Agroforestry systems provide firewood for livelihood improvement in Guatemala
Posada, Karla E.
Gutiérrez Montes, Isabel A.
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Given the context of climate change and poverty, rural populations are increasingly faced with the challenges of appropriate resource management, adequate food production and improving their quality of life. Guatemala has to cope with climate change and poverty while taking its agricultural production into account. In this regard, agroforestry systems have been proposed as an alternative method of sustainable production. This article presents a comparison between conventional cropping systems and enriched agroforestry systems in Camotán and Jocotán. The results show that the enriched agroforestry system contributed to 65% of the firewood compared to 7% from the conventional cropping system. Families using the conventional cropping system extracted 81% of their firewood from the forest, while families using the enriched agroforestry system extracted only 32%. The firewood produced by the enriched agroforestry system provided an additional benefit to women, children and young people tasked with carrying the bundles, in that they no longer needed to travel long distances to supply the household. Families constructed and adapted empirical knowledge on tree management into their cropping systems. The enriched agroforestry system is thus presented as a potential solution for meeting the annual demand for firewood. Land tenure security influences rural families’ decision to invest or innovate. Agroforestry systems play a key role in augmenting resources and improving quality of life.