Community Participation in Agroforestry Development: Lessons Learned from a Collaborative Research Project

  • Tapan Kumar NathEmail author
  • Mohammed Jashimuddin
  • Makoto Inoue
Part of the World Forests book series (WFSE, volume 22)


Community participation is now considered as an important element of any development programs. For development, adoption, and promotion of any agricultural technology, effective community participation is essential. In this chapter, we discuss the process and level of community participation in agroforestry development , state of agroforestry, and participant’s opinion on sustainability of agroforestry. We also discuss the challenges and opportunities of agroforestry development. By using several tools of participatory rural appraisal , relevant field data were collected from a collaborative agroforestry research project being implemented in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs), Bangladesh, by scholars of University of Chittagong . In order to ensure spontaneous local participation , project authority has first attempted to create trust in participants through continuous interactions, repeated explanation of project support and benefits, and holding several meetings in the presence of all villagers, local NGO and agricultural officers, school teachers, and village leaders. Villagers selected 31 project participants from three villages considering their willingness to join, allocating one acre of shifting cultivation land, and cooperating with project authority. Considering participant’s preference and experts’ opinion, crop combination was selected and an agri-horti-silvicultural type of agroforestry system was developed. Even though participants used to grow agricultural crops along hill slope every alternate year, now they cultivate every year across the hill slope. A benefit–cost ratio for agricultural crops was estimated at 3:1. Planted seedlings are growing well, and average survival rate is more than 70 %. More than 80 % participants are interested to continue agroforestry even after project funding ends, and 54 % of them desire to expand agroforestry in other areas. Even though they have been rigorously motivated, some participants did not work according to project authority’s recommendations. For future development and promotion of agroforestry by involving ethnic communities in CHT, it is suggested to work closely in small areas in collaboration with local partners.


Biomass Income Cassava Smit 1835 Family 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abizaid C, Coomes OT (2004) Land use and forest fallowing dynamics in seasonally dry tropical forests of the southern Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Land Use Policy 21:71–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anon (2012) Participation at project, program and policy level. Accessed 12 Dec 2012
  3. Bell S, Morse S, Shah RA (2012) Understanding stakeholder participation in research as part of sustainable development. J Environ Manag 101:13–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Besley T, Case A (1993) Modeling technology adoption in developing countries. Am Econ Rev 83:396–402Google Scholar
  5. Bhatt BP, Singh R, Mishra LK, Tomar JMS, Singh M, Chauhan DS, Dhyani SK, Singh KA, Dhiman KR, Datta M (2001) In: Verma ND, Bhatt BP (eds) Agroforestry practices and research: an overview. In Steps towards modernization of agriculture in NEH region, ICAR Research Complex for NEH region, Umiam, Meghalaya, India, pp 365–392Google Scholar
  6. Bhatt BP, Singha LB, Satapathy KK, Sharma YP, Bujarbaruah KM (2010) Rehabilitation of shifting cultivation areas through agroforestry: a case study in Eastern Himalaya, India. J Trop For Sci 22:13–20Google Scholar
  7. Blay D, Appiah M, Damnyag L, Dwomoh FK, Luukkanen O, Pappinen A (2008) Involving local farmers in rehabilitation of degraded tropical forests: some lessons from Ghana. Environ Dev Sustain 10:503–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bucagu C, Vanlauwe B, Van Wijk MT, Giller KE (2013) Assessing farmers’ interest in agroforestry in two contrasting agro-ecological zones of Rwanda. Agrofor Syst 87:141–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cairns M, Garrity DP (1999) Improving shifting cultivation in Southeast Asia by building on indigenous fallow management strategies. Agrofor Syst 47:37–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Castella J-C, Lestrelin G, Hett C, Bourgoin J, Fitriana YR, Heinimann A, Pfund J-L (2013) Effects of landscape segregation on livelihood vulnerability: moving from extensive shifting cultivation to rotational agriculture and natural forests in Northern Laos. Hum Ecol 41(1):63–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chakma SS, Kazuo A (2008) Jhum cultivation in Khagrachari hill district of Bangladesh- a subsistence farming practices in ethnic minorities. J Agrofor Environ 2(2):1–8Google Scholar
  12. Dressler W, Wilson D, Clendenning J, Cramb R, Mahanty S, Lasco R, Keenan R, To P, Gevana D (2015) Examining how long fallow swidden systems impact upon livelihood and ecosystem services outcomes compared with alternative land-uses in the uplands of Southeast Asia. J Dev Effectiveness. doi: 10.1080/19439342.2014.991799 Google Scholar
