Current issue: 53(1)
Productive coexistence and gain of populations were studied using nine years’ data from field experiments of Taxodium ascendens-intercrop systems in Lixiahe, Jiangsu province, China. A theoretical framework for productive coexistence in agroforestry was developed. Interaction patterns between trees and intercrops were presented within the framework. A model framework was developed to describe the coexistence gain and interaction of populations in T. ascedens-intercrop systems. Facilitation and resource sharing were identified as main contribution to the advantage of species combination in agroforestry. The model of population interaction developed in the present study was accepted for describing the interaction of populations in T. ascendens -intercrop system, because it explained a high proportion of the variance of experimental data and fitted well the observations in most intercropping types. The model provides flexibility for describing different patterns of intra- and inter-specific interactions. Model coefficients were applied to the determination of the ecological compatibility of species.
Managed T. ascendens-intercrop systems were advantageous as compared to a monoculture of trees or arable crops. In T. ascendens stands up to the age of three, arable crops contributed about 50–80% of the total biomass yield of agroforestry. The diameter height growth of T. ascendens was not significantly influenced by intercrops. When the trees were young (during the first three years), T. ascendens did not depress the crop yields, and a land equivalent ratio greater than unity was obtained together with a high yield of both components. The diameter and height of the trees were similar in four spacing configurations with an equal number of trees per hectare up to the age of 8, but wider between-rows open range were beneficial for the intercrops. The relationship between open-ranges and species coexistence was also analysed and the distribution of soil nutrients studied.