Forest patches in Imperata grassland and prospects for their preservation under agricultural intensification in Northeast Luzon, The Philippines

D. J. Snelder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Frequent burning and grazing and cultivation of cash crops increasingly threaten forest patches in hilly grassland in Northeast Luzon, yet their importance as a resource with multiple environmental functions and forest products persists. The aim of this study is to identify different types of forest patches, and their condition under present land-use intensification, and discuss prospects for their integration into sustainable local farming systems. Five types of forest patches are distinguished, both natural and planted ones, including rows of trees, woody patches, gallery forests, hill-slope forests and homegarden conglomerations. Natural woody patches and gallery forests in Imperata grassland are subject to degradation and land-use conversion under conditions of agricultural intensification. Woody patches in grassland affected by frequent burning and grazing cover small areas (66% below 50 m2 as opposed to 28% in protected grassland) and contain relatively few woody plant species (25 woody species in total as opposed to 82 where protected). Yet where well managed, they may provide a variety of products for sale and subsistence, covering emergency needs and giving off-season cash income to rural communities. Moreover they serve like the gallery forest various ecological functions, carrying valuable indigenous tree species, retaining soil base nutrients, providing a continuous supply of organic matter and intercepting fine earth soil particles removed from bare surfaces. It is suggested that forest-patch management systems may be developed, taking into account both patch diversity and the diverse needs of rural communities, and to strengthen existing and undervalued functions of forest patches as permanent elements in an agricultural landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-217
Number of pages11
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2001

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Gallery forest
  • Humid tropics
  • Indigenous trees
  • Tree-based farming systems

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