World Agroforestry gene bank germinates a future for healthy ecosystems

Africa’s iconic baobab tree, sometimes called the “upside-down tree” and popular in myths and local legend, was in trouble earlier this century. Large numbers of this significant tree, with some specimens more than 2,000 years old, were dying due to land-use changes and climate-change impacts, triggering fears it might become endangered. Reintroduction of such threatened species illustrates the vital importance of gene banks, including the one at Nairobi-based World Agroforestry (ICRAF), which is conserving millions of tiny treasures that lie at the very heart of nature’s food chain.

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