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close this bookAbstracts on Sustainable Agriculture (GTZ, 1992, 423 p.)
close this folderAbstracts on agroforestry
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the document1. Tree products in agroecosystems: economic and policy issues.
View the document2. Sustainable use of plantation forestry in the lowland tropics.
View the document3. The palcazu project: forest management and native yanesha communities.
View the document4. Opportunities and constraints for sustainable tropical forestry: lessons from the plan piloto forestal, quintana roo, Mexico.
View the document5. The taungya system in south-west Ghana.
View the document6. Planning for agroforestry.
View the document7. Sowing forests from the air.
View the document8. Agroforestry pathways: land tenure, shifting cultivation and sustainable agriculture.
View the document9. Food, coffee and casuarina: an agroforestry system from the Papua New Guinea highlands.
View the document10. Agroforestry in africa's humid tropics - three success stories.
View the document11. Agroforestry and biomass energy/fuelwood production.
View the document12. Regeneration of woody legumes in Sahel.
View the document13. Medicines from the forest.
View the document14. Potential for protein production from tree and shrub legumes.
View the document15. Agroforestry for sustainable production; economic implications.
View the document16. Living fences. A close-up look at an agroforestry technology.
View the document17. Homestead agroforestry in Bangladesh.
View the document18. Guidelines for training in rapid appraisal for agroforestry research and extension.
View the document19. Erythrina (leguminosae: papilionoideae): a versatile genus for agroforestry systems in the tropics.

19. Erythrina (leguminosae: papilionoideae): a versatile genus for agroforestry systems in the tropics.

J. of Sustainable Agriculture, 1, (2), 1991, pp. 89-109

Some of the most common uses of Erythrina species are discussed in this review related to specific agroforestry applications.

Although common throughout the tropics, the many species of Erythrina have not received much attention from researchers or development workers. Yet these trees of the family Leguminosae grow quickly and have considerable potential for supplying fodder, fuelwood and other products, for providing shade to coffee and tea, and for restoring eroded sites.

The genus Erythrina is of special interest in the development of agroforestry systems because of its adaptability to several uses (e.g., live posts for fences, shade trees for perennial crops such as coffe and cacao, forage for livestock, and others).

They thrive in hot climates, with mean annual temperatures from 30 to more than 38 C. Although well adapted to drought, they also grow well in areas with annual rainfall of up to 1200 millimetres. They can survive in soils with a pH of 8.7 and up to 0.11% salt concentration.

With their rapid growth and extraordinary nodulation, the Erythrinas are a good source of organic matter for green manure. Dry foliage contains from 1 to 3% nitrogen. When incorporated into the soil, it improves fertility, moisture, nutrient retention and general tilth.

In Costa Rica, for instance, the use of Erythrina for shading or nursing other crops is a common agricultural practice in both coffee and cacao plantations. There is a great deal of evidence showing its value as a "natural fertilizer" supplier and nutrient cycling helper. The calculated figures show that the return of nitrogen to the soil and nutrient cycle in coffee, cacao, and also in maize, can save up to 200 kg N/ha per year.

A considerable research effort in working with this genus has been done in the Tropical Agricultural Center for Research and Training (CATIE), Turrialba, Costa Rica through the Erythrina Project.

This research project supported by the International Development Research Center (IDRC) from Canada, produced a large amount of research and also compiled a substantial bibliography on the genus.

Field trials would be useful to compare different Erythrina species and varieties in terms of growth rates and fuelwood and fodder quality.

There is also a need to test the potential of different species as sources of good-quality paper and pulp.