Plant diversity in homegardens in a socio-economic and agro-ecological context
Susilo Arifin, Hadi
L. Maass, Brigitte
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Homegardens are generally regarded as a very complex, species-rich agI'oforestry system managed in a sustainable manner over decades or even centuries. In many densely populated tropical regions, homegardens appear to be the last forest-like islands surrounded by increasingly extended, uniform staple crop fields. With their multi-layered vegetation structure, homegardens serve as an important habitat for wild flora and fauna in these area.,. They fulfii not only important ecological, but also many social and cultural functions. However, the major purposes of homegardens are subsistence production and income generation, particularly in rural areas. At forest margins, high production level'> in homegardens might help to reduce deforestation. Furthermore, homegardens should be considered a<; a model for sustainable agroforeslry syslplIls. integrating both economic and ecological advantages. Plant diversity, as a ba<;is for homegarden productivity and sustainability, is influenced by a combination of agro-ecological as well a<; socio-economic factors. The complex interactions of all these factors are not yet fully understood. TillS paper presents an overview of the existing knowledge and identifies gaps regarding the factors determining plant species diversity and composition in homegardens. We further illustrate this with two case studies from Indonesia (Central Sulawesi and West Java), in willch temporal and spatial variations were inyestigated. In conclusion, plant diversity was mainly influenced .by elevation as well as commercialisation, urbanisation, and fragrrientation. It was fairly dynamic over time, particularly, when commercialisation was possible. To preserve the sustainability of homegardens aDd their suitability for in situ.
- Landscape Architecture