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close this bookAgroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability (UNU, 1993, 297 pages)
close this folder1 Introduction
View the documentContext of the study
View the documentGeographical background
View the documentDefinition of terms
View the documentDeforestation and agrodeforestation in the Pacific
View the documentOrganization of the study

Context of the study

In much of the tropical world, agriculture and forests compete for the use of land, with agriculture usually the winner. The defeat of forests in this competition is the continuation, at a faster rate than ever before, of one of the most ancient relationships between humanity and the environment - the replacement of wildlands with human domesticates, including humans themselves (Janzen 1990, xi). Now, because a near total loss of tropical forest is foreseen and because newly cleared as well as older agricultural lands suffer increasing degradation, governments, funding agencies, and scientists seek ways to rehabilitate the damaged interface of agriculture and forests and to prevent further deterioration.

To achieve these goals, attention has turned strongly to "agroforestry," a term and concept that became widely known after the publication in 1977 of the seminal work Trees, Food and People: Land Management in the Tropics by Bene, Beall, and Cote, who recommended the establishment of what became the International Council for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). Since then, interest in agroforestry has greatly increased, and the concept has now been brought into prominence under the banner of "sustainable development." Researchers now specialize in the discipline of agroforestry; many conferences have focused on agroforestry; and a rapidly growing literature has been published - e.g., the ICRAF journal Agroforestry Systems, many articles in other journals, and at least 16 books, manuals, or conference proceedings in the past 6 years (Baumer 1990;

Beets 1989; Buck 1989; Budd et al. 1990; Gholz 1987; Gregersen et al. 1989; Kartasubrata et al. 1990; MacDicken and Vergara 1990; Nair 1989b; Raintree 1987a, 1987b; Rocheleau et al. 1989; Steppler and Nair 1987; Vergara and Briones 1987; Withington et al. 1988; Wood and Burley 1991).

Examination of this literature reveals that there are two distinct, although not always entirely separated, approaches to agroforestry: the modern, institutional; and the traditional, or indigenous. Institutional agroforestry relies on modern agronomic science and field experimentation for such purposes as assessing yields of crops, trees, and animals in varying combinations and under varying conditions; determining competition or complementarily of system components; seeking maximization of aggregate production; or determining which leguminous tree species produce the green manure supportive of the greatest nitrogen mineralization. The approach that focuses on traditional or indigenous agroforestry (Denevan et al. 1984) arises from cultural geography and ecological anthropology; it seeks to record the attributes of traditional or non-institutionalized agroforestry systems that are in use now and that may have been practiced by tropical peoples for centuries or millennia. Some cultural-ecological studies derive purely from ethnographic interest but most are now also motivated by the belief that the traditional or non-institutionalized systems are worthy of preservation and dispersal. The present study, written by geographers, mainly follows the cultural-ecological approach rather than the quantitatively analytic agronomic approach, but our interest extends beyond the ethnographic to the applied, for we believe that the past and present agroforestry systems that have been empirically developed by Pacific peoples have much to offer in the search for sustainable development.

A merit of the indigenous systems is that they are based on indigenous trees, which are familiar and useful to local people and already adapted to local climatic and soil conditions (Montagnini 1990, 5051). Further, though any particular local agroforestry system probably yields less than its potential maximum, its technologies are adapted to local conditions by virtue of empirical experimentation and have already been adopted by local people. In many cases, the system could be improved by tinkering based on analytic agronomic knowledge but it does not have to be invented anew. It is in place and it works.

The value of the indigenous systems is acknowledged by most agroforestry researchers, and the antiquity of agroforestry among tribal and peasant peoples is widely recognized (e.g., King 1989). One of ICRAF's projects, launched in the early 1980s, was a systematic inventory of agroforestry systems (Nair 1987): an effort that showed "there was a bewildering array of agroforestry systems worldwide" with more than 2,000 species of multi-purpose trees in use (Steppler 1987, 15). None the less, most government-supported, aid-funded projects in agroforestry follow the institutional approach, which usually requires the introduction of unfamiliar, non-indigenous trees and associated slow, complex experimentation. In discussing the difficulty of gaining scientific understanding of the large number of agroforestry systems, Steppler (1987, 17) noted:

