Using densely planted rows of Inga we plan to harness the tree’s ability to colonize degraded acidic soils and use bacteria to generate the nutrients it needs. Together with this ability to increase nutrient levels necessary for plant growth, rapidly growing Inga trees also shade out invasive weeds and produce a rapidly degrading leaf litter that will kick-start the development of a productive soil
By planting dense rows of trees 4 metres apart we will produce a high density of roots that below-ground will stretch between rows producing a soil in which can be planted fruit trees, staple crops such as beans, maize and rice or even timber or rubber trees. By pruning the fast growing trees every year the crops get enough light to grow whilst the tree’s roots continue to develop and fix nitrogen replacing that lost when crops are harvested.
Inga is characterised by spreading branches which shade out invasive weeds. They are fast-growing and need to be pruned once or twice a year yielding a valuable supply of firewood for cooking. In addition the leaves bear several disc-like nectaries which attract ants, wasps and many other insects that serve to protect the tree and any crops planted nearby from herbivores.