Testing the shade tolerance of selected crops under Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) Benth. in an agroforestry parkland in Burkina Faso, West Africa

Abstract

In Western Africa, interactions between trees and agricultural crops are a key element in determining parkland management in an agricultural environment that is rapidly changing. Eggplant (Solanum melongena), chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum), taro (Colocasia esculenta) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum) were tested for their shade tolerance under Parkia biglobosa trees in south-central Burkina Faso using a split-plot design. Soil characteristics, chlorophyll fluorescence and crop growth and yield were measured to quantify the effect of P. biglobosa on the crops and their environment. The experiment ran during 2 years. P. biglobosa suppressed the vegetative growth and yield of pearl millet in both years. Eggplant and chilli pepper were severely injured by the rains and produced fruits only during the first year. Eggplant yields were suppressed by trees to between one third and one tenth of the yield in the control plots. However, chilli pepper yields increased by up to 150% when grown under the tree canopy compared to the control. In both years, the vegetative growth and yield of taro was higher when grown in the shade than outside the tree canopy.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the European Community’s sixth framework program through the “Sahelian Fruit Trees” project (contract no. INCO-DEV 015465). We wish to thank the farmers of Nobéré for their permission and participation in the field study. We also wish to thank Yonli Hermann and Guibré K. Roger for field assistance. We are grateful for our anonymous reviewers’ helpful criticism and suggestions to an early version of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Mariève Pouliot.

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Pouliot, M., Bayala, J. & Ræbild, A. Testing the shade tolerance of selected crops under Parkia biglobosa (Jacq.) Benth. in an agroforestry parkland in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Agroforest Syst 85, 477–488 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10457-011-9411-6

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Keywords

  • Capsicum annuum
  • Colocasia esculenta
  • Solanum melongena
  • Tree-crop-interactions
  • Tree-crop-soil interactions