One of the nice things about blog carnivals like [Tangled Bank]http://monado2.blogspot.com/2006/05/tangled-bank-53-go-climb-tree.html is that they expose you to new voices that might otherwise remain unheard. Bankelele in Nairobi is one such. Being a banker, most of his posts are about banking and commerce. But one from almost a year back, Trees: a great investment was highlighted in the latest Tangled Bank.

It’s an interesting, gung-ho call for people in Kenya to plant trees, pointing out the kinds of returns people can expect, the obstacles -- “Also one must also protect land from squatters, who may destroy trees for firewood, or to build homes in what they consider to be ‘unoccupied forest’ land, or whose grazing animals may eat young tree seedlings” -- and the benefits offered by science, mostly in the shape of faster-growing varieties.

But given the presence of the World Agroforestry Centre there in Bankelele’s backyard, I confess myself a little surprised that he didn’t either look at what they had to offer or, at the very least, point people at them. Trees are a really important component of agriculture with great returns that go way beyond the strictly financial. What would be wonderful to see would be local economists -- and of course Bankelele may not be one -- helping to put numbers to those returns, so that those looking at trees not purely as a financial investment would be encouraged to plant them too.

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