Maximising Inga Systems

Improving agroforestry and silvopastoral systems in Latin America by maximising species and genetic diversity of the multipurpose legume Inga

The value of native trees, including Inga, within agroforestry (AF) systems, where they are planted to fertilise soils and provide a nurturing environment for crops, has been well demonstrated. Most Inga-based systems have been developed around a single species, Inga edulis. However, there are 300 other Inga species that may provide equal, if not greater, benefits and which could expand the geographic and environmental scope where these systems can be applied.

Our project aims to apply state-of-the-art genetic approaches to identify the closest relatives of Inga edulis and other species already used in AF. These related species are the most likely to have characteristics suitable for AF. In consultation with stakeholders and smallholders, we have established growth trials of some of these species to ensure subsequent uptake and use.

Key project outcomes

Targeted field collection

We will collect tissue and seeds from species to support ongoing genetic research and establish field trials in Mato Grosso.

Genome analysis

We will conduct a thorough analysis of the genus to identify suitable species for agroforestry and silvopastoral system use.


We will build a network of scientists and practitioners within Brazil and Latin America, facilitating further research development and communicate findings to others in this field.

Via the greater resilience of agroforest and silvopastoral systems in times of climatic change and population growth, communities can benefit from reduced poverty, improved food security, and reduced pressure on natural vegetation and biodiversity through conversion to agriculture. The outcomes from the project will directly support Brazil in delivery of its commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity and to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


This project is funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). These are UK investments targeted at delivering cutting edge research, ensuring that we take a leading role in addressing challenges faced by developing countries.