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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ; 1992; 423 pages)
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts On Traditional Land-Use Systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on farming systems research and development
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on integrated systems
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on cropping system
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on agroecology
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close this folderAbstracts on agroforestry
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Tree products in agroecosystems: economic and policy issues.
View the document2. Sustainable use of plantation forestry in the lowland tropics.
View the document3. The palcazu project: forest management and native yanesha communities.
View the document4. Opportunities and constraints for sustainable tropical forestry: lessons from the plan piloto forestal, quintana roo, Mexico.
View the document5. The taungya system in south-west Ghana.
View the document6. Planning for agroforestry.
View the document7. Sowing forests from the air.
View the document8. Agroforestry pathways: land tenure, shifting cultivation and sustainable agriculture.
View the document9. Food, coffee and casuarina: an agroforestry system from the Papua New Guinea highlands.
View the document10. Agroforestry in africa's humid tropics - three success stories.
View the document11. Agroforestry and biomass energy/fuelwood production.
View the document12. Regeneration of woody legumes in Sahel.
View the document13. Medicines from the forest.
View the document14. Potential for protein production from tree and shrub legumes.
View the document15. Agroforestry for sustainable production; economic implications.
View the document16. Living fences. A close-up look at an agroforestry technology.
View the document17. Homestead agroforestry in Bangladesh.
View the document18. Guidelines for training in rapid appraisal for agroforestry research and extension.
View the document19. Erythrina (leguminosae: papilionoideae): a versatile genus for agroforestry systems in the tropics.
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on homegardens
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on seed production
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on plant protection
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on water management
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Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on erosion and desertification control
Open this folder and view contentsAbstracts on potential crops for marginal lands

2. Sustainable use of plantation forestry in the lowland tropics.

In: Proc. of the Humid Trop. Lowlands Conference, Panama City, Panama, 1991, pp. 55-68

This paper lays down the principles governing successful plantation forestry in the lowland, humid tropics and seeks to address the issues which underpin sustainability: land capability, species choice, and management. Relevant examples are drawn from across the tropics.

While plantation forestry is often associated with industrial plantations the enormous expansion in social forestry is not neglected.

Accurate data for areas of tropical plantations are notoriously difficult to obtain. Gathering information from just over 100, mainly developing countries inevitably leads to a variety of definitions, confusion over units, optimism by some of equating seedlings supplied or planted with plantation established, lack of proper inventory, and so on. Nevertheless, from the available data, it seems clear that some 20 million ha of forest plantations of various forms have been established throughout the tropics and hotter subtropics in the last 10 years to give a global figure in excess of 40 million ha.

The virtual doubling of plantation forest area in the last 10 years arises from a massive social forestry program in India, though the quality and stocking of much new 'plantation' is questionable; a clearer picture of afforestation in tropical China; and programs of steady expansion in many countries. The bulk of the increase in the neotropics has occurred in Brazil, owing to the fiscal incentives program which ran from 1967 to 1986 and averaged some 300,000 ha per year from the early 1970s, but has since diminished to about one-tenth of this level.

An examination of tree planting schemes in the last 10 years shows a shift from one of replacement of natural forest formations, e.g. Jari, Brazil, to afforestation of already badly degraded land or natural savanna, cerrado, or grassland. This change is both laudable from a conservation point of view and reflects the fact that huge areas of land, since long deforested, are suitable for tree planting but not a lot else. The 40 million ha of Imperata grassland in Indonesia are a striking example.

Correct choice of species for a given site is fundamental to sustainable plantation forestry. Poor species choice will not only give poor yields about may increase risk of pest and disease damage. The ingredients of successful matching of species to site include first climate matching followed by attention to soil factors.

Industrial plantation forestry has been dominated by planting of a very few species in the lowland tropics. Indeed Pinus caribaea, Gmelina arborea, teak, and Eucalyptus grandis, E. camaldulensis and E. urophylla probably account for 90%.

The last 10 years has seen a significant broadening. Increased use of little tested species, promotion of nitrogen fixing trees, and advances in vegetation propagation technology have contributed to this.

In addition to variation due to provenance, and to all sources of variability, there is evidence of an interaction between the selected genotype and the site. The highest ranked provenances, varieties, families or clones will not necessarily be the same on all sites. This is known as genotype x environment interaction (GEI) and breeding strategies must recognize this feature.

Plantation forestry is a feasible silviculture in the lowland tropics provided attention is paid to sound practice to ensure properly matched species and sites and regular management inputs. It is not a cheap form of forestry, but with commitment over time to a project, including tree breeding programs, the large investment can repay in highly productive forest which appears to be sustainable on most sites.

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Latin America, Peru, study, project, forest management, Indians, land tenure, forestry cooperative


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