Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 72, Issue 2, pp 103–115 | Cite as

Above- and belowground biomass, nutrient and carbon stocks contrasting an open-grown and a shaded coffee plantation

  • E. L. Dossa
  • E. C. M. Fernandes
  • W. S. ReidEmail author
  • K. Ezui


Coffee (Coffea canephora var robusta) is grown in Southwestern Togo under shade of native Albizia adianthifolia as a low input cropping system. However, there is no information on carbon and nutrient cycling in these shaded coffee systems. Hence, a study was conducted in a mature coffee plantation in Southwestern Togo to determine carbon and nutrient stocks in shaded versus open-grown coffee systems. Biomass of Albizia trees was predicted by allometry, whereas biomass of coffee bushes was estimated through destructive sampling. Above- and belowground biomass estimates were respectively, 140 Mg ha−1 and 32 Mg ha−1 in the coffee–Albizia association, and 29.7 Mg ha−1 and 18.7 Mg ha−1 in the open-grown system. Albizia trees contributed 87% of total aboveground biomass and 55% of total root biomass in the shaded coffee system. Individual coffee bushes consistently had higher biomass in the open-grown than in the shaded coffee system. Total C stock was 81 Mg ha−1 in the shaded coffee system and only 22.9 Mg ha−1 for coffee grown in the open. Apart from P and Mg, considerable amounts of major nutrients were stored in the shade tree biomass in non-easily recyclable fractions. Plant tissues in the shaded coffee system had higher N concentration, suggesting possible N fixation. Given the potential for competition between the shade trees and coffee for nutrients, particularly in low soil fertility conditions, it is suggested that the shade trees be periodically pruned in order to increase organic matter addition and nutrient return to the soil.


Albizia adianthifolia Carbon sequestration Coffea canephora Nutrient cycling Togo 



This study was supported mainly by grants from the Cornell Agroforestry Working Group (CAWG) and the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD). Additional financial support was obtained from the First Presbyterian Church and the Mario Enaudi travel grant. The institutional collaboration of CRAF (Centre de Recherche Agronomique de la Zone Forestière) in Togo is acknowledged. The authors are grateful to Mr. Komlan Amegbleame for his dedicated assistance in completion of fieldwork; and wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. L. Dossa
    • 1
    • 3
  • E. C. M. Fernandes
    • 1
    • 4
  • W. S. Reid
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. Ezui
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.ESAUniversité du BéninLomeTogo
  3. 3.Department of Soil and Crop ScienceOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  4. 4.ESSD-ARDThe World BankWashingtonUSA

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