  13. Emch M (2003) The human ecology of Mayan cacao farming in Belize. Hum Ecol 31(1):111–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. FAO (2011) Save and grow: a policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  15. Fischer A, Vasseur L (2002) Smallholder perceptions of agroforestry projects in Panama. Agrofor Syst 54:103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Foresight (2011) The future of global food and farming. Final project report. Government office for science, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Fox J, Castella J-C, Ziegler AD (2014) Swidden, rubber and carbon: Can REDD+ work for people and the environment in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia? Global Environ Change 29:318–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franzel S, Coe R, Cooper P, Place F, Scherr SJ (2001) Assessing the adoption potential of agroforestry practices in sub-Saharan Africa. Agric Syst 69:37–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Franzel S, Denning GL, Lilleso JPB, Mercado Jr AR (2004) Scaling up the impact of agroforestry: lessons from three sites in Africa and Asia. Agrofor Syst 61:329–344Google Scholar
  20. Garnett T, Godfray CH (2013) Sustainable intensification in agriculture: navigating a course through competing food system priorities. Food climate research network and the Oxford Martin programme on the future of food, University of Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  21. Garrett HE (2009) North American agroforestry: an integrated science and practice, 2nd edn. American Society of Agronomy, Madison 379 pGoogle Scholar
  22. Garrity DP (1999a) Contour farming based on natural vegetative strips: expanding the scope for increased food crop production on sloping lands in Asia. Environ Dev Sustain 1:323–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Garrity DP (1999b). Investing in a future for Asia’s upland poor: What we must do? Technical and institutional options. In: Proceedings of IFAD symposium on the Asian crisis and the rural poor. United Nations University, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  24. Gockowski J, Tchatat M, Dondjang JP, Hietet G, Fouda T (2010) An empirical analysis of the biodiversity and economic returns to cocoa agroforests in Southern Cameroon. J Sustain For 28:638–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gold AM, Jose S (2012) An interdisciplinary online certificate and masters programin agroforestry. Agrofor Syst 86:379–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gupta AK (2000) Shifting cultivation and conservation of biological diversity in Tripura, Northeast India. Hum Ecol 28(4):605–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Haggar J, Ayala A, Dazand B, Uc Reyes C (2001) Participatory design of agroforestry systems: developing farmer participatory research methods in Mexico. Dev Pract 11:417–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hauser D (2002) Community participation partnering with youth. A rights, respect, responsibility paradigm. Transitions 14(3). Accessed 10 Dec 2012
  29. Jakobsen S, Rasmussen K, Leisz S, Folving R, Quand NV (2007) The effects of land tenure policy on rural livelihoods and food sufficiency in the upland village of Que, North Central Vietnam. Agric Syst 94:309–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jerneck A, Olsson L (2013) More than trees! Understanding the agroforestry adoption gap in subsistence agriculture: insights from narrative walks in Kenya. J Rural Stud 32:114–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jones-Walters L, Cil A (2011) Biodiversity and stakeholder participation. J Nat Conserv 19:327–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jose S (2009) Agroforestry for ecosystem services and environmental benefits: an overview. Agrofor Syst 76:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Khisa SK (2002) Farming practices and sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. In: Khan NA, Alam MK, Khisa SK, Millat-e-Mustafa M (eds) Farming practices and sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. CHTDB and VEFP-IC, Bangladesh, pp 49–61Google Scholar
  34. Kirby KR, Potvin C (2007) Variation in carbon storage among tree species: implications for the management of a small-scale carbon sink project. For Ecol Manag 246:208–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kusters K, Perez MR, de Foresta H, Dietz T, Ros-Tonen M, Belcher B, Manalu P, Nawir A, Wollenberg E (2008) Will agroforests vanish? The case of Damar agroforest in Indonesia. Hum Ecol 36:357–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Levasseur V, Olivier A (2000) The farming system and traditional agroforestry systems in the Maya community of San Jose, Belize. Agrofor Syst 49:275–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Li P, Feng Z, Jiang L, Liao C, Zhang J (2014) A review of swidden agriculture in Southeast Asia. Remote Sens 6:1654–1683CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Luyet V, Schlaepfer R, Parlange MB, Buttler A (2012) A framework to implement stakeholder participation in environmental projects. J Env Manag 111:213–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Matata PZ, Masolwa LW, Ruvuga S, Bagarama FM (2013) Dissemination pathways for scaling-up agroforestry technologies in western Tanzania. J Agric Ext Rural Dev 5(2):31–36Google Scholar