Any one system undergoing experimentation would include, at a minimum, a tree species and a crop species. Each of these could have variation in genotype and management such as spatial arrangement, maturity type for crop and harvesting methods (e.g., lopping and coppicing timing for the tree). It quickly becomes apparent that we are dealing with a multifactor design with many combinations. As we add species of trees and/or crops or introduce animals, the experiment grows in size logarithmically.... The other dimension to the problem is the fact that we have combined long-lived woody perennials with annuals, short-lived perennials and/or animals. Ideally, experiments should continue for the life of the longest-lived component; this could be upwards of 40 years and we cannot wait that long. Thus, we must also devise tests and methods of prediction that will have acceptable levels of confidence in predicting long-term effects.

These sorts of difficulties suggest to some planners and students of agroforestry that, while there is a need to build institutionalized analytic capacity, it should be recognized that "many of the problems which are addressed by agroforestry do not have clear and explicit objectives associated with them. That is, the task is not necessarily one of solving a problem, but rather one of establishing a context in which social learning can take place" (Budd et al. 1990, 332-333).

The existence of so many site-specific indigenous agroforestry systems and the information that is available about them makes it less necessary to seek "valid" scientific findings by means of long experimentation with a fixed set of variables according to a strict problem-solving paradigm. As Nair (1984, 73) says, such luxuries cannot be afforded in agroforestry research at this stage. Existing indigenous systems already satisfy, to varying degrees, the three basic criteria that Raintree (1990, 58) argues should be built into the design of a good agroforestry system: productivity, sustainability, and adoptability. That the systems have remained in use shows that local farmers are convinced of the adequacy of their production in relation to inputs. The presence of trees in the system lengthens the time-span of production and protection and provides an inherent basis for sustainability. That the local people have already adopted the system meets the requirement - increasingly recognized as basic to the success of any project to ameliorate living conditions - that the intended users accept the project and be active participants in its design, trial, evaluation, and redesign. The indigenous systems have already been well tested by local farmers from season to season and generation to generation and so provide a strong locally based framework for sound management and incremental agro-ecological innovation (Gliessman 1990, 36; Richards 1985).

In their review of institutional agroforestry in the South Pacific region, Vergara and Nair (1985, 377) comment that, "in general, trees may be considered suitable to agroforestry if they complement and support rather than compete with the interplanted food crops.... Unfortunately, out of the over 2000 species that satisfy these characteristics, only a handful have been tested and used in agroforestry, such as Leucaena, Albizia, Gliricidia, and Calliandra. The rest remain untried and therefore their potentials unrealized."

In contrast, our point is that in the Pacific- and elsewhere, as in the Peruvian Amazon (Denevan and Padoch 1988; Denevan et al. 1984) - many or most of the indigenous trees suitable to agroforestry have already been tried and their potentials at least partially realized in traditional systems, even if they have not yet been the subject of institutional agronomic experiments.

Our purpose in this book is to tap this already-existing knowledge by offering details on the wide range of non-institutional, informal agroforestry systems practiced in the Pacific Islands, now or previously. We hope this information will be of applied use in the further adaptation and diffusion of agroforestry practices, whether institutional or developed informally. We do include some details about institutional agroforestry developments in the Pacific (chapter 9), but emphasize the traditional or indigenous systems because we believe that Pacific landscapes themselves and the agroforestry systems they already contain are the most useful drawing-board from which to move agroforestry into the landscapes of the future.

Geographical background

The Pacific Islands are, for the purposes of this study, defined as the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia (excluding Hawaii and New Zealand) (see map p. 5). The study area includes the large continental island of New Guinea in the west and extends to the small atolls and recent volcanic islands of the central and eastern Pacific, where traditional agroforestry systems remain common in unchanged or only slightly modified forms. Some of the political units are single islands rather than island groups (e.g., Nine and Nauru), or territories rather than independent countries (e.g., New Caledonia, French Polynesia, American Samoa, and Guam). For simplicity's sake, they will be included in discussion of "groups" or "countries."

