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An index for quantifying the trade-off between drainage and productivity in tree crop mixtures


Stirzaker, RJ and Lefroy, EC and Ellis, TW, An index for quantifying the trade-off between drainage and productivity in tree crop mixtures, Agricultural Water Management, 53, (1-3) pp. 187-200. ISSN 0378-3774 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/S0378-3774(01)00164-0


The introduction of deep-rooted perennial species into catchments dominated by annual crops and pastures forms part of the strategy for managing dryland salinity in south Australia. This paper provides a methodology for determining whether it is better to mix trees and crops (agroforestry), or segregate them into plantations and monocrops, when attempting to achieve specified drainage and productivity targets. We introduce an index that quantifies the complementarity or competition for resources between the trees and crops. Data required to calculate this index include crop yield with distance from the tree belt and leaf area of the tree belt compared to the leaf area of a native stand. The method allows for a simple assessment of the most promising tree/crop mixtures. Such an assessment is needed because of the wide range of possible tree-crop-soil-climate combinations and the hydrological complexity of the tree/crop interface. Examples are given which make cases for either separating or mixing trees and crops. We predict that the success of a tree/crop mixture becomes less likely with declining crop season rainfall and increasing seasonal variability and more likely when the tree products have a direct economic benefit. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Soil sciences
Research Field:Soil sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable plant production
Objective Field:Environmentally sustainable plant production not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lefroy, EC (Professor Ted Lefroy)
ID Code:46588
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Centre for Environment
Deposited On:2007-10-02
Last Modified:2011-08-02

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