Participatory design of agroforestry systems: developing farmer participatory research methods in Mexico

Participatory research that combines the knowledge of farmers and researchers promotes the development of a variety of agroforestry options that may meet the various needs of different farmers, and thus exploits one of the greatest strengths of agroforestry--its plasticity. The design and evaluation of agroforestry systems with eight farmer research groups in south-east Mexico was conducted through surveys of individual production aims and limitations, and through group identification, testing, and analysis of production alternatives. Farmer trials were used as a basis for agroforestry development projects implemented by community and government organisations, thus disseminating technologies that had been tested and adapted by local farmers. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development and Agroforestry: Scaling Up the Impacts of Research