, 2009 and Donald, 2004). Although it
has often been suggested that intensive monocultures raise productivity and therefore reduce the amount of forested land that needs to be cut for crop cultivation, there are few quantitative data to support Selleckchem GSK1120212 the notion that ‘land sparing’ is more effective than ‘land sharing’ as a conservation strategy (Balmford et al., 2012 and Tscharntke et al., 2012). To the extent that ‘land sparing’ can play a role, genetic selection of more productive cultivars of commodity crops clearly has a part to play. More important, however, is an emphasis on mixed farmland production regimes that combine tree commodities with fruit trees, staple crops and/or vegetables, etc., which maintain commodity yields and promote resilience (Clough et al., 2011). In the right circumstances, the integration of tree commodity crops with other farmland
trees and in forest mosaics can increase commodity production (e.g., see the case of coffee; Ricketts et al., 2004 and Priess et al., 2007). Mixed production regimes are much more amenable for some Selleck CT99021 commodities (such as coffee and cocoa; SCI, 2013) than for others (such as palm oil; Donald, 2004). One option being promoted in West Africa, for example, is to incorporate ‘new’ tree commodity crops such as allanblackia, a tree whose seed yields edible oil with significant potential in the global food market, with cocoa production (Jamnadass et al., 2010). When allanblackia trees have matured, farmers’ incomes will be distributed more evenly through the year, as allanblackia and cocoa have different production seasons (Novella Africa, 2013). To support diverse production systems, genetic selection for commodity crop cultivars that do well under shade may be of particular importance (Mohan Jain and through Priyadarshan, 2009). This may require returning to wild genetic resources still found in shaded, mixed-species forest habitats. Not only may mixed production systems be more
resilient ecologically, but they may support more resilient food systems. Buying food using the income received from a single commodity crop can lead to food insecurity for farm households when payments are one-off, delayed or unpredictable in value, and as a result tree commodity crops are sometimes viewed sceptically within agricultural production-based strategies to improve nutrition (FAO, 2012). For farmers who have too little land to cultivate enough food to meet their needs, however, incomes from tree commodity crops may be the only way to obtain sufficient food (Arnold, 1990). Tree-based production systems are often promoted because of their perceived biological, economic and social resilience in the context of anthropogenic climate change and other production challenges (Alfaro et al., 2014, this special issue; Steffan-Dewenter et al., 2007 and Thorlakson and Neufeldt, 2012).