Weight-of-evidence approach for assessing agroforestry contributions to restore key ecosystem services in tropical dry forests

Silva-Galicia, Ana; Valencia, Vivian; Arroyo-Rodríguez, Víctor; Ceccon, Eliane


Worldwide deforestation and degradation are limiting the capacity of tropical dry forests (TDFs) to provide environmental services. Agroforestry systems (AFSs) are agricultural land systems that combining perennial elements with crops, can provide important benefits to people (e.g. timber and non-timber products) and the environment (e.g. hosting biodiversity). Using a semi-quantitative methodology (i.e. weight of evidence), we assessed the role of the three main types of AFSs (intercropping, multistrata and silvopastoral and protective systems) in restoring key ecosystem services in TDFs. We found that each type of AFSs contributed differently to soil quality restoration, productivity, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and culture preservation. Yet, AFSs can also deliver few disservices, such as yield reductions. Despite the identified knowledge gaps, such as the carbon sequestration capacity, our findings indicate that AFSs can contribute to restore TDFs by providing valuable ecosystem services to halt degradation and sustain people’s livelihood.