The Pacific islands

The study area includes a diversity of island types:

  1. Continental islands, such as New Guinea and New Caledonia, which are composed of geologically-ancient sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks of continental origin.
  2. Andesitic-arc islands, such as most of the islands of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Guam, and the Northern Marianas, as well asthe eastern islands of Papua New Guinea (e.g., Manus, New Britain, and Bougainville) and the more recent volcanic islands of Tonga (e.g., Niuatoputapu, Niuafo'ou, Kao, and Tofua). Andesitic-arc islands have been formed by recent andesitic volcanic activity in proximity to the subduction zone (previously, but now inappropriately, referred to as the Andesite Line), where the newer crust of the Pacific Plate and the older crust of the Indo-Australian Plate come together, with one being forced (subducted) under the other.
  3. Basaltic volcanic ("hot-spot") islands, which are high oceanic islands such as the Samoas, the Cook Islands, Tahiti in French Polynesia, the Hawaiian Islands, and Pohnpei (Ponape) and Kosrae in the Federated States of Micronesia. Hot-spot islands have been formed as the result of the extrusion of magma through cracks or rifts in the Pacific Plate as it moves over "hot spots" in the Earth's mantle.
  4. Raised limestone islands such as Nauru and Nine, the islands of Vatulele in Fiji, Aniwa in Vanuatu, Ouvea in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia, most of the Tongan group, and portions of Mangaia and Atiu in the southern Cook Islands and Vanuabalavu in Fiji. These islands, formed of old-reef and foraminiferous limestone, have experienced considerable uplift relative to sea level.
  5. Coral atolls is a term that technically refers to the roughly circu lar coral-reef structures at, or just below, or slightly above, sea-level that usually support scattered reef islets (motu) and that surround a central lagoon. Most of the islands in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tokelau, and the Tuamotus in French Polynesia are atolls. Often included in the category are reef islets or "table reefs," such as Arorae and Tamana in Kiribati and Nukulaelae in Tuvalu, which have no lagoons and should probably be categorized as raised coral-limestone islands. Reef islets would also include islets on barrier reefs surrounding larger islands, but clearly separated from the main island by a lagoon. Similarly, some barrier reefs and associated reef islets, such as those around the central volcanic peaks and lagoons of the islands of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, take the form of atolls. These islands are commonly referred to as "almost atolls" because remnants of the volcanic peak that forms the foundation of all atolls still remain emergent above sealevel in the central lagoon.

It must be stressed that, just as there are continental or andesitic islands very far from continental shores in the Pacific (e.g., Easter Island), there is also basaltic volcanic activity close to subduction zones that cannot be reconciled with the hot-spot model and remains largely unexplained (e.g., Taveuni in Fiji). Similarly, raised limestone islands, atolls, and reef islets can be found on both sides of the subduction zone, thus adding considerable ecosystemic and environmental diversity, with most island groups including more than one island type (table 1).

There is also great geographical and demographic diversity among the islands. Easter Island, Guam, Kosrae, Nauru, and Niue consist of a single small island; Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia, and Hawaii consist of hundreds of large and small, widely dispersed islands; Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya share the very large, high continental island of New Guinea, and both include many smaller offshore islands. Total land areas vary from 10 to 26 sq km for groups of low-lying, coral-limestone islands like Tokelau and Tuvalu to over 400,000 sq km for the continental island areas of Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea (Thaman 1988a).

Population densities for entire groups range from just over 1 person per sq km for the Galapagos and Pitcairn Island and 2.5 for Irian Jaya, to almost 300 or more for Nauru, Truk, and Tuvalu. If the "most populous islands" are considered, the figures jump to over 100 persons per sq km for four islands, and over 200 for three islands;

Table I Types of islands up selected island nations and territories of the tropical Pacific Ocean. (Some individual islands may be composite, combining more than OK island type) and are 421 for Koror in Palau, 757 for Funafuti in Tuvalu, 1,179 for Majuro in the Marshall Islands, and 2,190 for Tarawa in Kiribati. The estimated population for Betio Islet of Tarawa atoll is expected to reach 34,066 by 1993, which will give it a population density of 4,705 per sq km, thus rivalling the population densities of Hong Kong (Carter 1984, 231). If we consider Ebeye, one of some 90 islets of Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, to which people have been relocated by the US military to free the atoll's lagoon for intercontinental ballistic-missile testing, the population density sky-rockets to 25,000 per sq km (Keju and Johnson 1982)!


