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Clove based cropping systems on the east coast of Madagascar: How history leaves its mark on the landscape

Arimalala N., Penot E., Michels T., Rakotoarimanana V., Michel I., Ravaomanalina H., Roger E., Jahiel M., Leong Pock Tsy J.M., Danthu P.. 2019. Agroforestry Systems, 93 (4) : p. 1577-1592.

DOI: 10.1007/s10457-018-0268-9

Clove farming developed on the east coast of Madagascar a little over a century ago. The species is largely cultivated and farmed by communities of smallholders. This study aims to characterize clove based cropping systems. There are three types of coexisting clove systems: monoculture where clove is the sole crop with inter-rows covered by wild grasses, agricultural parklands where clove is associated with annual crops (rain fed rice, sugar cane, cassava) and finally complex agroforestry systems where clove is associated with other crops (vanilla), fruit trees (lychees, breadfruit, jackfruit) and pepper vines, as well as some forest trees. The study also shows that the majority of existing clove trees in the various cropping systems are over 50¿60 years old. Our study aims to characterise the different clove based cropping systems with the intention of establishing a typology by measuring biometric criteria associated with clove trees, by determining the accompanying species and by characterising the horizontal and vertical structuration of plots. From these observations, we suggest some evolutionary hypotheses of clove systems in an attempt to resituate this typology in a historical dynamic implicating the agricultural history of the east coast of Madagascar and the evolution of the smallholders' strategies.

Mots-clés : madagascar

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