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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

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."