The crisis in shifting cultivation practices and the promise of agroforestry: a review of the Panamanian experience
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 9, Number 6, June 2000 , pp. 739-756(18)
Abstract:Deforestation is proceeding at alarming rates in the Central American Republic of Panama. This is leading to high losses of biodiversity, local wood shortages, increased erosion, and the sedimentation of water bodies. One of the principal causes of deforestation is the expansion of the agricultural frontier through extensive shifting cultivation systems. These land use systems are becoming increasingly unsustainable as populations increase and the amount of agricultural land available declines, and are often associated with low crop productivity, and reduced soil fertility. Agroforestry, or the association of trees with crops and livestock, has the potential of providing both socio-economic and ecological advantages to smallholders. While the number of agroforestry projects has increased dramatically over the past two decades in Panama, there is little information on the impacts these projects have had. This review provides a brief history of agroforestry in Panama, and outlines the current projects underway. In addition, the main factors impeding the increased adoption of agroforestry are examined, and recommendations are provided.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: 1: School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (Present address: Panos Institute, 9 White Lion St., London, NI 9PD, UK) 2: Department of Biology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3C3
Publication date: 2000-06-01