From Leakey, R. R. B., Agroforestry Systems, 1998. With permission.

From Leakey, R. R. B., Agroforestry Systems, 1998. With permission.

There are a number of options on how to apply these approaches to the development of multistrata systems:

1. Enrichment planting within logged or degraded forest;

2. Planting in cleared forest land as a perennial tree alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture;

3. Planting under a plantation of either an upper or middle strata species.

Of these options, 1 and 3 have merit environmentally in that the system will be developed more quickly as a demonstration and will not leave the land bare at the establishment phase. On the other hand, option 2, the currently most practical from the perspective of smallholders, is probably the most relevant in terms of developing multistrata systems. Such systems are both relevant on good soils of land cleared at the forest margin and on already degraded land, perhaps with proximity to urban markets. Because this option is the most relevant practically, it is also probably the one on which the greatest research effort should be concentrated.

In all these options, research is especially required to determine the functional groups of species which will do well in the lower strata, where light will be a limiting factor. Currently in Southeast Asia, staple food crops are grown beside the multistrata agroforests, because they are light demanding. This may be the best arrangement, but it is also possible that new crops, or new cultivars of existing crops, could be integrated into multistrata agroforests.

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