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Glossary for agroforestry

Compiled and edited by Peter Huxley and Helen van Houten, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry - 1997


    The outcome arising from those processes brought aobut by positivie interactions between proximal plants. See also competition, complementarity


    A set or class of comparable treatments, for example, different amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, different methods of cultivation. See also level

factor rating

    A set of critical values that indicate how well a land-use requirement is satisfied by a particular condition of the corresponding land quality.


    1. Allowing crop land to lie idle, either tilled or untilled, during the whole or greater portion of a growing season. Tillage is usually practised to control weeds and encourage the storage of moisture in the soil.

    2. Land rested from deliberate cropping, not necessarily without cultivation or grazing but without sowing.

    3. State of land left without a crop or weed growth for extended period, often to accumulate moisture. See also bush fallow


    1. A group of plants or animals that have some common characteristics. For example Acacia and Albizia trees are members of the same family, Mimosaceae.

    2. The offspring of a single tree after open pollination, or of a single pair of trees after controlled pollination.

fan design

    A type of design for plant-spacing studies in which the plants are arranged at systematically increasing distances along radii and arcs. See also parallel row design, systematic design

farm enterprise

    An individual crop or animal production function within a farming system, the smallest unit for which analysis of resource use and cost return is normally carried out.

farm forestry

    Growing trees for timber, poles, fuelwood on farmland. This may be done in small woodlots or as boundary plantings. See also tree gardens

farm household system

    A group of people, usually related, who individually or jointly provide management, labour, capital, land and other inputs for the production of crops and livestock, and who consume at least part of the farm produce.

farming system

    1. A unique and reasonably stable arrangement of farming enterprises that a household manages according to well-defined practices in response to the physical, biological and socioeconomic environments, and in accordance with the household's goals, preferences and resources. These factors combine to influence output and production methods. More commonality will be found within the system than between systems. The farming system is part of larger systems and can itself be divided into subsystems, such as those providing food or cash.

    2. A decision-making unit comprising the farm household and cropping and livestock systems, which produces crop and animal products for consumption and sale. The farming system is a subsystem of a higher level land-use system such as village or watershed. That in turn forms a component of the agricultural sector of the regional system. See also cropping system

farming systems research and development

    An approach to agricultural research and development that (1) views the whole farm as a system and (2) focuses on the interdependence among the components under the control of the farm household's members and how these components interact with the physical, biological and socioeconomic factors not under household control. The approach involves selecting targets, areas and farmers, identifying problems and opportunities, designing and executing on-farm research, evaluating results, and extension.

farmyard manure

    The partly decomposed excreta of domestic animals mixed with straw or other litter. See also dung, slurry

fast-growing tree

    A tree species that matures quickly and is usually not long lived. Can often be highly productive on fertile sites: 15–20 t ha–1 of wood products per annum or more. Some, for example, leguminous species in the Mimosaceae and Papilionaceae families and actinorrhizal plants such as the genus Alnus, may also be nitogen fixing. Among the many genera included are Calliandra, Gliricidia, Leucaena and Sesbania.


    Stimulation of the production of lateral branches in nursery stock.


    The use of information produced at one stage in a series of operations as input at another usually a previous stage.

feed lot

    A plot of land where beef cattle are confined and fattened by feeding high-protein feeds, for example, silage.


    Cutting trees for their removal. See also clearing


    1. In floral biology, the union of male and female gametes to produce a fertilized egg cell.

    2. In agriculture, the practice of adding nutrients to soil or plants for use by plants.


    A general term of convenience for any long, narrow cell of wood other than vessel elements and parenchyma. Includes the tracheids of gymnosperms and the libriform wood fibres and fibre tracheids of woody angiosperms.


    See hardboard

field capacity

    1. The amount of water a soil will hold against gravity when given reasonable time to drain. Commonly taken as one-third atmosphere tension for clays, and one-tenth atmosphere for sands.

    2. The total amount of water remaining in a freely drained soil after the excess has flowed into the underlying unsaturated soil unit.

field layer

    The vegetation at ground level in a forest or woodland.

field resistance

    See horizontal resistance


    See beating up

filter strip

    A strip of permanent vegetation of sufficient width and vegetative density above farm ponds, diversion terraces and other structures to retard flow of runoff water, causing it to deposit soil, thereby preventing silting of a storage structure or reservoir.

final crop

    In forestry, the trees that remain after successive thinnings and are finally felled at maturity.


