Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 127–135 | Cite as

Essential oil production increases value of Psiadia altissima fallows in Madagascar’s eastern forests

  • Pascal Danthu
  • Miarantsoa Rakotobe
  • Pascale Mauclère
  • Hanitra Andrianoelisoa
  • Olivier Behra
  • Voninavoko Rahajanirina
  • Barbara Mathevon
  • Eliane Ralembofetra
  • Philippe Collas de Chatelperron


Fallow with Psiadia altissima is one of the most common post-‘slash and burn’ vegetation successions described in the evergreen forests of eastern Madagascar. Some fallows consist of almost pure stands of this species, of which the leaves produce an essential oil offering international commercial interest. The present research aims to evaluate the production potential of essential oil derived from different fallows rich in P. altissima. The study has revealed that fallows aged 4 and 6 years since the last crop abandonment produce the most essential oil (around 20 l ha−1), but relative to fallow duration, the youngest fallows (1- or 2-year-old) are the most productive, respectively producing 12 and 6 l ha−1 year−1. Additionally, the trees from the youngest fallows have a substantial capacity for regeneration from coppice shoots, on condition that the cut is performed well above the root collar. Although farmers earn five times less from harvesting leaves than from cultivating rice from tavy, the possibility is there for them to complement their income and diversify their production. The overall results show that sustainable exploitation of fallows of P. altissima is a conceivable option. However, this can only be achieved through an integrated approach that takes into account the environmental and social constraints associated with the development of this new activity.


Psiadia altissima Post-tavy fallows Essential oil Household incomes Madagascar 



This study was conducted by the Unité de Recherche en Partenariat “Forêts et Biodiversité”, a collaboration between the University of Antananarivo, the Fofifa, the Cirad and the NGO “L’Homme et l’Environnement”. It was supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Projet FSP “Forum de la Recherche à Madagascar”/Forma) and by European Union (INCO/Foreaim Project). The authors would like to express their appreciation to the inhabitants of Vohimana for their help and hospitality.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pascal Danthu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miarantsoa Rakotobe
    • 3
  • Pascale Mauclère
    • 4
  • Hanitra Andrianoelisoa
    • 5
  • Olivier Behra
    • 6
  • Voninavoko Rahajanirina
    • 1
  • Barbara Mathevon
    • 6
  • Eliane Ralembofetra
    • 3
  • Philippe Collas de Chatelperron
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Cirad, Unité de Recherche en Partenariat (URP) Forêts et BiodiversitéAntananarivoMadagascar
  2. 2.CiradMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Faculté des Sciences and Unité de Recherche en Partenariat (URP) Forêts et Biodiversité, Université d’AntananarivoAntananarivoMadagascar
  4. 4.Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture de BeauvaisBeauvaisFrance
  5. 5.Département des Recherches forestières et piscicoles (Fofifa/Cenraderu/DRFP) and Unité de Recherche en Partenariat (URP) Forêts et Biodiversité, Centre National de Recherches appliquées au Développement ruralAntananarivoMadagascar
  6. 6.NGO L’Homme et l’EnvironnementAntananarivoMadagascar

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