Comparison of Canopy Openness in Different Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) Production Systems in Alto Beni, Bolivia
Wiebke Niether1, Carla Maldonado2, Erika Silva2, Monika Schneider3, Gerhard Gerold1
1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Dept. of Landscape Ecology, Germany
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) grows naturally as an understory tree in tropical forests and produces well under shaded and non-shaded conditions. It is cultivated by small scale farmers in South America under various conditions, ranging from monocultures to different kinds of agroforestry systems. While in monocultures it is exposed to direct sunlight, one or various tree species shade the cocoa in agroforestry systems. Also organic cocoa cultivation is becoming more and more popular due to premium prices and increasing ecological consciousness. In Alto Beni, Bolivia, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and local partners have established a long-term field trial to compare cocoa production systems. The bi-factorial randomised block design includes management and biodiversity factors combined to the following five cocoa treatments: monoculture and agroforestry systems both under organic and conventional management, and successional agroforestry system (high plant species diversity) under organic management and for further comparison fallow plots of same age as the cocoa plots. Research is done in all fields of agronomic, economic and environmental interest.
Keywords: Agroforestry, canopy openness, cocoa, system comparison
Contact Address: Wiebke Niether, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Dept. of Landscape Ecology, Goldschmidtstr. 5, Göttingen, Germany, e-mail: wiebke.niethergeo.uni-goettingen.de