Carbon stocks, tree diversity, and the role of organic certification in different cocoa production systems in Alto Beni, Bolivia

Jacobi, Johanna; Andres, Christian; Schneider, Monika; Pillco, Maria; Calizaya, Patricia; Rist, Stephan (2014). Carbon stocks, tree diversity, and the role of organic certification in different cocoa production systems in Alto Beni, Bolivia. Agroforestry systems, 88(6), pp. 1117-1132. Springer 10.1007/s10457-013-9643-8

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This study compares aboveground and belowground carbon stocks and tree diversity in different cocoa cultivation systems in Bolivia: monoculture, simple agroforestry, and successional agroforestry, as well as fallow as a control. Since diversified, agroforestry-based cultivation systems are often considered important for sustainable development, we also evaluated the links between carbon stocks and tree diversity, as well as the role of organic certification in transitioning from monoculture to agroforestry. Biomass, tree diversity, and soil physiochemical parameters were sampled in 15 plots measuring 48 × 48 m. Semi-structured interviews with 52 cocoa farmers were used to evaluate the role of organic certification and farmers’ organizations (e.g., cocoa cooperatives) in promoting tree diversity. Total carbon stocks in simple agroforestry systems (128.4 ± 20 Mg ha−1) were similar to those on fallow plots (125.2 ± 10 Mg ha−1). Successional agroforestry systems had the highest carbon stocks (143.7 ± 5.3 Mg ha−1). Monocultures stored significantly less carbon than all other systems (86.3 ± 4.0 Mg ha−1, posterior probability P(Diff > 0) of 0.000–0.006). Among shade tree species, Schizolobium amazonicum, Centrolobium ochroxylum, and Anadenanthera sp. accumulated the most biomass. High-value timber species (S. amazonicum, C. ochroxylum, Amburana cearensis, and Swietenia macrophylla) accounted for 22.0 % of shade tree biomass. The Shannon index and tree species richness were highest in successional agroforestry systems. Cocoa plots on certified organic farms displayed significantly higher tree species richness than plots on non-certified farms. Thus, expanding the coverage of organic farmers’ organizations may be an effective strategy for fostering transitions from monoculture to agroforestry systems.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Critical Sustainability Studies (CSS)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Jacobi, Johanna, Rist, Stephan


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics








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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2014 13:57

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:32

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Successional agroforestry, Theobroma cacao, Agrobiodiversity, Biomass, Carbon stocks, Organic agriculture, Bolivia




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