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Doctoral thesis, 2023

Fruit tree-based agroforestry on sloping uplands in northwest Vietnam: Effects on soil conservation, tree-crop performance and weed management

Do Van, Hung


On sloping land, agroforestry can be a more sustainable way to produce food and
other products and services than sole-crop cultivation of crops. This thesis examined
whether fruit tree-based agroforestry on smallholder farms on sloping uplands can
have a positive impact on sustainability. Production, soil conservation, profitability,
tree-crop performance, spatial variation in resource distribution and the impact of
different weed management strategies were assessed in agroforestry systems (4-7
years old) comprised of fruit trees, crops (maize, coffee) and fodder grass on sloping
uplands (slope ranging from 27 to 65%) in northwest Vietnam. Sole-crop trees and
crops were used as controls. The results showed that agroforestry gave more diverse
products and higher profitability than sole-crop systems, but also higher initial
investment costs. Inclusion of tree-grass strips in agroforestry contributed to
formation of terraces that prevented/reduced soil erosion and related losses of soil
organic carbon (SOC) and plant nutrients. Crop growth and yields were higher above
and between grass/tree rows than below. SOC and plant nutrients tended to
accumulate/increase above tree-grass rows over time within agroforestry systems.
Hand hoeing to complement or replace herbicide-based weed control proved to be
better in supporting tree growth, increasing crop and fruit production and reducing
weed abundance, which partly compensated for the high cost of manual weed control
in agroforestry. Thus, agroforestry comprising fruit trees, grass strips and crops
could be a viable option for sustainable agricultural production on sloping uplands,
through improving profitability and soil conservation compared with sole trees or
crops. To optimise tree/crop yield in such agroforestry systems, adaptive
management is needed to reduce competition and improve spatial resource
availability. Wider adoption will require initial incentives or loans, knowledge
exchange and market links.


ecosystem services; fruit tree-based agroforestry; grass strips; profitability; resource competition; spatial resource distribution; strategies; systems improvement; tree/crop yield; uptake and expansion; weed management

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:63
ISBN: 978-91-8046-178-8, eISBN: 978-91-8046-179-5
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science
    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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