Towards opportunities for agroforestry in smallholder agricultural landscapes in Ecuador

Funded by: Secretary of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT)
Researcher: ir. Gladys Villegas
Promotors: Prof. Dr. ir. Frieke Van Coillie, Prof. Dr. ir. Daniel Ochoa
Duration: 2017 – 2021

Project objective

Land cover changes in Ecuador are caused by agricultural expansion, wood extraction for fuel, establishment of cacao and banana plantations, mining and road construction.  Other factors such as population growth, lack of knowledge about soil management and problems on economic development, combined with a decreasing price of principal crops like cocoa, banana, and rice, have led to a deterioration in the living conditions of the local population and their cultivation methods. For that reason, Ecuador has a lot of smallholder agriculture and limited Agroforestry systems (AFs)
Nowadays, awareness is growing that reforestation of degraded areas by establishing a sustainable agroforestry model helps to improve the living standards of the indigenous people. Therefore, the main aim for this project is to detect and quantify potential areas to introduce AFs in the smallholder community landscape through 1) Assessing the contribution of trees in smallholder agricultural landscapes (ESS) 2) Detecting the tree component and its function 3) Mapping the landscape and its dynamics using Sentinel data, and 4) Modelling the potential AF.