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Cocoa–timber agroforestry systems: Theobroma cacao–Cordia alliodora in Central America

Somarriba, Eduardo, Suárez-Islas, Alfonso, Calero-Borge, Wilson, Villota, Alejandra, Castillo, Cristopher, Vílchez, Sergio, Deheuvels, Olivier, Cerda, Rolando
Agroforestry systems 2014 v.88 no.6 pp. 1001-1019
Cordia alliodora, Theobroma, agroforestry, canopy, crop production, demographic statistics, ecosystem services, farmers, farms, forest stands, income, landscapes, livelihood, plantations, population dynamics, trees, Costa Rica
Cocoa–timber systems have been proposed as viable alternative for simultaneously satisfying the livelihood needs of the farmers (in terms of production of cocoa and other goods for family use or sale) while improving the capacity of the cocoa agroforestry system to provide other ecosystem services at both the plot and landscape level. In this paper we explored the demographics, population dynamics and timber yield of naturally regenerated laurel (Cordia alliodora R&P Oken) in 33 ha of cocoa plantations (42 farms) inventoried in 2001 and re-measured in 2005 and 2011, in Talamanca, Costa Rica. This study shows in quantitative terms the significant contribution of laurel timber in the shade canopy of cocoa to annual income (use or sale of timber) and family savings (timber in standing, harvestable trees). In the study region, laurel yields 4.43 m³ ha⁻¹ year⁻¹, equivalent to an annual income of 265 US$ ha⁻¹ year⁻¹(assuming that 50 % of total standing volume is saleable, at 120 US$ m⁻³for standing laurel timber at the farm). In addition to the cash flow, standing, harvestable laurel trees (43.89 m³ ha⁻¹) amounts to 2,633 US$ ha⁻¹in family savings.