Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 233–240 | Cite as

Revisiting the past: an essay on agroforestry definition

  • E. Somarriba


Concepts used by various authors are analyzed in order to define agroforestry and discuss, in detail, some ambiguous terms often encountered (biological and economic interactions, time sequences, etc.). Only those concepts which differentiate agroforestry from other non-agroforestry forms of land use are retained as part of the definition, which is: agroforestry is a form of multiple cropping under which three fundamental conditions are met: 1) there e exist at least two plant species that interact biologically; 2) at least one of the plant species is a woody perennial; and 3) at least one of the plant species is managed for forage, annual or perennial crop production.

Key words

agroforestry definition 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agroforestry Systems (1981) Editorial: What is agroforestry. Agroforestry Systems 1(1): 7–12Google Scholar
  2. Bene JG, Beal HW and Cote A (1977) Trees, food and people: land management in the tropics. IDRC, Ottawa, Canada, 59 ppGoogle Scholar
  3. Combe J and Budowski G (1979) Classification of traditional agroforestry techniques. In: Workshop on Traditional Agroforestry Systems in Latin America. De Las Salas G, ed, CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica, pp 17–47Google Scholar
  4. Huxley PA (1983) Some characteristics of trees to be considered in agroforestry. In: Huxley PA, ed, Plant Research and Agroforestry, pp 3–12. Nairobi, Kenya, ICRAFGoogle Scholar
  5. ICRAF (1979) Agroforestry defined. ICRAF Newsletter 1(1): 4Google Scholar
  6. Kapp G (1989) La agroforestería como alternativa de reforestación en la zona Atlántica de Costa Rica. El Chasqui (CATIE, Costa Rica) 21: 6–17Google Scholar
  7. King KFS (1979) Concepts of agroforestry. In: Chandler T and Spurgeon D, eds, International Cooperation in Agroforestry, pp 1–13. ICRAF, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  8. King KFS (1989) The history of agroforestry. In: Nair PKR, ed, Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, Forestry Sciences Vol. 31, pp 3–11. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  9. Lundgren B and Raintree JB (1982) Sustained agroforestry. In: Nestel B, ed, Agricultural Research for Development: Potentials and challenges in Asia, pp 37–49. ISNAR, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  10. Nair PKR (1985) Classification of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry Systems 3: 97–128Google Scholar
  11. Nair PKR (1989) Agroforestry defined. In: Nair PKR, ed, Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, Forestry Sciences Vol. 31, pp 13–18. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  12. Raintree JB and Warner K (1986) Agroforestry pathways for the intensification of shifting cultivation. Agroforestry Systems 4(1): 39–54Google Scholar
  13. Robinson PJ (1985) Trees as fodder crops. In: Cannell MGR and Jackson JE, eds, Attributes of Trees as Crop Plants, pp 281–300. Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, England.Google Scholar
  14. Spedding CRW (1988) An Introduction to Agricultural Systems, 2 ed. Elsevier Applied Science, London, England, 189 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. Steiner KG (1984) Intercropping in Tropical Smallholder Agriculture with Special Reference to West Africa, 2 ed. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Schriftenreihe # 137. Eschborn, West Germany, 304 ppGoogle Scholar
  16. Wiersum KF (1981) Outline of the agroforestry concept. In: Wiersum KF, ed, Viewpoints in Agroforestry. pp 1–21. Agricultural University of Wageningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Somarriba
    • 1
  1. 1.CATIE/GTZ agroforestry projectTurrialbaCosta Rica

Personalised recommendations