Agroforestry

Biodiversity / Textile Industry
A positive rebound effect

Introduction

  • The fashion industry has a massive environmental footprint
  • Conventional farming of cotton and other natural fibers is a major driver of biodiversity loss
  • This unsustainable approach threatens to cross the planetary boundary for biodiversity

Biodiversity Loss from Monocultures

Monoculture plantations provide little habitat diversity

They fragment natural habitats, restricting species movement

Frequent tilling and agrochemical use disturb and harm biodiversity

This simplification of ecosystems leads to biodiversity declines

Agroforestry – A Biodiversity Solution

  • Agroforestry integrates trees, crops and understory vegetation
  • It creates multi-layered, diverse habitats for many species
  • Native trees provide food and shelter for indigenous fauna
  • Reduced disturbances compared to monocultures

Connectivity and Ecosystem Services

  • Trees form biological corridors connecting fragmented habitats
  • Allows species movement, maintains genetic diversity
  • Supports biodiversity at multiple trophic levels
  • Provides key ecosystem services like pollination and pest control

Mimicking Natural Ecosystems

  • Well-designed agroforestry mimics the structure of natural ecosystems
  • This holistic approach increases biodiversity substantially
  • Enhances ecosystem functions and services sustainably
  • Reduces need for external synthetic inputs

Conclusion

Agroforestry is a sustainable solution for the fashion industry

It allows sourcing natural fibers while restoring biodiversity
Helps bring the industry back within planetary boundaries
Call to action for brands to transition to agroforestry cotton/fibers

References