Agroforestry Handbooks for Pacific Islands

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1998: $57,885.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $27,377.00
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Craig Elevitch
Permanent Agriculture Resources

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: avocados, bananas, berries (other), pineapples
  • Additional Plants: herbs, native plants, ornamentals, trees
  • Animals: bees
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Animal Production: pasture fertility, pasture renovation, range improvement
  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: extension
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance, risk management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: afforestation, biodiversity, hedgerows, soil stabilization, wildlife, hedges - woody
  • Pest Management: prevention, mulching - vegetative
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, permaculture
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban agriculture, sustainability measures


    The protection, planting, and integration of trees in agricultural systems is vital to sustainable agriculture in the Pacific Islands. Agroforestry can serve as an important, locally achievable, and cost effective part of sustainable development and healthy rural enterprises. In the American-affiliated Pacific, Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), agents are increasingly asked by producers to provide information and advice on agroforestry. However, there is a recognized deficiency in practical information available for Pacific Island agroforestry. This project helps fill this need by creating an efficient means for personnel to increase their understanding of and proficiency in tropical agroforestry on a practical level. It also creates an effective means for personnel to share agroforestry information with producers.

    Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands comprises eight practical handbooks (average 29 pages each) covering high priority topics for Pacific Islands (see Objectives 1-7).

    End user CES and NRCS personnel have been involved with this project from its inception, and were involved in evaluating the Guides during development. The topics and format for this project were determined through direct interviews and surveys of Pacific Island CES and NRCS agents. During development of each guide, five reviewers previewed each guide and gave feedback as to their applicability, readability, accuracy, and usefulness.

    All eight handbooks have been written, illustrated, and fully reviewed. They were disseminated in 3-ring binders and in bound book versions to all Pacific Island CES and NRCS offices, to be reproduced freely in future years for educational purposes. The Guides are also available in electronic form for downloading from the Internet at The guides have been very well received by reviewing CES and NRCS agents, and by producers and other professionals.

    Project objectives:

    I. To coordinate the writing, review, and production of eight handbooks (averaging 16 pages each) covering the following NRCS and CES agent selected agroforestry topics:
    1) Sources of How to Information in Sustainable Tropical Agroforestry
    2) Multipurpose Trees for Agroforestry in the Pacific Islands
    3) Identifying Unique Niche Crops
    4) Integrating Understory Crops with Tree Crops
    5) Introduction to Integrating Trees into Farm Systems
    6) Promising Timber Species for Pacific Island Agroforestry Systems
    7) The Economics of Farm Forestry
    8) Multipurpose Windbreaks Design and Species for the Pacific Islands

    II. To involve at least five end user CES, NRCS, and agriculture professionals in the review of each handbook prior to printing;

    III. To distribute a full set of the eight handbooks in 3-ring binders in reproducible form to 15 NRCS and 23 CES offices in the United States affiliated Pacific Islands, as well as to university and public libraries and other agricultural professionals in the region;

    IV. To distribute twelve (12) printed copies of each handbook to each NRCS and CES office in the region for use by agents as a reference and for distribution to the public as they see fit;

    V. To conduct a follow-up survey of 50 NRCS and CES agents three and nine months after distribution, to assess the effectiveness of distribution and the benefits of the handbooks;

    VI. To publish the handbooks on the World Wide Web for free downloading in pdf format for at least a two year period after distribution of the handbook sets.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.