The Role and Function of Fruit Trees and Fruit Tree-Based Agroforestry Systems in a Highland Watershed in Northern Thailand.

TitleThe Role and Function of Fruit Trees and Fruit Tree-Based Agroforestry Systems in a Highland Watershed in Northern Thailand.
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsWithrow-Robinson BA
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy in Forest Science
Number of Pages151
Date PublishedAugust 2000
UniversityOregon State University
Keywordsagroforestry, cropping, fruit trees, Thailand
AbstractThe objectives of the study were to classify and define the fruit-based agroforestry cropping system and investigate management activities used by villagers. In the first part of the study, we developed a conventional classification, which identified 11 fruit-based agroforestry subsystems subdivided into four larger groups. The subsystems were formed subjectively, primarily according to purpose or function of the gardens, and especially of the tree crop component, with secondary definitions relating more to the herbaceous crops grown. In the second part of the study, we developed a separate classification based largely on species composition using multivariate analysis methods. A classification of seven groups was proposed and three key factors characterizing groups were identified. The multivariate analysis showed a wide range and large overlap of group characteristics which seemed to indicate that these gardens did not represent discrete categories as hypothesized, but rather were part of a continuum of gardens with gradually changing and overlapping characteristics. Patterns indicated that landowners tended to mix functions as well as plant species, without a strong organizational pattern. In the third section, a supporting data set was developed with crop composition, cover, and production input and output factors. The objective was to develop a better understanding of the performance of the fruit-based agroforestry system. We examined a group of economic, environmental and social factors relating to composition, cover, inputs of labor and agricultural chemicals, and the distribution and yield of crops by garden and by household units. Most of the sample households (93%) had one or more garden parcels, which together accounted for 85% of the sample households' upland cropping area. A total of 96 crop species were recorded, with an average of about 24 species raised per household. Fruit crop production was low in 1998 and most of the economic activity in gardens related to herbaceous crops.