Future Directions

Agriculture and forestry are too often treated separately, yet these two sectors are often interwoven on the landscape and share many common goals and ecological foundations. The multitude of agroforestry systems, be they practiced in the tropics or temperate regions, are firmly grounded on strong ecological principles, and through provision of many basic needs and ecosystem services, they contribute to attainment of many regional developmental goals. These underexploited systems have the potential to develop into a set of major land-use options in the twenty-first century. The gains and developments of nearly three decades of agroforestry research and development are certainly impressive. Undoubtedly, agroforestry is now on a firm scientific footing. Today agroforestry is no longer a mysterious enigma that defies science and scientific principles, as it was perceived three decades ago. Agroforestry is well on its way to becoming a specialized science at a level comparable to those of crop science and forestry science. These hard-earned scientific gains need to be put to practice for solving the problems we had set out to address when we started research. The adoption rates of these systems have, however, been rather low so far, perhaps because of the emphasis on sustainability, rather than as an opportunity for immediate monetary gains.

See also: Classical and Augmentative Biological Control; Ecological Engineering: Overview.

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