    Used in forestry and range management to carry out a burn in a controlled manner and to dispose of unwanted vegetation. A headfire is where the fire is lit at the bottom of a slope and allowed to burn quickly to the top. A backfire is lit at the top and burns slowly downhill. Flankfires are lit at the sides; jackpot fires are where only piled slash is burned. A wildfire is a burn occurring spontaneously (that is, an uncontrolled fire). See also firebreak


    1. In forestry, an existing barrier, or one constructed before a fire occurs, from which flammable materials have been removed, designed to stop or check creeping or running fires. Also serves as a line from which to work and to facilitate the movement of men and equipment in fire suppression.

    2. A form of fire protection, usually against uncontrolled fires, where either (a) a zone of trees and any other woody vegetation is removed so that only a limited amount of flammable material is present or (b) tree species that are relatively less flammable are planted (for example, broadleaved) so as to separate more flammable species (for example, resinous conifers). See also clearing


    1. The relative ability of organisms of a particular genotype to survive and produce offspring, or the contribution of one of a pair of alleles to the general vigour of an organism.

    2. The degree to which the characteristics of any particular plant genotype confers the ability to establish and maintain the plant in a particular ecological niche. See also flexibility


    Processes in a soil by which certain chemical elements essential for plant growth are converted from a soluble or exchangeable form to a much less soluble, or to a non-exchangeable form.


    The degree to which a plant genotype confers the ability for the plant to establish and maintain itself in more than one ecological niche. See also fitness

flow chart

    1. A diagram representing a series of steps or procedures in logical sequence, indicating how to achieve a stated objective or objectives.

    2. The diagrammatic representation, usually with conventional symbols, of the structure of a system in terms of physical and information flows between compartments.


    Strictly, an angiospermous reproductive structure bearing pistils or stamens or both, and usually sepals and petals. The so-called `flower' of conifers is the male or female strobilus before and during pollination.

flower induction

    Stimulation of plants to produce flowers.


    In phenology, the obvious growth (stem elongation, bud burst and leaf expansion) of leafy shoots. The sudden occurrence of this.


    Plants or plant parts eaten by browsing or grazing animals. Fodder trees include species of Acacia, Leucaena, Prosopis and many others. Normally, fodder refers to the green parts of the tree, for example, leaves or sometimes flowers and pods. Often fodder is collected and stored for future consumption.


    The entire leaf mass of a tree or trees (or of plants generally).


    1. Any plant material, except commercial feedstuffs, consumed by livestock. The most common forage crops are grasses and legumes.

    2. The act of finding food.

forage forestry

    Growing close-planted, fast-growing tree species that can be mechanically harvested, such as by a forage harvester in agriculture, for wood products such as woodchips.


    Broadleaved herb (excluding grasses). A non-grass herb.


    A continuous stand of trees > 10 m high, with interlocking crowns. There are many kinds of forests and ways to classify them, for example, by ecozone, vegetation type, climate, dominant species, conformation.

forest garden

    A land-use form on private lands outside the village in which planted trees and sometimes additional perennial crops occur.

forest grazing

    Any situation (silvopastoral) where timber-producing trees and grazed pasture are grown together as an integrated management system, the prime objective being to increase long-term net profit per hectare. Growing pasture under trees as an alternative source of income to production thinning of timber or pulpwood.

forest nomad

    See pioneer

forest product

    Material that is obtained for use from a forest; includes major products such as poles and roundwood (for timber), as well as minor products such as medicinals, gums, resins, oils, fungi, honey.


    In forestry, the general shape of a tree. Trees with good form are straight, more or less cylindrical, with fine branches, and do not taper rapidly.

formal survey

    See survey

form pruning

    Early pruning of trees being grown for timber to remove unwanted (multiple) stems, leaving the straightest and most vigorous.


    The process by which herbicidal compounds or insecticidal sprays, for example, are prepared for practical use with dispersants, `stickers' etc.; a preparation containing such.

foundation seed

    Seed stock produced from breeder's seed by or under the direct control of an agricultural experiment station. Foundation seed is the source of certified seed, either directly or through registered seed.


    An object (actual or mathematical) in which form is independent from scale, that is, which always repeats the general pattern. Plant canopies are considered fractal.

free growth

    The situation in which a tree or other plant has grown with its crown more or less free from competition. Strictly, it should include freedom from below-ground competition as well.

free living

    A microorganism that lives freely unattached, or a pathogen living in the soil outside its host.


    Pertains to soils that, when either wet or dry, crumble easily between the fingers.

frost pocket

    A depression in the terrain into which cold air drains but cannot escape, causing the area to be subject to freeze injury.

fruit set

    The physiological process in which a fertilized ovule becomes 'committed' to further development (instead of abscission).

full sib

    See sib

University of Georgia The Bugwood Network Forestry Images   The Bugwood Network - The University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Warnell School of Forest Resources
Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.       Page last modified: Wednesday, August 8, 2001
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