Saturday, November 7, 2015

Agroforestry: Concepts and Definitions

By Anton Antonio
November 7, 2015

Agroforestry or agro-sylviculture is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland.  It combines agriculture and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land use systems.  There are other concepts and definitions of agroforestry, such as:

·         Agroforestry is a technical discipline whose main concern is to develop sustainable production systems.  It answers such questions as what crops/livestock combination to raise, or how soil and water can be conserved.  An agroforestry technology can be used not only by upland farmers but also by private individuals and corporations who want to develop upland areas.  Agroforestry is the primary technical support of social forestry since the main clientele of the latter are upland farmers.  This is because agroforestry is the most suitable farming technology for upland areas (Lasco, 1999).
·         Agroforestry is a sustainable land management system that increases the total yield of the land, combines the production of crops (including tree crops) and forest plants and/or animals simultaneously of sequentially on the same unit of land, and applies management practices that are compatible with the cultural practices of the local population (Bene, et. Al., 2977).
·         Agroforestry is a land use system that involves socially and ecologically acceptable integration of trees with agricultural crops and/or animals, simultaneously or sequentially, so as to get increased total productivity of plants and animals in a sustainable manner from a unit of farmlands, especially under conditions of low levels of technology inputs and marginal lands (Nair, 1993).
·         Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and technologies where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, bamboos, palms, etc.) are deliberately used in the same land management unit as agricultural crops and/or animals, either in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence (Lundgren, 1982).

One of the feared impacts of climate change is food security.  The use of agroforestry concepts could definitely be a good tool and measure to increase agricultural productivity (both crops and livestock).  It is, therefore, important to study and understand agroforestry concepts and definitions.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Villanueva, T. R., (2005). “Upland Ecosystem Management”. University of the Philippines Open University, Los BaƱos, Laguna, Philippines

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