Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 57–66 | Cite as

Effects of alley cropped Calliandra calothyrsus and Cliricidia sipium hedges on weed growth, soil properties, and taro yields in Western Samoa

  • R. C. Rosecrance
  • S. Rogers
  • M. Tofinga


Field experiments were conducted on a tropical Inceptisol at Apia, Western Samoa to evaluate the effects of alley cropping on soil characteristics, weed populations, and taro yield. Taro yields were compared from Calliandra calothyrsus and Gliricidia sipium alleys, spaced at 4 m, 5 m, and 6 m, and a no tree control. Measurements were made for soil moisture and temperature, weed growth, hedge biomass production, and taro growth and yield. Data was analyzed over 4 consecutive years from 1988 to 1991.

Hedge biomass yields ranged from 5.1 to 16.1 t/ha/yr dry weight over the 4 years of the trial, with Calliandra and Gliricidia performing equally well. Biomass yields decreased by about 2 mt/ha with increasing alley width from 4 to 6 m alleys. Weed populations were significantly lower in the 4 m alleys compared to the 5 m, 6 m, and control plots. The 6 m alleys supported the significantly highest weed populations. Soil from alley plots held significantly more water in the 0.3 to 1 bar range than soils from the controls. Four years of mulch application measurably improved soil water holding capacity and bulk density. However, no improvement was seen in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and organic carbon content in the alley plots compared to the controls. There was no positive yield effect of alley cropping on taro yield. Yields in the 5 m and 6 m alleys were not significantly different from the control, while the 4 m alleys produce significantly lower yields than the control. Thus, alley cropping did not prove a viable alternative to traditional shifting cultivation after 4 years of continuous cropping, in this trial.

Key words

alley cropping taro Calocasia esculenta nitrogen fixing trees Calliandra calothyrsus Gliricidia sepium mulching shifting cultivation soil fertility 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. Rosecrance
    • 1
  • S. Rogers
    • 1
  • M. Tofinga
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop ScienceUniversity of the South Pacific Alafua CampusApiaWestern Samoa

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