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By converting to agroforestry, farmers could reap major economic, social and environmental benefits.



In Asia, despite the net increase in forest area reported at the regional level, high deforestation continues in many countries, e.g. Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar (FAO, 2011). For example in Indonesia, over the last 20 years deforestation has been driven predominantly by agricultural expansion including smallholder shifting cultivation and subsistence agriculture (Singh and Bhagwat, 2013). To overcome the negative consequences of traditional agriculture, new practices are needed to serve multiple purposes of conserving forest, producing food, and supporting sustainable development (Leakey, 2010). In response to environmental concerns and sustaining livelihood, there are plenty of examples, where agroforestry is advocated as a more sustainable form of land use that improved farm productivity while improving the welfare of the community (Roshetko et al., 2013). If agroforestry is really a potential land use strategy as studies suggest, the logical prediction would then be that agroforestry is prevalent among farmers. However, this is not the case in many parts of Southeast Asia.

Many studies on ecosystem services have been conducted, but the potential for simultaneous delivery of various agro-ecosystem services (with an emphasis on food provisioning) under scenarios of increasing tree planting is under-researched. Thus, this proposed study will assess the trade-offs between income and tree cover when incorporating trees into food-crop-based agricultural systems in Myanmar and Indonesia. The analysis will compare provisioning ecosystem services provided by agroforestry with seasonal food crop farming. Expansion of these seasonal food crop systems is a major contributing factor to forest loss and environmental degradation in Myanmar and Indonesia. Hence, the study location will represent a complementary example for our analysis targeting the effect of increasing tree cultivation, and thus tree cover, in the dominant type of Asian tropical agricultural landscapes.

What actions do you propose?

At the phase one it will examine :

(i) which characteristics of agroforestry systems determine their sustainability (i.e. economic, social, ecological) for better livelihoods and environmental conservation?

(ii) what are the trade-offs between income and tree cover when incorporating trees into food-crop-based smallholder seasonal agricultural systems? 

(iii) which factors influence farmers’ choice of tree-based farming in place of seasonal cultivation? 

(iv) which new policies are predicted to provide incentives that could facilitate increased farmer adoption of successful tree farming?

At the phase two it will implement :

(i) Series of community level meetings for knowledge sharing to motivate local people to practice agroforestry

(ii) Series of structured stockholder workshop by involving community, government officials and non government organizations for the policy support to strengthen community capacity to adopt agroforestry for the longer term.

(iii) Monitoring of the progress and continue providing technical support to the farmers for better tree farming (e.g. which tree is suitable in which land)

Who will take these actions?

1. Government

2. World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)

3. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Where will these actions be taken?




How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Approximate 50% emissions will save from agricultural land use

What are other key benefits?

(i) Farm products diversification

(ii) Income generation

(iii) Food security

(iv) Sustainable form of land management

(v) Reduce pressure to local forest 

(vi) Biodiversity conservation

What are the proposal’s costs?


Time line

5 years in total

Year 1: Phase one (examine/research) as described above

Year 2-5: Phase two (implementation) as described above 

Related proposals



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2011. State of the World’s Forests 2011. Rome, Italy.

Singh M., Bhagwat S. A., (2013). ‘Tropical agricultural production, conservation and carbon sequesteration conflicts: oil palm expansion in South East Asia’. In: Fang Z., (ed.), Biofuels - Economy, Environment and Sustainability.Rijeka, Intech, Croatia, pp. 39–71.

Leakey R.R.B., (2010). ‘Agroforestry: a delivery mechanism for multi-functional agriculture’. In: Kellimore L.R., (ed.), Handbook on Agroforestry: Management Practices and Environmental Impact, Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, USA, pp. 461–471.

Leakey R.R.B., Weber J.C., Page T., Cornelius J.P., Akinnifesi F.K., Roshetko J.M., Tchoundjeu Z., Jamnadass R., (2012). ’Tree domestication in agroforestry: progress in the second decade (2003 - 2012)’. In: Nair P.K.R., Garrity D., (eds.), Agroforestry: The Future of Global Land Use, Advances in Agroforestry Series, Springer, The Netherlands, Vol. 9, pp. 145-173.

Roshetko J.M., Rohadi D., Perdana A., Sabastian G., Nuryartono N., Pramono A.A., Widyani N., Manalu P., Fauzi M.A., Sumardamto P., Kusumowardhani N., (2013). ’Teak agroforestry systems for livelihood enhancement, industrial timber production, and environmental rehabilitation’. Forests, Trees, and Livelihoods, 22 (4): 251-256.