down for recycling and reuse

  • HERB LAYER: Characterized by shade tolerant herbaceous (generally soft-stemmed) plants such as grasses, ferns, wildflowers ≤ 1 m in height

  • SHRUB LAYER: Comprised of woody vegetation, close to the ground–e.g., bushes and brambles –that allow sufficient light to pass through to support the shrub layer

  • UNDERSTORY LAYER: Consisting of immature and/or small trees that are shorter than the main canopy layer, providing shelter for a biodiverse range of animals

  • CANOPY LAYER: Delineated by a dense area where crowns of the majority of the first planted trees meet with each other

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SOIL REGENERATION 

REVERSING THE DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY MINING

THE SOIL IS CURRENTLY:

  • Compacted, altering its structure

  • Lacking in its original natural biodiversity – including: microbes, rhyzomes, fungi, algae…etc.

  • Depleted of nitrogen and of many of the core minerals necessary for its health

 

VCG EMPLOYS THE FOLLOWING STEPS IN A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO SOIL REGENERATION:

  • Potential agricultural areas are mapped, evaluated, and selected for regeneration and use

  • Land is cleared and leveled; invasives and other matter is removed

  • Collected invasive wood is pyrolized to make biochar – a microporous charcoal-like material, the extensive surface area of which aids the transport of nutrients and carbon into the soil

  • Biochar is incorporated into a compost along with micronutrients, and beneficial microbial and plant inoculants – e.g., bacteria, mycorrhizae, and algae

  • Additional amendments, such as agricultural lime, gypsum and ash, are tilled into the soil

  • Sunn Hemp (Crotelaria juncea) planted as the principal cover crop, then mulched into the soil

  • Legumes, grasses, groundnuts, and beans are intercropped (and eventually rotated) in order to further provide coverage, reduce weed growth, fix nitrogen, improve soil structure, enhance carbon content and prevent soil erosion

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WATER MANAGEMENT

REGENERATING LOCAL WATERSHED & AQUATIC BIO-HABITATS

WATER-RELATED CHALLENGES:

  • During the two distinct rainy seasons (April to June and September to November), rainwater runs off the Project’s sparsely vegetated land before it can ever percolate into aquifers.

  • The runoff, described above, causes sheet erosion that carry substantial quantities of topsoil away, further damaging the agricultural potential of the land, and silting up rivers and streams.

  • The silt generated by the runoff, which until the land is remediated contains high levels of heavy metals, affects water quality for local communities.

  • Stagnant water collects in pits throughout the degraded landscape, serving as a breeding ground for Anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit Malaria parasites to humans  – with 2.1% of global malaria cases and 1.9% of global malaria deaths, Ghana is among the 15 highest burden malaria countries.

 

WATER MANAGEMENT STRATEGY:

  • Undertake hydrological mapping and analysis using LIDAR; to enable an accurate mapping of water flow over the landscape and to determine optimal locations for berms, swales, and buffers

  • Execute on-the-ground topographical and hydrological reengineering, including berms, swales, buffers, and irrigation ditches in order to:

    • Mitigate erosion and stormwater damage

    • Retain water for irrigation, and

    • Allow water to percolate into and replenish aquifers

    • Retain moisture in the soil longer

    • Reduce seasonal flooding

    • Enable healthy aquatic ecosystems in rivers and streams

  • Backfill and/or otherwise remove pits with standing water that serve a malarial host reservoirs

  • Regenerate soil and use plants for uptake of heavy metals that threaten human health and systemic biodiversity

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