In the province of Misiones, northeastern Argentina, agroforestry systems of timber trees and perennial cash crops are becoming increasingly common. For example, agroforestry designs with native trees of economic value and cash crops have been proposed as land use options for a heavily deforested area of the province (Eibl et al. 2000). In recent research, the productivity of Ilex paraguariensis (South American holly or yerba mate, Aquifoliaceae) in association with indigenous trees Enterolobium contorti-siliquum (timbo, Leguminosae, an N-fixing tree), and two timber species, Balfourodendron riedelianum (guatambu, Rutaceae) and Tabebuia hepta-phylla (lapacho negro, Bignoniaceae) was evaluated on two private farms. Five years after planting, the tree species were 3.5-8 m high and 3-8 cm in diameter at breast height, and the yerba mate produced its first harvest. Additionally, production from associated subsistence crops covered the annual needs of the farmer. Considering the short-term returns in terms of subsistence annual crops, the medium- to long-term profits from yerba mate harvests, and the long-term returns from timber, the systems proposed here appear to yield an attractive sequence of products. Apparently these systems have value at both the subsistence and the commercial production levels, thus making them an interesting alternative for the small farmers of the region.
Home gardens are agroforestry systems for the production of subsistence crops for the gardener and his/her family, with or without the addition of cash crops. They can be located immediately surrounding the home or slightly further away, but still near the residential area. It is claimed that home gardens originated in prehistoric times when hunters and gatherers dispersed seed of highly valued fruit trees close to their homes (Soemarwoto 1987; Boxes 6.10 and 6.11).
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