Which Socio-economic Conditions Drive the Selection of Agroforestry at the Forest Frontier?

2021-02-12 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Which Socio-economic Conditions Drive the Selection of Agroforestry at the Forest Frontier?​
Gosling, E.; Knoke, T.; Reith, E.; Reyes Cáceres, A. & Paul, C. ​ (2021) 
Environmental Management67(6) pp. 1119​-1136​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-021-01439-0 

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Gosling, Elizabeth; Knoke, Thomas; Reith, Esther; Reyes Cáceres, Alyna; Paul, Carola 
Models are essential to assess the socio-economic credentials of new agroforestry systems. In this study, we showcase robust optimisation as a tool to evaluate agroforestry's potential to meet farmers' multiple goals. Our modelling approach has three parts. First, we use a discrete land-use model to evaluate two agroforestry systems (alley cropping and silvopasture) and conventional land uses against five socio-economic objectives, focusing on the forest frontier in eastern Panama. Next, we couple the land-use model with robust optimisation, to determine the mix of land uses (farm portfolio) that minimises trade-offs between the five objectives. Here we consider uncertainty to simulate the land-use decisions of a risk-averse farmer. Finally, we assess how the type and amount of agroforestry included in the optimal land-use portfolio changes under different environmental, socio-economic and political scenarios, to explore the conditions that may make agroforestry more attractive for farmers. We identify silvopasture as a promising land use for meeting farmers' goals, especially for farms with less productive soils. The additional labour demand compared to conventional pasture, however, may prove an important barrier to adoption for farms facing acute labour shortages. The selection of agroforestry responded strongly to changes in investment costs and timber prices, suggesting that cost-sharing arrangements and tax incentives could be effective strategies to enhance adoption. We found alley cropping to be less compatible with farmers' risk aversion, but this agroforestry system may still be a desirable complement to the land-use portfolio, especially for farmers who are more profit-oriented and tolerant of risk.
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Environmental Management 
Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Forstökonomie und nachhaltige Landnutzungsplanung 
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft https://doi.org/10.13039/http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001659



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