, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 213-239

The espinal: agroforestry systems of the mediterranean — type climate region of Chile

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Abstract

The Central Valley of Chile is largely occupied by a pseudo-savanna called ‘espinal’ consisting of a single dominant tree species, Acacia caven (Mol.) Mol. (Leguminosae), and some 215 annuals, most of which were inadvertently introduced from the Mediterranean Basin. The probable origin and current distribution of the ‘espino’ (Acacia caven) and the espinales in Chile are described. Predominant production systems of the espinal in both the semiarid and subhumid regions of Chile are outlined, with emphasis on the later region. Causes of the current low levels of productivity are discussed, and various strategies for long-term improvement of the espinal are presented.