  40. McNeely JA (2004) Nature vs. nurture: managing relationships between forests, agroforestry and wild biodiversity. Agrofor Syst 61:155–165Google Scholar
  41. Meghan M, Mickie ES, Alavalapati J (2008) Agroforestry adoption and maintenance: self-efficacy, attitudes and socio-economic factors. Agrofor Syst 73:99–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mertz O, Wadley RL, Nielsen U, Bruun TB, Colfer CJP, de Neergaard A, Jepsen MR, Martinussen T, Zhao Q, Noweg GT, Magid J (2008) A fresh look at shifting cultivation: fallow length an uncertain indicators of productivity. Agric Syst 96:75–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Millard E (2011) Incorporating agroforestry approaches into commodity value chains. Sustainable landscapes, rainforest alliance, London, UK. Environ Manag 48:365–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Millat-e-Mustafa M, Siddiqui MA, Khan NA, Newaz MS (2002) An empirical study on the jhum farming system in the CHT. In: Khan NA, Alam MK, Khisa SK, Millat-e-Mustafa M (eds) Farming practices and sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. CHTDB and VFFP-IC, Bangladesh, pp 65–79Google Scholar
  45. Mosquera-Losada MR, McAdam JH, Romero-Franco R, Santiago-Freijanes JJ, RigueiroRodrı´guez A (2009) Definitions and components of agroforestry practices in Europe. In: Rigueiro-Rodrı´guez A, McAdam J, Mosquera- Losado M (eds) Agroforestry in Europe: current status and future prospects. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 3–20Google Scholar
  46. Nair PKR (2007) The coming age of agroforestry. J Sci Food Agri 87:1613–1619Google Scholar
  47. Nair VD, Graetz DA (2004) Agroforestry as an approach to minimizing nutrient loss from heavilyfertilized soils: the Florida experience. Agrofor Syst 61:269–279Google Scholar
  48. Nair PKR, Buresh RJ, Mugendi DN, Latt CR (1999) Nutrient cycling in tropical agroforestry systems: myths and science. In: Buck LE, Lassoie JP, Fernandes ECM (eds) Agroforestry in sustainable agricultural systems. CRC Press, Florida, pp 1–31Google Scholar
  49. Nair PKR, Kumar BM, Nair VD (2009) Agroforestry as a strategy for carbon sequestration. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 172:10–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nath TK, Inoue M, Chakma S (2005a) Shifting cultivation (jhum) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: examining its sustainability, rural livelihood and policy implications. Int J Agric Sustain 3:130–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Nath TK, Inoue M, Myant H (2005b) Small-scale agroforestry for upland community development: a case study from Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. J For Res 10:443–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nerlich K, Graeff-Ho¨nninger S, Claupein W (2012) Agroforestry in Europe: a review of the disappearance of traditional systems and development of modern agroforestry practices, with emphasis on experiences in Germany. Agrofor Syst 87:475–492Google Scholar
  53. Nerlich K, Graeff-Ho¨nninger S, Claupein W (2013) Agroforestry in Europe: a review of the disappearance of traditional systems and development of modern agroforestry practices, with emphasis on experiences in Germany. Agrofor Syst 87: 475–492Google Scholar
  54. Neupane RP, Sharma KR, Thapa GB (2002) Adoption of agroforestry in the hills of Nepal: a logistic regression analysis. Agric Syst 72:177–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Noordin Q, Niang A, Jama B, Nyasimi M (2001) Scaling up adoption and impact of agroforestry technologies: experiences from western Kenya. Dev Pract 11(4):509–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Palm CA, Swift MJ, Woormer P (1996) Soil biological dynamics in slash-and-burn agriculture. Agric Ecosyst Environ 58:61–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Patel T, Karmakar S, Sanjog J, Kumar S, Chowdhury A (2013) Socio-economic and environmental changes with transition from shifting to settled cultivation in north-eastern india: an ergonomics perspective. Int J Agric Sci Res 3(2):117–136Google Scholar
  58. Pomeroy R, Douvere F (2008) The engagement of stakeholders in the marine spatial planning process. Mar Policy 32:816–822CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Prager K, Freese J (2009) Stakeholder involvement in agri-environmental policy making – Learning from a local- and a state-level approach in Germany. J Environ Manag 90:1154–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pretty J, Bharucha ZP 920140 Sustainable intensification in agricultural systems. Ann Bot. 1–26. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcu205
