Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 177-193

First online:

Socioeconomic research in agroforestry: progress, prospects, priorities

  • D. E. MercerAffiliated withSouthern Research Station, US Forest Service
  • , R. P. MillerAffiliated withSchool of Forest Resources & Conservation, University of Florida

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Fourteen years after the birth of the journal Agroforestry Systems, biophysical studies continue to dominate agroforestry research while other important areas have not received the attention they deserve. This paper reviews the progress in one of these under-researched areas, socioeconomics. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of published socioeconomic research papers and a survey of agroforestry socioeconomic researchers are used to evaluate the achievements in agroforestry socioeconomic research over the past 14 years: what are the major advances, gaps in knowledge, and constraints for closing those knowledge gaps? Although agroforestry socioeconomics remains a field in its infancy, both the scope and the quality of socioeconomic research are slowly improving. The recent trend away from literature reviews, qualitative, and purely descriptive quantitative research based on small sample sizes, and toward more rigorous statistical analyses of better and larger data sets is encouraging. Priority areas for future research include theoretical and empirical analyses of agroforestry adoption decisions, improved economic analyses, and policy studies at local, national, and regional levels.

anthropology economics geography policy sociology