Source: SEAMEO BIOTROP's Research Grant | 2015
This article argues that the practice of agroforestry provides economic and ecological contributions to the smallholder farmers cultivating in the watershed areas. Specifically, this farming system helps ensure food security, through the combined production of short-term and long-term crops that produce food throughout the year, while at the same time providing ecological services through the carbon sequestration potential of the woody perennials and the contribution for biodiversity conservation of the other components of the system. This argument is based on the research conducted in Molawin-Dampalit Sub-Watershed in the Philippines and Way Betung Watershed in Indonesia, involving an interview of 106 and 261 smallholder farmers, and an assessment of a total of 27 and 14 agroforesty plots for carbon stock assessment and biodiversity assessment, respectively. Research results reveal that the smallholder farmers in both study sites have high levels of food security having a score of 8.07 and 7.66, respectively, based on four measures/indicators, namely: food availability, food accessibility, food stability and food utilization. In addition, research results indicate that the total carbon found among the crop components was 53.32 MgC ha -1 and 244.26 MgC ha -1 , which suggests the high carbon sequestration potential of the woody perennials and understorey crops in an agroforestry system. The farmlots being cultivated by the smallholder farmers were found to contribute to biodiversity conservation having a moderate biodiversity index of 2.59 and 2.53, respectively. With these findings, promotion of desired agroforestry systems in suitable portions of the watershed areas should be intensified and heightened to contribute to ecological balance across the landscape. Agroforestry should always be an integral part of all initiatives toward ecological restoration with the cutivators/smallholder farmers as potential partners. The agroforestry system should consider all the technical and socioeconomic considerations toward having diverse components and ensure food security among the smallholder farmers throughout the year.
Keywords: agroforestry; food security; biodiversity index; carbon stock; Molawin-Dampalit Sub-Watershed; Way Betung Watershed