Nation or territory Continental Andesitic arc High basaltic Raised limestone Coral Atoll
Irian Jaya + +   +  
Papua New Guinea + +   + +
Torres Strait + +   +  
New Caledonia + +   + +
Solomon Islands   +   + +
Vanuatu   +   + +
Fiji   + + + +
Tonga   +   +  
Wallis and Futuna     + +  
Western Samoa     +    
American Samoa     +   +
Nine       +  
Tuvalu       + +
Tokelau         +
Cook Islands     + + +
French Polynesia     + + +
Pitcairn Island     +   +
Hawaii     +   +
Easter Island     +    
Galapagos Islands     +    
Palau       +  
Guam   +   +  
Northern Marianas   +      
Yap     +   +
Truk     +   +
Pohnpei     +   +
Kosrae     +    
Nauru       +  
Marshall Islands         +
Kiribati       + +

Sources: Personal observation; Carter 1981, 1984; Dahl 1980; Klee 1980b; Thaman 1988a.

This range of diversity in island types and population densities when combined with differences in climate, geological resources, topographical features, soil types, water availability, flora and fauna, and culture - goes a long way to explain the diversity of agroforestry systems found in the Pacific Islands. The more specific nature of the physical and biological resources of individual island ecosystems, and the extent to which they are currently protected or endangered by exploitation, have been comprehensively analysed by Arthur Dahl (1980) in his Regional Ecosystems Survey of the South Pacific Area, which contains descriptions and the conservation status of all marine and terrestrial ecosystems and physical and biological features or resources of particular ecological and cultural importance; as well as lists of rare, endemic, or endangered species; existing and proposed conservation legislation; and existing, proposed, and recommended reserves for each island group.

It is beyond the scope of this study to present such detailed information, although some of it will be considered in the case-studies of individual agroforestry systems. For detailed data on various aspects of island groups see Bakker (1977a, 1977b), Brookfield with Hart (1971), Carter (1981, 1984), Dahl (1980), Douglas and Douglas (1989), McArthur (1967), Thaman (1988e), Ward and Proctor (1980), and Winslow (1977).

Definition of terms

As noted earlier in this chapter, agroforestry is a new name for an old practice. As the word and concept became widely accepted in international land-use circles, many definitions of the term were put forward, as described in detail by Nair (1989a). The definition of agroforestry that ICRAF has used since the early 1980s is as follows (Lundgren 1987, 48):

Agroforestry is a collective name for all land-use systems and practices in which woody perennials are deliberately grown on the same land management unit as crops and/or animals. This can be either in some form of spatial arrangement or in a time sequence. To qualify as agroforestry, a given land use system or practice must permit significant economic and ecological interactions between the woody and non-woody components.

Of the many other definitions of "agroforestry," one of the most comprehensive is that of King and Chandler (1978) in an early ICRAF publication The Wasted Lands. Recently reproduced by Nair (1989a, 13), the definition reads: "Agroforestry is a sustainable land-management system which increases the overall yield of the land, combines the production of crops (including tree crops) and forest plants and/or animals simultaneously or sequentially, on the same unit of land, and applies management practices that are compatible with the cultural practices of the local population."

Along similar lines, for the purposes of this report, "agroforestry" is defined as: "The deliberate incorporation of trees into, or the protection of trees within, an agro-ecosystem in an effort to enhance its short- and longterm productiveness, its economic and cultural utility, and its ecological stability."

In this context, an "agroforestry system" is defined as: "Any agricultural system (agro-ecosystem) in which planted or protected trees are seen as economically, socially, or ecologically integral to the system."

These non-restrictive and functional definitions have been selected because they can cover the great diversity and functional utility of existing Pacific Island agroforestry/agricultural systems, which range from home-garden or household and squatter-garden agroforestry in both urban and rural areas to deliberate intercropping and the protection of trees and tree-like perennials in gardens and pastures and the planting of woodlots and protection of inland and coastal forest stands (which are seen as part of integrated agroecosystems) in sparsely populated rural areas.

