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A renewed perspective on agroforestry concepts and classification

Torquebiau E.. 2000. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences. Série 3, Sciences de la Vie (323) : p. 1009-1017.

Agroforestry, the association of trees with farming practices, is progressively becoming a recognized land-use discipline. However, it is still percieved by some scientists, technicians and farmers as a sort of environmental fashion which does not deserve credit. The peculiar history of agroforestry and the complex relationships between agriculture and forestry explain some misunderstandings about the concepts and classification of agroforestry and reveal that, contrarily to common perception, agroforestry is closer to agriculture than to forestry. Based on field experience from several countries, a structural classification of agroforestry into six simple categories is proposed: crops under tree cover, agroforests, agroforestry in a linear arrangement, animal agroforestry, sequential agroforestry and minor agroforestry techniques. It is argued that this pragmatic classification encompasses all major agroforestry associations and allows simultaneous agroforestry to be clearly differentiated from sequential agroforestry, two categories showing contrasting ecological tree-crop interactions. It can also contribute to a betterment of the image of agroforestry and lead to a simplification of its definition. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : système sylvopastoral; terre de pâturage; classification; agroforesterie; culture itinérante

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture

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