This project will enhance the ability of agricultural professionals in the Pacific to address food security and natural resource concerns through agroforestry. For millennia, Pacific Islanders relied upon their broad-scale agroforestry systems for sustainable supply of food, fiber, medicine, and materials. These highly productive systems simultaneously provided ecosystem services such as soil and water conservation in the uplands and coastal protection along rivers and coastlines. Many of the legacy agroforestry trees in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands were removed over the past 100 years to accommodate plantation monocultures, open pasture, and urbanization.
Over the past 20 years, there has been increasing awareness of agroforestry as a means of addressing food security, local economic development, and resource conservation needs. A recent survey of participants in the April–June 2015 WSARE-sponsored professional development workshop series “Creative Agroforestry for Food Production in Farm, Home, and Community Landscapes” showed that agroforestry design was the highest priority for further education among agricultural professionals and educators (as well as producers).
Experts in agroforestry design, establishment, and management will author a technical publication for professionals, integrating time-tested traditional Pacific Island agroforestry practices with modern knowledge and technology. All authors also have extensive hands-on agricultural field experience in the Pacific. The publication will be used as the primary resource for a professional development workshop series to take place in Hawai‘i, Guam, and Pohnpei, and will be distributed freely in electronic form.
This project will produce a comprehensive manual for design and management of agroforestry production systems in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands followed by workshops to be presented in Hawai‘i, Guam, and Pohnpei.
Objective 1: Author a comprehensive agroforestry design manual for the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
Objective 2: Present professional development workshops in Hawai‘i, Guam, and Pohnpei based on the design manual.
Agroforestry systems have been cultivated throughout the Pacific Islands for extremely long periods of time. These biodiverse and productive agroecosystems, rich in woody perennials, exhibit resilience to environmental stressors such as drought and storms as compared with annual crops. Traditional agroforestry systems have been removed over the past 100 years to make way for monoculture export agriculture. There is now growing interest in modern agroforestry systems as a response to climate change and for other benefits such as yield diversification, risk management, and soil and water conservation. Recent responses to climate change are calling for positive adaptation models including agroforestry.
No training materials exist specifically for agroforestry design for Pacific Islands. The training manual generated by this project will be unique in its synthesis of published information on traditional Pacific agroforestry systems combined with modern science and methods. This project builds upon five previous SARE PDP projects by the Project Coordinator that produced publications with over 10 million cumulative downloads since 2000. These projects include Hawai‘i Community-Based Food Security (EW11-014, www.agroforest.info), New Crops for Pacific Island Agroforestry (EW07-004, www.specialtycrops.info), Pacific Island Agroforestry Workshops and Field Visits (EW05-009), Species Profiles for Pacific Island Agroforestry (EW02-001, www.traditionaltree.org), and Agroforestry Handbooks for Pacific Islands (EW98-004, www.agroforestry.org/free-publications/agroforestry-guides). A number of other SARE projects (e.g., OW15-031, SW11-055, LS04-162, SW03-055) cover specific agroforestry practices and demonstrations in the Pacific that will be used inform design recommendations, where applicable.
This collaborative project brings together expertise in agroforestry, forestry, soil science, agronomy, ethnobotany, plant science, commercial enterprise development, and wildfire management to produce a manual and present workshops about design, implementation, and management of agroforestry systems in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Produce a comprehensive agroforestry design manual for the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
The content of the agroforestry design manual was developed during the course of writing the proposal. Major topics to be covered include: site assessment, species selection, planting configurations, restoration of degraded lands, soil and water conservation, organic and low-input strategies, scheduling, economic projections, commercial enterprise development, and anticipating/overcoming stumbling blocks.
In keeping with the design theme of the manual, sample production and business plans will be included to assist ag professionals in design and implementation of economically successful agroforestry projects. All concepts will be well illustrated with photographs or line drawings. At least ten experts with diverse perspectives from university, government, and farming will review the manuscripts.
The well-illustrated manual will be at least 144 pages in length, with a minimum of 60 photographs and drawings. One hundred hard copies will be distributed to universities/colleges, NRCS office, and NGO’s in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific (Hawai‘i, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and American Samoa). Press releases will be sent through several channels, including Pacific island agricultural journals, libraries, internal university and USDA newsletters, and social media. Workshop participants will receive digital copies of the manual in order to save on printing costs. The online version is expected to receive tens of thousands of downloads in the first year after publication.
