Submitted to: Biodiversity and Conservation Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/13/2012
Publication Date: 1/31/2012
Citation: Sambuichi, R.R., Vidal, D.B., Piasentin, F.B., Jardim, J.G., Viana, T.G., Menezes, A.A., Mello, D.L., Ahnert, D., Baligar, V.C. 2012. Cabruca agroforests of southern Bahia Brazil: tree component, management, species conservation and sustainability. Biodiversity and Conservation Journal. 21:1055-1077. Interpretive Summary: Diversity of tree species and their stand density in cabruca, an agroforestry system of cacao planting has significant influence on soil fertility, and the yield and sustainability of cacao planted as an understory plant. The research was undertaken in Bahia Brazil to characterize the tree species diversity in cabruca systems. The composition of dominant trees in cabruca was strongly influenced by preferences of farmers, particularly for use as food and wood. The cabruca system of cacao production provided shade to the cacao, and reduced soil degradation. Hence this system could increase the sustainability and productivity of cacao. The cabruca system of cacao planting could also help to conserve the native forest species, especially because of the high diversity of trees and the presence of several endemic and endangered tree species. Findings of this study will be a useful resource to the poor cacao farmers of the region to develop cacao management system that is sustainable and to maintain right types of shade trees which will obtain additional products such as fruits and wood to improve their monetary returns.
Technical Abstract: In southern Bahia, cabruca is the agroforestry system in which cocoa is cultivated under the shade of sparse native forest trees. Aiming to characterize the tree component of this system and its management practices, we conducted an inventory of the non-cocoa trees in 16 ha of cabruca and do interviews with 160 cocoa farmers. A total of 1933 trees pertaining to 216 species and 49 families were found. The Shannon diversity ranged from 2.21 to 3.52. Native trees accounted for most of the individuals (73.9%) and species (92.6%) in the survey. The composition of dominant trees was strongly influenced by farmers’ preferences, particularly for use as food and wood. Our results reinforce the importance of cabrucas for the conservation of forest species, especially because of the high diversity of trees and the presence of several endemic and endangered species. For the maintenance of the cabrucas and the environmental services they provide, it is important to find ways to assure higher profitability for farmers who use this system of production. This could be achieved through the increase in productivity of cocoa, payment for environmental services, marketing of other products such as fruits and wood, and certification to obtain higher prices.