, Volume 61-62, Issue 1-3, pp 183-194

Managing biological and genetic diversity in tropical agroforestry

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The issues of biological and genetic diversity management in agroforestry are extremely complex. This paper focuses on genetic diversity management and its implications for sustainable agroforestry systems in the tropics, and presents an analysis of the role and importance of inter- and intra-specific diversity in agroforestry. Diversity within and between tree species in traditional agroforestry systems and modern agroforestry technologies in the tropics is assessed, with a view to understanding the functional elements within them and assessing the role and place of diversity. The assessment shows that although the practice of agroforestry has been a diversity management and conservation system, research in agroforestry over time has de-emphasized the diversity element; nevertheless farmers do value diversity and do manage agroforestry from that perspective. Based on a profiling of various traditional agroforestry systems and research-developed technologies, a strong case is made for increased species- and genetic diversity, at both inter- and intra-specific levels. The review and analysis point to the need for increased awareness, training/education, partnerships and collaborative efforts in support of genetic diversity in agroforestry systems; of special importance is increased cross-disciplinary research.All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today – A Chinese proverb

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.