This edition of The Overstory introduces the concept of agrodeforestation, and the important role that existing and remnant agroforests can play in agroforestry development. There are many regions of the tropics where agroforestry has been practiced traditionally, including the Pacific Islands. Traditional systems and species can provide a strong, locally-based framework for future agroforestry development. Emphasis should be placed on the conservation, strengthening, and expansion of the time-tested agroforestry species and systems that already exist. A ten step process for identifying and rehabilitating remnants of traditional agroforests is suggested.
Agrodeforestation: the removal of trees or the de-emphasis on the planting and/or protection of trees in agricultural ecosystems.
Pacific Island peoples have always planted and protected trees as a part of their multi-species and multipurpose agroforestry and land use systems. They have also been willing to accept new trees that can improve their lives and island environments. Traditional Pacific Island agricultural and land use systems were agroforestry systems, built on a foundation of protecting and planting trees. These traditional agroforestry systems once made Pacific Islanders among the most self-sufficient and well-nourished peoples in the world.