Environmental Management

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 351–364 | Cite as

Impacts of Public Policies and Farmer Preferences on Agroforestry Practices in Kerala, India

  • S. GuillermeEmail author
  • B. M. Kumar
  • A. Menon
  • C. Hinnewinkel
  • E. Maire
  • A. V. Santhoshkumar


Agroforestry systems are fundamental features of the rural landscape of the Indian state of Kerala. Yet these mixed species systems are increasingly being replaced by monocultures. This paper explores how public policies on land tenure, agriculture, forestry and tree growing on private lands have interacted with farmer preferences in shaping land use dynamics and agroforestry practices. It argues that not only is there no specific policy for agroforestry in Kerala, but also that the existing sectoral policies of land tenure, agriculture, and forestry contributed to promoting plantation crops, even among marginal farmers. Forest policies, which impose restrictions on timber extraction from farmers’ fields under the garb of protecting natural forests, have often acted as a disincentive to maintaining tree-based mixed production systems on farmlands. The paper argues that public policies interact with farmers’ preferences in determining land use practices.


Agrobiodiversity Farmers’ perception Farming practices Trees outside forest Landscape dynamics 



This work was carried out with the financial support of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche under the « Programme Agriculture et Développement Durable » , project ANR-06-PADD-014, POPULAR, the Indo-French Cultural Exchange Program of FMSH—Paris, and the International Cooperation Projects of CNRS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Guillerme
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • B. M. Kumar
    • 1
    • 2
  • A. Menon
    • 3
  • C. Hinnewinkel
    • 4
    • 5
  • E. Maire
    • 1
    • 5
  • A. V. Santhoshkumar
    • 2
  1. 1.UMR 5602—CNRS, GEODE (Geography of the Environment)Université Toulouse IIToulouse cedex 9France
  2. 2.College of ForestryKerala Agricultural UniversityThrissurIndia
  3. 3.Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS)ChennaiIndia
  4. 4.Université de Lille 1, Laboratoire TVESVilleneuve d’AscqFrance
  5. 5.French Institute of PondicherryPuducherryIndia

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