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A conceptual modelling approach for tropical agroforestry systems: A case study on coffea based agroforests in Guinée forestière

Ngo Bieng M.A., Lamanda N., Wery J.. 2009. In : Book of abstracts of the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry, 23-28 August 2009, Nairobi, Kenya : Agroforestry, the future of global land use. Nairobi : WCA [Nairobi], p. 524-524. World Congress of Agroforestry. 2, 2009-08-23/2009-08-28, Nairobi (Kenya).

Coffee agroforests in "Guinée forestière" are complex cropping systems, with a multistrata structure and a high specific biodiversity (perennial and annual). They play an important role in local farmers' incomes, and thus for local development and for biodiversity preservation. Nevertheless, interactions between the different components are complex and not well understood. Moreover, farmer's practices, which build and drive these systems, are barely known. This lack of knowledge on the biophysical and technical characteristics of these systems results in a lack of tools adapted to their assessment and design. More specifically there is a need for models which can be used to: (i) describe and simulate the dynamics of these systems; (ii) assess the influence of farmer's practices on their dynamics and performance; and (iii) evaluate their sustainability. A conceptual modelling approach that represents the main components of these complex systems and their interaction is a prerequisite to the development of simulation models. Based on knowledge obtained from the literature, and field studies about structure, composition, production, farmer's practices and their impacts, in 60 plots settled in "Guinée forestière", with different agro-ecological and socioeconomic contexts, we propose a conceptual model of coffee agroforests representing their main components at key stages of the life cycle of the system. We aim to identify the interactions between the main components (economic species such as coffee, cola, forest trees and others) at different dynamic stages: (i) their competition (for space, light and nutrients); and (ii) their influence on system performance in terms of diversity of products (coffee, cola, wood) and ecological services (biodiversity). At plot scale, shade management influences dynamics, composition and performance of coffee agroforest, while farmers' practices influence coffee architecture, allowing a sustainable coffee production. This conceptualization is the first step before calibrating existing agroforestry models, or building new simulation models reproducing the dynamics of coffee agroforests. (Texte intégral)

Mots-clés : coffea; cola; agroforesterie; forêt tropicale; zone tropicale; guinée

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