Southeast Asia’s upland landscapes are changing rapidly in response to a variety of economic, demographic and policy factors. Economic, social and biophysical ‘connectivity’ within landscapes is central to their ability to provide secure livelihoods for their inhabitants and environmental services for the society. The function of entire landscapes or nested levels of landscapes is, therefore, important to understand.
However, most universities in the region are inadequate, if not lacking, in offering courses that address environmental impacts of land use decisions and the functions of entire landscapes. Education programs usually focus on farm- or plot-level production. Off-farm effects and trade-offs at the landscape level are not much discussed. Another issue is the often artificial division of landscapes in ‘forestry’ and ‘agriculture’. In reality, Southeast Asian landscapes often consist of patches of grassland, trees, meadows, agroforestry, etc., in a ‘landscape mosaics’. The term ‘landscape agroforestry’ has recently emerged to describe this dynamic.
The Landscape agroforestry project of the Southeast Asian Network for Agroforestry Education (SEANAFE) aims to address these shortcomings in higher education in the region. The two-year project will bring together lecturers from Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, to jointly develop landscape-oriented curricula and training materials and to train at least 100 agroforestry lecturers in all 82 SEANAFE member institutions.
Five multi-disciplinary national teams, composed of 4 members each, have been constituted to implement the project. The teams have identified and started rresearch works on the following:
Indonesia: Study of Landscape Agroforestry in Mendalam River Basin, the Upper Stream of Kapuas Watershed, West Kalimantan Province
Laos: Landscape and Livelihood Changes in a Sub-watershed of Nam Kading River, Bolikhamxay Province
Philippines: Landscape Agroforestry Dynamics in Two Sub-Watersheds within the Makiling Forest Reserve, Los Baños, Laguna
Thailand: Suitable Landscape Agroforestry Mapping and Planning for Economic Sufficiency in Huaireng-Khlongpeed Watershed in Eastern Thailand
Vietnam: Study on Upland Maize-based Landscape Agroforestry in Son La Province, Northern Vietnam