Agroforestry and Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Landscapes

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Agroforestry is increasingly recognized as a useful and promising approach to natural resource management that combines goals of sustainable agricultural development for resource-poor tropical farmers with greater environmental benefits than less diversified agricultural systems, pastures, or monoculture plantations.

Among these expected benefits is the conservation of a greater part of the native biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes that retain substantial and diversified tree cover. Although the protection of natural habitat remains the backbone of biodiversity conservation strategies, promoting agroforestry on agricultural and other deforested land could play an important supporting role, especially in mosaic landscapes where natural habitat has been highly fragmented and forms extensive boundaries with agricultural areas.

A substantial amount of information on the effects of different agroforestry practices on biodiversity conservation has accumulated in recent years. However, land managers, researchers, and proponents of tropical land use and natural resource management lack a readily usable and comprehensive source of information to guide their efforts toward the creation of more biodiversity-friendly tropical landscapes.

This book attempts to fill this gap by exploring the roles of agroforestry practices in conserving biodiversity in human-dominated tropical landscapes and synthesizing the current state of knowledge. It has been edited by a team of conservation biologists and tropical land use specialists and includes contributions from a variety of disciplines (e.g., resource economics, rural sociology, agroforestry, wildlife biology, and conservation genetics), reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of its subject. Contributions are based on many decades of field experience in the tropics of Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia of 46 authors from 13 countries.

This book was made possible through the technical input and support from the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, Washington, DC, and the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) through the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project at the National Institute for Research in the Amazon, Manaus, Brazil. Numerous people have contributed to this book at all stages of its development. We would particularly like to thank a number of colleagues for their thoughtful and constructive reviews, which have greatly improved the quality of the individual chapters: Andrew Bennett, Elizabeth Bennett, Emilio Bruna, Chris Dick, Gareth Edwards-Jones, Paulo Ferraro, Bryan Finegan, Hubert de Foresta, Karen Garrett, Luadir Gasparotto, Andy Gillison, Jim Gockowski, Colin Hughes, Norman Johns, David Lamb, Nadia Lepsch-Cunha, Gary Luck, Jeff McNeely, Jean-Paul Metzger, Lisa Naughton, Alex Pfaff, Robert Rice, Jim Sanderson, Nigel Tucker, Louis Verchot, Jeff Waage, Bruce Williamson, and Sven Wunder. Barbara Dean and her team at Island Press accompanied the book through its development and greatly improved its style and consistency.

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