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OCR for page 317
Page 317 PART VI Nuts The cultivation of nut trees is one of the most neglected aspects of tropical agriculture and forestry. 1 Few plants are more versatile and desirable. In addition to providing edible, nourishing fruits, they beautify cities, wastelands, and drab landscapes. Nut trees could improve the environment by preventing soil erosion in vulnerable areas. Once planted, they usually require little labor or expense and will provide food for decades, if not centuries. Should famine ever occur, nuts provide a local reserve of concentrated food. Some are also potentially valuable export commodities. With rising international interest in massive plantations of long-lived trees to lower global warming trends, nut trees could become much more widely planted in the future. They absorb carbon dioxide, as well as provide shade, erosion control, and, above all, a premium food product. The following two chapters describe promising nut crops of the Andes: the Quito palm and the Andean walnut. 1 For more details, see F. Rosengarten, Jr. 1984. The Book of Edible Nuts. Walker and Company, New York.
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