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Title: Changing human-ecological relationships and drivers using the Quesungual agroforestry system in western Honduras

item Ayarza, Miguel
item Huber-sannwald, Elisabeth
item Herrick, Jeffrey - Jeff
item Reynolds, James
item Garcia-barrios, Luis
item Welchez, Luis
item Lentes, Peter
item Pavon, Jellin
item Morales, Jairo
item Alvarado, Anabel
item Pinedo, Mario
item Baquera, Noemi
item Zelaya, Sergio
item Pinedo, Rolando
item Amezquita, Edgar
item Trejo, Marco

Submitted to: Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/6/2010
Publication Date: 6/1/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Ayarza, M., Huber-Sannwald, E., Herrick, J.E., Reynolds, J.F., Garcia-Barrios, L., Welchez, L.A., Lentes, P., Pavon, J., Morales, J. 2010. Changing human-ecological relationships and drivers using the Quesungual agroforestry system in western Honduras. Renewable Agriculture and Food System. 25:219-227.

Interpretive Summary: The Quesungual Agroforestry System is an innovative, locally developed, land use management system that is used in steeplands of Honduras. This paper describes the results of an analysis of the past, current and future sustainability of this system, and its potential application in other parts of the world. The analysis was guided by the Drylands Development Paradigm. The analysis concludes that the system has been successful in the past, but future challenges, including many that are driven by globalization, may reduce its sustainability. It also concludes The primary elements of the QSMAS – replacement of forest clearing, burning and tillage with thinning, pruning and direct planting – could be adopted and adapted in many parts of the world.

Technical Abstract: The development of sustainable agricultural production systems in the tropics is challenging in part because the local and external conditions that affect sustainability are constantly in flux. The Quesungual Agroforestry System (QSMAS) was developed in response to these changing conditions. The history and potential future of the QSMAS provide an opportunity to consider the factors that are affecting small-scale agricultural production systems on marginal lands throughout the world. In this paper we report the results of an analysis of the sustainability of the QSMAS using the five principles of the Drylands Development Paradigm (DDP) for three periods: pre-QSMAS, QSMAS adoption and the future. The analysis from the first two periods provides lessons that can be extended to other regions. The system must continue to evolve, however, if the long-term benefits of the system are to be conserved. Finally, we concluded that while the DDP was a useful framework for systematically identifying the critical drivers and processes that determine the sustainability of QSMAS, it is ultimately no more able to predict the future than the collective knowledge of those who choose to apply it. It can, however, facilitate the integration and application of this knowledge.