Resource Details

Smallholder perceptions of agroforestry projects in Panama

Literature: Journal Articles

Fischer, A., & Liette Vasseur. 2002, "Smallholder perceptions of agroforestry projects in Panama." Agroforestry systems vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 103-113.

Contact Info

Correspondign author:


  • School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, 1312 Robie St., Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 3E2
  • Department of Biology, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3C3


Agroforestry systems

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  • This study evaluates smallholder perceptions of agroforestry projects in Panama. In Panama, 40% of the land area is set aside in protected areas and indigenous reserve, and much of the flat fertile plain is consumed by plantation agriculture, factors which, along with rapid population growth, conspire to encourage intense pressure on remaining forests and small scale land conversion.
  • Researchers conducted interviews in 1997. Average farm size was 7 ha, with much of the land in forest and a small percentage of the land in cultivation, usually yucca, maize, rice, and beans. Only 25% had official title to the land.
  • The most common agroforestry systems were home gardens (fruit trees- orange, mango, banana, lime) and intercropping. Almost all participants planted timber trees, primarily pine, acacia, teak, and Cedrela odorata. Shade coffee and cocoa composed a small proportion of total landowner practices.
  • Researchers ascertained that stakeholders benefited from tree planting wood products and fruit, but did not realize rises in income. Farmers observed some environmental benefits of tree planting, such as reduced soil erosion, increased soil fertility, and improved watershed protection, but slash and burn agriculture continued. Most farmers continued to harvest wood from forests rather than from the planted trees. Monetization of planted trees was not possible because of issues with market access, and that the project did not address these issues.
  • Researchers suggest that project promoters involve more local staff and improve extension services and training.

Geographical Region

  • Southern Central America
  • Country

  • Panama
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