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Rubber agroforestry systems in mature plantations in Phatthalung Province, Southern Thailand

Tongkaemkaew U., Penot E., Chambon B.. 2020. Thaksin University Journal, 23 (1) : p. 79-85.

Rubber-based agroforestry systems (RAS) can be characterized by the type of trees/shrubs and crops associated with the rubber trees. The present study objective was to identify and describe the RAS in mature plantations existing in Phatthalung province. This province is representative of South Thailand and gathers many farmers with agroforestry practices. The methodology for data collection combined focus group discussions with 5 groups and individual interviews with 56 farmers using a semi-structured questionnaire and farmer's field survey for 44 RAS plots. The results showed an important diversity of the RAS. Seven types of agroforestry systems were identified with 20 species of fruit trees, 14 species of timber trees and 6 species of pluri annual local crops. The analysis of the timeline to plant rubber and intercrops showed some flexibility for the establishment of the RAS. The associated crops and the sometimes-long existence of these RAS indicate that they could be an interesting alternative to monoculture for the farmers to improve resilience and not rely only on one crop. However, before recommending these RAS, additional research is needed to better characterize the impact of these systems in particular on crop yield and soil biodiversity quality.

Mots-clés : systèmes agroforestiers; agroforesterie; plante à caoutchouc; plante de culture associée; culture associée; arbre pour bois de construction; thaïlande

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