Agroforestry pp 91-119 | Cite as

Traditional Agroforestry Systems

  • S. Viswanath
  • P. A. Lubina


Traditional agroforestry systems (TAFS) may be described as a set of age-old agroforestry systems which are generally devoid of intentional intensified cultivation of agricultural or forage crops and which have been practiced across the world with varying structure, function, socio-economic attributes and ecological services. TAFS are distributed worldwide though predominantly in the tropics across Asia, Africa, South America and Pacific islands. They have been reported in temperate regions across Europe and North America too in a much more contrasting spatial and temporal pattern as compared to tropics. Among TAFS, homegardens and variants of multi-storeyed cropping systems seem to dominate in the Asian, African and Latin America. There are plenty of similarities in phytosociology, structure and diversity of homegardens whether it is in Kerala, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Indonesia, Tanzania, Amazonian belt in Peru and Brazil, Honduras or in Pacific islands. In the Indian context, scattered trees on croplands like silvopasture system focusing on some particular species like Acacia leucophloea, Acacia nilotica, Prosopis cineraria and Ficus spp. appear to have been reported prominently and characterized by its specificity. Indeed, stark similarities in structure and function with the parkland systems of West African region dominated by Faidherbia (Acacia) albida and with the Quercus suber-dominated Dehesa system of Mediterranean Europe and the fruit tree-dominated landscapes in other parts of Europe like England, France and Germany are noticeable. Invariably in almost all TAFS, native trees appear to predominate and have a major structural, functional and service role to play whether it is in the tropics, subtopics or temperate regions across the globe. Some of the prominent traditional agroforestry systems and practices reported in scientific literature are compiled in this chapter.


Agroforestry Multifunctionality Multipurpose trees Traditional knowledge Sustainability 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Wood Science and TechnologyBengaluruIndia

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