Most Frequently Used Agroforestry Systems

There are many types of agroforestry systems. Some are sequential, such as the taungya systems where trees are intercropped with annual species during the first years of plantation establishment (Fig. 6.9). After the plantation canopy closes, the crops are no longer maintained and the system is managed as a plantation. This serves to decrease costs of weeding of the plantation, and allows the farmer to use the land in the plantation for the crops (Jordan et al. 1992). An example of a taungya system in Thailand, developed primarily to stimulate teak reforestation, is presented in Box 6.8.

Other sequential agroforestry systems involve shifting cultivation, where trees are planted in the fallow fields to speed up the recovery of soil fertility and to obtain the tree products. Thus crops and trees share the same space only during a portion of the whole productive cycle. Traditionally, shifting cultivators have encouraged the presence of certain tree or herb species in fallows to restore site fertility, suppress weeds, and increase economic yields. Several types of traditional enriched fallows involve planting or tending selective species for fruit, fuelwood, or timber for local consumption and markets (Nair 1990; Kass et al. 1993; see also Chap. 5).

Fig. 6.9. A taungya system of rubber trees intercropped with peanuts in Dak Lak province, Vietnam. (Photo: Hoang Dinh)
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