CoconutSummitPaper1May07.doc - Citation Kumar B.M 2007 Coconut-based agroforestry for productive and protective benefits In Coconut for Rural Welfare

CoconutSummitPaper1May07.doc - Citation Kumar B.M 2007...

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Citation: Kumar, B.M. 2007. Coconut-based agroforestry for productive and protective benefits. In: Coconut for Rural Welfare. Proc. International Coconut Summit 2007, Kochi, India. Thampan, P.K. and Vasu, K.I. (eds). Asian and Pacific Coconut Community, Jakarta, Indonesia, pp 87–98. Coconut-based agroforestry for productive and protective benefits B. M. Kumar College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, KAU PO, Thrissur 680 656, India Phone: +91-487-237 0050; Fax: +91-487-237 1040; email < [email protected] >. Abstract. Coconut-based smallholder production systems in the tropics aim at improved resource capture through integrating several trees and field crops. Although such polycultural systems generally promote productivity and profitability, interactions between the component crops are variable and may change over time. Growth habit, crown characteristics, planting pattern/geometry, and stocking levels of the woody perennial components, besides age of the palms, shade tolerance of the field crops and interplanted trees are major determinants of system productivity. This also calls for proper selection of the components and their manipulation to optimize productivity. However, long-term experimental studies on interplanting of dicot trees in the interspaces of coconut palms are limited. A compilation of the available reports, nevertheless, suggests that intercropping dicot trees do not exert strong negative effects on the yield of coconut palms until they overtop the palms. Improvements in soil organic matter status and water holding capacity and consequential yield increases also have been demonstrated in certain cases, besides lower pest and disease incidence. Introduction Agroforestry is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resources management system that integrates trees on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production 1
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for increased social, economic, and environmental benefits for land users at all levels (WAC 2006). Coconut ( Cocos nucifera L, Family- Palmae), an important plantation crop in the Asia-Pacific region, is amenable to a broad spectrum of such practices. The wide spacing (7.6 m triangular pattern or 7.6 to 9 m square planting), intended to meet the resource requirements of trees at maturity, and the sub-optimal utilization of site resources by palms at maturity (Anilkumar and Wahid, 1988; Kumar et al., 2005) make this crop particularly suitable for polycultural systems. Coincidentally, many annual, seasonal, and perennial crops abound in the coconut-based smallholder farming systems of South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific islands (Nelliat et al., 1974; Nair, 1979; 1983; 1989; Reddy and Biddappa, 2000). In particular, staple food crops including root and tuber crops [e.g., yam ( Dioscorea spp.), taro ( Colocasia esculenta ), cassava ( Manihot esculenta )], banana ( Musa spp.), island cabbage ( Abelmoschus spp.), and numerous tree species ( Theobroma cacao , Myristica fragrans, Syzygium aromaticum , Artocarpus altilis , Barringtonia edulis , etc.) are frequently interplanted or under-planted in the coconut gardens (Nair, 1979; Liyanage et al., 1985; Ahmed et al., 2004; Ginoga et al., 2004; Lamanda et al., 2006).
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