Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 489–508 | Cite as

Beyond the project cycle: a medium-term evaluation of agroforestry adoption and diffusion in a south Indian village

  • James D. Brockington
  • Ian M. Harris
  • Robert M. Brook


Few studies explicitly assess the temporal and spatial dynamics of agroforestry adoption occurring beyond the project cycle. Where ex-post evaluations are published, abandonment of introduced agroforestry after project cessation is often reported. This paper presents an analysis of agroforestry adoption in a poor, peri-urban village in semi-arid south India, where 97 % of initial adopters had retained their plots six to eight years after implementation. The intervention was facilitated by BAIF, an Indian non-governmental organisation specialising in natural resource management. The complex technological package promoted was known as ‘wadi’ and comprised fruit trees planted in crop fields, with a boundary of multi-purpose trees and integrated soil and water conservation measures. Sixty four agroforestry plots belonging to 43 households were surveyed in 2010/11 and interviews were held with both adopting and non-adopting farmers. Beyond retention, a quarter of adopters had expanded the practice on to additional areas of land and some diffusion to initially non-adopting farmers had also occurred. Adopters were found to have modified the practice to suit their own objectives, capabilities and constraints, highlighting that adoption is more than a simple binary choice. The study demonstrates the importance of external support for adoption of agroforestry. The intervention was not, however, especially pro-poor with adoption occurring disproportionately among relatively wealthier households with larger landholdings. Where poorer households adopted, this tended to occur later. Participation was entirely voluntary and, by 2011, conversion of suitable farmland to agroforestry had reached 18 %; while beneficial to individual adopters, this patchy coverage arguably limits the potential for enhanced ecosystem service provision at landscape-scale.


Adaptation Adoption dynamics BAIF wadi Diffusion Ex-post evaluation Fruit-based agroforestry 



BAIF Development Research Foundation


Department for International Development (UK)


Global positioning system


Keyhole markup language


Multi-purpose tree


National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (India)


Non-governmental organisation


Natural resource management


Natural Resources Systems Programme


Peri-urban interface


Soil and water conservation


Tribal Development Fund



The authors acknowledge funding from the UK Department of International Development (DFID), Natural Resources Systems Programme, project R8084. The views presented here, however, do not necessarily reflect those of DFID. Thanks go to the Tropical Agricultural Association (TAA) whose financial support allowed the first author to conduct two months of fieldwork in the summer of 2010 and to BAIF for their willingness to host the research and facilitate logistical arrangements. The authors are also grateful to Dr Sangeetha Purushothaman for her valuable inputs, to Meera Halkatti, R.B. Hiremath and Y.N. Somangouda for their help in data collection, and to the anonymous reviewers for their perceptive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGY)Bangor UniversityBangorUK

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