Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscapes

  • Alain Atangana
  • Damase Khasa
  • Scott Chang
  • Ann Degrande


Agroforestry systems contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity in tropical landscapes. In the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania, conservational functional group richness was significantly higher in an agrosilvopastoral system than that of an agrisilvicultural or aquasilvicultural system or monoculture plantation. A compilation of nine studies undertaken in Africa, Latin America and Asia indicated that animal diversity is highest in cocoa agroforests that have high plant diversity, structurally complex canopies, and abundant surrounding forest cover. Three assumptions support expected agroforestry effects on biodiversity conservation. First, it is assumed that the adoption of agroforestry practices by farmers induces a reduction of the pressure of deforestation on additional land. Second, agroforestry systems provide new habitats and resources for local plant and animal species that are in part dependent on the forest for survival, and could not survive in a purely agricultural landscape. Third, the value of the conservation of remnants of natural vegetation is greater if the remains are embedded in a landscape dominated by agroforestry elements. This only holds true if the surrounding matrix consists of crop fields or pastureland largely enriched with tree cover.


Agroforestry System Biodiversity Conservation Agroforestry Practice Cocoa Farm Cocoa Plantation 
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. Angelsen A, Kaimowitz D (2004) Is agroforestry likely to reduce deforestation? In: Schroth G, da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Vasconcelos HL, Gascon C, Izac AM (eds) Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscapes. Island Press, Washington DC, USA, pp 87–106Google Scholar
  2. Atangana AR, Beaulieu J, Khasa DP (2010) Wild genetic diversity preservation in a small-sized first-generation breeding population of Allanblackia floribunda (Clusiaceae). Tree Genet Genomes 6(1):127–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bennett AF, Radford JQ, Haslem A (2006) Properties of land mosaics: Implications for nature conservation in agricultural environments. Biol Conser 133(2):250–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhagwat SA, Willis KJ, Birks HJB, Whittaker RJ (2008) Agroforestry: a refuge for tropical diversity? Trends Ecol Evol 23(5):261–267PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Griffith DM (2000) Agroforestry: a refuge for tropical biodiversity after fire. Conserv Biol 14(1):325–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Huang W, Luukkanen O, Johanson S, Kaarakka V, Räisänen S, Vihemäki H (2002) Agroforestry for biodiversity conservation of nature reserves: functional group identification and analyses. Agrofor Syst 55:65–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Leakey RRB (1998) Agroforestry for biodiversity in farming systems. In: Collins WW, Qualset Co (eds) Biodiversity in agroecosystems. Advances in Agroecology, CRC Press, pp 127–145Google Scholar
  8. Peltier R, Bisiaux F, Dubiez E, Marien J-N, Muliele J-C, Proces P, et Vermeulen C (2010) De la culture itinérante sur brûlis aux jachères enrichies productrices de charbon de bois, en Rep. Dem. Congo. ISDA, Montpellier, FranceGoogle Scholar
  9. Perfecto I, Vandermeer J (2008) Biodiversity conservation in tropical agroecosystems. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1134:173–200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sanchez PA, Benites JR (1987) Low-input cropping for acid soils of the humid tropics. Science 238(4833):1521–1527PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Schroth G, da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Vasconcelos HL, Gascon C, Izac AM (2004) Introduction: The role of agroforestry in biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes. In: Schroth G, da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Vasconcelos HL, Gascon C, Izac AM (eds) Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscapes. Island Press, Washington DC, USA, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  12. Schroth G, Harvey CA (2007) Biodiversity conservation in cocoa production landscapes: an overview. Biodivers Conserv 16:2237–2244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Sonwa DJ, Nkongmeneck BA, Weise SF, Tchatat M, Adesina AA, Janssens MJJ (2007) Diversity of plants in cocoa agroforests in the humid forest zone of Southern Cameroon. Biodivers Conserv 16:2385–2400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schure J, Assembe Mvondo S, Awono A, Ingram V, Lescuyer G, Sonwa D, Somorin O (2010). L’état de l’art du bois énergie en RDC: Analyse institutionnelle et socio économique de la filière bois énergie. Projet Makala—EuropeAid DCI-ENV/2008/151–384Google Scholar
  15. Steffan-Dewenter I, Kessler M, Barkmann J, Bos MM, Buchori D, Erasmi S, Faust H, Gerold G, Glenk K et al. (2007) Tradeoffs between income, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning during tropical rainforest conversion and agroforestry intensification. PNAS 104(12):4973–4978PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schroth G, da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Gascon C, Vasconcelos HL, Izac AMN (2004) Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscape. Island Press, WasingtonGoogle Scholar
  17. Tchoundjeu Z, Asaah EK, Anegbeh PO, Degrande A, Mbile P, Facheux C, Tsobeng A, Atangana AR, Ngo Mpeck ML Simons AJ (2006) Putting participatory domestication into practice in West and Central Africa. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 16:53–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Torquebiau E (1992) Are tropical homegardens sustainable? Agric Ecosyst Environ 41:189–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Whitacre DF, Schulze M, Seavy N (1995) Habitat affinities of a central American forest avifauna: implications for conservation in Neotropical slash-and-burn farming landscapes. Technical report to the U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program. The Peregrine Fund, Boise, IdahoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alain Atangana
    • 1
    • 2
  • Damase Khasa
    • 3
  • Scott Chang
    • 1
  • Ann Degrande
    • 4
  1. 1.Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Integrative and Systems BiologyUniversité LavalQuebecCanada
  3. 3.Forest and Wood SciencesUniversité LavalQuebecCanada
  4. 4.West and Central Africa Regional ProgramWorld Agroforestry CentreYaoundeCameroon

Personalised recommendations