Saturday, November 7, 2015

Characteristics of Agroforestry

By Anton Antonio
November 8, 2015

There are several definitions of agroforestry.  For our purpose, let us use the following definition: “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).”

From this definition of Lasco (1999), we could note the following characteristics of agroforestry:
  1. It involves two or more species of plants, at least one of which is a woody perennial.
  2. It always has two or more outputs.
  3. Its cycle is always longer than one year.
  4. The simplest agroforestry system is more complex ecologically and economically than a monocropping system.
  5. Ecological and economic interactions exist between or among woody and non-woody components.

Agroforestry is more than a set of prescriptions and system.  It is a discipline and an approach to land use that incorporates the complexities of sustainable natural resources management.  A successful agroforestry initiative will largely depend on a keen understanding of the characteristics of agroforestry.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Antonio, A. C., (2015). “Agroforestry: Concepts and Definitions”. Retrieved on November 8, 2015 from

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

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