Influence of Tree cover on Diversity, Carbon Sequestration and Productivity of Cocoa Systems in the Ecuadorian Amazon
This study evaluates the relationship between richness and floristic diversity, carbon storage, ecosystem services, agricultural productivity, and forest use potential under three land use systems in the Ecuadorian Amazon: cocoa-based agroforestry, cocoa monoculture and primary forest. In this region, one of the most important cultivation systems is the “Chakra”, a traditional organic farming production system, mainly practiced by indigenous peoples, that consists of the cultivation of staple crops in combination with commercial valuable species such as cocoa, obtaining multiple benefits.
Research Goals & Methods
Indicators of species richness, beta-diversity, carbon stocks, and cocoa and timber production were determined for each of the 28 systems of the 1600 m2 study plots.
Conclusions & Takeaways
Cocoa-based agroforestry systems had greater species richness than monocultures due to shared native tree species with the primary forest, and a wide variety of timber tree species with commercial value and other important agricultural crops. Based on the results, cocoa monocultures and coca-based agroforestry systems have lower richness, tree diversity and C storage than primary forest. There is also a negative correlation between species richness and carbon storage and, cocoa productivity and potential income from cacao production. Revenues from cacao monoculture productivity and low levels of average carbon prices do not promote increasing tree cover, which is the key component in the provision of ecosystem services, local food security and plantation resilience. Traditional systems like "Chakras" seem to be a viable combination of sustainable cocoa production systems with conservation, social security and cultural identity. For these reasons, a broader economic valuation of the additional benefits of traditional and conventional cocoa-based systems would be necessary to reach a conclusion about the feasibility of these production systems.
INFLUENCE OF TREE COVER ON DIVERSITY, CARBON SEQUESTRATION AND PRODUCTIVITY OF COCOA SYSTEMS IN THE ECUADORIAN AMAZON. BOIS & FORETS DES TROPIQUES. 2015;325:35. doi:10.19182/bft2015.325.a31271..
- International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Rio Piedras, PR, USA