Selection of native trees for intercropping with coffee in the Atlantic Rainforest biome

H.N. de Souza, I.M. Cardoso, J.M. Fernandes, F.C.P. Garcia, V.R. Bonfim, A.C. Santos, A.F. Carvalho, E.S. Mendonca

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A challenge in establishing agroforestry systems is ensuring that farmers are interested in the tree species, and are aware of how to adequately manage these species. This challenge was tackled in the Atlantic Rainforest biome (Brazil), where a participatory trial with agroforestry coffee systems was carried out, followed by a participatory systematisation of the farmers experiences. Our objective was to identify the main tree species used by farmers as well as their criteria for selecting or rejecting tree species. Furthermore, we aimed to present a specific inventory of trees of the Leguminosae family. In order to collect the data, we reviewed the bibliography of the participatory trial, visited and interviewed the farmers and organised workshops with them. The main farmers' criteria for selecting tree species were compatibility with coffee, amount of biomass, production and the labour needed for tree management. The farmers listed 85 tree species; we recorded 28 tree species of the Leguminosae family. Most trees were either native to the biome or exotic fruit trees. In order to design and manage complex agroforestry systems, family farmers need sufficient knowledge and autonomy, which can be reinforced when a participatory methodology is used for developing on-farm agroforestry systems. In the case presented, the farmers learned how to manage, reclaim and conserve their land. The diversification of production, especially with fruit, contributes to food security and to a low cost/benefit ratio of agroforestry systems. The investigated agroforestry systems showed potential to restore the degraded landscape of the Atlantic Rainforest biome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • agroforestry
  • shade
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • adoption
  • systems
  • tropics
  • growth

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    de Souza, H. N., Cardoso, I. M., Fernandes, J. M., Garcia, F. C. P., Bonfim, V. R., Santos, A. C., ... Mendonca, E. S. (2010). Selection of native trees for intercropping with coffee in the Atlantic Rainforest biome. Agroforestry Systems, 80(1), 1-16.