Native coffee agroforestry in the Western Ghats of India maintains higher carbon storage and tree diversity compared to exotic agroforestry uri icon

abstract

  • Despite a substantial reduction of shade tree cover in native AFS compared to forest (from 90% to 32% in the high precipitation area), native AFS and forests displayed high and comparable C stocks (max. 228 MgC ha(-1) and 234 MgC ha(-1) respectively) and tree diversity (max. 44 and 45 species, respectively). Both variables were negatively impacted by the introduction of G. robusta, especially in Robusta coffee systems (max. 158 MgC ha(-1), 12 species).
  • Here, we quantified carbon (C) storage and shade tree diversity in native forests and coffee AFS under contrasted management (native versus exotic shade trees, Robusta versus Arabica systems) at 67 plots along a 3500 mm precipitation gradient in the Cauvery watershed, India.
  • The current trend toward the introduction of G. robusta in coffee AFS of the study area (exotic agroforestry) negatively affects C storage and tree diversity, especially in Robusta coffee systems. Policy makers should take advantage of the carbon-tree diversity positive correlation found in the agroforestry landscape of the Western Ghats of India to promote conservation and climate change mitigation.
  • The ongoing introduction of the exotic Grevillea robusta tree species into agroforestry systems (AFS) of the Indian Western Ghats could become a threat to both climate change mitigation and tree diversity conservation.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018