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close this bookSpecial Public Works Programmes - SPWP - Planting Trees - An Illustrated Technical Guide and Training Manual (ILO - UNDP, 1993, 190 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
close this folder1. Planning a plantation
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.1 What regeneration method to use?
View the document1.2 What species to establish?
View the document1.3 Whether to plant a single tree species or a mixture of several?
View the document1.4 What type of planting stock to use?
View the document1.5 What planting pattern to use and how many seedlings to plant?
View the document1.6 When to plant?
View the document1.7 How to protect the seedlings?
View the document1.8 The plantation plan
close this folder2. Preparing the planting site
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View the document2.1 Clearing vegetation
View the document2.2 Ground preparation
View the document2.3 Marking where to dig the holes
View the document2.4 Digging holes
View the document2.5 Soil and water conservation measures
close this folder3. Handling seedlings
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View the document3.1 Packing and transport of seedlings
View the document3.2 Storing seedlings
View the document3.3 Quality of seedlings and grading
View the document3.4 Stripping and trimming
View the document3.5 Transporting seedlings from the road to the planting site
close this folder4. Planting techniques
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View the document4.1 Digging the holes
View the document4.2 On-site distribution of the seedlings
View the document4.3 Planting
View the document4.4 Use of fertilizers
close this folder5. Adapting planting techniques to different site conditions
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View the document5.1 Favourable sites
View the document5.2 Sites with high grass
View the document5.3 Waterlogged sites
View the document5.4 Dry sites
View the document5.5 Eroding slopes and rocky sites
View the document5.6 Steep slopes
View the document5.7 Sand dunes
View the document5.8 High altitudes with snow
close this folder6. Maintaining plantations
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View the document6.1 Weed control
View the document6.2 Protection from grazing
View the document6.3 Fire prevention
View the document6.4 Protection from insects, diseases and rodents
View the document6.5 Fertilizers
View the document6.6 Replacement planting
close this folder7. Planting trees outside woodlots and forests
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View the document7.1 Trees in crop and grazing land
View the document7.2 Alley cropping
View the document7.3 Intercropping in rotation
View the document7.4 Intercropping for tree planting
View the document7.5 Shelterbelts
View the document7.6 Road-sides and river-sides
View the document7.7 Homesteads and public places
close this folder8. Organizing the work
View the document(introduction...)
View the document8.1 Planning
View the document8.2 Workforce
View the document8.3 Labour requirements over the year
View the document8.4 Worknorms
View the document8.5 Coordinating the work
View the document8.6 Tools and equipment
View the document8.7 Supervision and control
View the document8.8 Records to keep
close this folder9. Working conditions
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View the document9.1 Hours of work and rest
View the document9.2 Nutrition and amenities
View the document9.3 Wage systems
View the document9.4 Training, job content and labour-management relations
View the document9.5 Safety
close this folderAppendices - Technical sheets
View the documentAppendix 1 - Surveying and mapping of large planting sites
View the documentAppendix 2 - Laying out and preparing soil and water conservation structures
View the documentAppendix 3 - Survival count
View the documentSome useful guides/handbooks
View the documentTitles in the series of training elements and technical guides for SPWP workers

7.4 Intercropping for tree planting

It is also possible to intercrop only for a few years while a woodlot or tree plantation is being established. This is known as the Taungya system. The trees benefit from the soil preparation and weeding for the agricultural crop. The farmer will protect both his food crops and the seedlings. As a result, the trees survive much better and grow much faster. This form of intercropping can be practised by individual farmers or by landless cultivators that lease the land for two or three years. In the latter case it is important that the responsibilities and rights of the farmer and the landowner are clearly explained and that a contract is drawn up. The lease usually specifies who is responsible for planting and caring for the tree seedlings. Each cultivator is allocated about 0.5 to 1.5 ha of land. Leasing procedures are often complicated by the fact that the local population distrusts the forest service or the state, because of bad experiences in the past (such as unclear ownership or expropriation without compensation).

After ground preparation food crops are planted. Normally annual crops are cultivated such as beans, maize or sweet potatoes. A particularly good combination are sweet potatoes cultivated on ridges, as shown in the figure opposite. Sweet potatoes can grow on relatively poor sites, they are quite shade-tolerant and the ridges provide excellent soil and water conservation. Perennial crops like bananas, papaya and cocoa can also be grown. Tree seedlings are planted at the same time, or one or two years after the food crop. Large tree seedlings should be used because they are sturdy and easily seen. Spacing between the rows of trees should be wider than for a normal plantation to delay the time when the canopy of leaves closes over and shades the food crop.

The raising of food crops continues until the shade from the trees prevents satisfactory growth. This may last up to four to five years depending on tree growth, initial spacing and the kind of food crops grown. The area is abandoned by the farmer when it is no longer suitable for growing food. Normally, he will already be working in a new area nearby. The farmer may also work several small areas at the same tune, clearing a new one each year.

Intercropping for tree planting


On own land


or leased land

Example for intercropping with sweet potatoes and trees


year 1


year 2


year 3