What is the available evidence concerning relative performance of different designs of mixed-species plantings for smallholder and community forestry in the tropics (systematic map)?
There has been growing interest in mixed species plantation systems because of their potential to provide a range of socio-economic and bio-physical benefits which can be matched to the diverse needs of smallholders and communities. Potential benefits include the production of a range of forest products for home and commercial use; improved soil fertility especially when nitrogen fixing species are included; improved survival rates and greater productivity of species; a reduction in the amount of damage from pests or disease; and improved biodiversity and wildlife habitats. Despite these documented services and growing interest in mixed species plantation systems, the actual planting areas in the tropics are low, and monocultures are still preferred for industrial plantings and many reforestation programs because of perceived higher economic returns and readily available information about the species and their silviculture. In contrast, there are few guidelines for the design and management of mixed-species systems, including the social and ecological factors of successful mixed species plantings.
This protocol explains the methodology used to investigate the following question: What is the available evidence for the relative performance of different designs of mixed-species plantings for smallholder and community forestry in the tropics? This study will systematically search, identify and describe studies related to mixed species plantings across tropical and temperate zones to identify the social and ecological factors that affect polyculture systems. The objectives of this study are first to identify the evidence of biophysical or socio-economic factors that have been considered when designing mixed species systems for community and smallholder forestry in the tropics; and second, to identify gaps in research of mixed species plantations. Results of the study will help create guidelines that can assist practitioners, scientists and farmers to better design mixed species plantation systems for smallholders in the tropics.
Polyculture; Mixture; Reforestation; Forestry economics; Social forestry
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