Agroforestry: a refuge for tropical biodiversity?
Bhagwat SA., Willis KJ., Birks HJB., Whittaker RJ.
As rates of deforestation continue to rise in many parts of the tropics, the international conservation community is faced with the challenge of finding approaches which can reduce deforestation and provide rural livelihoods in addition to conserving biodiversity. Much of modern-day conservation is motivated by a desire to conserve 'pristine nature' in protected areas, while there is growing recognition of the long-term human involvement in forest dynamics and of the importance of conservation outside protected areas. Agroforestry -- intentional management of shade trees with agricultural crops -- has the potential for providing habitats outside formally protected land, connecting nature reserves and alleviating resource-use pressure on conservation areas. Here we examine the role of agroforestry systems in maintaining species diversity and conclude that these systems can play an important role in biodiversity conservation in human-dominated landscapes.