Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 23, Issue 2–3, pp 195–205 | Cite as

Tree domestication for agroforestry: present status and future directions

  • D. C. L. Kass
Article

Abstract

Seven different activities constitute tree domestication: (1) manipulation of tree populations by silvicultural practices; (2) enhancement of site productivity; (3) control of destructive agents; (4) evolution of trees under natural selection; (5) semi-natural selection for survival in the socio-agricultural circumstances in which trees are grown; (6) conscious human selection for desired characteristics; and (7) correlated response to selection (which usually involves reduction of those plant parts that are not desired). Each of these activities is discussed, and its contribution to the present makeup of tree populations used for agroforestry is considered.

Although tree domestication has been practiced by farmers for many centuries, selection and breeding programs for multipurpose agroforestry trees have existed for only the past thirty years. Some of the problems faced by existing tree improvement programs are discussed; these include: multiplicity of usable species, great demand for multipurpose trees (MPTs), existence of improvement programs with few species, difficulty of combining desired traits in a multipurpose ideotype, high cost and slow progress with present methods, and the fate of improved material introduced on farms. Among the solutions considered is more involvement of farmers in the process of selection, testing, and propagation of MPTs. The possible use of species mixtures also holds promise.

Key words

domestication ideotypes multipurpose trees natural selection tree improvement 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. C. L. Kass
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in Sustainable Agricultural Production and DevelopmentCentro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE)TurrialbaCosta Rica

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