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Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands: Systems for Sustainability

June 18, 2010

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This study examines the diverse traditional systems of agroforestry that have evolved over millennia in the Pacific Islands. Attention is also given to present-day urban agroforestry, to agroforestry as practiced in conjunction with monocultural cash-cropping, and to the modern agroforestry projects promoted by governments and international funding agencies. The study is based on an aggregate of several decades of research on Pacific Island agro-ecosystems by the five contributors. From 1982 through 1989, field research for the study was funded by the United Nations University.

We intend the study to be a contribution to an increased understanding of the diversity and utility of traditional agroforestry systems in the Pacific. Our further purpose is to provide an inventory of Pacific trees and a description of Pacific Island agroforestry systems that might serve as bases for further development or re-development of Pacific agroforestry in the face of pressures for agrodeforestation.

We would like to thank the United Nations University for funding the research project “Pacific Island Agrosilviculture Systems: A Basis for Sustained Development and Environmental Protection” and also for providing funds for final bibliographic work and consultation between the editors. We are also grateful to Lee MacDonald, UNU Programme Officer at the time of the initiation of the project, to Kathleen Landauer, who served in the same position later, and to Professors Walter Manshard and Roland Fuchs of the UNU for their patience, understanding, and support over the long life of the project. We would also like to thank the many practicing agroforesters (professionals and Pacific Island villagers and farmers) and other per sons throughout the Pacific who have so freely shared their knowledge. Thanks are also due to the University of the South Pacific for its continued assistance and institutional support. Particular thanks to Sheila Singh, Sharon Bing, Iliana Seru, Marica Bolabola, and Sharon Smith-McGowan, who typed the numerous drafts with their daunting lists of scientific and vernacular plant names.

W.C. Clarke and R.R. Thaman, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

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