Participatory Domestication of Agroforestry Trees: An Example from the Peruvian Amazon

Participatory Domestication of Agroforestry Trees: An Example from the Peruvian Amazon


This paper describes a program through the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) to work with farming communities to domesticate native tree species for use in agroforestry and the conservation of tree diversity in their forests.

Research Goals & Methods

Researchers consulted with farmers to identify 150 tree species of interest for domestication.  For two fast-growing native species, Guazuma crinita and Calycophyllum spruceanum, farmers began selecting genetic material in 1996 for provenance testing. Trees were selected following a systematic collection strategy for collection of seeds from 35 trees in each provenance population. In the Aguaytia watershed, 20 farmers were selected in the lower, middle, and upper parts to participate in the on-farm provenance trials. Tree growth and wood density was calculated. In the lower part of the watershed, one provenance of C. spruceanum had positive characteristics with respect to both tree growth and wood density.

Conclusions & Takeaways

The authors recommend that provenance trials on farms can be converted into seed orchards which can provide planting material for agroforestry and tree planting projects, provide seed to neighbors and timber companies, provide poles and fuelwood to the farmers, and overall provide at least $US 1,000 per year to the farmers per 1 ha lot of C. spruceanum or G. crinita.



Weber JC, Montes CSotelo, Vidaurre H, Dawson IK, Simons AJ. Participatory domestication of agroforestry trees: An example from the Peruvian Amazon. Development in Practice. 2001;11:425–433. doi:10.1080/09614520120066710.


  • World Agroforestry Center - ICRAF