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Designing Agroforestry Land Use System - Exercise

Exercise Description

  1. Analyse and classify agroforestry practices based upon their components and their various spatial and temporal arrangements.
  2. Evaluate the key ecological interactions between trees and other components in agro-ecosystems.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how agroforestry practices can contribute to ecosystem service provision at multiple scales of analysis.

In this exercise – worth 50% of the total module marks – you are asked to describe the process and provide initial design ideas for an agroforestry land use system. For this exercise we want you to design a farm level intervention, however your farm is part of the wider landscape and we want you to consider its potential effects and implications on a landscape scale as well. Below you will find two case studies, from which you will derive the information required to design your agroforestry intervention. You are free to decide how you want to present your field, e.g. an annotated figure or written text. Apart from a very brief introduction and conclusion (up to 300 words), the main body of your report should consist of three sections:

This contains the process that needs to be undertaken in which you justify your implementation as well as consider the value and the risk of the agroforestry interventions for the farmer (up to 2000 words excluding references, tables and figures). In this section you should include mention of any processes of knowledge acquisition required and include the assumptions (and the reflection on those) that you have made. The choices you have made for your assumptions should be informed by scientific (and grey) literature, and thus are part of an informed choice process. A clear description and justification of the process is critical for achieving high marks. We have deliberately kept the locations vague as we are not principally interested in specific tree species selection here. We are interested, however, in the attributes of the trees that might be appropriate to use (and feel free to use real examples to support your designs). We would like you to consider the economics of your proposed interventions. Again, we do not need detailed costings but we would like you to consider how realistic the interventions you propose are, the degree to which you may requireexternal intervention to achieve them and how you might monitor the success of yourproposed designs.

Below we provide two case studies (a temperate and a tropical one) from which you choose one. You can however choose your own case study, but you will have to agree on this with the teaching team and thus send an email to Eefke and Tim in cc before you start working on it.

Farmers who are interested in agroforestry mainly want diversification of income that agroforestry potentially delivers. The main crops are maize and rice. Farmers are interested in coffee, mango and longam (a local fruit tree). Farmers are primarily interested in planting produce trees near roads (as much of the produce is sold roadside) but are happy with timber species being grown away from the road (as this is often for domestic use). There is some interest in aquaculture systems (using lakes similar to the one illustrated in the image).

Whilst erosion is acknowledged as a problem the soils are also deep. Livestock are not a significant component of this system. Water quality is another significant issue as they often carry high sediment loads. Erosion and poor water quality issues are seen as political priorities – and will need multiform engagement to tackle.

The area has a high poverty index score; it is the poorest region of the country. Seventy percent of the population are ethnic minority groups. Most farms are between 2 to 5 hectares in size with land closest to the homestead seen as most valuable. Most farms have secure tenure. Farms are oftenquite fragmented and there are issues with theft of produce from land away from the farmstead. Women and men will often jointly manage the farm system but have different engagement with trees.Men see NTFPsas important whereas women are traditionally interested in fruit production. There is a generally low educational level and a range of cultural norms andtraditional practices that potentially disadvantage woman. Men tend to receive training and technical support. Women spend more time on household work, on top of their farming activities. There are barriers to women engaging with markets directly as there is a language barrier.

Sloping land accounts for 75% of the total land area. The area has very low tree cover and has suffered a significant loss of tree based biodiversity. The area is subject to heavy rainfall during monsoon periods.

  • External investment in the area is low
  • Local indigenous communities are marginalised
  • Value chains for indigenous fruit trees are underdeveloped
  • Extension activity is limited
  • Cultural norms can result in gender inequality

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