Relationship between Agroforestry and Community Forestry Module 2
Relationship between Agroforestry and Community Forestry - Module 2. 4 Forestry Training Institute, Liberia
Agroforestry: Definition • Agroforestry: A dynamic, ecologically based natural resource management practice that, through the integration of trees and other tall woody plants with agricultural plants on farms and in agricultural landscape, diversifies production for increased social, economic, and environmental benefits. -- World Agroforestry Center (2003) • Agroforestry: "Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos etc. ) are deliberately used on the same land management units as agricultural crops and/or animals, in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry system there are both ecological and economical interactions between the different components. -- World Agroforestry Center (2003)
Agroforestry: Definition • Cultivating trees and agricultural crops in intimate combination with one another is an ancient practice that farmers have used throughout the world. • Agroforestry is a new name for an old set of land-use practices. It is an integrated approach to solving landuse problems by allowing farmers to produce food, fiber, fodder, and fuel simultaneously from the same unit of land. • A common characteristic feature of all forms of agroforestry is that a tree component is deliberately grown or retained in an agricultural setting.
Agroforestry: Definition • Two characteristics common to all forms of agroforestry and separate them from other forms of land use, namely: – the deliberate growing of woody perennials on the same unit of land as agricultural crops and/or animals, either in some form of spatial mixture or sequence. – there must be a significant interaction (positive and/or negative) between the woody and non-woody components of the system, either ecological and/or economical.
Agroforestry: Definition • Agroforestry normally involves two or more species of plants (or plants and animals), at least one of which is a woody perennial; • An agroforestry system always has two or more outputs; • The cycle of an agroforestry system is always more than one year; and • Even the simplest agroforestry system is more complex, ecologically (structurally and functionally) and economically, than a monocropping system.
Agroforestry: Types • All agroforestry systems are characterized by three basic components namely, the woody perennials (trees/shrubs), the herbaceous plants (crops, pasture species), and the animals. Based on these three basic components, agroforestry systems can also be classified for all practical purposes according to their component composition: – Agrosilvicultural systems - where agronomic crops are combined with shrubs/trees on the same unit of land for higher or better-sustained production of annual crops, fodder, and wood. – Silvopastoral systems - where range crops and/or animals and trees are combined for better production of grasses and fodder. – Agrosilvopastoral systems - food, pasture, and tree/shrub crops are combined on the same unit of land for the production of grass and browse feed, biomass for fuelwood and green manure, and food for human consumption.
Agroforestry: Food Production • Beyond their contribution as a source of gathered food, in many rural areas trees are incorporated into farming systems. These trees are highly valued for the foods they produce during strategic periods; they often help to even fluctuations in food supply. • In addition, during planting and harvesting seasons tree foods may provide snacks which supplement the diet when there is less time available for meal preparation. The fruit, and the leaves in some cases, are especially valued during the hunger period as well as at planting time. • Nutritional studies of home gardens (intensively managed areas combining perennial and annual species) have shown that they provide foods throughout the year. Tree foods are particularly valued as year-round food sources. Jackfruit and coconuts actually produce year round, whereas mango, durian and mandarin production coincides with periods of staple food scarcity.
Agroforestry and Community Forestry • Community forestry encompass all the activities that are carried out by individual house holds, farmers as well as activities involving the community as a whole. • These activities are not only limited to tree planting on farms and households, but also include activities such as the use and the management of natural resources and the supply or provision of tree products from the surrounding vegetation. • Community forestry also refers to the promotion of self-help management and use of trees to sustainably improve the livelihoods of the local people.
Agroforestry and Community Forestry • If properly practiced and managed, agroforestry and community forestry programs can serve as a means to alleviate problems of soil erosion and land degradation. They can also provide food, fuelwood, and fodder for the farm family. • Agroforestry can be viewed as a strategy to overcome the lack of success in past tree planting by providing opportunities for both food and tree production on the same unit of land, thus reducing competition for this scarce resource. • Appreciation of agroforestry comes when we begin to view trees as plants that promote productivity and we recognize that when trees are grown together with agricultural crops, forest products can be more accessible to rural people.
Rotational Farming • Also known as swidden or “slash & burn” cultivation. An extensive form of horticulture in which the natural vegetation is cut, the slash is burned, and crops planted amongst the ashes. • Swidden systems require that farmers have more land available for use than is cultivated in any given year. • Swidden systems are adaptive in situations in which there is a relatively low population density, a low level of technology, and sufficient land to maintain fallow cycles. • When population densities increase and/or when there is no longer sufficient land to maintain the minimum fallow cycle, the system is no longer adaptive.
Rotational Farming • Under the most basic forms of agriculture, where land availability allows a relatively low labor strategy to work effectively, shifting cultivators alternate cropping with fallow periods in which tree cover is allowed to regenerate and restore soil fertility. As land pressure increases, forcing a move toward continuous cultivation, various forms of intercropping develop. • Intercropping systems, in which trees and crops are grown in alternating rows, use the leaves of the trees as green manure to enrich the soils and enhance crop production. • However, to be valid under field conditions, intensive approaches such as this require secure long-term use rights to land which is a luxury not available to most shifting cultivators.
Rotational Farming • The traditional system of production is the shifting cultivation or slash and burn method. It is characterized by low productivity of land labor, long fallow periods of 6 -10 years and relatively short cultivation periods of 1 or 2 years. Upland rice and cassava are the main crops, although as many as 8 -10 different other crops can be planted in a mixed cropping system. • The main environmental concern with regards to shifting cultivation is in the loss of valuable tree species. Normally, primary forest areas that contain mature tree species and secondary trees are cut and burned. This farming system reduces forest cover and contributes to tremendous heat build up on the soil surface. This results in a large quantity of soil organisms and other organic materials being destroyed as well as physical changes in the soil. Besides the loss of tree species and vegetation cover, wildlife is also affected.