|Technology scenarios in the Asia-Pacific forestry sector. (1997)|
There will always be a place for traditional agroforestry systems in subsistence economies. Home gardens can be expected to prevail in those areas where rural economies are slowly changing from land-based to industrial activities. They will be maintained as remnants of former practices as long as land prices remain low. In accessible areas, private forestry will be in direct conflict with agricultural systems. Depending on marketing opportunities and prices, farmers will intensify agricultural production and produce for the market as is the case in upland areas where off-season vegetable and fruit production is lucrative. In certain areas (e.g., in Thailand) even urban residents get involved in establishing fruit orchards. Systems such as alley cropping or improved fallows will not be adopted widely. In this sense, the development of new technologies with their focus on supporting agriculture will not be successful.
Continuing demand for wood by the wood fibre using industries will contrastingly stimulate farmers to grow trees. Small-scale tree growing enterprises will boom in places which can offer alternative employment opportunities, fair marketing agreements between tree growers and the industry, and sufficient support structures in terms of extension and regulations.
As examples throughout the Region indicate, there is a great potential for agroforestry. However, this forecast needs to be qualified. First, agroforestry will not be a system for land and forest rehabilitation as long as farmers do not receive land security. Second, the resource poor rural population will benefit only marginally from an expansion of agroforestry activities. And third, agroforestry will not be the species diverse and extensively managed home gardens or kebuns but will rather be intensively managed small-scale plantations with the objective of producing only one or two products.