Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 171–186 | Cite as

Soil conditions, vegetation structure and biomass of a Javanese homegarden

  • M. Jensen
Special Section: Homegardens


The soil of a west Javanese homegarden was a clay-loam, humic Cambisol of medium fertility, with neutral to weak acid reaction. The 0.13 ha large garden contained about 60 plants species (excluding weeds), of which 39 supplied useful products and the remaining were ornamentals. Tree coverage was 81% and total ground cover, including ground litter and weeds was 99%. The vegetation was multi-layered. Total biomass was estimated to 126 t ha−1, including 4.4 t ha−1 of ground litter. Of the total biomass, 95% belonged to the tree compartment;Cocos nucifera, Eugenia aromatica andLansium domesticum alone constituted 75%.

The homegarden resembled young secondary forest both in structure and biomass, and may be considered as a man made forest kept in a permanent early successional state. The nutrient pool stored in the vegetation was generally low compared to the soil reserves. Only the pool sizes of N and K constituted a significant percentage (5.5 and 11.7%, respectively) of soil reserves.

It is concluded that the sustainability of the homegarden is connected to the medium fertile soil with large nutrient reserves, the large plant biomass directly and indirectly protecting the soil against erosion and drying, and a high species diversity providing a large variation in crop phenology and stability in nutritional supply. All this is in contrast to what has been experienced in most attempts of practising monoculture on sloping lands on Java.

