Conclusions

The vision of agroforestry presented here is as an integrated land use that, through the capture of intraspecific diversity and the diversification of species on the farm, combines increases in productivity and income generation with environmental rehabilitation and the creation of biodiverse agroecosystems. In most places this is just a vision, but there are increasing numbers of examples where the vision is already a reality. The body of ecological data from agroforestry research is growing, and the research agenda is changing toward systems thinking. There is much to do to encourage these developments and the socioeconomic/policy conditions that promote them. There is, however, an urgent need for the reasons for hope to be heard above the shouts of doom and gloom about tropical forests, if the needs of growing human populations are to be met without sacrificing the biological diversity that keeps our ecosystems functional.

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