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close this bookAmaranth to Zai Holes, Ideas for Growing Food under Difficult Conditions (ECHO; 1996; 397 pages)
View the documentOther ECHO publications
View the documentAbout this book
View the documentAcknowledgements
Open this folder and view contents1: Basics of agricultural development
Open this folder and view contents2: Vegetables and small fruits in the tropics
Open this folder and view contents3: Staple crops
Open this folder and view contents4: Multipurpose trees
Open this folder and view contents5: Farming systems and gardening techniques
Open this folder and view contents6: Soil health and plant nutrition
Open this folder and view contents7: Water resources
Open this folder and view contents8: Plant protection and pest control
Open this folder and view contents9: Domestic animals
Open this folder and view contents10: Food science
Open this folder and view contents11: Human health care
Open this folder and view contents12: Seeds and germplasm
Open this folder and view contents13: Energy and technologies
Open this folder and view contents14: From farm to market
Open this folder and view contents15: Training and missionary resources
Open this folder and view contents16: Oils
Open this folder and view contents17: Above-ground (urban) gardens
View the document18: What is ECHO?
View the documentAdditional ECHO publications
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes - issue 52
Open this folder and view contentsECHO development notes: issue 53
Open this folder and view contents28 additional technical notes about tropical agriculture
close this folderPrinciples of agroforestry
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentWhat is agroforestry?
View the documentWhy agroforestry?
View the documentSummary of benefits of agroforestry (see definitions)
View the documentLand
View the documentThe trees
View the documentNon-tree crops
View the documentGetting started with agroforestry systems
View the documentSource abbreviations
View the documentDefinitions
View the documentBibliography and useful publications
View the documentRelated echo publications
View the documentRelated resources and organizations
Open this folder and view contentsGood nutrition on the small farm
 

Getting started with agroforestry systems

Decide whether agroforestry systems are appropriate.

Describe family and community needs.

Find the limiting constraints in agriculture, including markets and marketing.

List the potential benefits of an agroforestry system in the region in question, and their relative importance. Then decide if it is worth the effort to develop one.

Consider whether the people of the region are willing or capable of adopting a system.

Design asystem.

Select the area.

Characterize it (describe it, its strengths, weaknesses) with respect to existing soil, water, and crops.

List the needs that could be met with an agroforestry system.

Characterize the crops desired by minimum space requirements, water and fertilizer needs, and shade tolerance.

Select the trees, shrubs, or grasses to be used.

If the system is temporary:

Plan the features of soil erosion control, earthworks, and gully maintenance first.

Plan spacing of fruit trees according to final spacing requirements.

Plan a succession of annual or short-lived perennials beginning with the most shade tolerant for the final years of intercropping.

If the system is permanent:

Plan the proportion of the permanent fruit and lumber trees on the basis of relative importance to the farmer.

Plan the spacing of long-term trees on the basis of final space requirements times 0.5.

Plan succession of annual and perennial understory crops, including crops for soil protection and enrichment.

As large permanent trees grow, adjust planting plan to place shade tolerant crops in most shady areas.

In temporary and permanent systems:

Keep all ground in crops or protective covers at all times.

Try the system on a small scale first.

Measure the inputs and outputs of the system.

Evaluate whether the benefits expected have been achieved.

Look for the desired plant materials or for suitable substitutes locally (Table 5).

Expand or extend any new system cautiously.

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