A snapshot of agroforestry in Terminalia carolinensis wetlands in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia

Type Journal Article - Micronesica 41 (2): 177-195
Title A snapshot of agroforestry in Terminalia carolinensis wetlands in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia
Volume 41
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 177-195
URL http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/publications/4154/psw_2011_ewel_k(conroy)001.pdf
Traditional food and its supporting agricultural and agroforestry systems still play a large part in people’s daily lives in Federated Sates of Micronesia (FSM). To date, however, there are few publications on details of these systems in the country. On Kosrae Island, the easternmost island of FSM, one type of agroforestry has been practiced for centuries in coastal freshwater wetlands, with Terminalia carolinensis as a dominant overstory species and swamp taro (Cyrtosperma chamissonis) as a main agricultural crop. We conducted a survey to obtain baseline information on this wetland-based agroforestry system. Fifty-six households were randomly selected from the four municipalities and interviewed about their agricultural parcels, crop species and varieties, and management practices pertinent to T. carolinensis.

Agroforestry parcels with T. carolinensis averaged 0.8 ha, with most located outside the wettest areas. A total of 21 agricultural species and 40 varieties were reported by interviewees who owned such parcels, underscoring the importance of traditional agroforestry in conserving various landraces of primary and secondary crops. Over 70% of the species recorded were found in all municipalities and all vegetation types, implying uniform spatial distribution of agricultural plants, ensuring food
security. T. carolinensis trees in parcels are mostly of natural origin and are allowed to regenerate, but no interviewees seemed to be cognizant of its regeneration pattern or average life span. Although no consensus was obtained on the trend of T. carolinensis population on the island, 70% favored establishment of conservation measures for this tree. Further work on this unique system is highly recommended.

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