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Perceptions of Trees Outside Forests in Cattle Pastures: Land Sharing Within the Central Volcanic Talamanca Biological Corridor, Costa Rica

Abstract

Trees outside forests can play an important role in production and conservation and increase connectivity within agricultural landscapes. However, farmers’ perceptions of the trees and the values they place on them will determine the extent to which they will do so in the future. In a case study in Costa Rica, northwest of the Central Volcanic Talamanca Biological Corridor, we conducted 42 semi-structured interviews with farmers and other key informants. Results show that farmers maintain trees on their land and attribute to them diverse values (technical, economic, ecological, social, cultural, aesthetic, and heritage). Farmers reported limitations to the maintenance of trees (lack of financial capital, labour, land area, technical assistance, and adapted species). In addition to potentially unsustainable Payments for Environmental Services, there is scope for more collaborative approaches to conserving the trees built on existing farmer practices.

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Notes

  1. Successful propagation by cuttings has also been identified as a reason why smallholder famers preferred certain tree species in live fences in Costa Rica and other Central American countries (Budowski and Russo 1993). This practice exists also in Ethiopia (Ango et al. 2014) and in the Comoros Islands (Sibelet 1995).

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Acknowledgements

We deeply thank the farmers, the residents from the Santa Cruz area and the other actors providing agricultural and conservation services for always cordially hosting us.

Equally, we thank Mildred Jiménez (CATIE) for her help in the CVBTC. We are grateful to Casi Avard for her help with the bibliographic research and the editing of the text.

We thank both anonymous reviewers for their relevant comments. These comments helped us to improve our manuscript.

The research was funded by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology and realized in collaboration with the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Centre (CATIE), the International Agriculture Research Centre for Development (CIRAD), and the Agroforestry Systems with Perennial Crops Scientific Partnership Platform (PCP); we thank them.

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Correspondence to Nicole Sibelet.

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Lucile Chamayou has received a research grant from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.

Otherwise, the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Sibelet, N., Chamayou, L., Newing, H. et al. Perceptions of Trees Outside Forests in Cattle Pastures: Land Sharing Within the Central Volcanic Talamanca Biological Corridor, Costa Rica. Hum Ecol 45, 499–511 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-017-9924-3

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Keywords

  • Trees outside forests
  • Dairy farming
  • Farmers’ perceptions
  • Agricultural landscape connectivity
  • Payments for Environmental Services
  • Central Volcanic Talamanca Biological Corridor
  • Costa Rica