Turning local knowledge on Agroforestry into an online decision support tool for tree selection in smallholder farms

Authors: JUST VAN DER WOLF, LAURENCE JASSOGNE, GIL GRAM and PHILIPPE VAAST

Abstract

This paper presents the main features of a unique decision-support tool developed for selecting tree species in coffee and cocoa agroforestry systems. This tool aims at assisting in the selection of appropriate shade trees taking into account local conditions as well as needs and preferences of smallholder farmers while maximizing ecosystem services from plot to landscape level. This user-friendly and practical tool provides site-specific recommendations on tree species selection via simple graphical displays and is targeted towards extension services and stakeholders directly involved in sustainable agroforestry and adaptation to climate change. The tool is based on a simple protocol to collect local agroforestry knowledge through farmers’ interviews and rankings of tree species with respect to locally perceived key ecosystem services. The data collected are first analysed using the BradleyTerry2 package in R, yielding the ranking scores that are used in the decision-support tool. Originally developed for coffee and cocoa systems of Uganda and Ghana, this tool can be extended to other producing regions of the world as well as to other cropping systems. The tool will be tested to see if repeated assessments show consistent ranking scores, and to see if the use of the tool by extension workers improves their shade tree advice to local farmers.

Published at Experimental Agriculture, Cambridge University Press

Open access

Publication year: 2016

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