Key words

West Java homegarden soil conditions vegetation structure biomass 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alvarez-Buylla Roces ME (1989) Homegardens of a humid tropical region in Southeast Mexico: an example of an agroforestry cropping system in a recently established community. Agroforestry Systems 8: 133–156Google Scholar
  2. Amber S (1986) Aspects of vegetation and land use in the erosion process in the Jatiluhur lake catchment, West Java. Doctoral thesis, Padjadjaran University, Bandung, Indonesia (in Indonesian)Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous (1972) Peta tanah tinjau, Wilayan aliran s. Citarum, 1:250,000, (Land use map) Lembaga Penelitian Tanah, BogorGoogle Scholar
  4. Anonymous (1983) Hydrogeological map of Indonesia, Sheet V, BandungGoogle Scholar
  5. Anonymous (1988) Statistik Indonesia 1988 (Statistical Yearbook). Biro Pusat Statistik, JakartaGoogle Scholar
  6. Backer CA (1963–68) Flora of Java, Vol I–III, Noordhof, Groningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  7. Barrau EM (1985) Production constraints and soil erosion in the humid tropics of densely populated Java. In: Shibles ed, Proceedings of World Soybean Research Conference III, pp 1145–1150. Westview Press, Boulder, COGoogle Scholar
  8. Bruijnzeel LA (1983) Hydrological and biogeochemical aspects of mammade forests in south C. Java. PhD thesis. Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 250 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Chidumayo EN (1990) Above ground woody biomass structure and productivity in a Zambesian woodland. Forest Ecology and Management 36: 33–46Google Scholar
  10. Christanty L (1982) Homegarden and its possibility for implementation in transmigration areas. Paper, Tropsoil CRSP Lecture series, University of Hawaii, 15 ppGoogle Scholar
  11. Christanty L, Abdoellah O, Marten G and Iskandar J (1986) Traditional agroforestry in west Java: The pekerangan (homegarden) and kebun-talun (annual-perennial rotation) cropping systems. In: Marten GG ed, Traditional Agriculture in Southeast Asia: A Human Ecology Perspective, pp 132–158, Westview Press, Boulder, COGoogle Scholar
  12. Dickenson RE (1980) Effects of tropical deforestation on climate. Studies in Third World Societies, 14. College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, MDGoogle Scholar
  13. Dover and Talbot (1987) To Feed the Earth. World Resource Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  14. Edwards PJ and Grubb PJ (1977) Studies of mineral cycling in a montane rain forest in New Guinea. I: The distribution of organic matter in the vegetation and soil. Journal of Ecology 65: 943–969Google Scholar
  15. FAO/UNESCO (1976) Soil Map of the World. FAO/UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  16. Fernandes ECM, Oktingati A and Maghembe J (1984) The Chagga homegardens: a multistoried cropping system on Mt. Kilimanjaro (North Tanzania). Agroforestry Systems 2: 73–86Google Scholar
  17. Fernandes ECM and Nair PKR (1986) An evaluation of the structure and function of tropical homegardens. ICRAF working paper no 38. ICRAF, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  18. Golley FB, McGinnis JT, Clements RG, Child GI and Deuver MJ (1975) Mineral Cycling in a Tropical Moist Forest System. Univ of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, 248 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Hadikusumah H (1981) Relation between structure and function of homegardens and agricultural land ownership. Master thesis, Department of Biology, Padjadjaran University, Bandung (in Indonesian)Google Scholar
  20. Hozumi K, Yoda K, Kokawa S and Kira T (1969) Production ecology of tropical rain forest in southwestern Cambodia. I. Plant biomass. Nature and Life in SEE Asia 6: 1–51Google Scholar
  21. Jayebo EO and Moore AW (1964) Soil fertility and nutrient storage in different soil-vegetation systems in a tropical rain forest environment. Trop Agric (Trinidad) 41: 129–139Google Scholar
  22. Jordan CF (1985) Nutrient Cycling in Tropical Forest Ecosystems. Principles and Their Application in Management and Conservation. John Wiley & Sons, UK, 189 ppGoogle Scholar
  23. Kartawinata K (1979) An overview of the environmental consequences of tree removal from the forests in Indonesia. In: Boyce SG, ed, Biological and Sociological Bases for a Rational Use of Forest Resources for Energy and Organics, Asheville, NC, US Department of Agriculture, Forest ServiceGoogle Scholar
  24. Karyono (1979) Plant species diversity of homegardens in rural areas of Citarum watershed, W. Java. Paper, 5th Int Symp on Trop Ecology, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 6 ppGoogle Scholar
  25. Køppen W (1936) Das geographische System der Klimate. Handbuch der Klimatologie. Gebrüder Bornträger, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  26. Lal R (1989) Agroforestry systems and soil surface management of tropical alfisol: II: Water runoff, soil erosion and nutrient loss. Agroforestry Systems 8: 97–111Google Scholar
  27. Landon JR, ed (1984) Tropical Soil Manual, Booker Agricultural International Limited, Longman, Harlow, Essex, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  28. Lundgren B (1978) Soil conditions and nutrient cycling under natural and plantation forest in Tanzanian highlands. Report in forest ecology and forest soils. Dept of Forest Soils. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, 429 ppGoogle Scholar
  29. Mead R, Riley J, Dear K and Singh SP (1986) Stability comparison of intercropping and monocropping systems. Biometrics 42: 253–266Google Scholar
  30. Michelsen A and Rosendahl S (1990) The effect ofVA mycorrhizal fungi, phosphorus and drought stress on the growth ofAcacia nilotica andLeucaena leucocephala seedlings. Plant and Soil 124: 7–13Google Scholar
  31. Michon G, Bompard J, Hecketsweiler P and Ducatillion C (1983) Tropical forest architectural analysis as applied to agroforest in the humid tropics: the example of traditional village-agroforest in West Java. Agroforestry Systems 1: 117–129Google Scholar
  32. Mohr ECJ and Van Baren FA (1954) Tropical Soils — A Critical Review of Soil Genesis as Related to Rock, Climate and Vegetation, W. van Hoeve, The Hague and BandungGoogle Scholar
  33. National Research Council (1982) Ecological Aspects of Development in the Humid Tropics. National Academy Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  34. Nye PH and Greenland DJ (1960) The soil under shifting cultivation. Technical Communication no 51, Commonwealth Bureau of Soils. Harpenden, 156 ppGoogle Scholar
  35. Okafor JC and Fernandes ECM (1987) Compound farms of south eastern Nigeria. Agroforestry Systems 5: 153–168Google Scholar
  36. Oldeman LR (1975) An agroclimatic map of Java. Contributions Central Res Inst for Agric Bogor, no 17: 22Google Scholar
  37. Pinton F (1985) The tropical garden as a sustainable food system: a comparison of Indians and settlers in northern Colombia. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 7: 25–28Google Scholar
  38. Ratnawati T (1986) Basic estimate of biomass growing in various land-use systems in the Saguling area. Master thesis, University of Purwokerto (in Indonesian)Google Scholar
  39. Repetto R (1986) Soil loss and population pressure on Java. Ambio, 15: 14–18Google Scholar
  40. Richard PW (1952) Tropical Rain Forest. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  41. Rodin LA and Basilevich NI (1967) Production and Mineral Cycling in Terrestrial Vegetation. Oliver and Boyd, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  42. Rumawas F (1986) Reclamation of degraded acid tropical soils in Indonesia. In: Sanchez PA, Stoner ER and Pushparajah E, eds, Management of Acid Tropical Soils for Sustainable Agriculture, pp 205–215. Proceedings, IBSRAM workshop, Bangkok, 1985Google Scholar
  43. Salati E (1985) The climatology and hydrologi of Amazonia. In: Amazonia, pp 18–48. IUCNGoogle Scholar
  44. Soemarwoto O, Soemarwoto I, Karyono, Soekartadiredja EM and Ramlan A (1975) The Javanese homegarden as an integrated agro-ecosystem. In: Science for a Better Environment. Proceedings of int congress on the human environment, pp 193–197. Science Council of Japan, Kyoto, JapanGoogle Scholar
  45. Soemarwoto O (1987) Homegardens: a traditional system with a promising future. In: Steppler and Nair eds, Agroforestry: A Decade of Development, pp 157–170, ICRAF, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  46. Terra GJA (1953) The distribution of mixed gardening on Java. Landbouw (Indonesia) 25: 163–203Google Scholar
  47. Whitmore TC (1984) Tropical Rainforest of the Far East. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  48. Wiersum KF (1982) Tree gardening and taungya on Java: examples of agroforestry in the humid tropics. Agroforestry Systems 1: 53–70Google Scholar
  49. Wiersum KF (1984) Surface erosion under various tropical agroforestry systems. In: O'Loughlin CL and Pierce AJ, eds, Symp. on forest land use and slope stability pp 231–239. Environ and Policy Inst, East-West Center, Honolulu, HawaiiGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant EcologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark

Personalised recommendations