Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 85, Issue 1, pp 75–83 | Cite as

Responses of terrestrial herb assemblages to weeding and fertilization in cacao agroforests in Indonesia

  • Daniele Cicuzza
  • Yann Clough
  • Sri Sudarmiyati Tjitrosoedirdjo
  • Michael Kessler


Terrestrial herbs are important ecological components in tropical agroforests, but little is known about how they are affected by agricultural management. In cacao agroforests of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, we studied the change in herb species richness, cover, and biomass over 3 years in 86 subplots subjected to high and low weeding frequency as well as fertilized and non-fertilized treatments. We recorded 111 species with rapid changes in species composition between the 3 years. Species richness increased sharply in the 2nd year, presumably as a result of changes in the management with the experimental regimes, and decreased in the 3rd, probably due to competitive exclusion. Species richness, cover, and biomass were all significantly higher in the infrequently weeded plots than in the frequently weeded ones, but there were only slight responses to the fertilization treatment. An indicator species analysis recovered 45 species that were typical for a given year and a further eight that were typical for certain treatments, but these species showed no clear patterns relative to their ecology or biogeography. We conclude that the herb assemblages in cacao agroforests are quite resilient against weeding, but that the cover of species shifts rapidly in response to management.


Weed management Cacao Agroforests Sulawesi 



This study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), grant SFB-552 STORMA (Stability of Rainforest Margins) Herb species identification was conducted partly at the Herbarium of Leiden supported by Synthesys NL-TAF 3536. We thank Stefan Köhler, head of the laboratory at Tadulako University, Adam Malik, Wolfram Lorenz, Surya Tarigan, Muhammad Sigit, and all plantation owners for their help.

Supplementary material

10457_2011_9456_MOESM1_ESM.doc (237 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 237 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Cicuzza
    • 1
  • Yann Clough
    • 2
  • Sri Sudarmiyati Tjitrosoedirdjo
    • 3
  • Michael Kessler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Systematic BotanyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.AgroecologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  3. 3.Department of BiologyBogor Agricultural UniversityBogorIndonesia

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