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Project concept

Photo: G. M. Rusch

FUNCiTREE combines attributes related to the performance of trees  in their environment such as water use efficiency, tolerance to drought, provision of fodder, interactions with pastures and nitrogen fixing ability, with culturally defined species traits such as cattle farmers’ distinction between “good” and “bad” tree attributes for livestock and pasture productivity, timber, fire wood, poles, etc . Quite often these culturally important traits are directly tied to eco-physiological traits such as canopy deciduousness, leaf chemistry and toughness, root architecture and wood density. There is, however, little understanding of how farmers manage the synergies and trade-offs between multiple traits, and multiple management objectives. The trait-based approach of FUNCiTREE permits a better understanding of the synergies between the multifunction components of agro-forestry systems including the relationship between ecological and cultural classifications of trees by traits. FUNCiTREE aim is to model and propose specific tree trait combinations that maximize the provisioning of multiple functions including soil protection and fertility, production, animal nutrition and conservation of life systems.