Farmer Managed Natural Regenaration (FMNR)



Farmer Manage Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is an approach that aims to increase the number of trees by protecting and pruning living tree stumps, and by creating the environmental conditions for tree seeds to sprout. Its goal is to encourage re-growth and revitalisation of existing tree stumps, roots and seeds, and to allow them to re-sprout, or for seeds to germinate again. One of the advantages of FMNR is the freedom that farmers have in implementing this technique and adapting it to their landscape. Farmers are free to take decisions based on their knowledge and experience and they can choose which tree species they want to use; it can be fruit trees, berry trees, nut trees or medicinal trees. Farmers can also select which species they want to save or remove during pruning. Moreover, farmers have freedom in deciding how and when the pruning will occur, and the tree density they prefer. Regardless of the farmers’ choices, an important prerequisite is that the trees are able to re-sprout after being cut.

  • Increase vegetation
  • Improve soil health
  • Erosion prevention
  • Increase crop yields

When possible, FMNR should always be preferred to tree planting because it guarantees greater survival possibilities as they have established naturally and are accustomed to the environmental and soil conditions. If no tree seedlings or roots are found on-site, seeds can be collected from native trees nearby and sown into the site at the optimal time of year for seed germination.

  • If no trees are currently found on-site, farmers will need the presence of a local seed bank (trees and plants need to have roots or seeds on the ground to sprout naturally without the need to physically plant new ones).
  • Everyone needs to be informed to avoid people removing or damaging natural regeneration.
  • May need  land ownership or permission to undertake FMNR -> insecurity of land rights is a constraint for implementation


  • Saw or machete
  • Ribbon or paint

 The FMNR Hub & JustDiggit have identified  3 important steps to be taken in order to make this intervention effective: 

  1. Where there are already stumps and seeds available under the soil, farmers simply have to create the conditions and allow time for these to grow back above the surface. They can achieve this by stopping the burning of stumps; stopping the harvest of new sprouts of stumps and roots; and avoiding livestock grazing on the sprouts. This allows the underground forest to regenerate, grow and become stronger, whilst being able to tolerate the stress caused by grazing.
  2. Select the stumps you want to protect, then the best few shoots of the stump and cut all the others; Pruning like this is important as it allows for rapid growth and taller, straighter trunks, but is dependent on several strict criteria in order to be successful. Farmers are asked to choose which and how many stems to remove and save to ensure that the remaining stems have more vital space and adequate conditions to grow faster and better whilst the pruned stems are suitable for firewood. All the side branches that have appeared in the time between consecutive prunings need to be removed in order to not affect selected stems’ regrowth. 
  3. Marking the trees at-focus using colorful ribbon or paint around the branches you want to let grow will allow you to keep track of the tree’s growth overtime. By engaging individuals and the community in FMNR and pruning regularly should keep  the trees protected throughout the year.


This intervention contributes to:

Costs and benefits of implementing this intervention

Cost p/ha FMNR
Establishment cost: Average= USD 257/ha, (range=USD20-579*)
Labor time: More labor intensive and costly when there are no naturally occurring tree stumps or seedlings available.

While pruning and management of trees require some labour, this is often offset by the time saved having firewood and fodder close to home.

Maintenance cost: Aver. unavailable, range = USD 31-213/ha/year
Benefits: USD 72 per year per household from FMNR with trees
Common products: Trees, shrubs, fodder plants. Adansonia digitata
Price per product: Adansonia digitata: USD 34-75 ( fodder)

HappyFarm, The Gambia

Using FMNR, HappyFarm intends to regenerate at least 25% of the total arable land so it can be under sustainable crop production. With 110,000 hectares of arable land under sustainable cultivation, 4.6 million trees, an average of 40 trees/hectare, have been resurrected and will remove at least 110,000 tons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere.

Additional information

Land use

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