Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 173–196 | Cite as

Shortened bush fallow rotations with relay-cropped Inga edulis and Desmodium ovalifolium in wet central Amazonian Peru

  • Charles Staver


In the Palcazu Valley alluvial Inceptisols are relay-cropped with maize-cassavaplantain in rotation with 2–5 years of tree fallow. These lands, of limited extent, yet important for Yanesha Indian subsistence production, are being cropped even more intensively as population increases and land is converted to other uses. The relay-planting of the tree-thicket combination Inga edulis with Desmodium ovalifolium into the on-farm crop sequence was evaluated as a means to accelerate fallow recovery and thereby shorten fallow rotations. Three experiments with Inga/Desmodium planted with cassava-plantain and one with rice under different weeding regimes after a Desmodium fallow were conducted. Inga and Desmodium were not chopped back or pruned during these experiments. Desmodium/Inga suppressed herbaceous weeds from one year after planting. Desmodium/Inga accumulated more woody biomass than natural fallows. Cassava yields were unaffected by the presence of Desmodium/Inga, while plantain yields were greater under Desmodium/Inga compared to natural weeds. Desmodium/Inga, while promising for shortening fallow rotations, demonstrated potential difficulties: increased labor for establishment, tendency of Desmodium to weediness in later crop cycles, and suppression of the natural regeneration of trees and shrubs.

Key words

bush fallow agroforestry Inga edulis Desmodium ovalifolium shifting cultivation wet tropics sustainable system maize cassava plantain 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Staver
    • 1
  1. 1.Bradfield HallCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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