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Rebuilding the Brazilian Rainforest Learning from the Rondônia Agroforestry Pilot Project John O. Browder, Virginia Tech Marcos Pedlowski, Universidade.

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Presentation on theme: "Rebuilding the Brazilian Rainforest Learning from the Rondônia Agroforestry Pilot Project John O. Browder, Virginia Tech Marcos Pedlowski, Universidade."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rebuilding the Brazilian Rainforest Learning from the Rondônia Agroforestry Pilot Project John O. Browder, Virginia Tech Marcos Pedlowski, Universidade Estadual Norte Fluminense Christine Blinn, Virginia Tech Randolph H. Wynne, Virginia Tech Paper Presented to the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New York, New York, February 24-28, 2012.

2 Henry David Thoreau “I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”

3 Definitions Agroforestry: The cultivation of trees in association with ground groups to create a biologically diverse polycultural land-use that mimics the ecological functions of the forest while producing various products of economic and environmental value.

4 Definitions Ecological Restoration (Tropical Forests): The intentional planting of various vascular plant species combined with the management of natural forest regeneration on degraded lands to reconstruct a successional forest ecosystem that resembles the primary forest that preceded it.

5 The Rondônia Agroforestry Pilot Project Objectives: 1.To demonstrate that small scale farmers who successfully establish agroforest plots will earn higher incomes than other farmers (Economic outcome). 2.To demonstrate that farmers who do earn higher incomes from agroforests will clear less primary forest than other farmers (Conservation outcome). 3.To assess whether agroforestry on the small scale can be a viable means to achieve ecological restoration of degraded tropical forests (Restoration outcome).

6 Project Elements Short-term income (year 1+) – bee keeping for honey and wax. Mid-term income (4-10 years) – commercial fruit, palm, nut, latex producing trees and shrub specieas that improve soil quality, block wind, and provide shade. Long-term income (10 + years) – industrial softwoods and commercial hardwoods like mahogany, Brazilian cedar, cherry, teak.

7 3 Types of Agroforestry Systems in RAPP 1.Timber-based System Predominantly commercial hardwoods (e.g. mahogany, cedar, cherry) with temporary ground cover. 2.Non-Timber-based System Predominantly tree crops (e.g. coffee, cocoa), bush crops (cupuaçu), ground crops. 3.Mixed System Combination of timber and non-timber species.

8 Managed Forest Succession by Agroforestry - year 1

9 Non-timber plot, Year 2

10 Mixed AF Plot, 18 months

11 3 year old pupunha palms

12 4 year old pupunha palms

13 Mixed AF Plot, 5 years

14

15 Mixed System

16 85-13 Mixed System, July 2010

17

18 Mixed System

19 85-40 Mixed, July 2010

20 Non-timber-based System

21 95-63A Non-timber-based System

22

23 Timber-based System

24 40-38 Timber-based System

25

26 Project Design - Selecting the Right Farmers Preliminary findings suggest that AF may promote secondary forest succession and some primary forest preservation; But, are all farmers in a given Amazonian rural population equally responsive to agroforestry adoption? 3 Sets of household characteristics are worth considering: 1. Household capacity (farm size, working age residents) 2. Production system (pre/post-project land use changes) 3. Social participation (syndicates, labor sharing associations).

27 Characteristics of AFS Adopters vs. Control Group (Source: Household Surveys, July 2010) 1. Farm Size (ha) 2.People Residing On-farm 3.Annual Crop Area (% of Sample) 4Perennial Crop Area (% of Sample) 5.Pasture Area (ha) 6.Cattle sold (au) 7.Parti. - Syndicat (% of Sample) 8.Part.- Associat (% of Sample) 9.AFS Production (% of Sample) Control Group (n=39) Experimental Group (n=31) Timber Non-Timber Mixed Overall Sample (n=70)

28 Analysis 1.Amazonian farmers are capable of maintaining and managing agroforest plots for the long-term. 2.Agroforest plots can become catalysts to secondary forest recovery. 3.During the first 10-years both timber-based and mixed AF systems appear to grow as fast as undisturbed secondary re- growth. 4.After 10 years farmers pursuing timber-based and mixed AF system begin to manage the plots. 5.Non-timber forest systems do not appear to facilitate secondary forest succession.

29 Analysis Continued 6. Most farmers adopting agroforestry practices in RAPP value their AF plots for non-monetary benefits (economic outcome). 7. The non-monetary valuation of AF plots increases farmer appreciation of intact primary forest patches (conservation outcome). Most farmers adopting agroforestry practices in RAPP value their AF plots for non-monetary benefits (economic outcome). 8. The non-monetary valuation of AF plots increases farmer appreciation of intact primary forest patches (conservation outcome).

30 Conclusions 1.RAPP demonstrates that comparatively sustainable agroforestry practices are successfully adopted by small farmers in the Amazon that share certain characteristics; 2.Those that adopt timber-based AFSs may be more likely to initially promote managed secondary forest succession; 3.After 10 years, however, timber-based AFS farmers begin to manage their plots for utilitarian benefits which reduces forest cover;

31 Conclusions (continued) 4. Spectral data indicate that non-timber-based AFSs are not likely to be positively correlated with significant secondary forest succession.

32 Conclusions (continued) 5. Not all farmers are alike. Select farmers carefully : Capacity – Chose farmers with larger farm areas and more working age residents. Production – Chose farmers who are less engaged in the cattle economy. Participation – Chose farmers who are more active in producer and civil society organizations. Community matters!

33 Rebuilding the Rainforest We can never restore natural tropical forests to their original pristine condition. RAPP demonstrates that farmers can manage and nurture secondary forest succession through timber-based agroforestry. Such managed forest succession provides a land cover that more closely resembles primary forest than other AFSs.

34 “I have great faith in the right farmers (they are the seeds). Show me these farmers (and they are out there), and I will expect wonders!!” Thank You, John O. Browder Virginia Tech


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