Perennial crop-based agroforestry systems in Northeast Brazil
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Land use systems in the Northeast Region of Brazil are dominated by large holdings and extensive cultivation of perennial crops such as cashew, coconut, carnauba wax palm, babaçu palm and so on. The common feature which links these crops is the silvopastoral system of livestock (chiefly cattle, sheep and donkeys) grazing under them. Agrosilvicultural systems involving cultivation of annual subsistence crops, and in some instances other perennials, in the stands of these perennial crops is also common. The paper presents the available information on the management, production, rate of growth, economic importance, etc. of these agroforestry systems involving cashew, coconut and carnauba palm.
These systems are of considerable merit in the environmental, agricultural and socio-economic conditions of Northeast Brazil. However, practically no research nor even systematic data collection has been done on these so that there is an almost total lack of information on them. In order to improve the systems, they should be studied in detail and research undertaken on various components (crops, trees and livestock) individually as well as the system as a whole.
Selection of suitable species of grass and other herbaceous crops, appropriate management techniques for both overstorey and understorey species in relation to the age of the overstorey species, optimal stocking rates of animals, etc. have to be determined so as to enable plantation owners and operators to realize the full potential of these systems.
Key wordsagroforestry carnauba cashew coconut Northeast Brazil silvopastoral systems
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