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Cocoa agroforestry systems versus monocultures: a multi-dimensional meta-analysis

Niether, Wiebke; Jacobi, Johanna; Blaser, Wilma J.; Andres, Christian and Armengot, Laura (2020) Cocoa agroforestry systems versus monocultures: a multi-dimensional meta-analysis. Environmental Research Letters, 15 (10), p. 104085.

[thumbnail of Niether-etal-2020-EnvironResLett-Vol15-Issue10-articcle104085.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/abb053


Scientific knowledge, societal debates, and industry commitments around sustainable cocoa are increasing. Cocoa agroforestry systems are supposed to improve the sustainability of cocoa production. However, their combined agronomic, ecological, and socio-economic performance compared to monocultures is still largely unknown. Here we present a meta-analysis of 52 articles that directly compared cocoa agroforestry systems and monocultures. Using an inductive, multi-dimensional approach, we analyzed the differences in cocoa and total system yield, economic performance, soil chemical and physical properties, incidence of pests and diseases, potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity conservation. Cocoa agroforestry systems outcompeted monocultures in most indicators. Cocoa yields in agroforestry systems were 25% lower than in monocultures, but total system yields were about ten times higher, contributing to food security and diversified incomes. This finding was supported by a similar profitability of both production systems. Cocoa agroforestry contributed to climate change mitigation by storing 2.5 times more carbon and to adaptation by lowering mean temperatures and buffering temperature extremes. We found no significant differences in relation to the main soil parameters. The effect of the type of production system on disease incidence depended on the fungal species. The few available studies comparing biodiversity showed a higher biodiversity in cocoa agroforestry systems. Increased and specific knowledge on local tree selections and local socio-economic and environmental conditions, as well as building and enabling alternative markets for agroforestry products, could contribute to further adoption and sustainability of cocoa agroforestry systems.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Cocoa, agroecology, system comparison, Abacus, FiBL65167, FiBL6516603
Agrovoc keywords:
cocoa (plant) -> Theobroma cacao
Subjects: Crop husbandry
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Special crops > Cocoa
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > International > Agriculture in the Tropics and Subtropics > Systems comparison
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Sustainability > Agroecology
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:38960
Deposited On:22 Jan 2021 10:27
Last Modified:22 Jan 2021 10:27
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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