Rainforests are an important defense against climate change because they absorb carbon. But many are being destroyed on a massive scale.
In the tropics, farmers often slash and burn forests to clear fertile land for crops. The practice involves cutting down vegetation and burning it. But the soil's fertility does not last long, so the farmers must clear a new patch of forest every few years.
"People believe it's the only possible way of growing crops," says ecologist Michael Hands.
But he says there's an alternative. Hands directs the Inga Foundation, which teaches farmers in Honduras and Costa Rica a method called inga alley cropping.
The Inga Foundation was the recipient of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation's $100,000 Next Gen Committee Grant in 2019.