  61. Pretty J, Toulmin C, Williams S (2011) Sustainable intensification in African agriculture. Int J Agric Sustain 9:5–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rahman SA, Imam MH, Snelder DJ, Sunderland T (2012a) Agroforestry for livelihood security in agrarian landscapes of the Padma floodplain in Bangladesh. Small-Scale For 11:529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rahman SA, Rahman MF, Sunderland T (2012b) Causes and consequences of shifting cultivation and its alternative in the hill tracts of eastern Bangladesh. Agrofor Syst 84(2):141–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rasul G, Thapa GB (2003) Shifting cultivation in the mountains of South and Southeast Asia: regional patterns and factors influencing the change. Land Degrad Dev 14(5):495–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rasul G, Thapa GB, Zoebisch MA (2004) Determinants of land-use changes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Appl Geogr 24(3):217–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Reed MS, Graves A, Dandy A, Posthumus H, Hubacek K, Morris J, Prell C, Quinn CH, Stringer LC (2009) Who’s in and why? A typology of stakeholder analysis methods for natural resource management. J Environ Manag 90:1933–1949CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Roy RD (2002) Sustainable and equitable resource management in the CHT. In: Khan NA, Alam MK, Khisa SK, Millat-e-Mustafa M (eds) Farming practices and sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. CHTDB and VFFP-IC, Bangladesh, pp 135–154Google Scholar
  68. Royal Society (2009) Reaping the benefits: science and the sustainable intensification of global agriculture. The Royal Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  69. RWI (Roots and Wings International) (2012) Community participation for development. Accessed 10 Dec 2012
  70. Schroth G, da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Gaston C, Vasconcelos HL, Izac A-MN (2004) Agroforestry and biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  71. Smit B, Smithers J (1992) Adoption of soil conservation practices: an empirical analysis in Ontario, Canada. Land Degrad Rehabil 3:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Smith P (2013) Delivering food security without increasing pressure on land. Global Food Secur 2:18–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sultana P, Abeyasekerab S (2008) Effectiveness of participatory planning for community management of fisheries in Bangladesh. J Environ Manag 86:201–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sultana P, Thompson P (2008) Gender and local floodplain management institutions: a case study from Bangladesh. J Int Dev 20:53–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Swapan CS, Kazuo A, Rahman MR (2010) A comparative study of Jhum land crop productivity and farmers coping strategies in Jhum Chash system at Khagrachari hill district of Bangladesh. J Agrofor Environ 4(1):7–11Google Scholar
  76. Thangata PH, Alavalapati JRR (2003) Agroforestry adoption in Southern Malawi: the case of mixed intercropping of Gliricidiasepium and maize. Agric Syst 78:57–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Toledo VM, Ortiz-Espejel B, Cortes L, Moguel P, Ordonez MDJ (2003) The multiple use of tropical forests by indigenous peoples in Mexico: a case of adaptive management. Conserv Ecol 7(3):9.
  78. USDA (2011) Enriching our lives with trees that work. USDA agroforestry strategic framework, Fiscal year 2011–2016. 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. Accessed 10 Nov 2012
  79. van Vliet N, Mertz O, Heininimann A, Langanke T, Pascual U, Schmook B, Adams C, Schmidt-Vogt D, Messerli P, Leisz S, Castella J-C, Jørgensen L, Birch-Thomsen T, Hett C, Bech-Bruun T, Ickowitz A, Vum KC, Yasuyuki K, Fox J, Padoch C, Dressler W, Ziegler AD (2012) Trends, drivers and impacts of changes in swidden cultivation in tropical forest-agriculture frontiers: a global assessment. Global Environ Change 22:418–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. van Vliet N, Mertz O, Birch-Thomsen T, Schmook B (2013) Is there a continuing rationale for swidden cultivation in the 21st century? Hum Ecol 41:1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Vergara NT, Nicomedes DB (eds) (1987) Agroforestry in the humid tropics: its protective and ameliorative roles to enhance productivity and sustainability. Honolulu, Environment and Policy Institute, East-West CentreGoogle Scholar
  82. Vongvisouk T, Mertz O, Thongmanivong S, Heinimann A, Phanvilay K (2014) Shifting cultivation stability and change: contrasting pathways of land use and livelihood change in Laos. Appl Geogr 46:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. WHO (World Health Organization) (2002) Community participation in local health and sustainable development. Approaches and techniques. European sustainable development and health series: 4Google Scholar
  84. Williams-Guillén K, Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2008) Bats limit insects in a tropical agroforestry system. Science 320:70Google Scholar
  85. Young A (1997) Agroforestry for soil conservation, 2nd edn. CAB International, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tapan Kumar Nath
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohammed Jashimuddin
    • 2
  • Makoto Inoue
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BiosciencesUniversity of Nottingham Malaysia CampusSemenyihMalaysia
  2. 2.Institute of Forestry and Environmental SciencesUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh
  3. 3.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoBunkyo-kuJapan

Personalised recommendations