Finally, the new term, "agrodeforestation," is introduced, defined by Thaman (1988b, 1988c, and 1989a) as: "The removal of trees or the deemphasis on the planting and/or protection of trees in agroecosystems."

Deforestation and agrodeforestation in the Pacific

Pacific Islanders, like people everywhere, "prospered by disturbing the natural order," as Carl Sauer (1952, 3-4) put it. The pioneering Pacific mariners found islands almost entirely covered by a mosaic of natural forest types. As the islands were occupied, the newly arrived settlers cleared forest for gardens and established orchards or agroforests that provided many valuable foods and materials. People also opened forest land to provide materials and space for houses. The ubiquitous use of fire, often for hunting, was a major tool in the change from forest to more open landscapes. These activities modified the natural landscape, creating a human habitat that was more congenial to occupation and much more productive of food than were the closed native forests. But as Sauer went on to say, human beings often overreach themselves, and the new order they introduce may contain the seeds of disaster. Or, as Oedekoven (1962, 55) suggested with regard to forests, humankind may ultimately cut off the branch it is sitting on.

In the Pacific before European contact, human activities caused many kinds of degradation. Deforestation has been prevalent in Pacific history; subsequent repeated burning has been responsible for the evolution of fire-climax forests, grassland savannas, and degraded fern and scrub lands (Clarke 1965; Farrell 1972; Manner 1981; Thaman and Clarke 1983). Such a process has undoubtedly been the main cause of the extensive anthropogenic grasslands of highland New Guinea; the xerophytic niaouli (Melaleuca leucadendra) savanna lands of New Caledonia; the highly degraded "sunburnt lands," or talasiga, found throughout Fiji; and the rapidly expanding saafa (Panicum maximum) grasslands of Tongatapu in Tonga.

Deforestation has led to severe erosion in Wallis and Futuna, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Hawaii, where most of the indigenous forest has been removed, leaving degraded fern lands and grasslands no longer suitable for agriculture (Kirch 1982, 4). Flenley and King (1984) go as far as to suggest that deforestation was responsible for the collapse of the pre-European megalithic culture on Easter Island, a view supported by McCoy (1976, in Kirch 1982, 4), who argues that the "radical reduction of forest, shrub, and grassland communities, following over-exploitation and misuse by man," was responsible for a change from open-field cultivation to protected stone garden enclosures (manavai). Similarly, drastic deforestation of the central plateau on the Hawaiian island of Kahoolawe because of shifting cultivation and increasing population pressure between A.D. 1375 and 1600 reportedly led to a "dramatic population crash" and the total abandonment of the interior of the island by 1700 (Hammon 1980; Kirch 1982, 4).

It is clear that the Pacific Islands' early inhabitants did not avidly practice a conservation ethic that preserved their habitat as an unchanging paradise until Europeans brought major disturbances and degradation; instead, the early settlers caused many extinctions (notably of birds), reduced forest cover, initiated massive soil erosion, and created or extended degraded grasslands. In short, they did what all peoples, especially pioneers, do in their efforts to make a living: they actively manipulated, modified, and at times degraded the ecosystems in which they lived (Clarke 1991; Kirch 1984, 123-151).

But in their transformation of natural landscapes into cultural landscapes, the early inhabitants of the Pacific also developed - partly as an adjustment to the degradation they had caused - sustained-yield systems of agriculture, agroforestry, hunting, gathering, and fishing that still operate productively today but that are in danger of disappearing in the face of changing technological, social, demographic, and economic conditions.

