Abstract

Live fences in tropical production systems: a global review of uses and perceptions. The expansion of agricultural and livestock production has been a key factor in deforestation in the world and especially in the tropical region. Currently, more than half of the Earth’s surface is used for the establishment of production systems; in this context, live fences can generate positive effects on the environment and provide environmental goods and services. In this work, we reviewed the effects of live fences on production systems from the tropical regions of America, Africa, Asia and Australia, analyzing the uses and perceptions of farmers that have made use of these fences. It was found that live fences were mainly related to the delimitation of farms and pastures. However, their uses and benefits are manifold, among which we found: provide forage, wood extraction, fruit supply, windbreaks, medicinal, to avoid soil erosion, moisture retention and nutritional support. In addition, other positive perceptions were: increasing landscape connectivity, increasing economic incomes, reducing production costs, reducing pressure on remaining vegetation, keeping maintenance costs down, contributing to pest control, and improving fertility. However, negative perceptions included the excessive work in repairing or pruning them, shade negative impact on agricultural production, lack of information discourages establishment, high establishment costs, generation of property conflicts and management difficulty. It was found that the uses by farmers are focused on improving the yields of productive systems, but also on the conservation of natural resources especially soil and biodiversity. We proposed research topics for the future, as determining the criteria in the selection of native species to establish and enrich living fences valuing ecological and socioeconomic aspects; in additionally, we must deepen the benefits they produce on the yields of productive systems. We suggest the development of live fences studies in the tropical region of Australasia, because no data was found for this region, in order to know the biodiversity and services status that they provide to the rural communities. As a conclusion, it will be important to generate initiatives that encourage the formulation of rural policies, the creation of programs that encourage the establishment of live fences, whether through payments for environmental services, tax compensation or other mechanisms. Providing adequate information to farmers and livestock farmers is a key aspect on dynamizing the establishment of live fences. Rev. Biol. Trop. 66(2): 739-753. Epub 2018 June 01.

 

Keywords: live fences, tropical biodiversity, silvopastoral systems, agricultural systems, agroforestry.