Present professional development workshops in Hawai‘i, Guam, and Pohnpei based on the design manual.
The second phase of the project presents three workshops in agroforestry design for agricultural extension, NRCS, government agencies, NGO’s, and agricultural professionals. The workshops will be presented in Hawai‘i, Guam, and Pohnpei, covering much of U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands where the need is greatest for revitalization of agroforestry systems (Guam is a hub for the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Palau, and Pohnpei is a hub for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)).
Major participants will develop the workshop curriculum following completion of the manual. Workshops will consist of two days of classroom-style presentations focusing on concepts presented in the manual and a day devoted to field tours of agroforestry projects. Participants will learn how to use the manual and gain experience in agroforestry planning in hands-on design exercises. Since participant travel is not supported by WSARE, we will work closely with target institutions to coordinate workshop dates with the travel schedules prospective participants have for other events. Local presenters will also be included at each workshop in order to emphasize locally appropriate solutions for each island and save on interisland travel costs.
It is expected that a minimum of 90, 60, and 50 people will attend the workshops in Hawai‘i, Guam, and Pohnpei, respectively, for a minimum total of 200 participants. The workshops will be organized to bring together professionals regionally.
The following outcomes are expected from this project:
- Bring together traditional and scientific knowledge about designing Pacific Island agroforestry systems in a readily accessible form.
- Raise awareness of agroforestry as a viable and sustainable strategy for food production, soil and water resource conservation, and climate change adaptation.
- Stimulate development of educational curricula in agroforestry in universities, colleges, and vocational schools.
- Form a knowledge base that can be used to justify research and demonstration of sustainable agroforestry systems.
- Develop a resource base for design of agricultural systems that meet USDA NRCS resource conservation goals.
- Increase awareness of viable strategies for agroforestry systems and strategies for implementing them in target audiences.
- Increase understanding of the ecological and economic implications of agroforestry, both advantages and disadvantages.
- Train a new generation of agricultural professionals who will share agroforestry with the general public.
- Extension professionals will increasingly recommend agroforestry systems to clientele as ecologically and economically sustainable alternatives.
- Agricultural micro-enterprises will be strengthened by availability of crops for local and export markets, as well as value-added opportunities.
- University and other research entities will increase their research efforts into diverse and sustainable local food systems.
- Soil and water quality improvement due to conservation services provided by appropriately designed agroforestry systems.
- Decreased use of chemical pollutants in human landscapes.
- Improved adaptation of local food systems to weather extremes expected due to climate change.
- Rural livelihoods will be improved through crop diversification and development of new local and export markets.
This project formed a multidisciplinary team of experts to author the agroforestry design manual. The team is composed of six professionals with wide ranging experience in Pacific Island agroforestry and in-depth knowledge in the specialties of soil science, forestry, urban forestry, native plants, wildfire management, field implementation, community economic development, and value-added processing. Chapters cover the above topics under the following general headings (all in an agroforestry context):
- Soil restoration
- Native and cultural plants
- Fire mitigation
- Tree/Crop competition
- Species selection and spacing
- Management activities and scheduling
- Economic projections
- Commercial enterprise development
During 2017-2018 chapter authors continued to write their chapters. Some chapters have gone through editorial review, while others continue to be in editorial review. As acceptance grows for agroforestry as a viable strategy to address natural resource concerns, food security, climate change challenges, and long-term profit potential, this work to be published in 2019 is coming at an opportune time.
During 2018, the project leader initiated a related WSARE project “Breadfruit Agroforestry for Pacific Island Revitalization” (EW17-004), which produced a 64-page design guide for agroforestry centered around the production of breadfruit. Producing this breadfruit agroforestry design manual with relatively limited scope as compared to the current project deepened the project team’s ability to present information around agroforestry design in general. Lessons learned during this process have informed some rewrites and new illustration of the design manual and workshops for “Agroforestry Design for Sustainable Production Systems in the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands”. Synergy between the two projects has been highly beneficial for effectively reaching the target audience and is expected to continue to be so throughout the conclusion of both projects.