The natural forests of the Pacific Islands fall into the general categories of lowland tropical rain forest, montane forest, swamp forest, mangrove forest, or coastal-strand communities. Locally, many Pacific forests are unique; their high endemism and fragility have attracted the attention of scientists, beginning with the first comprehensive biological studies on Cook's voyages during the eighteenth century and Darwin's observations on his voyage on H.M.S. Beagle in the 1830s. The forests' vulnerability to human-induced change has been stressed by Darwin (1895), Fosberg (1965), Mangenot (1965), Carlquist (1965, 1980), Mueller-Dombois (1975), Dorst (1972), and Dasmann et al. (1973). All categories of remaining natural forest are increasingly endangered as part of the worldwide process of deforestation resulting from urbanization, industrialization, commercial logging, agricultural development projects, and increasing population. As mentioned above, Dahl (1980) provides descriptions and conservation status for all terrestrial ecosystems in the South Pacific as well as lists of rare, endemic, or endangered species. Dahl also provides details for each island group or biogeographical province of the current and proposed conservation legislation, and of the existing, proposed, and recommended reserves.

All parts of the Pacific have ecologically and culturally important forest types or individual species that are in danger of depletion by human action. Some countries and territories have conservation legislation and forestry ordinances (Pulea 1984); Papua New Guinea and Hawaii have increasingly effective systems of forest reserves and conservation areas; and other places, such as New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Norfolk Island, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, and some of the American territories, have had similar developments recently on a more limited scale. However, forest products continue to be shipped off for an inadequate return, while Japan, South Korea, China, and other countries continue to protect their forest resources and to implement major reforestation efforts (Richardson 1981). In New Caledonia, for example, where nearly all exploited timber species are endemic, most of the surprisingly rich native gymnosperm flora of 44 endemic species are now limited to a few restricted habitats. Most of the 13 species of Araucaria are restricted to active mining areas, and the local kauri species, Agathais lanceolata, has been exploited to near-extinction in southern New Caledonia (Dahl 1980, 37). Similarly, Agathis macrophylla, formerly abundant on Aneityum in Vanuatu, has been almost logged out. Selective unrestricted cutting, sometimes for shipping as saw logs, also threatens the Fijian form of this stately species, mature individuals of which may be centuries old.

Deforestation is proceeding rapidly in most of the Pacific. Forests, both primary and secondary, continue to be transformed into degraded savannas and fern-grasslands, mangroves into housing and industrial estates or other lifeless land-sea interfaces; and polycultural, treestudded, traditional agroforested gardens into monocultural plantations. Urban areas lose trees to make way for industrial, commercial, and residential areas or to fuel the cooking fires or to erect the squatter housing of low-income families. The trends are the same from the high continental islands of Melanesia to the smallest atoll islets of Polynesia and Micronesia.

Although deforestation, seen as the loss of forest as such, has received much more attention, "agrodeforestation" is probably of tantamount importance culturally and ecologically. Fewer trees are planted, and the great variety of useful tree species in gardens, villages, and towns is suffering depletion. The situation is particularly serious on smaller islands with little or no remaining native forest, where agricultural areas and home gardens serve as the few reserves where endangered plant varieties or cultivars can be protected. In Tonga, for example, during the height of the banana boom, so many trees were cut to provide shooks for banana boxes, and to extend banana plantings, that sawmillers had to move from Tongatapu to the nearby island of 'Eua. Thus, the search for meagre export earnings diminished valuable native species as well as food-bearing trees such as mango and citrus cultivars (Thaman 1976).

Most of the trees that now provide food, timber, firewood, and medicines, or that serve other cultural and ecological functions in Pacific agro-ecosystems, were deliberately planted or protected in the past. But few of them are being replaced or protected by the present generation. Opening a tin of imported peaches for a feast, going to the local dispensary or pharmacy for medicines, or purchasing imported plastic flowers, perfumes, and deodorants, have replaced the products that came from trees. Of particular concern is the ubiquitous senility of Pacific Island coconut palms, the only source of export income on many of the smaller, more isolated islands, as well as a very important source of food, drink, and materials. Despite limited replanting, the declining yield of palms, often planted before the turn of the century, augers poorly for the economic future of these areas. On the other hand, areal expansion of coconuts, as currently promoted, is commonly at the expense of other land use-soften arboreal. A singular case was that described by Spoehr (1949) in the Marshall Islands, where the Japanese ordered the removal of breadfruit trees so that copra production could expand, thus lessening arboreal diversity and eliminating a tree that produced food, medicine, canoe hulls, and caulking. Similarly, in Kiribati, only recently has the Government acknowledged that some 20 years of institutionally-sponsored coconut replanting and rehabilitation have led to the gradual elimination of a wide range of ecologically and culturally important tree species, all traditionally components of the Kiribati agricultural system (Thaman 1989b).

