Note: Low input and high input continuous cultivation both had negative net present values. From ICRAF, 1994 Annual Report, Nairobi, Kenya, 1995.

Note: Low input and high input continuous cultivation both had negative net present values. From ICRAF, 1994 Annual Report, Nairobi, Kenya, 1995.

now be incorporated into agroforestry systems. Table 3 illustrates candidate species for West Africa (see also Okafor and Lamb, 1994; Abbiw, 1990). How can these complex agroforests be further developed in the tropics? Probably three things are required. First, there is the need to identify the species of commercial importance of relevance to local markets. Second, there is a need to develop an entrepreneurial mentality among the community, who have traditionally been subsistence farmers and hunter-gatherers. Third, there is a need to determine how best the tree species may be combined to develop agroforests. The growth of the urban market and the absence of jobs in the urban areas may provide the commercial incentive required. What is probably missing is the demonstration of what is possible, particularly in the areas near urban markets.

With such a wide choice of species for the middle and upper strata of multistrata agroforests, clearly research to determine the best combinations and configurations is much needed, but also extremely difficult. There are, therefore, three research approaches that can be taken:

1. The testing of prototype systems (i.e., best-guess combinations), perhaps aimed at market needs, and developed with the help of farmers with some experience of compound gardens;

2. Research to test specific hypotheses aimed at the development of some principles regarding the optimal combinations and/or densities of trees in the different strata, which involves both complementarity of species biologically and in terms of labor demands and market opportunities;

3. Use of random mixtures of the species in unstructured combinations, as would probably be developed by farmers.

Research is needed to determine whether or not the apparently random distribution of trees in many existing examples of multistrata systems is indeed random, or whether farmers from experience grow species in certain combinations. Understanding this process would be of benefit in assisting attempts to know why multistrata systems evolve differently under different social and ecological conditions and would therefore help to transfer these systems more effectively to new areas.

Table 3 A Sample of the West African Tree/Shrub/Liane Species Appropriate for Growth in Multistrata Agroforests and for Domestication

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