Agroforestry-Based Restoration and Enhanced Resilience of Agricultural Production through Adaptation of Smallholder Farming Systems, Nicaragua
Mirjam Pulleman1, Pablo Siles2, Edwin Garcia3, Carsten Marohn4, Melanie Mason5,2, Orlando Tellez2, Elbis Chavarria2, Emily Webster6
1Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands
Rural communities in the Dry Corridor of Central America are highly vulnerable to the consequences of soil and land degradation, and climate change. Smallholder farmers traditionally produce grain crops on steep hillsides through slash-and-burn agriculture, increasingly combined with small-scale cattle farming. Only 3% of the original forest cover remains. The ARA (Agroforestry for Restoration of Agroecosystems) project aims to restore degraded land, enhance agroecosystem productivity, profitability and resilience, and generate ecosystem services through agroforestry systems. Between 2008 and 2013 a platform of 25 on-farm experiments, representing three different communities in the Dry Corridor of Nicaragua, was established. The platform has served different objectives: (i) participatory adaptation of agroforestry systems; (ii) research to understand and quantify the impacts of agroforestry-based interventions on ecosystem services, including crop production, and farmer revenues (iii) training of farmers and technicians and knowledge sharing to facilitate out scaling. Agroforestry systems included Quesungual, a maize-bean system intercropped with trees and established through selective clearing and pruning of regenerated trees.
Keywords: Adoption, agricultural productivity, agroforestry, Central America, ecosystem services, land restoration, Nicaragua, resilience, soil fertility
Contact Address: Mirjam Pulleman, Wageningen University and Research, KM 17, Recta Cali-Palmira, CP 763537 Palmira, The Netherlands, e-mail: Mirjam.Pullemanwur.nl