Although some countries have increasingly effective systems of forestry reserves, conservation areas, or national parks, few, if any, have legislation or programmes prohibiting the cutting - or promoting the replanting - of endangered tree species as part of agricultural development. Thus, agrodeforestation continues with little or no official recognition and, therefore, few attempts to reverse the trend (Thaman 1989a).

Aside from the loss of materials and ecological services, which will be discussed in detail in the next chapter, agrodeforestation also means a cultural loss because a significant part of Pacific intellectual heritage is an intimate feeling for the social and spiritual meaning of trees, together with an immense knowledge of their habits and products. As the trees disappear, traditional knowledge is eroded, and landscapes lose the depth of meaning imbued by protected or planted trees. Although commonly useful trees are in no immediate danger of becoming extinct because of agrodeforestation, biodiversity is diminished because many agroforest species contain a great number of varieties or cultivars, each with its own characteristics. If these varieties, which are the result of generations of careful selection, are lost, the local food-production system will be degraded. For instance, in a recent study, Fownes and Raynor (in press) report that as many as 130 cultivars of breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) are recognized by farmers on the volcanic Micronesian island of Pohnpei, where breadfruit collected from a traditional agroforestry system is a major staple food for people during several months of the year and is also a major food source for pigs, which roam the understorey consuming fallen fruit during the peak season. Fownes and Raynor investigated five cultivars (a small fraction of the recognized number) and found that they varied in seasonality, growth form, and yield. Complementary seasonality among the cultivars led to an extended fruiting season in the aggregate.

The Pacific remains fortunate because many such traditional agroforestry strategies still exist, if only in relict form. None the less, increasing agrodeforestation and the gradual disappearance of time-tested agroforestry systems and their component species and varieties in the face of the expansion of monocultures and commercial livestock, population growth, increasing demands for fuel, continued urbanization, and the "commercial imperative" (fudge 1977) are the dominant trends, which will only be reversed by deliberate planning and action. In an attempt to help facilitate such planning and action, this study emphasizes throughout the roles that particular traditional and existing agroforestry systems and their component trees play, and could continue to play, in the provision of useful materials, the enhancement of the environment, the maintenance of the stability of agroecosystems, and the reversal of deforestation and agrodeforestation.

Organization of the study

Following this Introduction, chapter 2 examines agroforestry in the Pacific generally, and with particular regard to its functional and utilitarian diversity. Chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6 present case-studies of specific agroforestry systems grouped according to the long-standing geographical and ethnographic division of the Pacific Islands into Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia. This division is not meant to suggest that each of these three regions has a distinct "agroforestry environment." Although only Melanesia contains continental islands, all three regions contain all the other four kinds of islands: andesiticarc islands, high volcanic islands, raised limestone islands, and coral atolls (table 1). Nor does the division into Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia reflect any rigidly distinct contrast in flora, crops, or agri culture in general. The division is used because it is widely familiar and it provides some convenience in discussion and research. Moreover, certain distinctions can be made in agroforestry practices from region to region, as will be discussed in appropriate chapters.

Following the case-studies of agroforestry in the rural Pacific, most of which remains at least partially subsistence-based, attention is turned to urban agroforestry and to agroforestry practiced in conjunction with the intensive cash monoculture of sugar cane in Fiji. The penultimate chapter examines institutional agroforestry in the Pacific - that is, the more formal agroforestry activities that are promoted by governments, companies, and various agencies, and that involve external funding, training, agronomic research, and extension services. Also briefly described in that chapter is the status of education about agroforestry in the Pacific's universities and the work undertaken by some scientific research organizations. The final chapter offers general conclusions and recommendations having to do with agroforestry in the Pacific. In the Appendix, information about the characteristics of 100 important Pacific Island agroforest species is drawn together. Although the total number of tree or tree-like species found in use in agroforestry systems in the Pacific is more than 400, the more modest annotated listing of 100 species is certainly sufficient to give a clear indication of the remarkable richness of the agroforestry resource already available in the Pacific.