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New study: Motivations and Limitations for Small-Scale Farmers to Implement Agroforestry Systems in North-Eastern Brazil

Agroforestry combines agricultural and silvicultural practices to produce food, wood, and other products. Agroforestry systems have been increasingly promoted as land-use systems that can support nature conservation, especially in the tropics, where it has also been gaining recognition as a tool for reducing poverty, improving food self-sufficiency for farmers, and increasing the productivity and income for small-scale farmers. Although agroforestry is a potentially more sustainable use of natural resources and land, it is not a “silver-bullet” for reconciling nature conservation and agricultural production, because of the irreversible biodiversity value of natural forests.
agroforestry landscape
Agroforestry. Photo by Torsten Krause

Agroforestry practices support agricultural resilience against climatic variability, increase soil productivity, can diversify and increase farmers’ incomes, and support native fauna in agricultural landscapes. However, many farmers are still reluctant to implement agroforestry practices. In a recent study with small-scale farmers working in the northeastern region of the Atlantic Forest, in Brazil, Torsten Krause, researcher at LUCSUS, Lund University and Mauricio Sagastuy at the University of Gothenburg, identified the motivations and limitations to implement agroforestry practices.

The study highlights the four main reasons why farmers work with agroforestry: Higher income generation (89%), diversification of the production system (86%), increase in the land’s quality and productivity (86%), and increase in self-sufficiency (82%).
The study also reveals what the three most common reasons for conventional agriculture farmers to not shift to agroforestry practices were: Uncertainty if the system will work (62%), reduction in yield of the main agricultural crop (43%), and a lack of models and knowledge in the region (41%).

In conclusion, the study show that agroforestry in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest region can help support native fauna, but farmers need to be educated about agroforestry practices and encouraged to switch from conventional agriculture to agroforestry through an increase in available technical assistance and capacitation/training in agroforestry practices.

Read the publication "Agroforestry as a Biodiversity Conservation Tool in the Atlantic Forest? Motivations and Limitations for Small-Scale Farmers to Implement Agroforestry Systems in North-Eastern Brazil" in Sustainability (Open access)

 

About Torsten Krause

Torsten Krause

Torsten Krause is an associate senior lecturer at LUCSUS. He work with topics around forest governance, conservation and sustainable develpment in Ecuador, Colombia, Nigeria and South Africa.

Read more about Torsten Krause's research on his staff page.

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