<<<<<<< HEAD Forest for the Future
  • Phone: +94 91 223 2585
  • info@fff.lk

Analog Forestry

Help us with your donation...

Why join with us

Analog Forestry is a system of silviculture, which aims to restore the local biodiversity while providing economic opportunities to small-scale farmers. Inspired by Sri Lanka’s tradition of home-gardens it encourages the use of economically viable crops such as tea, spices, fruit and vegetables, as well as ecologically important species. Where Analog forestry differs from other systems is in the planting design, which mimics both the structure of a natural forest (i.e. different canopy layers) and the ecological functions of a natural forest (i.e. watershed management).

Combing local forest biodiversity with organic crop cultivation has a number of advantages. Using ecologically sustainable farming practices:

  • Encourages high biodiversity
  • Produces clean water and soil
  • Gives watershed protection
  • Conserves soil

While the first few years of converting a system to Analog Forestry can be intensive, the long-term economic and biodiversity gains make this a sustainable system. Although crops give lower yields than in more intensive farming practices, their diversity provides economic stability. For example, if one crop fails or market prices fall for one commodity, the other crops can still be sold to provide a stable income. Organic farming techniques also require less expenditure on external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, as there is a higher resilience against plagues and diseases.

The practical value of this system is demonstrated in over 25 years of research that is being translated into community projects across the world.

Silvicuture is the art and science of controlling the estamblish, growth,composition, health and quality of forests to meet diverse needs and values of the many landowers, societies and cultures over the parts of the globe that are coverd by dry land.

The history of Analog Forestry

Over 30 years ago, a group of environmentalists from the NeoSynthesis Research Centre (NSRC), developed an agricultural system which would encourage native biodiversity to flourish. This system provided an alternative to monocrops which were being widely promoted for “reforestation” purposes.

Led by Sri Lankan Systems Ecologist Dr. Ranil Senanayake, (present Chairman of Rainforest Rescue International), NSRC first applied this system on an abandoned tea state in the Sri Lankan hills, successfully restoring the ecosystem and its functions as well as the estate’s income generation potential.

The name Analog Forestry was coined in 1987, and in April 1994 it was accepted as a methodology integrating the protection of biodiversity within the context of sound landscape management by scientific experts at the Open-ended Intergovernmental Meeting of Scientific Experts on Biological Diversity (sponsored by the UN) in Mexico City.

The International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN), based in Costa Rica, was established in 1996 as a worldwide forum for Analog Forestry practitioners.

Example of an Analog Forest in the Tropics


  • Acacia
  • Coffee
  • Palm
  • Mango
  • Plantain
  • Papaya
  • Coconut
  • Ficus
  • Cocoa
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Mahogany

Principles of Analog Forestry



Observe and record

Where am I? In what type of forest? What species are present?

Understand and evaluate

Learn about the area, from both scientific and traditional standpoints

Know your land

Examine the landscape’s features, water systems, soil, and ecosystems, terrestrial and aquatic

Identify levels of yield

Identify the capacity of the land. How can each section of the land be best used?.

Map existing and potential water systems

Graphically represent the flows of water, sun, and wind

Reduce external inputs

Minimize the use of fossil fuels, and agro-chemicals. Maintain a closed loop of inputs

Be guided by the landscape

Knowing your land and its surroundings are important for making a design

Follow ecological succession

Use intermediate stages in your design that will lead to a climax forest

Use ecological processes

Designs can benefit from interactions occurring between elements of the ecosystem

Value biodiversity

Increasing biodiversity species will increase ecosystem function and provide valuable services

Respect maturity

Mature forests are some of the most productive ecosystems, and are the goal of Analog Forestry

Respond creatively

Prepare yourself for the unexpected and be conscious that there are multiple pathways to success

======= Forest for the Future
  • Phone: +94 91 223 2585
  • info@fff.lk

Analog Forestry

Help us with your donation...

Why join with us

Analog Forestry is a system of silviculture, which aims to restore the local biodiversity while providing economic opportunities to small-scale farmers. Inspired by Sri Lanka’s tradition of home-gardens it encourages the use of economically viable crops such as tea, spices, fruit and vegetables, as well as ecologically important species. Where Analog forestry differs from other systems is in the planting design, which mimics both the structure of a natural forest (i.e. different canopy layers) and the ecological functions of a natural forest (i.e. watershed management).

Combing local forest biodiversity with organic crop cultivation has a number of advantages. Using ecologically sustainable farming practices:

  • Encourages high biodiversity
  • Produces clean water and soil
  • Gives watershed protection
  • Conserves soil

While the first few years of converting a system to Analog Forestry can be intensive, the long-term economic and biodiversity gains make this a sustainable system. Although crops give lower yields than in more intensive farming practices, their diversity provides economic stability. For example, if one crop fails or market prices fall for one commodity, the other crops can still be sold to provide a stable income. Organic farming techniques also require less expenditure on external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, as there is a higher resilience against plagues and diseases.

The practical value of this system is demonstrated in over 25 years of research that is being translated into community projects across the world.

Silvicuture is the art and science of controlling the estamblish, growth,composition, health and quality of forests to meet diverse needs and values of the many landowers, societies and cultures over the parts of the globe that are coverd by dry land.

The history of Analog Forestry

Over 30 years ago, a group of environmentalists from the NeoSynthesis Research Centre (NSRC), developed an agricultural system which would encourage native biodiversity to flourish. This system provided an alternative to monocrops which were being widely promoted for “reforestation” purposes.

Led by Sri Lankan Systems Ecologist Dr. Ranil Senanayake, (present Chairman of Rainforest Rescue International), NSRC first applied this system on an abandoned tea state in the Sri Lankan hills, successfully restoring the ecosystem and its functions as well as the estate’s income generation potential.

The name Analog Forestry was coined in 1987, and in April 1994 it was accepted as a methodology integrating the protection of biodiversity within the context of sound landscape management by scientific experts at the Open-ended Intergovernmental Meeting of Scientific Experts on Biological Diversity (sponsored by the UN) in Mexico City.

The International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN), based in Costa Rica, was established in 1996 as a worldwide forum for Analog Forestry practitioners.

Example of an Analog Forest in the Tropics


  • Acacia
  • Coffee
  • Palm
  • Mango
  • Plantain
  • Papaya
  • Coconut
  • Ficus
  • Cocoa
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Mahogany

Principles of Analog Forestry



Observe and record

Where am I? In what type of forest? What species are present?

Understand and evaluate

Learn about the area, from both scientific and traditional standpoints

Know your land

Examine the landscape’s features, water systems, soil, and ecosystems, terrestrial and aquatic

Identify levels of yield

Identify the capacity of the land. How can each section of the land be best used?.

Map existing and potential water systems

Graphically represent the flows of water, sun, and wind

Reduce external inputs

Minimize the use of fossil fuels, and agro-chemicals. Maintain a closed loop of inputs

Be guided by the landscape

Knowing your land and its surroundings are important for making a design

Follow ecological succession

Use intermediate stages in your design that will lead to a climax forest

Use ecological processes

Designs can benefit from interactions occurring between elements of the ecosystem

Value biodiversity

Increasing biodiversity species will increase ecosystem function and provide valuable services

Respect maturity

Mature forests are some of the most productive ecosystems, and are the goal of Analog Forestry

Respond creatively

Prepare yourself for the unexpected and be conscious that there are multiple pathways to success

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