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Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 15, Issue 2–3, pp 95–110 | Cite as

On-farm research: the challenges of agroforestry

  • Sara J. Scherr
Article

Abstract

A review of recent experience in on-farm agroforestry research demonstrates that on-farm investigations may be usefully undertaken at any stage of research. Objectives may be to study existing agroforestry systems, to learn from farmers' knowledge, to access representative site conditions, or to elicit farmer evaluation of new technology. The weak scientific knowledge base about socioeconomic and technical aspects of agroforestry, the complexity of agroforestry systems, and the value of local farmers' experience make on-farm research unusually important in agroforestry.

In-depth diagnostic and descriptive research is required prior to the design of long-term experimental programmes. A strong parallel programme of technology-testing with farmers is needed to complement selective strategic research on component response and interactions in researcher-controlled plots. This approach requires active institutional collaboration, strengthening of research capacity for technology-testing in extension programmes, and expanded training for researchers in on-farm research methods.

Key words

agroforestry research on-farm research agroforestry technology participatory research research planning extension research 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara J. Scherr
    • 1
  1. 1.Programme on Methods for On-Farm Agroforestry Research and ExtensionICRAFNairobiKenya

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