Indigenous agroforestry practices by Orang Asli in peninsular Malaysia: Management, sustainability and contribution to household economy

The Orang Asli communities in Malaysia have been practicing indigenous agroforestry for generations, but little is known about the specifics of their practices. This study examined the indigenous management and sustainability of agroforestry practices, constraints experienced and contribution to household income. Data were collected from two Orang Asli villages practicing forest-garden agroforestry (FAF) and homegarden agroforestry (HAF). Tools of participatory rural appraisal namely semi-structured household interviews, group discussion and personal observation were used to collect data. In both types of agroforestry practices villagers planted commercially important local fruit species of which durian was the most common and more profitable. Locally available planting materials, use of household labour, market demand of agroforestry products, and usage of mulching and litter to maintain soil fertility were the principal attributes of sustainable agroforestry. A majority of the respondents reported that agroforestry was their principal source of income, self-employment, and safe and healthy food. Income from per unit area of HAF was significantly higher (21 %) than that of FAF. Land tenure and wildlife disturbances were two major constraints among others. Recommendations were made to resolve land tenure issue in light of government policy for agroforestry promotion.

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